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This summer, marinated feta cheese has been my go-to when entertaining. It’s quick and easy to prepare, and you really don’t need to follow a recipe. You can mix and match with your favorite garnish (I love jalapeños and parsley, but any fresh herbs will work!)
Serve alongside pita chips or crackers and some nice wine, and you are all set to deliciously entertain.
But, there are actually a few kitchen tools that are essential for elevating your Jewish cooking: from the golden chicken soup to drool-worthy latkes. Which kitchen gadgets do you love the most? Post in the comments below!
Our friend Liz Rueven of Kosher Like Me swears by these soup socks for easy cleanup while making classic chicken soup. Of course you can also use a soup sock for infusing other soups and stews. The concept is to stick your aromatics like herbs, peppercorns, garic or ginger and place them in the sock. Place the sock into the soup (or stew) and then the flavor of the aromatics will infuse, and you won’t need to go fishing around to remove them at the end of cooking.
If you do a lot of frying around Hanukkah, you need one of these splatter screens. In fact, I like the set of three splatter guards, because I often keep two pans frying at the same time when making latkes. They are also good for frying sufganiyot (jelly donuts) , schnitzel and event falafel.
While many people use a crockpot for cholent, a traditional slow-cooked Shabbat stew, a crockpot is an amazing kitchen gadget to have on hand for so many Jewish dishes: brisket, mushroom barley soup, stuffed peppers and even shakshuka. Check out our full list of Jewish foods you can cook in a crockpot.
We know you love perfect roast chicken, and we swear by an upright chicken roaster. They are cheap (less than $10!)and will ensure a crispy outside every time since air will circulate all around the chicken throughout cooking.
Wondering why your challah gets a little burnt on the bottom? You need to try baking challah on parchment paper, or even better (and more environmentally friendly) a silicone baking mat! These mats are also great for baking cookies.
We like searing our brisket before letting it cook low and slow, and there’s nothing better for flipping than a good sturdy pair of tongs. Kitchen tongs are also amazing for cooking any kind of seared meat, like stew or pot roast or meatballs.
Whether you are making potato kugel or veggie kugel, you are going to want a food processor for grating all that deliciousness. We also loving using a food processor for shredding potatoes for latkes, hummus even for making chopped liver.
Speaking of chopped liver, you are going to want a good egg slicer for your chopped liver (and maybe for your egg salad too).
Sure, any kitchen towel will do. But we especially love a good, kitschy hand towel like these ones from Etsy.
The post The Most Essential Kitchen Gadgets for Jewish Cooking appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
This cheesecake recipe was inspired by new and old flavors and our love of baklava and cheesecake. After all, who doesn’t love these desserts? We felt that the smoothness and creaminess of cheesecake needed a modern crunch and kataifi (shredded phyllo dough which is used to make baklava and other Middle Eastern pastries) was just the ingredient to try.
While we were at it, we experimented and added nuts —and then to finish off this special cheesecake and give it a little more Middle Eastern flair, we added a rosewater syrup.
The resulting cake is similar to kanafeh, a Middle Eastern cheese pastry. And it was so amazing, we surprised even ourselves. This cheesecake has layers of flavor and layers of texture that equal heaven on a plate. Crunchy from the combination of almonds and pistachios, chewy from the kataifi pastry, smooth and creamy from the cheese and then brought together with the slight perfumed taste of the rosewater syrup. The best thing about the recipe is that it is simple to make, but looks quite impressive.
This recipe is excerpted with permission from The Modern Jewish Table.
Harissa lovers — this giveaway is for you! One lucky Nosher reader will get the chance to taste and cook with New York Shuk’s signature harissa AND its preserved lemon harissa. That’s right: two different kinds of harissa to experiment with and enjoy.
In case you are wondering, wait – what is harissa? It’s a North African pepper condiment made with a variety of spices, herbs and oil. It’s delicious and it goes great with everything from shakshuka to frittatas to Bloody Marys.
Enter below for a chance to win, and don’t forget to share with your friends (or ya know, don’t if you really want to win it).
The post FREE STUFF: Win Some Artisanal Harissa from New York Shuk appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
I must have been about 6 or 7 years old, and I remember being eye level to my grandmother’s stove. I saw these white, round things frying up in oil. What I vividly remember, was the distinct hole on the edge of these round patties and wondering what they were.
