Food, Family and Tradition Review & Giveaway

Written by chanie on October 30th, 2014

I have to confess that while I love to collect cookbooks, I don’t really read them. I prefer to browse through the pictures, take a mental note of the good-looking recipes, and return them to the bookshelf amid my growing collection. Rarely do I come upon a cookbook that I want to read front to back. Where the food photography doesn’t matter, and the story is what grabs me.

I read Food, Family and Tradition cover to cover. The new book by Lynn Kirsche Shapiro celebrates the resilience and courage of holocaust survivors through food and stories. As the daughter of holocaust survivors, Lynn sought to bring to light the beauty and richness of traditional Jewish life in Czechoslovakia and Hungary before the Holocaust. In the preface to the recipe portion of the cookbook, she paints a vivid picture of her parents’ family life in Eastern Europe. With period photographs, biographies, a family tree and original vignettes, Lynn draws you in to her family history and story of survival. She details their emigration from Europe to the U.S. and how they went on to weave new family traditions while founding Hungarian Kosher Foods, the first all-kosher supermarket in the midwest.

In the second part of the cookbook, Lynn shares 150 family recipes, many of which were prepared for sale in the family’s supermarket. Many of the dishes are highlighted by family stories and remembrances.

There’s nothing fresh and modern about the recipes in Food, Family and Tradition. On the contrary, the book seeks to keep century-old traditions alive through sharing family recipes that celebrate the spirit of Eastern European culture. Some of the heimishe recipes you’ll find include chopped herring, mandel bread, rakott krumpli (potato-egg casserole), blintzes, gefilte fish, brisket, schnitzel, Hungarian goulash, tzimmes, honey cake and so much more.

Growing up in an ashkenazi family with Eastern European roots, so many of the Hungarian dishes in Food, Family and Tradition hit close to home. My bubby would prepare many of the above-mentioned recipes as well as borscht, cheese kugel, chop suey, chicken paprikas, stuffed peppers, sweet and sour tongue, cabbage and noodles and others. Since my bubby is not the measuring type, it’s nice to be able to see these recipes written out in a clear and concise manner. Some of the recipes are accompanied by photos, but most of them are not. I usually find that bothersome, but in this book, it seems to make no difference. Maybe it’s because it’s the story that matters, or because I recognize so many of the dishes from my upbringing, that I don’t need to see them to know what they look like.

All in all, Food, Family and Tradition is about more than just family recipes. It’s about continuing the legacy of Jewish life before the holocaust through food and culture.

I’m giving away a free copy of the Food, Family and Tradition cookbook! To enter, simply leave a comment below about a traditional family dish that means a lot to you. For an extra entry, follow Busy In Brooklyn via any of the channels below. Just be sure to leave a note in the comment letting me know where you follow.

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Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only. Winner will be chosen at random at 10:00 AM EST on Monday, November 10th, 2014.

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Harissa Roasted Chicken

Written by chanie on October 22nd, 2014

For the longest time, spicy foods didn’t interest me. I grew up eating so much of the sweet stuff, I thought chicken was best loaded with sugary sauce. My bubby always doused her dishes in sugar, the more the better, and my mother did the same. Fish, chicken, salad, pasta, potatoes – everything was prepared sweet.

When I first got married, I followed suit, prepping my dishes with the holy trinity of spices: salt, pepper, and sugar! Lots of sweet BBQ sauces, sticky duck sauce and natural sweeteners like honey and maple syrup. Sometimes I paired them with mustard for a little kick, but hot peppers never made it into my kitchen, and spicy was off the map.

My husband grew up similarly, even though he has sephardic roots. My South American mother in law loaded her keftes (meatballs) with sugar, and her Syrian mechshie was almost always sweet too. Sweet beet and carrot salads were often on the menu as well, always with added sugar.

But then I became a foodie. It evolved slowly – starting with simple family recipes on my blog, my interest in food evolved into passion and curiosity for different flavors and International cuisine. Slowly but surely, I broadened my culinary horizons by exploring the many flavors and textures of different foods. My husband was not as quick to embrace my food journey, but he eventually came around and started to appreciate flavors that he didn’t grow up eating.

