Tag archive for "Cooking"

How to Check The Simanim for Insects

kosher recipes, rosh hashanah and sukkot recipes, rosh hashanah simanim

How to Check The Simanim for Insects

No Comments 24 August 2012

 

 

by : Linda Dayan

Most of us are familiar with the minhag (custom) of eating the different fruits and vegetables (simanim/signs) on Rosh HaShana, which are meant to represent what kind of year we really desire. For example: we dip the apple in the honey to symbolize a sweet year. There is the old joke of a Jew who put raisins on a stalk of celery… he was hoping that H-Shem would bless him with a “raise in salary…”

Yes, it is important for us to keep our minhagim, but would it be right to do something that is not permitted from the Torah – so we can eat that symbolic date or leek?

(The following info is reprinted from

The Torah prohibits us from  eating worms or any other bug. As Jewish women its our responsibility to make sure our family doesn’t ingest those miniscule critters, so therefore, as a service to our readers, we are providing information on how to check some of the simanim which we will serve on our tables in few days. Wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Kosher Year!

Given the strict Torah prohibitions against eating insects – there are five Torah commandments against eating crawling insects and six against consuming flying insects – and the tendency of bugs to find fruits and vegetables as much a part of their lifestyle as people do, it has become extremely important to check veggies and fruits for insect infestation to be certain they are kosher.

As with any agricultural product, dried fruits are subject to insect infestation concerns. The consumer should look carefully at the fruit for signs of damage, webbing, or other indicators of insect presence. Certain fruits – notably whole dried figs and dates – sometimes harbor insects in their cavities and it is advisable to split these open and scan for insects prior to eating.

Leek (Carti):

Leek must be cut at the bottom, in the area of the root, and then sliced the length of the green, separating each layer. Each layer should be held under a strong stream of running water while rubbing with one’s fingers. Alternatively, one may soak in soapy water for 2-3 minutes and rinse well.

Dry Dates (Tamar Yasvesh):

One cuts open the date lengthwise, removes the pit, and holds the date against a light source, like a window or lamp and inspects it from both sides, looking for a dark insect. A dry date may exhibit white clusters, formed from sugar and these are not bug related and not problematic.

Swiss Chard:

IN ISRAEL:

When grown regularly, the leaves are simply infested. Small worms are imbedded deep in the leaves and they are not removed by washing the leaves. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that one only use the bug-free type leaves, of course only those with a reliable hechsher (kashrut supervision). They too should be washed, in soapy water and then thoroughly rinsed.

When not using the bug-free:

Soak in cold water; add several drops of concentrated non-scented liquid detergent or vegetable wash; agitate leaves in water to wash their surface; use a heavy stream of water to remove all foreign matter and soap from surface of the leaf; check leaves under direct light.

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A Tiffany Blue Hanukka Table and Decor by Vicky Krantz

hanukka recipes and tablesettings

A Tiffany Blue Hanukka Table and Decor by Vicky Krantz

5 Comments 11 August 2012

Don’t miss a single recipe or gorgeous table setting idea! 

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Bravo Vicky Krantz for sharing your fresh Hanukkah table look with us!

Here’s a brief description of this tempting Hanukkah table setting and dessert bar that must have taken weeks to plan:

Hi Marlene,

Happy Hanukkah-

I made the napkin rings out of sugar cookies (everyone actually ate them after! lol loved it)

  • Made mini triffle cups with brownies, choc pudding Oreo, Rich Whip and a wafer for a cute touch
  • choc covered pretzels
  • choc dipped Rice Krispie treats,
  • dreidels covered in glitter
  • cup cakes with toppers made with chocolate lollipop mold

Btw my menu was:

  • Tilapia Sliders
  • Home made crouton salad with Mozzarella
  • Greek salad
  • Strawberry goat cheese salad with homemade candied pecans
  • Mozerella sticks
  • Parve yebrat (rolled grape leaves) with lemony artichokes
  • Pasta puttanesca
  • Potato au gratin
  • Lemony sautéed spinach with currents pine nuts and fresh garlic! Yum!

