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Dec 3 2013

Two Grandmothers, Two Guggle Muggles

By at 2:01 pm


Recently, my 3-year-old son came tiptoeing downstairs long after we had put him down for the night. “I can’t sleep,” he said, hugging his stuffed dog.

“Do you want a guggla-muggla?” I asked, opening the fridge and reaching for a carton of milk.

My husband snorted. “First of all, it’s ‘guggle muggle,’” he said. “Second, you make it for colds, not insomnia.”

“Says who?” I asked.

“My grandma,” he replied, definitively.

Like most discussions about Jewish food in our household, this one had its origins in our respective families, and specifically, with our grandmas.

For the uninitiated, guggla muggla (or guggle muggle, if you must) is a Jewish cold-fighting concoction of mysterious origins and disputed pronunciations and ingredients. Depending on your Bubbe, it might have been made with milk, sugar, and egg; milk and honey; or, for the unlucky, milk, tea, and schmaltz (chicken fat). My grandma made her “guggla muggla” with warm milk, honey, and vanilla. My husband’s grandma made her “guggle muggle” with egg, sugar, and milk. Hence the disagreement. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 2 2013

Q&A with Catherine McCord of

By at 12:42 pm

Photo Credit: Mike Ervin


Catherine McCord always appreciated good food and the impact food has on health and well-being, but when her first son was born she struggled to find feeding tips and fresh, healthy recipes for kids. This was when Catherine decided to put her training at The Institute for Culinary Education in Manhattan to use as a food blogger. She posts weekly meals and cooking videos (with her kids!) on her website Catherine’s newest book, Weelicious Lunches, focuses on innovative solutions for quick, delicious, easy-to-make, lunch box meals that kids won’t be tempted to swap. I sat down to talk to her about toddler lunch monotony, her favorite Hanukkah foods, and more.

Feeding kids can be a stressful part of parenting. Clearly you work hard to make healthy meals that are appealing to your kids. What is your philosophy when it comes to them eating the food you serve? One bite to be polite?

I’m all about what works for you. Some families hope their kids will eat one bite and they’re satisfied; I find that when I include my kids in cooking it inspires them to want to try new foods. If they really don’t want to try something, I offer to let them sprinkle the food with Parmesan cheese, dip it in maple syrup, or top it with toasted sesame seeds, for example. Those little tips help all the time! Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 30 2013

Happy Long Weekend, Now Go Grill Some Challah

By at 4:14 pm

It’s the Shabbat of Labor Day weekend, which begs the question: if you don’t grill your challah today, when will you?!

From Food52

From Food52

Food52 has detailed directions for baking your challah on the grill here. Or you can try out this Balsamic Apple Date Challah in preparation for Rosh Hashanah. Happy Labor Day/end of summer to you all. We’ll be here next Tuesday with some great last minute recipes, tips and ideas for Rosh Hashanah. Shabbat shalom!

Jul 9 2013

A Dairy-Free Summer Dessert Your Family Will Love

By at 12:16 pm

kuchenbuckleSometimes a dessert can be like a great poem–taking on a different interpretation every time it is approached, yet always retaining its greatness. The Summerfruit Kuchenbuckle is that kind of cake. It is uncomplicated in assemblage yet multi-layered in flavor. It is a celebration of sweet and juicy seasonal fruits, and fluffy flavorful cake. It is completely open to personal preferences… And it’s dairy-free to boot!

A Kuchen is a comfy Ashkenazic fruit-topped cake sometimes featuring a layer of streusel. A Buckle is a homey American dessert, descriptively named for the way the fruit sinks (or buckles) into the cake batter. This cake is a combination of these two cakey desserts, making it a: Kuchenbuckle. It’s a recipe that is dictated by the best fruits the season has to offer; use plump plums, sweet peaches, or the most appealing apricots your market, or garden, yields.

Coconut oil spread is a wonderful parve baking option in general, and in this cake it contributes to a really pleasing and moist crumb, with only the barest hint of coconuttiness. Double down on the coconut flavor if you wish by using coconut milk. Or, if you prefer subtle almond flavor use almond milk (soy and rice milk work well too). This is a sweet dish that you can make your own, every step of the way.

