Category: Main Dish

Simanim Plov

I’ve been working on so many recipes for #yeswecanchag initiative including this sheet pan chicken and tzimmes, this 6-spice Moroccan stoup, and this Israeli couscous with beef.  My fellow bloggers and I also got together and created THIS MENU of bonus budget-friendly recipes! I hope these recipes help you scale down your cooking this Chag while still bringing showstopping dishes to the table!

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Denver, Colorado to host a cheese-board-building demonstration at The Jewish Experience 20th annual wine & cheese event. The event was set up beautifully, and they even served my Mile High S’mores Pie in the Mile High City to celebrate, how fun?!

Since the demonstration was late in the week, I stayed in Denver for Shabbos at the home of Rabbi & Mrs. Zeldy Engel of Chabad Cherry Creek. Zeldy was so warm and welcoming, and she happily took me around the neighborhood hot spots, even driving out to Red Rocks for a breathtaking and scenic view of the mountains.

Zeldy prepared many of my cookbook recipes from her well-worn copy of Millennial Kosher and her sister’s recipe for Moroccan fish that smelled like actual heaven. But the star of the Friday night meal was PLOV. Zeldy hosted two Bucharian sisters, Aliza and Sharona, who came over earlier in the day to prepare this labor-intensive dish. By Friday night, the smell was intoxicating, and the huge pot was painstakingly transferred onto a huge round platter in middle of the table. Not only was the dish beautiful, it’s flavor was absolutely mindblowing – savory, spicy, with a hint of sweetness from the carrots and heat from the jalapenos. As I was eating it, my mind started wandering in a million directions on how I could “trash it up” (as I like to say!) and put my own spin on it. Wish Rosh Hashanah approaching, I thought it would be a great idea to incorporate some of the simanim, or symoblic foods that we eat on Rosh Hashanah, so I replaced the onions with leeks, and the jalapenos with apples, and finished it off with pomegranate seeds for a colorful one-pot-meal worthy of your holiday table. Yes. We. Can. Chag!

Related Recipes:

hummus simanim
simanim fritto misto
simanim pasta
simanim holiday salad

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Salami Spaghetti

Once upon a time, in a land far far away, there was a Jewish blogger who happened upon a little-know-custom of eating salami on Purim since it’s hung, like the evil Haman was hanged on the gallows. She loved to celebrate the holidays with fun spins on traditions but salami was knows to give her nightmares.

When she was a girl, said blogger was forced to eat salami sandwiches on Friday afternoons, which she promptly threw down the incinerator chute of her apartment building, horrified by the hard white pieces in the salami. She swore off the cured sausage forever.

As a young bridge, not knowing how to cook, and on a newlywed budget, she was introduced to the humble dish of salami and eggs. She learned, that once cooked, the “hard white pieces” in the salami, rendered out into flavorful fat that crisped up the salami into crunchy bits of deliciousness. Intrigued, she hopped on board the salami wagon.

And so, each year, as an ode to her transformation, she puts a spin on salami dishes for the holiday. There was no outdoing her drunken hasselback salami, which has since graced the tables of thousands of Jewish households and deli counters worldwide.

….And now back to first person, I am spellbound that I have carried on this tradition for TEN YEARS here on the blog!! I couldn’t be more proud! This year, my salami inspiration comes by way of Italy, a trip that continues to inspire my cooking on the daily.

Italy is known for it’s pasta, but equally for it’s charcuterie, including salami. This flavorful yet humble dish, marries a garlicky tomato sauce with spicy chili flakes, and rich salami chunks that get crisped up to perfection. Truly worthy of your holiday feast!

In true Italian style, this recipe makes use of the salty and starchy pasta water to build the sauce, so make sure not to drain it and read the full recipe before proceeding!

Happy Purim!!

Other Salami Recipes:

last year: roasted antipasto salad
two years ago: salami nduja
three years ago: salami tarte tatin
four years ago: salami potato latkes
five years ago: salami babka
six years ago: salami quiche
seven years ago: beer battered salami chips with beer mustard
eight years ago: drunken hasselback salami
nine years ago: salami chips

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Pastelon Shepherd’s Pie

Yes, it’s true – plantains and I are having a moment. Ok fine, not a moment, a year. Or three. Or four.