 

 

 

 

 

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Pure Indulgence! Bridal Shower Flair by Kim Kushner and Shirley Serure

bridal showers, kosher recipes, parties

Pure Indulgence! Bridal Shower Flair by Kim Kushner and Shirley Serure

No Comments 27 June 2012

Dear Hostesses, Enjoy these fresh themes for this couture styled bridal shower created by the ever talented Kim Kushner and Shirley Serure. These girls have an entertaining arsenal of ideas and I’m so glad that they shared them with us! Thanks girls! Marlene

“There’s nothing like a house party. Especially when it comes to bridal showers.  No matter the shape or size, a party will always feel most intimate when it’s at home. Yes, hosting a party in your home is probably going to be more work than holding it elsewhere, but when the party is in your home, it really reflects who you are- your taste, your style. And isn’t home where the heart is, after all? A few weeks ago I hosted a bridal shower for my future sister-in-law. It was a wonderful brunch for about 30 wonderful women. I decided not to go the usual bagels and lox route, instead I served lots of beautiful fresh salads , and an Asian salmon. The food seemed to go over very well, but the dessert table really stole the show.  In my opinion, it’s all in the details. You can have the most mouth-watering desserts, but if they aren’t set up in a beautiful way, you simply are not doing them justice. To display my desserts, I pulled out all the square or rectangular glass vases that I had saved. Colorful fruit in glass square vases contrasted the sharp white meringues and chocolate drizzled macaroons. Little towers made up of brownies, hello dolly squares and biscotti lined my kitchen island. And of course, a fun cake was the center of attention.  The cake made by Alexandra Zohn a pastry Chef and owner of Three Tablespoons, became the table’s centerpiece as I elevated it by placing it up top a large square glass vase. Displaying your desserts on different levels truly creates a showcase, rather than having all the desserts placed flat out on the table. The little touches become the most touching: hot pink personalized napkins, a glass beverage server (you can find them online) filled with water that’s been flavored with lemon and orange slices and some fresh mint leaves, glasses of Mimosas garnished with a frozen raspberry….  And, of course, every great party needs a great party favor- in this case, personalized bottles of Rose (I forgot to hand them out, but that’s besides the point!). The truth of the matter is, that it can’t only look good, but it all has got to taste as good as it looks. And, I can proudly say that the ladies went crazy for my miniature peanut butter cups, my fig biscotti, and my mother-in-law’s divine carrot cake.  I’ve never seen such drop-dead gorgeous women stand around my apartment scarfing down cookies and cake-and nothing makes me happier!

-Kim Kushner, Kim Kushner Cuisine
              Kim Kushner is a mom, chef and hostess extrordinaire living in Manhattan with her husband and three kids. She studied Professional Culinary Arts at the prestigious Institute of Culinary Education in Manhattan, worked at  Food & Wine and Chile Pepper magazines and as a private chef. Kim specializes in making gourmet Kosher dishes from simple and elegant  ingredients.  She teaches private cooking classes and is currently working on a cookbook.
             To find these recipes and more, visit: kimkushnercuisine.blogspot.com, and subscribe to receive weekly recipes. You can also find Kim on facebook at www.facebook.com/kimkushnercuisine 
Photographs by Shirley Serure Photography -
Shirley Serure is a mom, photographer and artist. Her work has been featured on fashion blogs, in numerous publications and websites and has been sold internationally.   Shirley photographs a variety of simchas including Brises, Bridal Showers, Engagement Shoots, Kid’s Birthday Parties, Bar & Bat Mitzvahs as well as portraits, maternity, newborns, families, and fashion.  She lives in NY with her husband and two children and will be in Deal, New Jersey full time this Summer.  Samples of her art and photography work can be seen at www.shirleyserure.com and www.facebook.com/ShirleySerurePhotography. She can be reached at shirley@shirleyserure.com or 917.371.9146
Get the recipe for these yummy mini chocolate peanut butter cups HERE!
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Michelle Esquenazi’s Healthy and Delicious Card Game Lunch

card game lunch, kosher dairy recipes, kosher main dish recipes, mothers day recipes, parties, shavuot recipes and ideas

Michelle Esquenazi’s Healthy and Delicious Card Game Lunch

No Comments 17 June 2012

Dear Michelle-
Thanks for sharing your card game menu with us! Even though this is a dietetic menu, I feel like I gained 10 pounds just posting it all onto The Jewish Hostess! Looks like it was an amazing day. Wish I was there to feast on your delicious lunch! Marlene
“Hi Marlene,
Last week I had my friends over lunch and cards. Being that we are all always dieting, I tried to make a healthy and delicious lunch menu.
I scoured through my cookbooks new and old. Borrowed my sister in law’s Dare to be Different kosher cookbook by Robin Jemal.

I found a lot of new recipes. I must give credit to my sister Laura Shammah – who got this Cauliflower Crust Pizza recipe from someone she works with. It is amazing!!!!!!