During the summer I make a different version of this cake almost every week. Last week it was Plum Almond, the week before it was Nectarine-Pine Nut. It always comes out of the oven tasting great. And whenever I add the streusel-nut layer, this recipe goes from a poem to a song.

kuchenbuckSummerfruit Kuchenbuckle
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup coconut oil spread plusmore for greasing pan (available in the refrigerated cases in some large
supermarkets and most health food stores)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or nut extract or citrus essence
½ cup coconut milk, almond milk, rice milk, or soy milk
2 cups thinly sliced (about ¼”) pitted stonefruit (peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, or if you have a lot of patience-cherries)
½ cup chopped nuts (walnuts, pecans, pine nuts, slivered almonds) or Nut Streusel (recipe below) optional-but highly recommended


1. Preheat oven to 350° Grease pan. Fit a piece of parchment paper over bottom of the greased pan, and allow for it to overhang the sides.
2. In a small bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon , and salt
3. In a large bowl cream together coconut oil spread and sugar. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add vanilla (or whatever extract/flavoring you’re using).
4. Mix a third of the flour mixture into the wet batter, then add in half of the coconut milk and mix until well combined. Continue alternating between the flour and the milk, mixing well after each addition and ending with the flour mixture. A light and fluffy batter should result.
5. Pour batter into the prepared pan, and smooth it out evenly with a spatula. Place fruit slices in whatever pattern you please over the cake’s surface, so that it is covered in fruit. If adding chopped nuts or streusel-nut crumbles, spread them evenly over fruit slices.
6. Place in preheated oven and let bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cake is light golden brown and a toothpick inserted in its center comes out clean.

Streusel Nut Crumble
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cold coconut oil spread
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients. With a pastry cutter or a fork, mash all the ingredients together to form a crumbly-textured topping.

May 7 2013

Free Stuff Alert: Get Cooking! A Jewish American Family Cookbook

By at 4:09 pm

get cooking! a jewish american family cookbookShavuot–the Jewish holiday celebrating the receiving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai–is coming up next week, May 15-16th. And what better way to get into the spirit of the holiday than to eat bucket loads of dairy? While the reason for the tradition to eat dairy on Shavuot is not entirely clear, the positive benefits of two days filled with blintzes, cheesecake, and rugelach sure are.

If you’re looking for some fun holiday recipes that are both kid-friendly and adult-approved, look no further than Get Cooking! A Jewish American Family Cookbook by Rachel Harkham and “Mama Doni” Zasloff Thomas. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 13 2013

Learning to Share All My Food with My Daughter

By at 9:45 am

slice of chocolate cake with two forksI understood Joey Tribbiani. When I was single, I wouldn’t have liked a date who took my french fries either.

I’ve always been particular about my food. But my understanding of food–its meaning and purpose–has also evolved somewhat over time.

At every stage in my life, there’s been a loved one who loved my food and wanted to share. In my earlier years, it was little sister, Nina. Regardless of what we were eating–say, homemade vegetarian pasta–Nina always thought it looked tastier on my plate. So, she’d ask for some. If I said no, she’d gaze hungrily at my food, while I noted that we were eating the same meal. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 20 2012

Turkey-Shaped Challah for Thanksgiving

By at 8:01 pm

turkey shaped challah for thanksgivingIt’s that time of year when people are talking a lot, a LOT, about food, so why should challah miss out on all the fun?

This year, we’re revisiting one of our favorite turkey time traditions: the turkey-shaped challah from Kveller contributer Ariela Pelaia. What could be more fun than gathering the kids around to help make this fun and delicious treat?

Be sure to check out Ariela’s blog for more amazing recipes and fun ideas to do with your kids. And if anybody winds up making their turkey challah, we officially invite you to kvell over it by posting a photo to our Facebook wall. Happy Thanksgiving!

Oct 4 2012

Loving My Pickle Man

By at 1:13 pm

My pickle manFor the last few weeks my husband has been working hard on fine-tuning his pickle recipe. Finally, last week, he got it just right—not too salty, not too bland. A real half-sour. Now he’s working on replicating his success.

All of which is to say…I married the pickle man, just like I always knew I would.

When I was a kid my mother and I watched Crossing Delancey. In it, a beautiful 30-something Amy Irving stars as Izzy, a professional , independent New York woman chasing pretentious jerks who aren’t worth her time, resists and insults, then falls for, a nice, regular guy who sells pickles on the Lower East Side. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 11 2012

Kale Chips: A Surprising Hit with Preschoolers

By at 9:33 am
kale chips

A preschooler snagging thirds!

Last week, my sweet boy turned 5 and we celebrated by hosting his preschool class at our farm for a treasure hunt, pony rides with a neighbor, and lunch. He originally requested a party at one of those indoor bouncy centers, so I was very happy that we were able to coax, sell, and redirect him toward a homespun farm party.

The day before the party, my husband brought in a large bag of tender baby kale from the farm–the first of the spring new growth. When I asked my son what we should serve as a snack for the party, he completely surprised me by suggesting kale chips. I laughed and wondered how they would go over with his class that is used to much more standard preschool fare. Read the rest of this entry →

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.


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