I’ve grown (quite literally) to love spicy foods like Pad Thai, curries and salsas, and ingredients like harissa, sriracha and chili peppers are mainstays in my kitchen. I now save the sweets for the desserts, and do my best to keep my dishes savory, or at least to add an element of spice, to keep the flavors balanced.

One of the best parts about eating spicy and savory foods like this harissa roasted chicken, is that it’s lighter on the waistline but doesn’t compromise on flavor. Zoodles (zucchini noodles) make this dish Paleo and Whole30 compliant, so if you’ve joined the popular diet trend (which I wrote an ebook on!), this makes for a delicious and filling dinner, and you can save leftovers for lunch the next day. You gotta love that!

Other spicy recipes:

spicy tuna melt twice baked potatoes
quinoa pad thai
spicy roasted edamame
kani salad
cauliflower nachos with harissa cheddar sauce

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Passion Fruit Cream Cornucopias + a Coolada

Written by chanie on October 12th, 2014

Being a food blogger has awarded me such amazing possibilities! Getting a chance to work with some amazing kosher products is one of them!

When I was approached about working with Morad’s amazing Danue line of fruit flavored wines, I was all over it! We’re talking sweet fruity flavors like pomegranate, lychee and passion fruit – oh my! Have I ever told you how much I adore passion fruit?

Passion fruit is not exactly readily attainable in New York. Case in point: I actually forked out a whopping $3.99 for ONE little round one to make the blessing of a new fruit (Shehechiyanu) on the Jewish New Year. I think that puts me at about $1.00 per seed. Still, I wanted to splurge on my favorite exotic fruit for the holiday – so I went all out. I’m thinking it’s time for another trip to Aussie, where they sell passion fruits like apples, to hoard up on the sweet and tangy delicate fruit.

When I heard that Morad had a passion fruit flavored wine in their collection – I was beyond excited to work with it! I wasn’t surprised to learn that it’s Morad’s best seller – who wouldn’t want alcohol that’s infused with the fruity goodness of passion fruits, hello?!

I set out to make the most of my passion fruit wine with both a cocktail and a dessert that would celebrate it’s exotic appeal. First…the dessert. To highlight the holiday of Succot – a time when we celebrate the overflowing harvest – I decided to go with a twist on the classic cream horn. The cream horn resembles a cornucopia; horn of plenty, that is a symbol of abundance. You’ll find cornucopia’s pouring forth with produce – especially around Thanksgiving time, making this dessert all the more appropriate.

Now I doubt you’ve ever seen a cornucopia filled with passion fruit cream – that is thanks to Morad’s amazing wine that I reduced down into a syrup which I used to spike the pastry cream. And not just any pastry cream. To keep it dairy free, I made the classic french custard with coconut milk, to highlight the tropical feel. My husband is a huge fan of custard-based desserts, so I couldn’t wait for him to be my taste tester when he got home from work. The man sure knows his pastry cream! Well let me tell you guys…one lick of the stuff and he said it was the best custard he’d ever had! I used the leftovers to make him a classic napoleon and he licked his fingers down to the last crumb. I’d call that a success! :)

As for the cornucopia’s themselves? Don’t be overwhelmed by their cuteness – these babies are such a breeze to make! All you need are some cream horn molds and frozen puff pastry and they’re done in under 15 minutes. Let me tell you – I’m not one for these involved pastry type of things, but they were truly super easy! Just MAKE SURE you lightly grease you molds before applying the puff pastry. Ask me how I know.

And don’t worry, if you can’t get your hands on the pastry molds in time for Succot, you can always wrap some sugar cones in foil and use those instead. They’ll be larger than traditional horns – but that just means more passion fruit cream for you!

To get the recipe for these passion fruit cream cornucopias, head on over to Joy of Kosher!

Now that we have our dessert all set, we’re onto the cocktail! I mean, you gotta have a cocktail right? Especially on Succot! To highlight the exotic passion fruit in this spiked smoothie, I decided to do a riff on the classic Pina Colada by using Morad Passion Fruit wine instead of rum. You can add the ice for a delicious slushy, or keep things light with a cocktail, sans ice. Either way, this fruity, creamy and lets face it – dreamy – cocktail is a winner!