Michelle Esquenazi”

Cauliflower Crust Pizza:

  • 1 head cauliflower – chop and grind (in food processor)

microwave 6 minutes (no water)
this makes 3 cups

  • 1 cup of the cauliflower
  • 1 egg or egg white
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  1.  put on cookie sheet that is sprayed well
  2. don’t let edges of crust mixture touch sides of pan used as that will make the edges hard
  3. bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes
  4. put on toppings I roasted some veggies. and cheese
  5. put back in oven just until cheese is melted

cauliflower crust pizza

wheat berry salad with cranberries,corn,kidney beans and mint

quinoa with artichokes and apricots

Roasted veggies on Ezekiel wraps.
 

spinach wontons- I used nay soya brand wontons

roasted String beans with rosemary and basil- from Dare to be Different cookbook

kale chips

Tofu sticks. They are breaded in flax meal and corn flake crumbs. And baked!

Puff pastry filed with mushrooms,peppers and a few carrots.
 
dark chocolate/ wet chocolate mini cheesecakes

chocolate peanut butter biscotti

banana loaf

Peanut butter fluff brownies, s’mores, brownies, and choc chip cookies

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A Gourmet Father’s Day Family Summer Barbeque

at home, father's day table, kosher recipes

A Gourmet Father’s Day Family Summer Barbeque

6 Comments 13 June 2012

There is a special someone in my life  that insists on being nameless, even though she pulls off the most the most amazing family get-togethers. With a bunch of little tots running around, she makes Martha Stewart look like an amateur. Enjoy our Father’s Day Barbeque pics. Happy Father’s Day, DAD!!!!

 

Flowers by Shirley Bar-nathan

 

 

 

 

 

 

My sister made the sangria. Pink mint lemonade in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summery paper napkins and square plastic plates look SO pretty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arugula, pecans, cranberries, and roasted sweet potato cubes.- My favorite salad!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Roasted Corn Salad

Sesame Chicken Salad

Summer Quinoa-Beans and Pepper Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nobody was on a diet……
Marshmallow Fudge Tart. YUM!!!
Want the recipe???
Flavored pareve Italian Ices hit the spot!
Rice Krispy Ice Cream Cake
Leon, I know that you really wanted to be on The Jewish Hostess!!!
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Pecan-Pie Truffles From the Brand New Hatzolah Cookbook

hanukka recipes and tablesettings, kosher dairy recipes, kosher dessert recipes, kosher recipes, purim recipes, baskets, and decor, rosh hashanah desserts, shavuot recipes and ideas

Pecan-Pie Truffles From the Brand New Hatzolah Cookbook

1 Comment 18 May 2012

 

Hats off to the talented Erika Sabbagh for producing the most mouth watering collection of gourmet kosher recipes ever! 

Hurry and get your copy of this 300 page gourmet kosher cookbook chock full of 200 kosher recipes for  $36.

A perfect Hanukah gift! contact Erika at erikasabb@aol.com to order your copy!

Erika highly recommends this recipe for pecan pie truffles! These truffles are easy, dairy, and will melt in your mouth! 

Perfect for a Hanukah, Purim,  Mother’s Day, and Shavuot dessert!

Pecan-Pie Truffles From the Brand New “A La Carte” Hatzolah Cookbook

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups toasted pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 7 ounces milk chocolate or dark chocolate
  • 25 pecan halves

preparation:

1. In a medium bowl, stir together the pecans, graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar and salt until well combined. Add the maple syrup, condensed milk, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons water; use your hands to blend the ingredients well.

2. Form the mixture into 24 walnut-size balls. Place on a cookie sheet and freeze for 2 hours.

3. In the top of a double boiler or in a medium stainless-steel bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, melt the chocolate. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Dip the frozen balls into the melted chocolate, then place on the prepared baking sheet and top each with a pecan half. Let set for 15 minutes, or until firm.

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A Winter White Engagement Party by Paula Benz

Amy Atlas Dessert Bar Contest, Dessert Buffet Bars, engagement parties, parties

A Winter White Engagement Party by Paula Benz

No Comments 02 May 2012

“Hi Marlene,

For my engagement, the theme was white and black with silver accents. (you can’t really tell from just the dessert table!) It Couldn’t have been done without the help of party planner Yvette Hanan she really is amazing at what she does. As for desserts, bakers Shirley Mamiye and Mari Gindi made individual brownies, napoleons, cupcakes, tiramisu, sugar cookies and more… The marzipan desserts featured in this pic were all custom ordered  and brought in by my family from Panama. Paula Benz”

Paula your party was stunning! I will add this one to our dessert pics entries for AUTOGRAPHED COPY of the Amy Atlas Sweet Designs Brand NEW Book!

