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May 24 2012

T is for Torah… and Tea Party?

By at 9:33 am

shavuot tea partyShavuot may not be the most popular Jewish holiday on the block, but there are plenty of ways to celebrate and make it fun for young kids. The gist of this holiday is all about the Torah—it commemorates when the Jewish people received it on Mount Sinai. It’s also customary to eat dairy on Shavuot (though reasons are not entirely clear, learn more about it here.)

Now bear with me, because this might be a stretch, but since “T” is for Torah, and also for tea, why not have a tea party to celebrate Shavuot? Get the family together, invite some friends over, and serve up some of your favorite dairy dishes. If you need some inspiration, here are my recipe and decoration ideas. Have fun! Read the rest of this entry →

May 22 2012

Make Your Own Ice Cream (Without a Machine!) for Shavuot

By at 12:58 pm
making ice cream in ziploc bag

The supplies.

Shavuot is coming up, so who wants to make some messy, homemade ice cream? I do. It’s the one time a year my family makes ice cream, so right there it’s a highlight of the Jewish calendar. “The Giving of the Torah,”of course, is at the core of Shavuot, but “The Making of the Ice Cream” is a bit more memorable if you are 5.

Don’t have a proper ice cream maker? The kids can make it with Ziploc bags. Even if you do have a machine, the low-tech baggie way is a good, gloppy group activity. Read the rest of this entry →

May 18 2012

Cheesecake, Blintzes, and More Dairy Recipes for Shavuot

By at 3:24 pm

Are you ready for Shavuot? This dairy-filled holiday is a celebration of receiving the Torah on Mount Sinai, and is traditionally celebrated by eating dairy foods and staying up all night learning. (Or, if you’re a new parent, staying up all night with the baby!) You can get all of the details on the how, why, and what of Shavuot here.

But if your favorite part of Shavuot is the dairy deliciousness, you’re in luck. We’ve scoured the internet for some amazing dairy goodness and are excited to share the results below, and on our Pinterest board too. Enjoy!

A basic cheesecake is a classic way to go for Shavuot. But if you’re bored with the old standby recipe, try these variations on for size. Looks delish!

Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 6 2012

Happy Passover!

By at 12:37 pm

Pesach starts tonight and we wanted to take a moment to wish you a happy holiday. This festival of unleavened bread is one of the most celebrated holidays of the Jewish year, so get out there and have at it! And when you’re looking in the fridge later this week, wondering what to eat, don’t forget to come back and check out our recipes. Or if your kids are making you crazy, set them up with a craft or two.

And don’t forget–even though this is one of those holidays that comes with lots of stress (cleaning, cleaning, cleaning)–it’s still about being together with family and friends and celebrating that. So enjoy!

Chag sameach!

Apr 3 2012

Interviews with Interesting Jews: The Shiksa in the Kitchen

By at 11:55 am

Tori Avey is a food blogger and culinary anthropologist and you would never guess she hasn’t been Jewish her entire life. Tori found that in many ways food brought her to Judaism and she has explored her spiritual path through immersing herself in traditional Jewish cooking which she shares at Shiksa in the Kitchen. She officially converted to Judaism in 2010 and regularly hosts over 40 people at her house for Seder.

1. Jewish holidays like Hanukkah and Purim are easy to share with non-Jewish family, but Passover, the seder in particular, can be intimidating and sometimes confusing. How do you share this traditional meal with your non-Jewish family?

One of my favorite things about food is that it breaks down all boundaries–a yummy meal is something we can all agree on, no matter where we come from or what our background is. Passover is such a food-oriented holiday, which makes it a great opportunity to bring people together. Taking a moment to explain the blessings–and why we’re doing strange things, like eating bitter herbs–helps everybody to enjoy the evening more. My non-Jewish family actually looks forward to the seder. My mom likes to help me cook. Usually I have 40-50 guests for my seder, and many of them aren’t Jewish, but everybody has fun… it’s a festive evening of storytelling, singing, tradition, and incredible food. As a Jewish family, it’s a way for us to welcome others in, to help them better understand our faith. What’s not to like? Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 30 2012

Passover Recipes!

