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Mar 29 2012

My Daughter Only Eats Carbs, Passover Will Be Interesting

By at 9:37 am

Though this is all my 3-year-old wants to eat, it's off-limits during Passover.

Passover starts in less than two weeks. Perhaps not surprisingly, I am completely unprepared.

We have plans for a first seder with my in-laws and a kid-friendly second-seder at our house, but that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. (And by plans, I mean we have a date and a time. That’s it.) There is not a single box of matzah in our kitchen, and our cupboards are filled with enough macaroni to cover every meal between now and the start of Pesach (my daughters’ idea of heaven, but not so helpful to me). Also, cleaning? Sha. Right. And monkeys might fly out of my… never mind. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 27 2012

Cookbooks for Passover

By at 1:08 pm

This year I’m hosting my very first Passover seder. Oh, and did I mention that I have a 2.5-year-old and I’m 8 months pregnant? And my husband is traveling a few days a week every week between now and Passover?

So yes, I’m a bit nervous. I’ve been working on a menu, and though my family and my husband’s family all have our standard favorites, I kind of want to jazz it up a little bit this year. So I’ve started looking at cookbooks–that’s right, real cookbooks. And some websites too, of course, because yes, I work for Kveller and love the internet. I wanted to share with you some of my favorites–and am hoping you’ll tell me your favorites too!

1. The No-Potato Passover, by Aviva Kanoff

No Potato Passover

Because the two things I tend to live on during Passover (besides the ubiquitous matzah, of course) are potatoes and eggs. And I’m really psyched to get beyond that this year! The full-color pages are filled with gorgeous recipes that I think I could actually make. Nice.

2. Passover by Design, by Susie Fishbein

Passover By Design

This one’s written by the same woman who wrote Kosher by Design, and has a nice blend of the quick and easy recipe and the more-work but great payoff recipe. Oh, and did I mention that many of the recipes are gluten-free?

3. The New York Times Passover Cookbook, edited by Linda Amster

New York Times Passover Cookbook

So I’m partial to this one because my husband’s mother got her brisket recipe from the New York Times. But it’s filled with great chefs who write excellent Passover recipes. And yes, it’s been out for a decade, but once a classic, always a classic!

If you’re looking for websites to start your Passover planning, I’ve spent a little time searching on Epicurious, as well as (be sure to check out The Nosher, their newest food blog), CookKosher, and Joy of Kosher.

So now that I’ve shared some of my favorites, what are yours? What cookbooks am I missing, what websites didn’t I share? And be sure to check out Passover recipes board on Pinterest.

Mar 22 2012

Prepping for Passover

By at 9:31 am

Are you ready for the matzah?

Passover. Just the word conjures up images of matzah balls, bitter horseradish, bubbe’s brisket, and days upon days of matzah-based meals (and sometimes the, errr, stomach issues that come along with it!)

So in honor of this glorious holiday, we wanted to share with you some of our favorite Passover things. We’ve got everything from the basics of the holiday to the best Passover movies to even how to survive your seder with kids. Oh, and don’t forget our recipes page and shopping guide. Enjoy, and get ready to get ready for Passover–starting the evening of Friday, April 6.

And don’t worry–there’s a lot more Passover coming your way…

Don’t Miss:

How to Prepare a Seder

How to Survive a Seder with Kids

Greatest Passover Movies

Passover Shopping Guide

Our Favorite Passover Songs

The Best Kveller Passover Recipes

Passover Survival Tips for Vegans (by Mayim Bialik)

Mar 6 2012

Purim Recipes: It’s Not Just Hamantaschen

By at 10:14 am

When you think about Purim and food, the only thing that really comes to mind is hamantaschen. Now don’t get me wrong–I love hamantaschen. They are totally delicious, fun to make with kids, and you can fill them with almost anything (my husband likes to put a few chocolate chips and a few peanut butter chips in each cookie. Scrumptious). Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 5 2012

Cookie Winner! (Eats Latkes While Deployed in Iraq)

By at 2:42 pm


In a way, latkes and cookies look a lot a like...

We love running contests here at Kveller. It’s so much fun to give away things like cookies. So congratulations to Naomi Mercer on getting a yummy package of Almondina cookies in the mail!

