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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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Bourbon Honey Cake Balls

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

OK so truth be told, I may be one of those people that has big eyes. When I’m in a restaurant, I always order way more than I can possibly eat. And no matter how much food I have planned on my menu, I’ll walk past that extra special ingredient in the store and I just have to have it. It’s foodie FOMO and I’m guilty. as. charged.

So when honey cake season rolls around, I always make my amazing honey cake recipe, but then I pass by the honey muffins and all the assorted honey cake flavors in the bakery, and I’m all, “Oh, the kids would just love this!”. Which is precisely what happened when I saw the chocolate honey cake two weeks ago. I bought it, the kids loved it, and the next week, I bought it again. Except by then, we were all honey-caked-out, and the cake just sat on my counter for days.

I hate throwing things away, so I thought about re-purposing it in a trifle, or even an apple and honey cake bread pudding, but it just seemed too typical. I thought of all the foods you would make using leftover cake, and it hit me – rum balls! Rum balls are made using leftover brownie or chocolate cake, with added rum for a spiked chocolate truffle. I had to put my own twist on it, and since honey and bourbon marry well together, I decided to go with that.

To take my bourbon honey cake balls to the next level, I dipped them in melted chocolate and finished them with pink Hawaiian salt, because I love some salt with my sweet. The results were fudgy and reminiscent of a rumball – exactly as I had imagined.

The thing to keep in mind with this recipe is that it’s not quite a recipe at all – more like an idea. Since every honey cake is different (some are more moist and some are more dry), and everyone has a different amount of leftover cake, use your own judgement to put these together. If you’re honey cake is not so sweet, you might want to add additional honey, and if it’s especially dry, maybe even a bit of melted butter might help. Whatever you do, have fun, and don’t get too drunk on that bourbon!


Wishing you an easy fast and a Chag Sameach!

Related Recipes:

Parsnip Honey Cake
honey cake with caramelized apples
gingerbread truffles
Tu B’Shvat truffles

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Parsnip Honey Cake with Honey Cream Cheese Frosting & Rainbow Carrot Chips

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

I’m not a baker. Let me start with that. Sure I can follow a cake recipe. And I’ve even made the occasional Elmo and Barbie cake for my kids birthdays. But I don’t “bake”. Especially not cakes like THIS.

I don’t know what it is. The whole layering thing. And the frosting. It’s just such a MESS. Case in point: I decided to defy all logic and attempted to layer my cakes without trimming them first, so that they were flat. Of course the layers started slipping and sliding, so I had to separate them, post-frosting and then do the trimming. Mess is not the word. My kids were pretty happy though. They got to enjoy the best part of the honey cake (the sticky top layer), all smothered in frosting.

Now since this IS a honey cake, trimming the best part off the layers is such a sin. So I highly recommend you follow this technique so that the layers bake flat. Wish I had followed my own advice but I just get lazy when it comes to baking.


Case #2 in point, I let my frosting sit out after whipping it, and it got kinda warm and runny, but instead of refrigerating it so that it would hold up nicely, I just wanted to stack the cake already. THIS is why I don’t bake. No patience. Baking is all about precision, patience and organization, and while I do possess those qualities, baking does not exactly bring them out in me. Maybe it’s because I just want to get it done so I can dig in to the cake already!

So why this cake? Well, I came up with this crazy cool concept of doing a carrot cake/honey cake hybrid. And if that wasn’t enough, I had to switch up the carrots for parsnips, and take it over the top with FRIED RAINBOW CARROTS STRIPS. It’s go big or go home. Especially if I am about to make a layered cake!

I developed this recipe in honor of Rosh Hashanah, when it is traditional to eat honey cake, for a Sweet New Year. Since many people have a custom not to eat nuts on Rosh Hashanah, I knew I couldn’t garnish my cake with chopped pecans, which would have been my first choice. Shredded coconut is another great option but I wanted a little hint to the surprise inside the cake – the parsnips!

Honestly, I can’t say this cake tastes like parsnips. It tastes like honey cake. But when you get a couple of shreds of parsnip in your mouth, you get a little hint of flavor. If you want more of a parsnip flavor, add some more shredded parsnips to the cake. It’s as simple as that :)

I honestly could not be happier about the way this cake came out. I totally winged the recipe, and not understanding the science of baking, it could have been a complete flop. I was almost not expecting the cake to work but it came out so unbelievably moist! And my kids kept running downstairs wanting to know what smelled so INCREDIBLE.


I KNOW this cake is good for one reason and one reason only. The world’s most pickiest taste testers LOVED IT. My kids gobbled up the cake, licked their fingers, and said OH MY G-D between fork fulls. I kid you not. This is a home run. Kid tested. Mother approved.

Related Recipes:

honey cake with caramelized apples
carrot muffins
couscous with thyme, honey roasted parsnips, carrots & beets
pumpkin whoopie pies with maple cream cheese frosting

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Rosh Hashanah Simanim Roundup

Monday, 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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Farm Fresh Apple & Honey Gift

Thursday, 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

Tuesday, 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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Holiday Salad with Apple & Honey Vinaigrette

Monday, September 2nd, 2013


When I first developed this salad recipe, I did not have Rosh Hashanah in mind. In fact, it was just about getting creative with the ingredients in my refrigerator (which is pretty much how all my salads happen). When all the components came together, it just screamed holiday, and I knew I had to share it for the upcoming Chag.

