Category: Shabbos

Brownie Toppings & Ideas


I cannot actually believe that the summer has come and gone, I’m back in the city and school has begun! Is it just me, or does summer seem to go by faster when you get older?¬† It just flew right past me and here I am, at my computer, back to work.

I think I’m mostly shocked because all those projects I told myself I would tackle this summer did not happen, and as productive as I’d hoped to be, I kind of just let go! I was supposed to organize all my photos, go through my emails, file paperwork, start running again, drink more water… but I suppose that what New Years Resolutions are for, and we start early here!

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is just a few short weeks away, which means we are approaching a pretty busy holiday season. The Jewish New Year is followed by Yom Kippur, and then shortly after by Succot, which is a foodfest of epic proportions! There are lots of festive holiday meals, and meal planning is essential to make it through.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’m not a big planner when it comes to holiday prep, but the High Holidays are an exception. I usually make a double batch of my honey challah, a few loaves of honey cake, mini pumpkin pies for a crowd and Levana’s chocolate mousse to stock the freezer. It’s really the only way because there are simply so many meals and no time to cook them all!

So I’m here with a great dessert hack that will take you little time but wow your guests nonetheless. It involves a cheat in the form of Duncan Hines brownie mix, and even though I’m not usually one to use a prepared cake mix, I have to admit that their brownies really take the cake – pun intended! Even my mom admitted to me recently that she is never making her own brownies again because they’ve really nailed the perfect brownie.

Of course adding your own toppings changes everything and makes it your own. My favorite combo are the tahini swirled brownies (above), which I serve topped with vanilla ice cream, raw tahini, silan and a sprinkle of shredded halva. My guests can never get enough of it!

My kids are partial to my smores brownies, so I usually make make two pans, but when I saw this brownie pan with dividers,on Amazon, I realized I could do a bunch of toppings at once! It was just a fun project and my kids loved trying all the different flavors.

Of course, since we have a peanut allergy at home, I kept all these toppings nut free, but feel free to experiment however you’d like. Peanut butter swirled brownies would be epic too!

Lets bring on the holiday prep!

Related Recipes:

Mexican hot chocolate brownies
black bean brownies

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Kale Crunch Salad

All I can say is even though I had a boatload of this salad on Shabbos, and then again yesterday when I photographed it, I need it again like NOW, and that, my friends, is a sign of a delicious salad – one you want to eat over and over and over again!

Yes, the flavor combo is bomb but what really makes this salad extra special is all the crunchy elements and it’s like a party in your mouth. A party!!!

I debated calling this the Cruciferous Crunch Salad but then I tried to say cruciferous on my Instagram and I ended up saying cruciferouSH, so I nixed it lol! Kale Crunch Salad has still got that alliteration ring to it that I love, so we’re going with that!

What is really great about this salad is that it’s really adaptable – sub in your favorite candied nuts, seeds and croutons,¬† the important thing is you want things with lots of different textures in every bite.

And with Rosh Hashanah just a few short weeks away, we’re hoping on the pomegranate train and I couldn’t be more excited!

Related Recipes:

smoky kale and farro salad with balsamic fig dressing
wilted kale and kabocha squash salad
fall farmer’s market salad
kale persimmon salad

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Dips & Spreads

Walk into any kosher supermarket and you’re likely to find a display case of wall to wall dips. What is it about Jews and dips and when did this cultural shift happen?

In Sephardic culture, SALATIM have adorned their Shabbos tables for generations. Unlike most mayo-based dips that you find in Ashkenazi cuisine, salatim are usually cooked down for hours (think matbucha!) and are exclusively savory.