By at 10:07 am

If you’re hosting a Passover seder this year, like me, it’s time to figure out your recipes (maybe past time to figure out your recipes, but hey, we can’t all keep to Joan Nathan’s fancy schedule). I’ve been scouring the internet to find recipes to fill in our seder–specifically, looking for some delicious chicken recipes and a new side dish or two. And dessert. Always dessert.

So if you too are looking for the latest and greatest recipes, here’s a place to start–and please, share your favorites below!

1. We always start our seder meal with matzah ball soup. Here’s a traditional recipe, but Meredith Jacobs also makes a beet matzah ball soup infused with ginger. A little exotic twist on the traditional ball.

2. We’re planning to serve chicken on Friday night, and I’m in search of an easy and delicious recipe (because my go-to is cornflake chicken and needless to say, that’s not exactly on the kosher for Passover list). So far I’ve found a few options–what do you think? I’m leaning toward this lemon chili chicken from The Shiksa in the Kitchen,

or maybe this apricot glazed chicken with sage from Dave Lieberman, or these sweet and sour chicken thighs with apricots from Epicurious. (Please, weigh in on this and tell me what will be EASY and yummy!)

3. Now, the star of many a seder is a brisket. This year we’ll be making my husband’s mom’s recipe, but I also think that this one and this one sound delish. Or try a novel spin on the traditional with this cranberry brisket recipe by Meredith Jacobs.

4. But side dishes also play an important role in a quality Passover seder. There’s the ubiquitous potato kugel (either from the box or from scratch like this one from our friends at MyJewishLearning.com), but try changing it up this year and making a carrot kugel.

I also recently discovered that I adore brussels sprouts, and it doesn’t take much to make them delicious–just roast them as in this Ina Garten recipe.  Or there’s always the classic asparagus, which feels so appropriate for Passover as it’s also a sign of springtime. I like this recipe by Zoe Singer–simple and scrumptious.

5. But when it comes to dessert, it feels like we’re always in search of something that’s actually good (and not just matzah meal dressed up as dessert). A few years ago I came across this Tyler Florence recipe for a flourless chocolate cake that I make year-round (just be aware that it definitely needs the butter). But this year I’m also finding inspiration in these raspberry coconut macaroons from Smitten Kitchen (did you catch our Q & A with Deb Perelman a while back?).

And NotDerbyPie makes these chocolate cookies that she swears don’t taste like Passover cookies. I’m inclined to believe her based on the ingredients and the photo. And since my 2.5-year-old loves to make cookies, we might have to try these ones out before Passover.

Oh, and if you’re on Pinterest, head on over and say hi–and check out our list of Passover recipes there too. (We’re Kveller.com, in case you didn’t guess.)

Now, ladies and gentlemen, what classic Passover recipes am I missing? Please link below!

Mar 29 2012

Passover, The Slacker Way

By at 2:40 pm

This is me preparing for Passover.

My friend Marjorie recently wondered if there was such a thing as Passover cooking for slackers. I wish. I overdo Passover so hard I always wind up ill before, during, and after the seders. Right now, just the thought that I must find, unfold, starch and iron the Florentine tablecloths makes me sweat. Forget about creating the haggadah and sorting plague toys and designing elaborate afikomen treasure hunts and oh, the deep cleaning supposedly going on for weeks beforehand. I realize seder prep needn’t be all or nothing, but I would love to hear about any time and trouble-saving tips that will save ME.

And then there is the cooking. If all I had to do was cook, I’d cook happy and calm. I’d don a vintage apron and stroll through ancient Sisterhood cookbooks, Joan Nathan, a few online posts, and then get sidetracked in Gil Marks’ Encyclopedia of Jewish Food. I’d sketch a graphic organizer of elaborate dishes tailored to the ages and preferences of each guest. And then I’d cook. 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 MyJewishLearning.com (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 →

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