To get the recipe for the Passion Fruit Colada, head on over to Joy of Kosher

Thanks to Morad Wineries for the opportunity to work with their delicious fruity wine, and for sponsoring this post! I’m off to finish the bottle!

Other Fruity Cocktails:

The Hamantini
Whiskey Cider
Sangria

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Savory Pomegranate Roast
with Garlic & Cipollini Onions

Written by chanie on October 6th, 2014

I’m not really one of those people that goes into the butcher knowing what type of roast I want to make for the holidays. I just look for what’s on sale, or which roast is going to give me the most bang for my buck and I take it home. Once you understand the basics to purchasing and preparing kosher meat, you don’t have to feel stuck on a certain cut and you can feel free to choose.

It was a few days before Rosh Hashanah when I unwrapped my square roast, wondering how I would prepare it. I had so many sweet side dishes that I wanted to go for something savory – but I also wanted to play on the Jewish New Year concept. I decided to work with pomegranate molasses – a tangy condiment that’s made by reducing pomegranate juice, and pair it with savory ingredients like garlic, onions and rosemary.

When you’re preparing a new recipe and testing it on a roast, it’s always a guessing game on just how tender it’s going to turn out. I usually like to use wine or tomatoes to help tenderize my meats, but I was shocked to see how soft and buttery this roast came out without it. It was so tender, you could eat it with a spoon! And the gravy – oh my! It was thick and delicious, with a hint of tang, filled with creamy pieces of garlic and cipollini onions that practically melted into the sauce. I’d definitely call this a winner, and that’s why I’m posting it! Chag Sameach!

Other Roast Recipes:

tzimmes roast
Rosh Hashanah roast
beer braised brisket with onion gravy
crockpot pulled BBQ brisket

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Zucchini Mechshie with Tamarind & Prunes

Written by chanie on October 1st, 2014

I’ve talked a lot about mechshie (a Syrian dish of stuffed vegetables) on my blog, especially around the holidays. I decided to keep up the tradition, and for the third year in a row, I’m sharing a stuffed vegetable recipe in honor of Sukkot. The tradition of eating stuffed foods on Succot is symbolic of an abundant harvest season. Since the wheat is harvested in Israel during the fall, we stuff foods to symbolize our desire for an overflowing harvest. This is popularly done with stuffed cabbage, or holipches, which some say are also made to resemble the scrolls of a Torah.


Ever since I married into a Sephardic family, I can’t get enough of my mother-in-laws delicious mechshie dishes! I’m slowly learning to cook different variations, adapting my favorite recipe with the additions of tamarind, pomegranate molasses and different types of vegetables and dried fruit.

When I spotted beautiful globe zucchini in the market, I just knew I had to turn it into some kind of mechshie. The small, round zucchini were perfect for filling, and I decided to work in some tamarind paste, an ingredient essential to Sephardic cooking. It adds a hint of sourness to the sweet dish, a perfect pairing with the plump dried prunes.

So let’s get stuffin’!

More Mechshie Recipes:

stuffed baby eggplant mechshie
zucchini and tomato mechshie “ratatouille”

More “Stuffed” Recipes:

corned beef arancini
Passover stuffed cabbage (replace potatoes with rice)
collard stuffed sweet potatoes
sausage and apple stuffed butternut squash
spinach stuffed mushrooms
stuffed chicken roulade
Israeli stuffed eggplants

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Rosh Hashanah Simanim Roundup

Written by chanie on September 22nd, 2014

If you’ve never been to Florida, you probably haven’t heard of Winn Dixie. Although if you have, you probably love the store as much as I do. Since my in-laws live down in the sunny State, I’m lucky enough to visit on occasion and try out the amazing array of kosher restaurants and supermarkets there. What I love so much about Winn Dixie is that it is both a general supermarket AND a kosher one. Which means, if you need a kosher ingredient 30 minutes before Shabbat, they’ll still be open, and they’ll definitely have what you’re looking for. Not only does Winn Dixie have over 1000 branded kosher products, they also boast a kosher deli and bakery.

