Rosh Hashanah

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Mom’s Potato Knishes

Thursday, September 13th, 2018

As a recipe developer, it’s not often that I make other peoples recipes, and when I do, it’s often ones that have been in my family for years. I usually find myself cooking my mom’s dishes around the High Holidays – there’s just something about the Days of Awe that makes me want to connect to my roots, and how more so than with food.

Mom’s potato knishes are a staple at every holiday meal, and it has always been my favorite, because, well… potatoes. It’s probably the only time you’ll see me using margarine – EVER – because coconut oil just doesn’t fly here and to keep the knishes pareve, I’ve got no other choice. Plus, puff pastry is basically 80% margarine anyway, so what’s a little more, amiright?

What I love about this recipe is that the filling makes enough to fill 3 whole rolls and they freeze great! And since they’re frozen unbaked, they taste like you just made them when you bake them up before serving. = a perfect recipe for long holidays like Succos coming up! If you have a custom to eat stuffed foods for the Harvest Holiday, I’ve got you covered there too!

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cabbage bourekas
deli roll
spanakopita bourekas
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Hummus Simanim

Monday, September 3rd, 2018

As the New Year approaches, I always like to evaluate where I stand and think about what changes I want to make for myself in the coming year, both personally and professionally. For years, my goal was to take the necessary steps towards writing my own cookbook, and now that I have met that goal (far beyond my expectations, with our first printing of 15,000 books completely sold out in just 3 months!), I keep asking myself, “What’s next?”.


I’m not the type of person that settles on status quo – I’m always dreaming up the next big thing and finding ways to challenge myself. It’s like they say – “If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind” – and I definitely believe in that.


Truth be told, once the book went to print, I was so emotionally and physically exhausted that I couldn’t imagine coming up with new recipes and ideas ever again! But as my workload lightened up this summer, I got back in the kitchen because I wanted to, not because I had to, and I found my groove again! I went back to my roots, the foods and the flavors that I love the most (yes, that means Israeli food!) and this amazing new recipe came to me! It’s simanim on steroids and it is everything you’ve ever dreamed of for your Rosh Hashanah table and more!

Simanim, or symbolic foods, are traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah to symbolize our hopes for a sweet New Year. Some simanim include leeks, pomegranate, gourds (any type of squash), dates, black eyed peas or green beans, beets, carrots and fish head (some use ram’s head). These specific foods are eaten because their hebrew translation relates to specific blessings that convey our wishes for the coming year.


When I put the platter together, I couldn’t stop taking photos because, I mean, HOW GORGEOUS IS IT, amiright??? I all but maxed out my SD card and went. to. town. (No- I like seriously went to town, for some fresh pita!). I invited my neighbors over and we stood over my kitchen counter in the mountains, scooping hummus and salad onto blistered bread, the tastes of Israel growing stronger with each bite. It was a simple dish, but it captured everything I love about what I do – channeling my creativity, sharing with friends, cooking with color and putting a twist on tradition.

This dish reminded me how important it is to cook from a place of love – it is, after all, the secret ingredient that makes everything taste better – and that it’s food, family and tradition that brings us all together.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy and sweet New Year with much success in all areas of your lives. May we continue to reach milestones and share good news with each other this year!
Ksiva Vachasima Tova L’shana Tova Umisukah!



Related Recipes:

simanim fritto misto
simanim pasta salad
simanim holiday salad
hummus bassar
chestnut hummus

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Lemon Grilled Leeks with Crispy Panko

Sunday, August 26th, 2018

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: leeks are an underrated vegetable. Thankfully, they are one of the symbolic foods that is customary to eat on Rosh Hashanah, so once a year people actually take the time to pay attention to them!

Leeks are buttery soft when braised, crispitty crunchy when fried and smoky when grilled. In a word: they are versatile. And I’m so happy to share this method + recipe with you!


First, let us consider that since Rosh Hashanah is so early this year, we can still make use of our grills, and if you don’t have one, there’s still time to savor some al fresco dining. PC Richard & Son has everything you need for outdoor grilling – like these Traeger grills that I’m personally hoping to upgrade to, and some more affordable Weber models. I’ve been grilling so much this summer and I can honestly tell you that there’s nothing quite like it. You keep the mess outdoors, the food is full of flavor and meals come together in minutes. It’s a win-win.