Check out some more dessert bar pics HERE. More to come this week!

Last chance to send in your dessert bar pics! Send them to marlene (at) thejewishhostess.com.

Subscribe NOW and you can be the book of the month winner.

Just click HERE and get The Jewish Hostess weekly newsletter, filled to the brim with great Jewish holiday recipes, and gorgeous table settings.

 

Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It

 

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Baby Giselle’s First Princess Birthday Party

Amy Atlas Dessert Bar Contest, Dessert Buffet Bars, parties

Baby Giselle’s First Princess Birthday Party

No Comments 24 March 2012

Dear Florence, Thank you for sending in your gorgeous party pics! Its amazing that you made all of the desserts and displayed it all by yourself. It totally looks like you hired a party planner! You are fantastic! Marlene

“Hi Marlene!
I love your blog and I’m always checking in for beautiful inspirations!

I recently had my daughter Giselle’s first birthday party and I thought I would share the results. The theme was princessy with lots of hits of pink and royal purples. I made the cake, matching cookies, cake pops, chocolate lolly pops and macaroons all to coordinate with the theme.

I used mirrors and different shaped glass containers for the display. Martini glasses held pink or purple candies, a large square vase doubled as a biscotti cookie jar, smaller vases held pink and purple chocolate lolly pops while two trifle bowls were filled with homemade french macaroons and berry salad. I tied the tall vases with ribbon to match the tulips, one was dedicated to pink and one to purple. ”

-Florence Habert

 

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Fruity Breakfast Quinoa

breakfast recipes, kosher pareve recipes, kosher recipes

Fruity Breakfast Quinoa

No Comments 15 March 2012

This recipe was given to me by my nutritionist as a Passover alternative to having my morning bowl of hot oatmeal. Quinoa is a highly nutritious grain; It has a delicious flavor, and a light, fluffy texture.  After the seders you will want a light option for breakfast.

Raisins

Recipe Ingredients

1/2 cup dry quinoa, well rinsed

1  1/2 cups vanilla rice milk

2 tablespoons raisins

1 cup chopped fresh apricots, or dried apricots

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine quinoa and rice milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a slow simmer, then cover and cook for about 15 minutes until the quinoa is tender. Stir in raisins, apricots, and vanilla, and transfer about 1 & 1/2 cups to a blender and puree. Return pureed mixture to the pan and stir to mix. Serve warm or chilled.

Healthy Details

Per 1/2 cup serving

Calories 106

Fat 1.4

Carbohydrates 21.4

Fiber 1.5

Protein 2.4

Sugar 8.3

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A Seder Table That Could Split The Sea!

at home, passover seder tables, Passover Table Settings

A Seder Table That Could Split The Sea!

11 Comments 12 March 2012

Dear Hostesses, Enjoy this seder table designed by two talented sisters for Passover 2011:
I’m so impressed with Alexis and Sarah Mizrahi. You can not put a price upon the creativity and energy that went into this table. Give these girls a round of applause for a job well done, and after Passover please call Alexis and Sarah for all of your gourmet flavored popcorn orders!!!  Marlene
“Hi Marlene,
Our Crazy Corn business was closed for Pesach – so we had a lot of extra time on our hands and wanted to surprise our mother with a beautiful table. We made our own hagadahs out of croc embossed leather we found in the fabric store. We had my father reprint the hagadahs we’ve been using in my family for years and covered them in leather and trimmed them with ornate ribbon and tassles. To top it off we had our names printed on them.
We bought some turquoise fabric, and used it as a tablecloth. We had extra leather and used that as the runner and then added another touch of the turquoise with pleated tulle running down the center – it definitely added to the holiday spirit by giving off the aura of the splitting of the sea. We got 4 tall skinny vases and place them along the tulle. As the centerpiece we put a modern white tall cake plate that we used as the ke’ara (seder plate)
To really tie it all together we found this crazy sequined trimming which we made into napkin rings.
We also found these gorgeous gold croc embossed chargers that took the table over the top.
My mother and all of our guests were wowed and really felt as if they were sitting by a kings table!! We’re thinking about switching our professions! lol
We went around the house and found things that we could put the symbolic foods in to complete the look. We put the celery and salt water in martini glasses, the endives in champagne flutes, bitter herbs in vases and the haroset in dessert cups. The guests found it cute, to be dipping into martini glasses, and pulling endives out of champagne flutes!!
We want everyone to know that its really not hard or expensive to set a table like this. we bought everything from save-a-thon (including the vases $5 each and chargers!!) ok, so the Hagadahs took some time, but everything else was done with ease!!
If this is what we can do to an ordinary table, imagine what we can do with popcorn!?!
email us 4 tips and ideas and of course to order Crazy Corn!
Alexis & Sarah Mizrahi”