Just then, I watched my grandmother take a fork and use the hole as an anchor to flip what I would later learn were her arepas (Colombian corn pancakes). The oil would make the dough puff up into a small balloon, and it was always such a treat to see, and of course taste.
I caught up with my grandmother recently, and she confirmed that this is the way they did it in Colombia when frying arepas, since the hole is needed to safely flip. (It wasn’t just her little trick.) Although these arepas were fried in oil, they had a light and airy quality to them and a sweetness that came through from the corn. They were golden brown pillows of joy!
Arepas are essentially griddle cakes made from pre-cooked cornmeal. The beauty of this is that arepas can be prepared in a myriad of ways: grilled, fried or sauteed in oil. In addition they can be stuffed, topped with ingredients — or extra ingredients can even be mixed into the dough. They also can be made on the sweet side (my grandmother would put a little sugar in the dough), but they are more commonly served as a savory dish.
Arepas are a popular staple in Colombian and Venezuelan cuisines. My Mami Lucy (she never liked being called grandmother, because it made her sound old) was born in Colombia but told me that Venezuelans are known for making more elaborate arepas, and that Colombians keep them pretty simple.
These spiced lamb arepas with hummus are definitely not your traditional arepa, but the flavors work so well together with the mild corn flavor in the masa (dough). I sauteed them to achieve a char on the outside, which creates a delightful crunch that is met by the creaminess of the hummus. Spiced ground lamb then coats your tongue, and the sweet tomatoes, mint and pine nuts just bring the whole thing together.
Like Italians with their tomato sauce, home cooks across North Africa and the Middle East are serious about their harissa. Each cook has his or her own special method for grinding the chiles and blending in oil, garlic and spices. That’s why our harissa is bound to family tradition.
Thick, vibrantly red and lusciously textured, our piquant chile condiment recipe is inspired by Ron’s mother Linor, who was taught how to make it by her mother after their family immigrated from Morocco to Israel. The name harissa comes from the Arabic word meaning “to break,” which likely stems from the mashing of the chiles. We blend three different chile varieties into every batch of our harissa. But even more than heritage, what really sets our harissa apart is its pure flavor and composition. We want the chiles to speak for themselves, and want you to find ways to put harissa on EVERYTHING, even in a classic Bloody Mary.
A few notes about this recipe:
Are you hearing harissa everywhere these days? Seeing it on menus and wondering: Wait, what is harissa?
Harissa is native to North Africa— countries like Morocco and Tunisia— and is a paste-like condiment that might remind you of tomato paste in consistency, but is actually made from a variety of peppers, herbs and spices. It’s sort of like a North African sriracha though it isn’t necessarily spicy.
Ingredients vary from region to region, and even from family to family, but can include roasted peppers or sun-dried peppers, tomato paste or sun-dried tomatoes, herbs such as cilantro and mint, and spices such as caraway seeds and cumin. Harissa was brought to Israel by Jews from Morocco and Tunisia and has become a popular condiment. And now it’s popular even in the United States!
Watch our short video to learn more:
Now that you know what harissa is….here are some ideas to get cooking with it:
We know you guys love free stuff and matzah balls, so you’ll want to get your hands on this awesome Matzah Ballin’ T-shirt from Unkosher Market. It’s perfect to wear at the end of summer or while preparing your Rosh Hashanah feast and maybe even when you go to Bubbe’s house this holiday season.
One lucky Nosher reader will snag their own shirt, so enter below and don’t forget to tell your friends!
Moroccan cuisine brilliantly uses oranges as the base for many different sweet-savory salads, but oranges and olives are perhaps the most iconic duo. While it may sound unusual, the combination of sweet citrus and briny, velvet-textured, oil-cured black olives is nothing short of magical.
In Moroccan Jewish homes, this salad is often served as part of the sprawling mezze course — a refreshing opener to Shabbat dinner. A drizzle of oil (traditionally Moroccan argan oil) and a sprinkle of salt are all that’s needed to pull the flavors together. But why not gild the lily with a little smoky spice, bright lime juice and a drizzle of honey for extra sweetness?
This recipe is excerpted with permission from Little Book of Jewish Appetizers.
Photo credit Linda Pugliese.
Do you love any excuse to throw a party? Maybe you feel intimidated to host friends for a full, sit-down dinner? Or maybe you just love beautiful, interesting cookbooks (like me). Any which way, you are going to adore Leah Koenig’s latest book, The Little Book of Jewish Appetizers.