I’ve basically been a fan of plantains ever since my first Whole30 back in 2014. I didn’t even know what they were back then, but when I found Whole30-approved plantain chips in Trader Joes, I was all in. I started noticing the plantains at my local Caribbean grocery, and I learned to make my own chips as well as tostones (twice fried plantains) which I devoured with guacamole and tuna tartare (OK I’m hungry now).

I realized that plantains could make an amazing stand-in for the overused potato on Pesach, so I started to experiment further with different recipes. My plantain nachos were a big hit, and I heard from some readers who started to make my sweet and savory plantain tortillas all year long!

And then there was that summer when I discovered plantains at my local Shoprite in upstate New York and I ate my fair share of maduros – fried ripe plantains with a sprinkle of brown sugar and a squeeze of lime. Better than ice cream.

Plantains, like bananas, change color as they ripen – although unlike bananas, they can be eaten at any stage, so long as they are cooked. Green plantains are very starchy, while yellow and black ones are sweeter and a bit easier to peel. When plantains are fully ripened and black – they only look scary on the outside, but on the inside the plantains are still quite firm. It’s at this point that you can fry them in oil for maduros, or boil them up for mash.

I recently happened upon a recipe for Pastelon – a Peurto Rican lasagna that uses plantains instead of lasagna noodles. It made me think of using mashed plantains instead of potatoes for Shepherd’s Pie and that’s how this recipe was born! It makes a great one pot meal for Chol Hamoed, and can even be prepared and frozen in advance.

Wishing you and yours and Kosher & Happy Passover!

Related Recipes:

plantain nachos
fish tacos with savory plantain tortillas
nutella crepes with sweet plantain tortillas

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Ratatouille Roast Chicken

Y’all know I’m not really one for traditional dishes, but if there’s any time where tradition plays an essential role, it’s Passover, or Pesach. The Passover seder is all about the rituals that we observe each year – from preparing our homes and making them chometz-free (free of any leavened grains), to eating matza and morror (bitter herbs), drinking four cups of wine, hiding the afikomen and reciting the Haggadah. It’s all about, as Fiddler-on-the-Roof used to say, TRADISHUN!

Because this holiday has always been about creating special memories with family, I’m all about the simple kosher-for-Passover foods that my mom prepared each year. On the eve of Passover, we would all wash up with soap, put on some aprons and get to work peeling and chopping veggies for her classic Pesach dishes.

We’d fill mason jars with ratatouille, mock chopped liver, cucumber salad and vinaigrette (a salad of cooked beets, carrots, potatoes and red onion) and each meal over Passover, we’d dig a little deeper into the jars, until they were finished. Somehow, we never got bored of eating the same dishes over and over again because that’s what the holiday was all about.

This ratatouille dish is not quite the same as my mom used to make (since she did not use any processed ingredients like spices or tomato paste!), but it’s definitely inspired by the Passover dish of my youth.

Related Recipes:

chimicken
pulled pesto chicken with fire roasted tomato jam
harissa roasted chicken

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Lemony Orzo Soup with Meatballs

Hello, hello my fellow winter bunnies. It’s officially cold out, even the snow has made an appearance this week. I find winter pretty depressing tbh, and if it was up to me, I’d stay indoors snuggling under my covers until Spring!

The only thing that really gets me through winter is my down coat, fingerless gloves (so I can answer my DM’S!), some uplifting music, and hearty soups. That last one is mandatory.

I’ve never been that much of a soup person because it’s just ANOTHER thing to make for dinner, but I’ve found that my kids really love a hot bowl of soup on a cold winter night, and if you play your culinary cards right – it doesn’t have to be that extra thing at dinner, it can actually BE dinner.

To turn your soup into a one pot meal, follow these basic guidelines:

1. include a protein: chicken, shredded beef, meatballs, smoked turkey, tofu
3. include grains: pasta (orzo, couscous, ramen), farro, barley, quinoa, rice
2. include vegetables: endless options!

If you’re feeling  like you need a little somethin somethin on the side, make a salad or serve with fresh baguettes or pita for dipping!

Hoping this hearty soup keeps you warm all winter long!

Other hearty winter soups:

crockpot mushroom barley stoup
spinach matzo ball minestrone soup
smoky split pea soup with thyme dumplings
cream of chicken soup in bread bowls

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