 

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Wild Salmon Chunks Served on a Bed of Baby Spinach

kosher fish recipes, kosher pareve recipes, kosher passover recipes,seder table Ideas, kosher recipes, kosher salad recipes, kosher vegetable recipes, Passover Recipes, rosh hashanah pasta, salads, and lunch ideas

Wild Salmon Chunks Served on a Bed of Baby Spinach

No Comments 10 March 2012

I’m always on the lookout for grilled salmon recipes, and when I came across this sauteed salmon recipe idea from my friends over at kosher.com and Joy of Kosher, I was inspired to put in on my before- the-fast menu .

 Health benefits of wild salmon:

  • speeds up your metabolism. This facilitates your sugar absorption rate and can lower your blood sugar level. Which in turn lowers your risk of developing diabetes.
  • For  shiny hair, bright eyes and healthy skin,  salmon consumption can do provide that as well.
  • Four ounces of wild salmon gives you a full day’s required amount of Vitamin D. That same amount of salmon also gives you more than half of the B12, niacin and selenium that you need daily. That four ounce serving of salmon gives you almost thirty grams of protein. That’s more than half of the Food and Drug Administration’s recommended daily amount.
  • salmon is a natural anti-depressant
  • Warning: FDA and EPA have  issued a recommendation that pregnant women and young children eat no more than two servings, or 12 ounces, of salmon and other low-mercury fish each week.
  • Read about mercury in farm raised salmon as opposed to wild salmon HERE

Health benefits of baby spinach:

  • A cup of spinach contains a little under 7 calories, almost a gram of fiber, and high levels of vitamins A and C.
  • Spinach has tons  of anti-cancer benefits. It has four times the beta carotene of broccoli. Spinach is also an excellent source of folate – an ounce contains nearly 25% of our daily requirement.
  • Spinach protects against age-related macular degeneration, a serious eye disease affecting older people.
  • Spinach contains folate which has cardiovascular benefits and promotes a healthy pregnancy.
  • Note: Spinach is among the 12 foods on which high levels of pesticide residues have been highly detected.  Please consider buying and eating only organically grown spinach.

Wild Salmon Chunks Served on a Bed of Baby Spinach:

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons: olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds:salmon fillet, skinned and cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded, veins removed, diced
  • 1/2 green, yellow or orange bell pepper, seeded, veins removed, diced
  • 1/2 cup:golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup:pine nuts
  • 1/2 teaspoon:salt
  • 1 (10-ounce) package:baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite homemade vinaigrette.

Preparation:

  1. In a 12-inch skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add salmon, peppers, raisins, pine nuts and salt.
  2. Sauté for 7-8 minutes, until salmon is opaque and peppers are tender.
  3. Place baby spinach in a salad bowl and spoon warm salmon mixture over spinach.
  4. Drizzle balsamic dressing over the salad and serve warm or at room temperature.

Win a free Apron and enter our Shabbat table setting Contest!!!! Click HERE  for details!

 

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How to Fry Chicken Without the Fat

kosher chicken recipes, kosher passover recipes,seder table Ideas, kosher recipes

How to Fry Chicken Without the Fat

No Comments 15 January 2012

image via here

There’s no need to feel like you will add on extra pounds with this quick  low fat frying recipe. If you follow Chef Adam Mimran’s easy video instructions, the chicken doesn’t have time to absorb the grease so you can crunch without that oily taste. When Adam whipped up a batch of his famous guilt-free fried chicken for my family, it was gone in a flash. For  a great kosher Passover recipe, you can easily substitute matzo meal for the Corn Flake crumbs.

We loved it!

Try it and let me know what you think!