Because I’m such a big fan of the store, I was so excited to promote their #FreshNewYear campaign with a Rosh Hashanah Simanim Roundup. What are simanim? They’re symbolic foods that are eaten on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize our hopes for a sweet New Year. The symbolic foods include leeks, pomegranate, gourds (includes squashes like acorn, butternut, delicata, kabocha, spaghetti and pumpkin), dates, black eyed peas (some use green beans), apples & honey, beets, carrots and fish head (some use ram’s head). These specific foods are eaten because their hebrew names are related to other Hebrew words that convey our wishes for the coming year. Jews of Sephardic decent actually host a seder where these foods are eaten and a blessing is made over each symbolic food. For a detailed list of the blessings and simanim, click here.

So without further ado, lets get started!

LEEKS:

fried leek rings with homemade ketchup
Greek-style leeks with prunes and cinnamon
steamed cod with leeks
leek fritters
olive oil braised leeks with thyme
cream of leek soup
cauliflower leek puree
veal scaloppine with leeks

POMEGRANATE:

how to deseed a pomegranate
carrots with pomegranate molasses glaze
salmon with pomegranate molasses glaze
pomegranate coleslaw
pomegranate brisket tacos
roasted lamb with pomegranate and wine
pomegranate glazed london broil 
pomegranate sorbet
mini promegranate pavlovas
mini pomegranate bundt cakes

GOURDS:

Syrian candied gourd
honey roasted squash
soy braised kabocha squash
quinoa stuffed acorn squash
roasted acorn squash and pomegranate farro salad
sausage and apple stuffed butternut squash
butternut squash chili fries
roasted butternut squash and apple soup
spaghetti squash with spinach, leeks and mushrooms
sweet spaghetti squash
pumpkin whoopie pies
pumpkin crisp
pumpkin pot pie
delicata squash muffins
delicata squash salad with spicy maple dressing

DATES:

how to make your own silan (date honey)
date honey cake
Rosh Hashanah roast
silan roasted chicken with squash and dates
couscous with dried dates
bacon wrapped dates (use kosher bacon)
medjool date pecan pie
gingerbread date truffles
chewy date granola bars
sticky date pudding

BLACK EYED PEAS OR GREEN BEANS:

black eyed pea hummus
black eyed pea salsa
black eyed peas salad
black eyed pea cakes
black eyed pea fritters
Egyptian black eyed peas
Brazilian rice with black eyed peas
black eyed peas with meatballs
black eyed peas and green beans
crunchy garlic shriveled green beans
honey ginger green beans
sauteed green beans with mushrooms and cipollini onions
grilled green beans with harissa
pickled green beans

APPLE & HONEY:

holiday salad with apple and honey vinaigrette (watch me make a variation here!)
apple and honey BBQ sauce
apple honey drumsticks
apple and honey challah
honey roasted za’atar chicken with fruit
chicken and apples in honey mustard sauce
apple and honey baklava
apple rose pie bites
honey cake with caramelized apples
apple and honey bread pudding
apple and honey tart
apple and honey muffins
apple and honey trifle

BEETS:

roasted beet and orange salad
beet pomegranate salad
roasted beet salsa
angel hair pasta salad with golden beets
beet soup with beet green pesto
rainbow Anna potatoes with beets
beet pickled deviled eggs
beet latkes
beet rugelach
moist chocolate beet cake
red velvet cupcakes

CARROTS:

carrot salad with honey lemon dressing
Moroccan carrot salad
creamy carrot and leek soup
roasted carrots with tahini harissa sauce
whiskey glazed carrots
tzimmes roast
carrot risotto
rice with carrots and raisins
carrot muffins
carrot cake sandwich cookies
carrot cake pudding
carrot truffles

FISH OR RAM’S HEAD:

fish head curry
fish head soup
Vietnamese fish head soup
gefilte stuffed salmon head (scroll to the bottom)
baked lambs head with potatoes

For more Rosh Hashanah recipes, check out the Winn Dixie holiday ebook below! It’s packed with lots of Jamie Geller’s amazing holiday recipes that you’ll want to make again and again!

NOTE: All photos (besides the ones with the BIB watermark) are from 123RF Photo.

This post is sponsored by Winn Dixie

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Angel Hair Pasta Salad

Written by chanie on September 18th, 2014


I’ve really got to start cooking from cookbooks again. It’s literally been years since I’ve made something from a cookbook. And it’s not because I don’t have any – trust me. I’ve got more cookbooks than I have room for in my small Brooklyn home. They’re all just sitting there on the shelf, like figurines on display, looking pretty!