I’ll tell you what else is a win-win: the combo of lemony leeks with a hint of sweet honey and garlicky crispy crumbs makes this humble vegetable the star of the holiday table. It also makes the perfect side to some braised brisket, a leg of lamb or grilled rib eye steak. So lets get grillin!

This post is sponsored by P.C. Richard & Son. All opinions are my own.

Related Recipes:

salmon en croute with creamed leeks
roasted smashed potatoes with leeks
cream of leek soup

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Hawaij Honey Cake with Labneh Frosting

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

If you are lucky enough to own a copy of Millennial Kosher, chances are you are one of hundreds who has made my hawaij garlic confit a staple on their Shabbos table. I for one can not get through the weekend without the intoxicating smell of hawaij wafting through my home. And my challah can’t live without dipping into the fragrant oily dip.

I’m proud to have introduced so many people to one of my favorite spice blends – a Yemenite curry that is famous for it’s use in chicken soup. What many don’t know, however, is that there is also a sweet version of hawaij, traditionally used for coffee. Since many honey cakes incorporate coffee into the batter, I figured that spicing up the cake with some hawaij for coffee was the perfect way to introduce the sweet side of the Yemenite spice.

Besides for the fragrant spice blend, I also incorporated one of my favorite Israeli ingredients – silan or date honey. It’s interesting to note that when the Torah speaks of Israel being the “Land that flows with milk and honey”, it is actually referring to date honey. There is nothing quite like dates from the shuk in Israel, and silan has become a much-loved ingredient in my house. It works both in sweet and savory applications (try it over pargiot!) and it’s delicious when paired with tahini.

Now lets talk about the other unique component of this amazing recipe – the frosting! If you’d never tried making labneh before, it’s so much easier than it seems! Labneh is the Israeli cream cheese – light and creamy with a healthy dose of tang. I’m personally not a fan of classic American cream cheese, so it’s all about the labneh for me!

Labneh is extremely versatile – it can be rolled into balls and marinated in olive oil with different spices, drizzled with some olive oil and za’atar for dipping pita, or made into a sweet frosting with some added hawaij to perfectly compliment this breakfast loaf!

I am totally obsessed over how this recipe came together! The cake is crazy moist, nothing like that dry honey cake we all dread. The hawaij adds just enough spice, but nothing over the top, and the creamy frosting adds a nice tang to balance out the sweetness of the cake.

My favorite part about this cake though, was decorating it!! I had a vision for incorporating my favorite seasonal fruit – figs – and I just love how it came out! Feel free to play around with fresh pomegranate, honeycomb, cinnamon sticks and other fun toppings to make the cake your own.

I always say I’m not a baker, but this recipe helped me realize that even though I don’t like the science of baking, there is still so much room for creativity and if I can get around the technicalities, I can create a masterpiece.

Here’s to a New Year of trying new things, delicious eats and sweetness all around!

This post was sponsored by Norman’s. All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

parsnip honey cake with cream cheese frosting
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Mini Pumpkin Pies for a Crowd

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

I’m really not much of a freezer person, but there is one recipe that I make every year for the holidays and it’s this one. These mini pumpkin pies are so festive and seasonal, and they’re great to have in the freezer as a pretty and delicious side dish. I always have them on hand for last minute company and they are so kid-friendly too.

What I love about this pie is that it’s very adaptable. If you are nut free, use oats in the streusel in place of nuts. You can make large or mini pies and swap in different types of milk or oils. You can make your own pie dough or pumpkin puree, if you’re so inclined, or go for the easy store-bought variety. In short, stock your freezer and you can thank me later!

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Salmon En Croute with Creamed Leeks

Wednesday, September 13th, 2017

Salmon en croute is one of my favorite dishes to serve for the holidays. It plates up beautifully, it’s so festive and it’s a winning dish all around! I mean who doesn’t love anything wrapped in buttery, flaky dough, amiright?

I usually go with a simple mustard and brown sugar mixture over the salmon, but I decided to take things up a notch using some of the traditional symbolic foods of the holiday, like honey and leeks. I love that you can incorporate more of those foods into the plated dish as well, and I went with pomegranate seeds and chioggia beets, ‘cuz could you just look at them?