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10 Cool Tu Bi’ Shvat Activities for Today’s Kids

kids, kosher drink recipes, kosher recipes, Tu Bishvat Recipes and Table Settings

10 Cool Tu Bi’ Shvat Activities for Today’s Kids

2 Comments 04 January 2012

Subscribe Now: and win a chance for a free copy of  Amy Atlas’s New Book, Sweet Designs: Bake It, Craft It, Style It!

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE! 


As some of my Jewish Hostess readers may know, I am involved in interviewing many elders for The Sephardic Heritage Museum which has really  forced me to think about what  memories my kids will take with them as they go on with their own lives.  Many of the elders that we interviewed, recalled great anticipation for Tu B’ishvat during their childhood in Syria. They all reminisced about how their mothers would sew them a cloth bag with a drawstring, and their parents would collect  treasured “exotic” fruits such as pineapples and grapefruits, and Syrian pastries until giving it to them on the  day of Tu Bishvat. Kids would savor their treats, and share and trade with friends for weeks afterwards. Can you imagine this year, Tu Bishevat 2012, handing your kid a home-sewn velvet bag filled with kiwi, papaya and almonds????? lol-  this year, a baggie with some fruit rollups and apple sour sticks just might do the trick!

Growing up in Brooklyn, in the 70’s, my friends and I still joke about the the inedible rubbery brown carob stick that they used to dole out to students on Tu B’shevat at The Yeshivah of Flatbush. Well, I can just imagine my kids tossing that carob right into the trash can if I tried it on them today!

As my quest for a modern day Tu Bishvat continues, here’s a list of some holiday ideas to try with your kids. Use your imagination and send in your great ideas and traditions to me so that we can all share it on The Jewish Hostess:

1- Watch the video above to appreciate the beautiful flowering country of Israel. When you are done watching, You may just book a one way  ticket to Israel!

2-Rebuild trees burnt in Fires in Carmel, Israel Since Tu Bishvat  calls for the renewal of nature, what better way to teach kids how to reach out to others in time of need?

Tzedakah via internet. Perfect for kids with short attention spans!

3- Grape Juice Sangria-

Let your kids pick out which fruits they like and let them help chop and mix.

 

Grape Juice Sangria

  • 1 medium bottle of kosher grape juice
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice (optional)
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 1 pear cubed
  • 1 apple cubed
  • 1 orange pith removed and cubed
  • 3 cups carbonated  plain or lemon-lime beverage
  • 1 cup of red grapes cut in half

Mix all ingredients in a pitcher and refrigerate for several hours. Be creative but only use the fruits that you know your kids will like! Serve in your prettiest fruit cups.

4- Make Tu B’shvat Pomanders out of fresh oranges . Use these decorative balls as centerpieces in a bowl on your breakfast table. Creative Jewish Mom has easy projects for your creative kids.

Orange Pomander

5-Does you kid love  the combo of sticky wood and glueMake a Fruit Crate and display it on your dinner table with a bunch of grapes, some dates, and a cut up pomegrante. What a centerpiece! Click HERE for easy instructions.

6- Connect with nature right in your kitchen and plant a seed in an egg shell. Or learn how to easily plant apple,  orange, grapefruit, tangerine or lemon seeds HERE. Planting a seed teaches kids patience and responsibility in our modern day world of instant rewards.

Try planting seeds in an egg carton as another down to earth craft!

photo via Good to Grow

7- Make your own flowering dried fruit sculpture with the kids- they will feel so proud to leave it out all week on your family dining table!

Click HERE to get creative!

centerpiece

8- Have a Shiv’a Minim Tu Bishvat Family Seder .

Click HERE to find out how.

9 – Buy A Tu Bishvat classic for kids- Sammy Spider’s First Tu B’Shevat
– an educational book, and a great children’s gift for all year round!

10- Check out how I came up with this year’s Tu Bishvat centerpiece HERE.

Let’s start some new Tu Bishvat traditions in our homes this year, and maybe one day, in about 2020 or so, our grown kids will be planting a seedling in their kitchen, making grape juice sangria, sending money to plant a tree in Israel, or creating their own Tu Bishvat centerpiece with their own little ones…..

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Sweet and Savory Hamentashen by Leah Koenig

purim recipes, baskets, and decor

Sweet and Savory Hamentashen by Leah Koenig

3 Comments 01 January 2012

Leah Koenig’s Sweet and Savory Hammentashen:

“Nothing brings out the baking spirit in me like Purim.  Several weeks before the holiday, I start dreaming up new exciting fillings to spoon onto my cookies before pinching them into the familiar tri-cornered shape recalling Haman’s hat.  Never a fan of mohn (poppy seeds) or artificial cherry pie filling, my hamentashen fillings tend to skew either towards the sweet-tart – things like lemon curd, apricot marmalade or homemade pear and ginger compote (see below for a kosher recipe) – or the all out, hands-down decadent – think spoonfuls of Nutella, or white chocolate chips swirled with raspberry jam.