I usually only take my cookbooks out on Shabbos, when I browse through them like an old photo album. I drool over the good recipes, sigh over the bad ones, and then return them to the bookshelf. Once in a while I promise myself to try a recipe, but I usually forget or don’t get around to it.

Recently, my Shabbos guest was looking though my cookbook collection and she asked me what my favorite recipes were from some of my cookbooks. It made me realize that cookbooks are not just for browsing – some of them have really good recipes that I should actually be cooking. She told me some of her favorites dishes from the cookbooks we had in common (like Smitten Kitchen, Jerusalem, Plenty, The Kosher Palette, Kosher by Design and others) and I promised myself I would give them a try.

It really hit home this week because for the first time in a while, I was stumped. I had planned on an apple and honey dessert for the blog, but sadly, it flopped (yes, that happens to me!) and I couldn’t think of anything else that I wanted to post. Until, I was speaking to my friend and she mentioned a recipe for angel hair pasta that she was making for dinner. She said it had mushrooms and leeks – and when I heard leeks, I was all over it. My mind started racing, thinking about all the ways I could turn it into a Simanim salad – filled with lots symbolic foods that we eat on Rosh Hashanah.

I went straight for some of my favorite Rosh Hashanah foods – beets and pomegranates – keeping things mess-free with golden beets. The pomegranates add great crunch, and the honey rounds it all out with a hint of sweetness.

So thanks to Dina (and whoever came up with the original recipe), for getting my creative juices flowing again.I can’t wait to dust off my cookbooks and open my eyes (and palate) to a new range of recipes! Shall we call it a New Year’s Resolution?

What are some of your favorite cookbook recipes? Share them in the comments below!

Related Recipes:

Israeli couscous salad with roasted beets, carrots and parsnips
holiday salad with apple and honey vinagrette

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Farm Fresh Apple & Honey Gift

Written by chanie on September 11th, 2014

I may be one of the only nerds out there who still uses a Cuttlebug. Call me old-fashioned but there’s something really nice about the art of a homemade gift. Sure you can buy a beautiful glass honey dish at the gift shop, or a delicious honey cake at the bakery, but it doesn’t compare to a basket of hand-picked apples or a thoughtful package that you wrapped yourself.

With summer coming to an end, there’s no better time to hand-pick some apples. The dropping temperatures and falling leaves just beg for some warm apple pie, and there’s shortage of apple recipes you can make, especially around the holidays. With Rosh Hashanah just around the bend, you’ll need plenty to dip into sweet sticky honey, and more to caramelize for my delicious honey cake.

If you’ve never been to a U-Pick farm (Kelder’s is one of my favorites) , it’s a must for the family! There’s nothing quite like teaching your children where their food comes from, and having them pick it with their own two hands. The beauty of nature and it’s bounty is a precious gift!

The end of summer is the perfect time for apple picking, with a variety of apples ripe for choosing. I love to showcase a variety of apples at my Rosh Hashanah meal, passing them around the table with an assortment of honey. It takes apple-dipped-in-honey to a whole ‘nother level, especially when you’ve picked the apples yourselves.

Of course you can also showcase your apples in an apple & honey salad, in an apple and honey tart, in sweet apple turnovers , or even on apple napkins!

Best of all, you can give some of those hand-picked apples away in a thoughtful gift to teachers, neighbors or friends. If you don’t have a cuttlebug machine (why would you?), you can just make the little card by hand – no muss, no fuss!

If you’re not much of a crafter, and you want to go the easy-way-out, just tie a big red ribbon on a bag of apples, stick in a honey bear and you’re all set for a sweet New Year.

P.S. I’m called dibs on my kid’s classes this year – so if you’re kid is in the same class, go buy some honey cake! :)

Related Posts:

apple napkins
easy crochet apple trivet
picture perfect teacher’s gift
DIY teacher’s gift

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Tzimmes Roast

Written by chanie on September 9th, 2014

Somebody pinch me, I can’t believe Rosh Hashanah is around the corner! I mean, where did the summer go? It’s hard to believe my kids have already started school and we’re about to embark on a new journey for the year 5775.