Just call this Simanim Salmon En Croute ‘cuz it’s not only tasty, but so fitting in every way. And if you need a recap on the symoblic foods of the holiday, read this. I’ve also got a handy simanim recipe roundup from a couple of years back and then of course there are my other great simanim dishes like this couscous, this angel hair pasta, this beautiful appetizer and this holiday salad.

Growing up, Rosh Hashanah was a serious holiday and we always kept things intimate with just the family and a simple, traditional holiday meal. It’s that one time of the year to really focus on self introspection and prayer and I like to follow suite without complicating my menu. I don’t go all out with a bunch of different salads and desserts – I just keep my meal well-rounded with an appetizer (round challah with honey, fish and salad), entree (meat or chicken, tzimmes and roasted vegetables, beautifully plated) and a slice of honey cake with caramelized apples to finish the meal. Then I wrap things up and open my tehillim, because there is oh so much to pray for.

I find that there’s no need to overdo your menu when you learn to serve composed dishes that complement each other. Sometimes, when you make too much food, the beauty and flavor gets lost because there is just too much to go around. When I was in culinary school, my teacher gave the example of a woman wearing a simple pearl necklace versus someone who in dripping in lots of (too much) jewelry. Which one makes a better statement? Sometimes clean and simple is the better way to go.

Related Recipes:

smashed potatoes with leeks
simanim fritto misto
honey fig roasted salmon
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Cranberry Apple Braised Chicken

Thursday, September 7th, 2017


And just like that, summer is over. I’m starting to smell that fresh, crisp fall air and the nights have that slight chill that wraps me like a warm sweater. If I’m honest, I don’t hate the winter at all, but I’ll sure miss the carefree spirit of summer and the smell of freshly cut grass.

I’m excited for the fall flavors that are making their way into the supermarkets. Pumpkins, persimmon and pomegranates are just a few of my favorite things and I can’t wait to see the seasonal produce on the shelves!

It’s a bit early for cranberry season, but you can easily use frozen cranberries in this recipe. The tartness of the berries are a great contrast to the sweetness of the apples and honey, and they make for the most luscious sauce that you’ll want to smother all over rice or noodles. Considering the popularity of my tart pomegranate roast, I think this chicken will be a winner as well!

Serve with a side of sweet tzimmes and braised leeks and you’ve got a simanim-filled entree worthy of your holiday table.

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turkey meatballs with red wine cranberry marinara
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Curried Carrot & Sweet Potato Soup
with Cilantro Matzo Balls

Monday, October 10th, 2016

It’s that time of year again. The season is (finally) changing, the leaves are starting to color, and Pumpkin Spice Latte is back on the Starbuck’s menu. It’s when all the blogs start to dish out their sweet pumpkin creations and I betchya thought I was one of them.

Pumpkin is alright. I even made my usual mini pumpkin pies for Rosh Hashanah last week. What I didn’t make was tzimmes. Lets just say that that cloyingly sweet dish of honey-sweetened carrots and sweet potatoes (sometimes with added prunes) is not one of my favorites. My mom always makes a big pot (tradition!) with the addition of marrow bones and flanken, but somehow it always manages to make it’s rounds around the table, barely making a dent in the heaping pile of sweetness. That’s just it – the stuff is just. too. sweet. And the more I discuss holiday menu’s with people, the more I hear that tzimmes is on the out (I guess my tzimmes roast is going to get buried real deep in the archives!)

Most people keep tzimmes on their menus because it’s traditional to eat carrots over the holidays. Besides for the obvious symbolism for a sweet New Year, the Yiddish word for carrots is meren, to multiply, which is a blessing we hope for in the coming year. Not being a big fan of tzimmes, I try to incorporate my carrots elsewhere, such as in a raw slaw, or roasting them with some maple and harissa.

It occurred to me that with Yom Kippur upon us, and Sukkot not too far away, a savory play on tzimmes ingredients might we a welcome change. I decided to do that in the form of a soup, and to incorporate some of my favorite Thai flavors – curry (for some heat), honey (for some sweet) and coconut milk (for some creaminess). To make it festive and holiday worthy, I added cilantro matzo balls to round out the flavors and keep things exciting!