But a few years ago, while in the midst of one of my pre- Purim daydream sessions, my thoughts drifted from sweet to savory.  What would it taste like, I wondered, if I cut back on sugar in the dough and replaced it with dried herbs?  And what sort of filling combinations might compliment this savory foundation?  After a few excited rounds of testing, tweaking and tasting, I hit the Purim jackpot: a rich, herb-flecked “cookie” encasing a medley of lightly caramelized mushrooms and onion, browned in the oven until golden and unbelievably fragrant (see below for a kosher recipe)

One bite was all it took to know that I’d stumbled on a new annual tradition – for me anyways!  Lest one think that savory hamentashen sounds too unconventional to try, consider the spinach knish, the Middle Eastern bureka or the Italian calzone.  All of these delicious pastries combine dough with meat, vegetables and any number of tasty fillings – so why should the hamentashen be left out of the fun?”

Savory Hamentashen

Directions, Dough:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp dried thyme, basil, oregano, or rosemary
  • 2 tbsp milk

Cream butter, egg and sugar. In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and herbs together and set aside. Add 1/2 of dry mixture into wet ingredients and combine until smooth. Add milk, then remaining flour mixture, stirring until incorporated. If dough is too sticky at this point, continue adding flour until it is firm enough to withstand being rolled out.

Gently roll out dough until it is 1/4 inch thick. Cut into rounds with a circular cookie cutter or the rim of a wide-mouthed glass and transfer to a baking sheet. Dot each circle with filling (see below).  Pinch corners into triangles. Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes until delicately browned.

Variation 1: This dough can be used for sweet hamentashen too.  Increase the sugar to 3 Tbs and omit the dried herbs.

Variation 2: If you would like to eat these hamentashen after a meat meal, replace the butter with non-hydrogenated margarine (e.g. Smart Balance) and the milk with soy or almond milk.

Savory Onion and Mushroom Filling

  • 3/4 pound mushrooms (white cap or cremini)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 Tbsp olive oil
  • pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine (optional)

Chop mushrooms and onion into small dice. Heat oil in a large pan or skillet over medium heat and brown onions. Add mushrooms and salt and let cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant and about halved in size. Add red wine (if desired) and salt and cook 2-3 minutes, until liquid is dissolved. Let cool before stuffing into hamentashen.

Sweet Pear and Ginger Compote

  • 2 bosc pears, chopped
  • 1 Tbs honey
  • 1/2 tsp ginger powder
  • 1 Tbs water
  • 1 1/2 tsp crystallized ginger, chopped

Combine all ingredients in small saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring regularly until the pears soften and soak up the fragrant liquid, about 8 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before using as hamentashen filling.

Happy Purim!

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Happy First Birthday- Baby Susan!

birthday parties, Dessert Buffet Bars, kids, parties

Happy First Birthday- Baby Susan!

12 Comments 10 December 2011

Meet my talented niece Ruth Gindi! You may think that this party was personally decorated by Amy Atlas herself, but Ruth single handedly pulled off this fabulous DIY  first birthday party for her little daughter in less than two weeks. When I was a kid, I was lucky if I got a birthday sponge cake layered with cherry and pineapple jam-(why on earth did my mom keep choosing those um….. yummy flavors??), and some balloons plastered onto the ceiling, but it seems that those memories are fading fast as we speed up to 2011!!!

Modern moms like Ruth Gindi take the cake when it comes to entertaining nowadays!! Ruth whisked through many gourmet kosher cookbooks for her party menu,  but mentioned that she was especially inspired by Kosher Elegance, the new gorgeous cookbook by Efrat Libfroind. She also personally printed out all of the party invites and girly food printables at home on her printer.

So excited to post these pictures- thanks Ruth! Gorgeous job!!!  Love, Auntie Marlene

“Hey Aunt Marlene !