If it weren’t for the smell in the air, I would be keeping my kid’s bathing suits around. Instead, I’m packing them up with their bright summery wardrobes, and filling their closets with warm winter sweaters. What is it about that smell – that special something in the air that tells me that the Hebrew month of Tishrei is just around the bend. Can you smell it too?

It’s that slight fall breeze and the freshness of falling leaves that runs through my veins, bringing up memories of bygone Tishrei’s. Weeks filled with the hustle and bustle of Yom Tov prep that culminate in the awe-inspiring day of Yom Kippur and end with the joyous celebrations of Succot. So many feelings of regret, sadness, gratitude, hope, inspiration all wrapped up in the September breeze…it’s intoxicating.

The power of scent is truly extraordinary. It can evoke the deepest memories and trigger rememberences from childhood and beyond. The smell of tzimmes simmering on the stove brings me back to the Jewish New Year’s of my youth; honey dripping from my chin, counting the pomegranate seeds at the table.

There’s nothing like tzimmes to evoke memories of Rosh Hashanah, so I decided to do a little twist on the classic recipe.  Cooking the sweet carrot hash alongside a roast is a great way to make the best of your Yom Tov meat without having to cook your tzimmes separately. You can serve it all up on a platter and wow your guests with traditional Rosh Hashanah food, redefined.

Here’s to the start of many sweet things – from our food, to our lives. May we all be blessed to create the sweetest of memories this year!

Related Recipes:

Rosh Hashanah Roast
honey roasted za’atar chicken with dried fruit
couscous with honey roasted carrots, parsnips and beets

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Halva & Ricotta Stuffed Figs

Written by chanie on September 4th, 2014

Recently, I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous kosher foodie potluck, arranged by the talented Kim Kushner, author of The Modern Menu. It was such an honor to meet Kim and taste her delicious food! She blogged about our amazing evening under the stars here.

Kim set up the most beautiful tablescape on a rooftop in Midtown Manhattan (which also happens to be her husband’s office). With the help of Marzan Flowers, and other generous sponsors, the table was set with a rustic vibe and the most amazing swag! We were surrounded by the New York City skyline, the most incredible kosher food, and the who’s who of the kosher blogging world.

Since it was a potluck, each guest was required to bring a kosher dish (or two), all of which were laid out on a round buffet table. I made my malawach cheese pastries with tomato & schug dipping sauce, plus some incredible goat cheese popovers! Some of the other dishes included nachos by The Patchke Princess, creamy hummus, salmon, roasted veggie salad and pavlova by Kim Kushner Cuisine, fava beans by BeautyandsomeBeef, panzanella salad with cashew bread and s’mores caramels by KitchenTested.

We also had some famous kosher Instagrammers like @cookinginheels, @chefchaya and @theghettogourmet who brought drunken fish tacos with pickled onions, cronuts with nutella pastry cream and Asian quinoa lettuce wraps, respectively.

What has all that got to do with these AMAZING, droolworthy stuffed figs?! Well, BeautyandsomeBeef made the simple ricotta stuffed figs that inspired these halva-drenched ones! Check out these pics for a peek!

I’d heard of ricotta stuffed figs with honey before but I’d never tasted them until the potluck. I couldn’t believe how such a simple dish could taste so fantastic! Of course I couldn’t stop thinking about how I could make them even better…and then THESE happened.

And by these I mean the insanely decadent jewels of perfection you see here. Fresh seasonal figs stuffed with ricotta, dipped in silan and sesame, dripping with sweetened tahini sauce and finished with halva crumbs. Shall I get you a napkin?!

If you’ve never heard of silan before – hop on the silan train because it’ll take you to syrup heaven! Silan is a honey syrup made from dates. It’s got an intoxicatingly rich flavor that is so much better than whatever else you’ve been using! When mixed into tahini paste, it creates the most decadent halva sauce that you’ll want to eat by the spoonful! It’s interesting to note that when the Torah speaks of honey it is actually referring to date honey. Israel, the land of halva and “Milk & (Date) Honey” is what inspired this Middle-Eastern twist on a classic recipe!

Do yourself a favor and grab some fresh figs, before the season is over! 

 

Related Recipes:

breakfast quinoa with silan roasted figs
grilled cheese with figs and honey
holiday fig salad

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