Truth be told, I’m not a big fan of cilantro but I am coming around. I used to find it completely intolerable but I am slowly sneaking in small amounts and it’s growing on me. Honey + curry though are one of my favorite combinations and I use it in curries, chicken recipes, fish dishes, roasted chickpeas and even popcorn. There’s something about the sweet and spicy that I absolutely love.

I can’t tell you how many posts I’ve seen on Facebook recently lamenting the lack of savory recipes in kosher cookbooks. Every roast is smothered in a sweet concoction, chicken is doused in apricot jam and don’t even get me started on the ridiculous amount of sugar in salad dressings. I mean, I get it. I grew up that way too. But the only way out of the sugar coma is to slowly reduce the amount of sweetness you add to recipes and to introduce more savory (and if you’re open to it, spicy) food. It’s all about conditioning your palette. If you go back to the old recipes on my blog, you can see for yourself how I’ve slowly transitioned to more savory foods. Now, when I taste a salad that’s been doused in sweet dressing, I can’t even swallow it.

There’s a place in food for all that sugar – it’s called dessert, and that’s why we all love it so much! And finishing a meal off with something sweet is precisely why you should start it with something savory. So, now that Rosh Hashanah is behind us, and we don’t *have* to douse everything in apples and honey, lets welcome the New Year with a newer savory approach to food. This curried carrot and sweet potato soup is a great place to start because it’s both sweet and savory with a nice amount of heat from the ginger and curry.

Wishing you a sweet New Year as sweet as honey and as spicy as curry. Shanah Tova Umetuka!


This post was sponsored by Lipton Kosher. All opinions are my own. 

Related Recipes:

peanut chicken curry
curry chicken salad
coconut crusted fish with curry aioli
curried rice salad
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Simanim Fritto Misto
with Honey Roasted Garlic Aioli

Wednesday, September 28th, 2016

I’m baaaaack!!!! After 2 months of maternity leave, some amazing bonding time with my delicious baby, and lets face it, plenty of adjusting to my new life with five kids (!!!), I’m so happy to tap back in to my creative energy and BRING IT!

Of course I must thank all my dear friends who filled in for me these past couple of weeks: Amy from WhatJewWannaEat, Sina from TheKosherSpoon,  Melissa from LilMissCakes, Miriam from OvertimeCook, Eitan from CookwithChefEitan, Melinda from KitchenTested and Whitney from Jewhungry! I hope you all enjoyed their recipes and guest posts as much as I did!

Now with Rosh Hashanah just a few days away, I really wanted to highlight the symbolic foods of the holiday, which include carrots, gourd (pumpkin), beets, leeks, green beans (or black eyed peas) and dates. It’s also customary to eat apple dipped in honey, a sheep or fish head, as well as pomegranate seeds. Many people of sephardic decent have a custom to hold a seder, where special blessings are recited over the simanim (symbolic foods) before they are eaten. It is not unusual for all or some of the ingredients to be cooked into separate appetizers, so I thought it would be fun to create one simple, yet sophisticated, dish that would incorporate most of these foods.

I was wracking my brain trying to think of something other than another boring “simanim salad” (you can watch me make an amazing one in this old post) when it came to me in the dead of night (while nursing my babes!); Fritto Misto! Fritto misto is Italian for “mixed fry” and is an assortment of lightly fried foods, often served as an appetizer. I know lots of people get scared off by the idea of frying, but if you do it right, this tempura batter is so light and elegant, and it’s not greasy at all.

The biggest trick to avoid having your food turn out greasy is to make sure it doesn’t soak up the oil. You MUST, MUST, MUST use a deep fry thermometer. It’s imperative to keep your oil at 350 degrees so that when the cold batter touches the hot oil, it immediately begins to fry and crisp up. If the oil isn’t hot enough, the thin tempura batter won’t hold on to the veggies.

Another trick to making perfectly crisp tempura fried veggies is to use seltzer in the batter. The air bubbles in the seltzer help to lighten up the batter. The cornstarch also contributes to a crispy coating.

The last, and equally important thing that contributes to a light, crispy tempura is to use ice cold seltzer and mix the batter in a cold bowl, set over a bowl of ice water. If you’re batter is nice and cold, it will work it’s magic when it hits the hot oil and you’ll get yourself a non-greasy addictive appetizer.

