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Vegetarian Chili & Cornbread

Monday, July 8th, 2013

For one week of the summer, I welcome the opportunity to put on my dairy apron, which usually collects dust until Shavuous comes around. Lighter meals of grilled fish and salads are also appreciated on these hot summer days. But for some serious meat eaters, the nine days* can be a challenging time. I know, because my husband is one of them. If he comes home from a long day of work to a pot of mac and cheese, he takes a bite and then asks for the next course. To him, a meal without meat is not a meal at all. The good news is, meat-eaters can still enjoy some hearty dishes, albeit without the 6-hour wait tag.

Vegetarian chili is a great option for the nine days because it is so versatile. You can serve it up in a burrito, over baked potatoes, or as a base for shepherds pie. You can also go the classic route and eat it alongside cornbread, or go Mexican with a tray of enchilada’s. Usually, chili needs to cook for several hours, but because I don’t like to sit over a hot stove in the summer, I’ve come up with a great recipe that doesn’t require endless hours on the stove.

For more great Nine Days ideas, including other meat-lovers recipes, visit the new Nine Days category.

You can also check out my new Nine Day Album on Facebook for great dairy and pareve recipes that are not on the blog.

*The Nine Days is a mourning period over the destruction of the Holy Temple. During this time, observant Jews abstain from eating meat and drinking wine as well as other joyous activities.

To me, chili without cornbread is like a hot dog without mustard. It’s just a must-have! It took a long time for me to come up with the perfect cornbread recipe that is moist, not too sweet, and, well…corny (you know I mean that in the taste of corn sense). The combination of coconut milk and creamed corn keep the cornbread moist and pareve. That means you get to whip them up with some REAL meat chili when the Nine Days are up!

I mentioned lots of fun ways to use chili earlier in the post, but I especially love this one-dish-meal option. You can choose to layer the chili into a square baking dish, or serve them up in individual mason jars for a fun twist. Since the cornbread is cooked on top of the chili (and will rise during baking), I only use half of my cornbread recipe for it. You can use the remaining batter for cupcakes or double up the chili recipe, and make 2 pies.

1 year ago: Corn Flake crunch ice cream
2 years ago: sushi salad II

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Portobello Burgers with Sundried Tomato Aioli

Thursday, June 20th, 2013


When Dena from Chai & Home contacted me about a collaboration between Jewish bloggers to celebrate summer recipes, I was more than happy to join the team. I love the opportunity to work with and promote other bloggers, especially those that share the same traditions and customs as me. “A Very Jewish Summer Week” has been underway since Monday, with fun and exciting posts ranging from tablescapes to summer camp packages.

You can join in on the fun, by visiting the following blog posts:

Monday: Evoking Childhood Shabbat Memories on YentaMamas
Tuesday: Shabbat Style: Alfresco Orange Tablescape on Chai&Home
Wednesday: Summer Camp Care Packages on MadeByMamaleh
Thursday:  Grilled Portobello Burgers with Sundried Tomato Aioli by ME ;)
Friday: Ceviche & Champagne on Bisstyle. English translation here.

When I thought about what kind of recipe to post as part of a weeklong summerfest, I just knew it had to involve grilling. It doesn’t hurt that my newly purchased grill pan was waiting to be broken into! Well what better way to celebrate “A Very Jewish Summer Week” than with the  quintessential American summer food – burgers. Burgers, especially grilled ones on the BBQ, are a summer staple in our culture. When you think of summer BBQ’s – burgers and hot dogs are the very first things that come to mind. They cook up rather quickly on a hot grill, and paired with some fresh lettuce, tomato and onion, make the perfect summertime meal.

The only problem with featuring an authentic burger on “A Very Jewish Summer Week” is that as an observant Jew who keeps kosher, cheeseburgers are a no-no (we don’t eat milk and meat together). I’ve never been to McDonalds or Burger King, and I’ve never tried a slice of melted cheese on a beef patty.

So what’s a kosher blogger to do? I decided to celebrate both my Jewishness, and the joy of Summer BBQing with something even better. A grilled portobello burger with all the fixings. With the Nine Days (a period of mourning in which observant Jews abstain from eating meat). soon approaching, we’ll be thankful for this delicious vegetarian take on a summer classic!