Although figs are not one of the traditional fruits eaten on Rosh Hashanah (like pomegranates, apples and beets), it’s a good idea to take advantage of the season’s bounty. Fig season is short and sweet, and besides, they are one of the Seven Species of the Land of Israel. The figs add a chewy texture, sweet flavor, and beautiful color to the salad making it the perfect holiday appetizer.

Fresh figs are not the only bright piece to this beautiful salad puzzle. Chioggia beets also add amazing color and design. On the outside, the humble root vegetable is unassuming (ie. ugly). But when you cut into it – you get the most beautiful candy cane spiral that is almost too magical to eat. The thing about chioggia beets is that when you cook them, that beauty all but disappears into a dull pinky beige mass. To appreciate the bright pink spirals, candy cane beets should be eaten raw – shaved thinly on a mandolin.

To further the Holiday theme, I whipped up an “apple and honey” dressing, using apple cider vinegar and sweet honey. If you have a custom not to eat vinegar on Rosh Hashanah (due to it’s sour taste), you may substitute with lemon juice.

Watch me make a Rosh Hashanah Simanim salad with TorahCafe here:


Watch on TorahCafé.com!

Other Rosh Hashanah Salad Ideas:

rainbow slaw with poppy seed dressing
pomegranate coleslaw
apple celery veggie dip
roasted beet & orange salad
couscous with thyme & honey roasted carrots, parsnips and beets

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Honey Roasted Za’atar Chicken with Fruit

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

In case you haven’t noticed, I’m pretty big on za’atar right now. But regardless of my newfound love of the spice mix, I’ve been making a variation of this chicken for quite some time. I decided to kick it up a notch for the holidays by adding red wine, honey and dried fruit for a festive finish.

Za’atar is a mixed herb and spice blend popular in the Middle East. It’s primarily made up of sumac, thyme, oregano, sesame seeds and salt. The spice blend is widely available in supermarkets, but you can also find it on amazon.

Other za’atar recipes:

grilled corn with za’atar garlic compound butter
malawach cheese pastries with dipping sauce

Related recipes:

sweet Hawaiian chicken
Rosh Hashanah roast
honey mustard chicken pastrami roulade

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Apple Napkins

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

This is just one of those crafts that has been on my mind since forever. OK maybe not forever. But ever since I saw this on Pinterest. Pinterest will do that to you. Just when you think you’re over the whole crafting thing, you’ll see a really awesome idea, and it will just pick at your brain until you do something about it. So I did. And my Rosh Hashanah table will thank me for it!


Fruits & veggies aren’t just for eating anymore. They make the prettiest natural stamps when brushed with some paint. The ends of endives and celery stalks are no longer trash as more & more people are turning to fruit and vegetable stamping as a hobby. Follow my instructions below for adorable Rosh Hashanah apple napkins (I also decorated an apron!), or find inspiration in your refrigerator to create naturally beautiful projects.

For other great holiday crafting ideas, check out the August issue of JCreate Magazine. You’ll find my crocheted apple trivet on page 26.

What you’ll need:

1 fresh apple
1 celery stick
melon baller or measuring spoon
linen napkins in white or cream
fabric paint in red and green (I used these from Target)
paintbrush

How to:

Slice your apple in half and using a melon baller or measuring spoon, remove the seeds and scrape the apple to define the shape. Using a small paintbrush, paint the apple with fabric-safe paint and press down firmly on the linen napkin (you may want to practice on some paper towel first). Repeat to create desired pattern, painting the apple in between each “stamp.” If leaves are desired, use a celery stick to create a leaf shape on top of the apples.

Set the napkins aside to dry overnight.

For your place setting, tie the napkins in raffia and fill with honey sticks and/or wooden honey dippers.

Related Posts:

crocheted apple trivets
easy paper napkin roses

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Rosh Hashanah Gift Basket Giveaway

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

I know we’ve been having lots of giveaways lately, but when I was presented with the opportunity to share a beautiful gift basket from Manhattan Fruitier with one of my readers, I just couldn’t let it slide. With the New Year upon us, I wanted to take the opportunity to share some sweet fruit and gourmet honey with you.

Manhattan Fruitier generously hand-delivered the above-pictured basket to my home. It was beautifully wrapped in  elegant packaging with a personalized note. The basket included:

1 Honey Almond Nougat from South Africa (OU) – my favorite!
1 Wildflower Honey from the Catskills (4.75 oz. jar) (Kof-K)
12 Seasonal and exotic fresh fruits (approximately)

I’m so excited to share this gift basket with one of you in honor of Rosh Hashanah!

To enter the giveaway:

1. Like Busy In Brooklyn on Facebook
2. Like Manhattan Fruitier on Facebook
3. Leave a comment below letting me know you have liked both pages.

Winner will be chosen at random on Wednesday, August 28th and will receive the package in time for Rosh Hashanah.

Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (except for Arizona). If the winner is located in NYC, they will receive the above basket, otherwise, they will receive the lidded basket

Manhattan Fruitier
2109 Borden Avenue, 7th Fl.
Long Island City, NY 11101
(800) 841-5718
(212) 686-0404
http://www.manhattanfruitier.com/

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