Archive for the ‘Jewish cuisine’ Category

I’ve always loved latkes. Onions and potatoes are just made for each other. I’ve tried my hand at latkes before – here and here – with crowd-pleasing results. But I would have to say that these were our favorites so far. This recipe made about 16 latkes for me, and I only used 5 tablespoons of olive oil. Although I made the sour cream mixture for serving, we went a little light on it.

Cilantro-jalapeno latkes (modified from CookingLight)

6 tablespoons soy sour cream

1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce

3/4 teaspoons grated lime rind

1 teaspoon fresh lime juice

6 cups shredded, peeled, baking potato (about 1 1/2 pounds)

1 cup grated fresh onion

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon finely chopped seeded jalapeno pepper

1 large egg

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

5 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Combine first 4 ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Combine potato and onion in a colander. Drain 30 minutes, pressing occasionally with the back of a spoon until barely moist. Combine potato mixture, flour, and next 5 ingredients (including salt) in a large bowl; toss well.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Spoon 1/4 cup potato mixture into  dry measuring cup. Pour mixture into pan; flatten slightly. Repeat the procedure 5 times to form 6 latkes. Saute 3 1/2 minutes on each side or until golden brown and thoroughly cooked. Remove latkes from pan; keep warm. Repeat procedure with next 2 tablespoons oil and potato mixture to yield 12 latkes total. If you have any potato mixture leftover, use the final tablespoon oil and make the rest of the latkes. Serve with sour cream mixture.

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This was not hard to make at all, and sooo good. High on flavor, so many good things in it to eat. Seemed like the perfect fall dish, although I think it would be good anytime. But, because it features 7 vegetables, it is a New Year favorite among Sephardic Jews.

Seven-vegetable couscous (from Nava Atlas’ In a Vegetarian Kitchen)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat couscous

3 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon margarine

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

1 cup finely shredded white cabbage

1 medium turnip, peeled and diced

1 medium yellow summer squash,  halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4″ thick

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced 1/4″ thick

1/2 cup canned chickpeas, drained

1 1/2 cups diced ripe tomatoes

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1/2 teaspoon each: ground cumin, coriander, turmeric, and salt


1/2 cup golden raisins or finely chopped dried apricots (I used dried cranberries)

1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds

Combine the couscous and water in a heatproof bowl. Cover and let stand until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork, then stir in the margarine, turmeric, and salt. Cover and set aside.

For the vegetable stew, heat the oil in a large saucepan or soup pot. Add the onions and saute over moderate heat until translucent. Stir in cabbage and saute until both it and the onion are lightly golden.

Add remaining stew ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then cover and reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 15 – 20 minutes. Add water as needed to produce a moist, but not soupy, consistency. The vegetables should be tender, but still firm.

To serve, arrange the couscous on the outer edge of a large serving platter. Pour vegetable mixture in the center, then sprinkle with the garnishes. Let each guest place a mound of couscous on his or her dinner plate and top it with the vegetable mixture. Makes 8 servings.

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Sexy and delicious. I can’t believe I’ve never tried making these!

Coconut macaroons (modified slightly, using matzo meal cake flour)

4 large egg whites, at room temperature

1 cup granulated white sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup matzo meal cake flour, sifted

3 cups sweetened, shredded coconut

In a stainless steel bowl, placed over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together the egg whites, sugar, and salt. When the mixture is warm to the touch, and nice and creamy, remove from heat and stir in vanilla, cafe flour, and coconut. Cover and refrigerate for about 2 hours, or until firm.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Place small mounds (heaping tablespoons) of batter on the parchment-lines baking sheets, spacing several inches apart. Bake for about 15 – 20 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on baking sheet for 10 minutes then place on wire rack to cool. Makes 2 dozen macaroons.

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We had this for dinner last night, and there’s some leftover for lunch today. A great twist on two classics. I didn’t use as much hot spice as was called for, and I made a few other modifications.

Pho-like matzo ball soup (thanks to Mango&Tomato blog)

3 quarts water

6 chicken bouillon cubes

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon chili garlic sauce

1 teaspoon 5-spice powder

4 cloves

2 star anise

2″ piece of ginger, cut into a few pieces

1 box matzo ball mix, or my recipe

1 cup snow peas, halved

1 cup shredded cabbage

1 cup shredded carrots

Bring 3 quarts of water to boil with the bouillon cubes, sugar, chili sauce, 5-spice powder, cloves, anise, and ginger. (put the cloves, anise, and ginger into a big teaball or cheesecloth so you can easily remove it).

Meanwhile, prepare your matzo balls according to instructions. Let it sit in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Once the soup is boiling, form about 14 balls (wetting your hands with water does make this process easier), and drop the matzo balls into the soup, turn the heat down, cover, and cook for 30 minutes. Remove your teaball of spices.

Add the snow peas, cabbage, and carrots. Cook for 5 minutes more and serve. Makes 6 servings.

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Here is your answer for what to do with all that matzah.

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Chopped liver and mock chopped liver have been done dozens of ways, but my friend Dolores made the best “any kind of” chopped liver I ever tasted. Mock chopped liver delivers all the great taste and texture of the real thing, but without the bad fats and cholesterol. The trick is in carmelizing the onions and roasting the walnuts. Try this recipe, and see if you agree. Enjoy on a cracker or some fresh rye bread!

Dolores’ mock chopped liver

1 tablespoon olive oil 

3 medium onions, sliced

3/4 cup walnuts

1 15-ounce can of Le Seur baby peas, drained

4 hard-boiled eggs

1/4 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper, to taste

Saute the onions in the oil over medium high heat, stirring frequently, until nicely browned and carmelized. Set aside.