Growing up in an Ashkenazi home, dips were not really a THING. And come to think of it, neither was a smorgasbord of salads. Life was a lot simpler back then, and if we had some pickled cucumber salad, chrein (horseradish with beets) and tahini (my dad is Israeli after all) we were happy campers. Perhaps it’s our foodie culture or this generation’s need for abundance that has our Shabbos feasts outdoing the most lavish Thanksgiving spreads. Luckily, I like to play around in the kitchen, so spending my Fridays whipping up multiple dishes isn’t the worst thing. But for those who find cooking overwhelming, Shabbos prep can be a chore, and believe me I get it. That’s where store-bought dips come in handy, and the good news is, you don’t really have to buy them.

I’ve never big that big on prepping dips, probably because they are just a vehicle for eating more challah. We always have hummus and tahini around, and I’ll make (or buy!) olive dip on occasion, but dips for me are an “extra”, a cherry on the top if I’m feeling extra fancy or I want to go all out for special guests.

If I have tomatoes on hand that are too soft for salad, I’ll usually cook down my tomato jalepeno dip (recipe in my book) and we absolutely love garlic confit smeared over challah (recipe also in my book), but in general, I prefer NO-COOK dips that I can just throw into the food processor and be done with it! One of my favorite kitchen hacks for making dips it to cover the bowl of my food processor with plastic wrap before putting the cover on, so the oil or mayo doesn’t splatter all over the top of the machine when I blend, and I can make one dip after another with minimal clean up.

The best part about making homemade dips in the food processor is that amounts don’t really matter. You can throw most things from a jar into your machine with a big dollop of mayo (lemon juice keeps it tasting fresh, and salt is always a given) and you’re good to go. Here are some good combos!

 

Related Recipes:

trio of sweet challah dips

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Summer Peach Salad with Chili Lime Dressing

You can thank corn nuts for this salad. Actually you can thank Skopp’s Supermarket in Fallsburg, New York where I purchased said corn nuts that totally inspired this salad!

When it comes to salads (or really most of the recipes I make for dinner), I’m not much of a planner. Inspiration hits at the grocery store or when I’m standing in front of my refrigerator trying to clear it out at the end of the week.

In this case, I was shopping at Skopp’s for my weekly groceries upstate, and I eyed the nut cart with roasted corn nuts all warm and toasty. So I reached for the scoop and thought, “How good would these taste on a salad?!”. I was already in the produce aisle where I caught sight of big beautiful summer peaches, and it hit me – yes!! Juicy peaches and crunchy corn nuts are a good idea, what else should I add? I happened to be standing near the avocados at that point and it was a match made in fruity heaven.

Off to the next aisle, the beautiful baby heirloom tomatoes looked so fresh and colorful and I knew they’d add the perfect balance to the sweetness of the peaches. Mixed greens were a given. And the maple candied pecans – well they are a favorite around here, and the flavors matched perfectly.


That, my friends, is how this Summer Peach Salad was born. It is also a lesson that everything is better with corn nuts!

Related Recipes:

caramelized peach and gouda quesadillas
corn and heirloom tomato salad with basil lime vinagrette
fruit salad with basil honey lime dressing

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Roasted Summer Chicken

After weeks of summer prep and camp shopping, I am SO HAPPY that I can officially say welcome the start of summer. The kids are in camp. Everyone is settled in. And I am relishing every moment.

I try to keep dinners simple in the summer, but after a day of running around in the summer heat, and hours spent at the pool, my kids voracious appetites demand more than just frozen pizza. They are HUNGRY! I try to keep the fridge stocked with lots of fruits and veggies, plenty of protein in the freezer and fresh herbs on the window sill.

I think we all associate summer with barbecue but I try to do away with heavy bottled sauces and season food simply instead. Juicy seasonal tomatoes, fresh summer corn and a bunch of fragrant basil are always handy, which is how this delicious light summer dinner came together in no time. My kids literally licked their plates clean!

Now that corn is in season, here’s a great trick for cutting it!!

Israeli couscous is another summer staple – it rounds out the meal, cooks in five minutes, and isn’t as heavy as other starches. But feel free to serve with any starch of your choice!

Related Recipes:

chimichicken
ratatouille roast chicken
corn and heirloom tomato salad with basil lime vinaigrette 

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