Of course I couldn’t just make a mix of fried simanim, it’s got to have a dip! So I indulged in some amazingly sweet and caramelized honey roasted garlic. How gorgeous??? I mix that all up with some mayo, meyer lemon zest and juice and voila – sweet, light and delicious aioli that pairs perfectly with the fritto misto.

But I couldn’t stop there. Because I had a vision. A vision of the most elegantly set holiday table, complete with individual boxes of Simanim Fritto Misto at each place setting! It’s been a while since I posted table setting ideas (these apple napkins were fun!), and I really wanted to indulge.

Since I left the apple and honey out of the fritto misto, I put out some beautiful farm-fresh apples with an assortment of honeys. I love to serve different flavored honeys, it makes things so exciting and fun! I also skipped the pomegranates in my fritto misto (because I can’t fry teeny tiny little seeds!) so I put out some Vintage pomegranate seltzer instead. We’ve pretty much got everything covered besides for the Sheep’s head. I’ll let you figure that one out ;)

To set your own tables like this, lay a long strip of burlap down the center of the table. Place a cake stand over a large matching platter. Fill the platter with apples and place an assortment of honeys on the stand. Use milk glass or mason jar cups and set out boxes of simanim over coordinating napkins. Tape some neutral colored gift tags onto the boxes, write the name of each guest on their corresponding box and finish with a twine bow. Don’t forget the Vintage seltzer!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my comeback post, there’s a little something for everyone. If you like to be try new things in the kitchen, go for the fritto misto. Hate frying? Make my honey roasted garlic aioli for dipping your Rosh Hashanah challah. Love to set a beautiful table? Take some inspiration from my tablescape. And most of all, have a healthy and happy SWEET NEW YEAR.

Shanah Tova!

This post was sponsored by Vintage seltzer. All opinions are my own. 

Related Posts:

apple stamp napkins
holiday salad with apple and honey vinaigrette
simanim roundup
angel hair simanim pasta salad

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Roasted Smashed Potatoes with Leeks

Thursday, September 15th, 2016

Food blogging has taken me to some truly amazing places (front cover of The Wall Street journal, anyone?), but none as priceless as some of the friendships I’ve made through the process. Melinda of Kitchen-Tested has become my “lets-pig-out-at-this-restaurant” buddy, my recipe idea sounding board, my support coach (“You can do this Chanie!”) but most of all, my friend (awwwww….can I grab you a tissue Mel?). So, aside from being an amazing chef (her desserts are so impressive, she should open a bakery), Melinda is totally fearless in the kitchen. She comes up with the craziest stuff you’ve ever seen [like bagel, lox and cream cheese hamantaschen! pecan pie bacon (kosher bacon) and falafel mozzarella sticks!] but she also knows how to keep it simple with down-home-delicious-recipes [like puff pastry potato roses, classic red velvet cake and Texas-style dry rub brisket). I’m honored to have Melinda guest post for me today, and I hope you enjoy her Rosh-Hashanah inspired recipe! Welcome Mel!

Today is a great day because I get to write a recipe for Busy in Brooklyn! Hi, I’m Melinda Strauss and my blog is Kitchen-Tested.com. Ever heard of me??? Basically, you all want to be me today! Chanie is one of the coolest people I know and her masterful recipes blow me away EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. Chanie loves tahini, cookie butter, marzipan and long walks on the beach. But really, Chanie loves her family and that’s why I’m here on her blog. She recently gave birth to the most beautiful baby girl and all I can say is “Mazal Tov…now move to Long Island!!!” Oh, did I say that out loud? Seriously, my dream is for Chanie to become Busy in The Five Towns so she can live closer to me and I can babysit while she takes naps and maybe goes out for those long walks on the beach.

So about this recipe…sure, you can eat mashed potatoes or you can eat roasted potatoes but why not get a bit of both in every bite? I love this recipe because it’s a one-pan-wonder packed with crazy amounts of flavor. The potatoes are steamed in the oven then smashed, drizzled with tons of olive oil and garlic and roasted with leeks. I love how the leeks get super crunchy in the oven and act as added texture for the potatoes, which are soft in the center and crispy around the edges. The fun thing about this recipe is that you can add any of your favorite spices to the potatoes and you can even throw some fresh whole garlic in the pan. Go nuts and make these roasted smashed potatoes your own!

Related Recipes:

honey mustard roasted potatoes
cream of leek soup with crispy leeks

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