Now, back why you’re all here. The burger. I decided on a portobello mushroom cheeseburger because thick and meaty portobellos are the perfect stand-in for beef in a vegetarian sandwich. They also lend themselves really well to grilling. To take this vegetarian burger over the top, I topped it off with some sundried tomato aioli, the perfect complement to grilled mushrooms. The addition of mozzarella cheese, beefsteak tomatoes, bitter arugula and red onions leaves nothing behind. One bite of this heavenly sandwich and you’ll forget what meat burgers are all about!

UPDATE 10/2/13: This recipe won 2nd place in The Mushroom Channel’s Swap It or Top It Contest. To watch me make the burger for News 12 Brooklyn, click here.

1 year ago: kid-friendly dirty rice
2 years ago: easy strawberry shortcake

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Braised Collard Greens Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

When I used to think of greens, I would imagine spinach, kale, and maybe some swiss chard, but collard greens were never really on my radar. I had never cooked with them, and all I knew about the large leafy vegetable was that Southern cooks like Paula Deen and The Neely’s like to eat them.

After recently graduating from the professional culinary training program at the CKCA, I made a promise to myself to be more open and willing to try new things and cook with ingredients I’ve never used before. So when I saw some bright green bunches of fresh collard greens at ShopRite the other week, I couldn’t help but take up the challenge.

I had absolutely nothing in mind – all I knew was this: Southern cooks like to stew the greens with smoky ham hocks or bacon. I wanted to keep the dish light, healthy and vegan, so I decided to do a play on the smoky factor and add some cumin and smoked paprika. Chickpeas and diced tomatoes help round out the dish, and stuffing it into roasted sweet potatoes just takes it over the top!

Since collard greens are a sturdy, tougher leaf, they benefit from cooking for long periods of time. You can prepare this dish in your crockpot for a set-it-and-forget-it weeknight meal, or serve it up as hamin, instead of a heavy cholent, on Shabbat.

I’m really proud of my first attempt at cooking with collard greens. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Side note: I apologize for the lack of step-by-step photos. This recipe just sort of happened as I went along and I wasn’t planning on blogging about it. It was just so good that I knew I had to share!

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“Magic” Salmon

Monday, August 1st, 2011

Even though we’re not big dairy eaters around here, I’m so excited to cook for the Nine Days. It gives me a chance to think outside the box, and a rest from typical chicken dinners. I’m grabbing at the chance to make delicious and healthy fish recipes which are a great source of protein and Omega-3 fatty acids.

There are many different ways to prepare fish, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can grill, pan-fry, bake, poach or steam fish in many different preparations, but it is best cooked quickly over high heat. If your fish is cooked right, it won’t taste “fishy”.

When purchasing fresh fish, it should smell like the ocean, not like fish. It should have a vibrant color. Pale fish or fish with discolored patches is not fresh. A great tip is to tell your fishmonger that you are making sushi with the fish. This will ensure that the fish is fresh enough to be eaten raw.

One of my favorite ways of preparing baked salmon and tilapia is using Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Seafood Magic Seasoning Blend. The blend is exactly as it is named; pure magic. When baking fish, the key is to bake it at a high temperature for a short period of time. Your fish will be soft, tasty, and best of all, so incredibly quick and easy to prepare. Recipes follow below.

I have lots of ideas brewing for the upcoming week, so I thought I’d share some ideas for those of you who like to plan ahead:

Dairy Recipe Ideas:

homemade pizza
lasagna
– quiches
– risottos
quesadilles
stuffed shells
eggplant parmesan
– fettucine alfredo
– penne alla vodka
– french onion soup
– cream of any vegetable soup
stuffed mushrooms
eggplant rollatini
– macaroni and cheese
pancakes, waffles or french toast
– baked potatoes with broccoli and cheddar or other fillings

Meat-Lovers Recipe Ideas:

vegetarian chili with cheesy corn bread
portobello mushroom burger
tuna steak
– grilled halibut
fish tacos
– falafel

Light ‘n Healthy Recipe Ideas:

salad nicoise
shakshuka
portobello pizza
– sushi rolls or sushi salad
chickpea patties
cheesy stuffed mini peppers
– stir fry with tofu and rice
steamed fish and veggies au papillote
baked sweet potatoes with cottage cheese or other fillings

Other Pareve Recipe Ideas:

– tuna or salmon croquettes
– tuna casserole
salmon pasta salad
Crispy breaded fish sandwich or “fish and chips”

Please feel free to share your Nine Days Menu ideas in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you!

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