We asked contest entrants to tell us about a family recipe that they loved. Naomi, being a recent convert to Judaism, didn’t have a long-time family recipe to share, but she told a story about latkes and being deployed in Iraq that you won’t want to miss. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 21 2012

More Cookies

By at 1:31 pm
coffee heart

Even your coffee will love Almondina cookies.

In case you’d forgotten, we’re still in the midst of our cookie contest. Cookie contest, you say? Yes! You can win a delivery of delicious little Almondina cookies. We tried them out at our office and they’re tasty–and actually, pretty healthy too.

So how do you win a cookie package? The story behind Almondina is that it was a bubbe’s secret recipe for many years. We want to know about your family’s secret recipes–just comment below and tell us what your best family recipe is, and why. (And if it’s really that good, tell us–and maybe we can get it published on Kveller, too!)

We’ve extended the contest until Friday, February 24 at 5 pm–so enter now!

Feb 17 2012

Friday Night Dinner: Moroccan Inspiration

By at 10:11 am

Kveller was recently introduced to personal chef Rebecca Bazini, who’s a French ex-pat cooking her way through New York City. She volunteered to share a couple of recipes with us that she promises aren’t too hard, and are a delicious and new spin on the traditional Ashkenazic Friday night Shabbat dinner.

Dried Fruit & Lamb Tagine with Minty Couscous

This is a very traditional Jewish Moroccan recipe that we typically have for lunch on Shabbat, but is also perfect for a Friday night dinner. Don’t let the long list of ingredients put you off! It really does not take a long time to prepare and it is very easy: once you have assembled all the ingredients together (about 25 minutes), all you need is to let it slow-cook for a couple of hours and that’s it. This dish is even better when prepared one or two days ahead.

Ingredients for the Tagine (serves 5-6)lamb tagine

2 lbs boneless lamb shoulder cut into cubes

5 medium onions, cut into 1-inch cubes

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 handful of dried apricots

1 handful of prunes

1 handful of sultanas raisins (you can use regular raisins or golden instead)

1 handful of almonds (skin off)

2 tbsp fresh ginger (grated)

2 tsp ground cumin

3 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp cayenne pepper

1 pinch saffron

2 cups chicken stock

3 tbsp cilantro, roughly chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

How to Make It:

1. Salt and pepper the lamb.

2. Heat 3 tbsp vegetable oil in a large casserole dish (like a Le Creuset) and brown the cubes of lamb on all sides. Then take them out and leave them aside covered with aluminium foil.

3. In the same casserole, add the onions and garlic over a gentle heat for about 15 minutes – or until the onions become soft and slightly colored.

4. Add the lamb cubes in the casserole, all the dried fruit (apricots, prunes, raisins, almonds), the fresh ginger, all the spices, the chicken stock (which should cover the lamb. If not, add some hot water in addition), and the cilantro.

5. Bring to a boil, cover with a lid and reduce to a very low heat and cook for two or two and a half hours–until the meat is meltingly tender. Taste regularly and rectify the seasoning if needed.

6 . Place the lamb in a tagine or large serving dish and sprinkle over with some chopped herbs (cilantro, flat parsley or mint).

Ingredients for the Minty Couscous

2 – 3 cups couscous

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground curry

about 3 tsp salt

2 tbsp mint, roughly chopped

How to Make It:

1. Cook the couscous according to the instructions on the pack.

2. Add the cinnamon, the curry, the salt and mix well with a fork so there are no lumps. (If the couscous looks too dry, you can add a tablespoon or so of water and mix again.)

3. Add the mint and combine well.

Did we mention that if you live in the New York area you can hire Rebecca to come cook for you? Just send her an email at and mention that you found her on Kveller.

Feb 3 2012

Friday Night: Tu Bishvat Recipe Roundup

By at 10:14 am

Well, it’s that time of year again: the birthday of the trees. My 2.5-year-old loves celebrating birthdays, so I think we’ll have to do something special for all those trees. As usual, I look to the internet for my inspiration–and oh man, am I inspired! So inspired that I can’t decide where to start… but I’m determined that one of these (or more, maybe) will land on my Shabbat dinner table tonight. Nothing like starting the celebration early, right? (Tu Bishvat officially begins on Tuesday night, Feb 7.)