Here are a few pictures from my daughter’s 1st birthday party. The theme was bows of course! And everything was decorated pink and white.
The menu was kid friendly as well as adult friendly…
roasted corn salad, exotic cabbage salad,
veggie burgers with chummus, wheatberry salad,
fig,goat cheese and carmelized onion pizzas, tri color tomato salad ,
roasted veggie wraps, Fred’s salad,
tri color sandwich stacks,
sambusak, spanach jiben Syrian recipe for spinach and cheese muffins), bow- tie noodles, baby pizzas
strawberry yogurt with granola, and berry salad.
Some of my desserts were:
cheesecake pops, chocolate covered strawberries,
bow shaped chocolate lollypops, pink rice krispy treats,
french macaroons, merengues, mini cupcakes,
White chocolate fruit cream dream, and much more!!
I purchased downloads on Etsy.com for all the food labels, straw flags and giveaway boxes.
 I also wrapped each glass cube or vase I was using in pink ribbon and finished it off with a bow to carry out the theme.
The number 1 centerpiece was made by the new Ave P and East 3rd florist. He was very well priced!
I had so much fun planning and  decorating this party!! Hope you enjoy the pictures!
Cupcakes by Alexia Benzaken  (646) 725-3135
Cake cookies merengues macaroons by Margalit Dweck
Photography by Vicki Ades Photography

p.s. Ruth happens to be selling gorgeous handcrafted baby bows- all colors and styles! Perfect for your little girl or as a gift! Contact Ruth at "the chic boutique" (917)596-9422


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No-Fry Sweet Potato Latkes on Chanuka

hanukka recipes and tablesettings, kosher appetizer recipes, kosher recipes, kosher thanksgiving recipes, kosher vegetable recipes

No-Fry Sweet Potato Latkes on Chanuka

4 Comments 29 November 2011

You don’t have to feel like you gained 10 pounds this Hanuka. Try these low fat healthy sweet potato latkes and enjoy every minute of  Hanuka with your kids. Try to sneak in whole wheat pastry flour instead of the white flour and this may become an all year round treat for your family!

My sister in law made  this great latkes version and she found that it worked better on parchment paper rather than tin foil.

No-Fry Latkes with special permission by Norene Gilletz from her fabulous cookbook Healthy Helpings.

Enjoy!

One no-fry latke contains just 1 gram of fat, compared to 2.7 grams for the fried version!

  • 1 very large sweet potato,plus 2 Idaho potatoes
  • 4 tsp. canola or vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 clove garlic, if desired
  • 1 tbsp. fresh dill (or 1 tsp. dried)
  • 1 egg & 2 egg whites (or 2 eggs),lightly beaten
  • 1/4 c. flour (white or whole wheat)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper

*1. Place oven racks on the lowest and middle positions in your oven. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spray each sheet of parchment paper lightly with non-stick spray, then brush each sheet with 1 tsp. of oil. (This provides a crispy exterior to the latke.)

2. Peel potatoes or scrub them well if you don’t want to peel them. Grate potatoes. (The processor does this quickly.) Transfer them to another bowl. Use the processor to finely mince onion, garlic and dill. Add potatoes, egg, egg whites and remaining 2 tsp. of oil to the processor. Mix using quick on/off turns. Add remaining ingredients and mix briefly. If over-processed, potatoes will be too fine.

3. Drop mixture by rounded spoonfuls onto prepared baking sheets. Flatten slightly with the back of the spoon to form latkes. Bake uncovered at 450°F for 10 minutes, or until bottoms are nicely browned and crispy. Turn latkes over. Transfer pan from the upper rack to the lower rack and vice versa. Bake about 8 to 10 minutes longer, or until brown. Best when served immediately.

*Note: Alternatively, line the pan with parchment paper, such as Chefs Select. Bake uncovered at 425°F for 12 minutes. Ensure the paper does not extend beyond the baking sheet or touch the walls of the oven.

Yield: 2 dozen medium latkes or 6 dozen minis.

Serve with applesauce, low-fat sour cream or yogurt topped with minced lox and chives. Latkes freeze well.

Nutritional Information:

36 calories per medium latke, 1 g fat (0.1 saturated), 9 mg cholesterol, 1 g protein, 6 g carbohydrate, 92 mg sodium, 143 mg potassium, trace iron, <1 g fiber, 10 mg calcium.

NO-FRY IDAHO POTATO LATKES:

Prepare latkes as directed above, but use 4 or 5 medium Idaho potatoes (2 lb./1 kg.). One latke contains 50 calories, 1.3 g fat and 18 mg cholesterol.

Norene Gilletz is a cookbook author and food writer based in Toronto, Canada. Her world revolves around food! For more information about Norene’s kosher cookbooks, visit www.gourmania.com.

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