Place the walnuts on a tray in a 300 degree F oven for about 8 – 10 minutes until aromatic and starting to lightly brown.

Place all the ingredients into your food processor and combine until you have a smooth consistency. Adjust seasonings as desired. Serve chilled.


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This soup holds a place near and dear to my heart, as it was a family favorite that my grandmother would always make for us. With an ultra-fresh slice (or two) of challah bread, this is on my top 5 penultimate comfort foods list. The original recipe calls for 3-4 pounds of flanken, but I am not a big meat eater, so I made the soup with one pound of lean meat, and with excellent results. Enjoy!

Sweet and sour cabbage borscht

1 pound of flanken

2 tablespoons of canola oil

3 onions, chopped

2 28-ounce cans of crushed tomatoes, in puree

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, more to taste

1/4 cup of brown sugar, more to taste

2 teaspoons of kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon of pepper

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon freshly ground ginger

1 large head of cabbage, coarsely chopped

In a large pot, cover the flanken with water and boil for 15 minutes.

In a large Dutch oven, saute the onions in the oil until soft. Stir in the tomatoes plus one can’s worth of water. Add the meat, stir, cover, and simmer for an hour.

Stir in the lemon juice, brown sugar, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and ginger. Add the cabbage, stir, and cook until the meat is tender and falling apart. (about 1 more hour).

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As the Jewish holiday of Chanukah arrives tonight, memories of yummy potato pancakes quickly come to mind. Oh, how I remember eating these as a kid. What a delight, and they were “properly” fried in a lot of oil. Now, in today’s more health-conscious world, we can still enjoy these latkes and without all of the grease and fat calories. High on flavor, low on fat, big on Hannukah. Zero dairy. Have a latke or two and enjoy!

Potato pancakes

4 medium potatoes pared

1 onion

2 eggs

1/3 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

pepper to taste

non-stick cooking spray

Using the grater attachment in your food processor, grate the potatoes through the feed tube. Empty the bowl and drain the potatoes in a colander. Using your steel knife attachment, process the onion, then add the rest of the ingredients and process with a few pulses to mix. In a large bowl, mix the grated potatoes with the all the other ingredients from your processor bowl.

Heat a large non-stick skillet and coat with cooking spray. When hot, drop the potato mixture by large spoonfuls to form pancakes, flattening each one out with the back of your spatula. Cook over medium-high heat, and brown on both sides.

Makes about 2 dozen, and they freeze well. To reheat, place the latkes in a single layer on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake uncovered at 450 degrees F for 8 minutes.

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My grandmother, cook extraordinaire and personal role model, took her sweet and sour recipe to her grave. Actually she took all of her recipes with her, as she never wrote them down.

In my never-ending search to duplicate the sweet and sour perfection she created, I believe that with this recipe I have come close. The meatballs may either be baked ahead or just dropped into the simmering sauce to cook. Along with some mandatory challah bread for sopping up the sauce on your plate, this dish will either remind you of dinner at your bubbie’s house, or make you wish you had had a Jewish grandmother. Enjoy!

Sweet and sour meatballs


1 pound ground beef or chicken

1 onion, peeled

1 stalk celery

2 carrots

1 beaten egg

1/4 – 1/2 cup matzah meal

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Sweet and sour sauce:

4 – 8 ounce cans of tomato sauce

1 – 12 ounce can of stewed tomatoes

1 – 16 ounce jar of grape jelly

2 teaspoons vinegar

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Meatballs: Place the ground meat in a large bowl. In your food processor, mince the onion, carrot, and celery together. Add to the meat in the bowl and mix together. Then add the egg, matzah meal, and spices. Thoroughly mix together. Form balls by hand, about 1 ” in diameter (or larger, if you like ‘em bigger). You may either bake these on a lightly greased pan in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or add them uncooked into the simmering sauce and cook for 45 minutes. These are the meatballs pre-baked below:


Sauce: In a large pot, add all of the sauce ingredients. Cook and stir over a medium heat, making sure that all of the jelly dissolves thoroughly. Taste your sauce and adjust the flavors according to how “sour” you like it (the grape jelly will already make it sweet). A little more vinegar, or a little more lemon juice. Less is more; you can always add more, but you can’t take it away once you’ve put it in. If you are cooking your meatballs directly in the sauce, add them now after you have adjusted the flavor to your liking.

Tastes best with challah bread for sopping up sauce.

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Traditionally served around the Jewish New Year, Honey Cake is both a symbol of sweetness and a delectable dessert. Most honey cake recipes that you’ll find, or buy in the store, are made in loaf form, and can be dry. This cake “rises” to the occasion, and makes a beautiful presentation. It is moist and sweet, and I can’t think of a better way to herald in the Jewish New Year, or any holiday for that matter. Of course, this cake is dairy-free. Enjoy!

Honey Cake

4 large eggs

1 1/3 cups sugar

1 pound honey

2/3 cup oil

3 1/3 cup flour

1 1/3 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup coffee (liquid, not ground)

3 teaspoons lemon juice

1 cup of slivered blanched almonds

Cream the eggs and sugar with your electric mixer in a large bowl. Add the honey and mix well. Then add the oil and blend well. Sift flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Add the coffee to the egg mixture alternately with the flour mixture. Blend together. Then add  the lemon juice. Mix well. Fold in 3/4 cup of the nuts. Blend well.

Pour into ungreased tube pan and sprinkle remaining nuts on top. Bang pan on counter top to remove any air bubbles.

Bake for 50-60 minutes at 350 degrees F. Cool on rack then remove from pan.


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