First of all, here at Kveller we have some delicious new ways to celebrate trees. Like these date-orange muffins from Ronnie Fein: date muffins

Or this chocolate and fruit fondue from Leah Schapira at–easy and kid-friendly.chocolate fondue

There’s also lemon-almond-semolina cake, persimmon and pistachio cupcakes, and lemon-lavender cake. In case you needed more sweets, that is. For a walk on the savory side, try these fig and goat cheese sandwiches with caramelized onions. Dee-lish.

Tu Bishvat sandwich

Oh, and did I mention that sangria is VERY Tu Bishvat-friendly? There’s a lot of fruit in that wine.

Our friend Tori Avey over at The Shiksa in the Kitchen made these Seven Species muffins, using all of the “seven species” mentioned in the Torah: barley, wheat, grapes, figs, pomegranates, dates, and olives. I’m kind of impressed that she got all of those into one muffin–and knowing her, it’s got to be scrumptious!


Joy of Kosher reminds us that you actually can make Tu Bishvat recipes not just from fruit, but from trees themselves when you use ingredients like cinnamon. I’m a little bit excited about this cinnamon chocolate cake: cinnamon chocolate cake

And just in case you needed more Tu Bishvat deliciousness, over at The Jew and the Carrot they’re using almonds to celebrate the birthday of the trees, with a pomegranate and sour cherry mandelbrot (like a biscotti) and a quinoa pilaf. Enjoy!

Nov 18 2011

Friday Night: Turkey Challah

By at 2:23 pm

Delicious AND fun!

I don’t know about you, but now that I have a kid, I’m much more into holidays. I’m loving teaching my daughter family traditions–and making up new ones. Recently, I’ve been trying to figure out how to explain Thanksgiving to her. Taking it down to a 2-year-old level is a bit tough, but I think for now we’re going to stick with the basics: we’re thankful for what we have, we get to see our family, and we eat a big turkey.

Earlier this week Jordana Horn posted a request for some Thanksgiving recipe help, and I think I might have found the best Jewish Thanksgiving recipe on the planet. Are you ready for this?

Turkey Challah. That’s right. Our friend and Kveller contributor Ariela Pelaia does some incredibly inventive things with her challah (and her toddler) and recently, they made this gorgeous turkey-shaped challah. Though it’s time-intensive, it’s also fun-intensive. Sounds like a perfect project for the Shabbat before Thanksgiving–or even to make for Thanksgiving itself. Who says challah and Thanksgiving don’t go together?

Enjoy–and Shabbat Shalom!

Oct 28 2011

Friday Night: Shabbat Fail

By at 4:11 pm

Our challah didn't quite look like that...

As you may have read, my family’s been trying to create our own Friday night traditions for a while now. Some have worked, some have not. And last week… well…

Last week we had all the best intentions. There’s a new butcher in the neighborhood, and my husband’s been wanting to make his mom’s brisket recipe ever since we didn’t get it over the High Holidays. So he bought a brisket, marinated it, cooked it. (It was delicious–this isn’t the failure part yet.)

But we decided we might as well go all-out. We’ve been meaning to make challah for months, and last Friday seemed like a perfect time.

So we used a recipe that we’d gotten from a friend. As we made it, my husband retold one of his favorite stories–of a time when he was a camp counselor and his friend tried to make challah with her bunk. She ordered all the ingredients for the recipe through the camp kitchen. She followed the recipe exactly… not realizing that the “packet of yeast” called for in the recipe was quite different than the industrial-sized packet the camp kitchen had provided her. But when the dough started taking on a life of its own, she realized there’d been a problem. Funny story, right?

Well, it’s less funny when you consider what happened here. We let the dough rise (no yeast issues here), and braided it together with our 2-year-old daughter. She was really excited to eat the challah when it was done. We were too.

A few hours later, we lit candles, made kiddush over the wine, said a special blessing over our daughter, and said the hamotzi blessing over the bread. And then we tried to eat it. And discovered that it had about five times the amount of salt a challah should ever have. Entirely inedible, which made for a very sad 2-year-old.

But, on the plus side? When we told Abigail that we were going to have Shabbat, she said, “We light da candles!” So it seems our weeks of Tot Shabbats and Kveller singalongs have paid off.

Here’s hoping that we find a better challah recipe for this week… or at least learn how to FOLLOW a recipe! Shabbat Shalom!


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