Instead of a whopping, mountain-size cookbook with recipe after recipe after recipe, this pint-sized volume of small bites packs a mighty punch with select Jewish-inspired appetizers sure to wow a crowd, big or small: potato and red onion knishes, Persian zucchini and herb frittata (pictured above), smoked trout canapes and Moroccan orange and black olive salad.
I had the privilege to ask Leah a few questions about the book, and how she likes to entertain. And as with this volume, Leah opts for quality over quantity. Don’t forget to check out her stunning recipe for Moroccan orange salad with black olives too, and then get ready to entertain.
In some ways, my inspiration is the same for every book or article I write. Jewish cuisine is, at its heart, a global cuisine, and I would happily travel down a million different rabbit holes in search of a less-explored corner of Jewish cooking, or a recipe that I haven’t heard of before. I’ve been writing about Jewish cuisine for almost a decade and feel like I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s out there.
But focusing on this cookbook, it’s actually the first in a three-book series that will explore three different aspects of Jewish cooking. Each book is tiny — just 25 recipes! — so they have to be tightly curated to offer the best of their category. The second book will focus on holiday main dishes and the third will cover sweet and savory baking. But I really wanted to start at the beginning with the forspheis (Yiddish for “before food”) and mezze dishes that traditionally begin Jewish meals. These are the dishes— dips and spreads, salads, fritters, and other tiny noshes— that are so delicious, we inevitably fill up on them before the main course starts. I wanted to pay homage to the role that appetizers play in Jewish cuisine as a whole.
I know it’s a bit cliched at this point, but I am totally not over the “toast” trend yet. So for me, crostini, which are essentially delicious things piled onto toast, are always a favorite nosh. This first Little Book has a recipe for borscht crostini that I love. It takes all the flavors of traditional borscht — roasted beets and carrots, pickled onion, cultured dairy (in this case a slick of creme fraiche instead of the more commonly used sour cream), and a chopped up mix of dill, garlic, and lemon zest— and pairs them on toasted bread. The crostini are tangy and sweet, crunchy with creamy notes, and both flavorful and vibrant to look at. Of all the “traditional meets modern” Jewish recipes I have developed over the years, I think they’re my favorite.
Taking things too seriously! Don’t get me wrong, I love to plan and organize, and I enjoy thinking about little touches or special dishes that will make my guests happy. But whether I’m planning a dinner party for six or a cocktail party for 20, I always try to keep a little humor in the mix. There’s no bigger buzzkill than arriving to a party where the host is micromanaging and fretting over every aspect of the experience. I prep ahead wherever possible and make sure to have a glass of wine already in my hand when guests arrive!
The Everything Spice Rye Crackers, which are topped with a mix of poppy seeds, sesame seeds and dehydrated onion and garlic flakes, pair perfectly with the more Ashkenazi-inspired spreads like the Chopped Egg and Caramelized Onion or the Vegetarian Chopped Liver with Shallots. And the Za’atar Pita Chips, which are so simple to make and so satisfying to eat, are wonderful swiped through Middle Eastern spreads like the Muhammara (Red Pepper, Walnut and Pomegranate Spread), the Perfect Tzatziki or Smoky Sweet Potato Hummus. But really, both of those crackers are versatile enough that they’d taste great topped with just about anything.
It’s funny, I actually don’t think I was born with the typical “Jewish mom gene” that compels me to cook way more than is needed for a particular situation. As someone who thinks a lot about sustainability and food waste— including all the prepared food that gets thrown away because we can’t eat it in time before it goes bad— I’d rather have “just enough” food. I know it sounds counterintuitive, but when I host a party and I almost run out of things, it actually makes me happy. That way, I know I’ve made enough for everyone to be satisfied, but without the excess waste.
When it comes to prepping appetizers and noshes ahead, dips can almost always be made in advance and held for a day or two. So can baked goods like the Mushroom Piroshki and Potato and Red Onion Knish, both of which can be refrigerated or frozen and then just need a quick minute of reheating in the oven before being served. With other dishes, like the Borscht Crostini, the various components (roasted beets and carrots, pickled onion etc.) can be prepped in advance, and then the crostini can be assembled as needed. I like to do as much as I can in advance and then save one or two really fresh dishes— like the Moroccan Orange and Black Olive Salad—- for the last minute. Getting early-arriving guests involved—chopping parsley for a garnish, or assembling crostini— is a great way to engage them, and get a little extra help!