The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen Cookbook Review & Giveaway

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Happy Chanukah! Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! I’m taking a break from Latkefest 2015 to tell you about this fabulous new cookbook – The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman. I’m also hosting a giveaway for this cookbook, so don’t forget to enter.

SJK-Cover

The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman is a fabulous cookbook that explores traditional Jewish foods while sticking to the Jewish calendar. Filled with beautiful photos and wonderful stories, this book really spoke to me. As someone who tries to cook seasonally, I felt like this cookbook was made for someone like me. I also loved that even as a Jewish cookbook, it wasn’t just about the potato kugel and the brisket. Amelia writes about the history of various foods and where they came from, while sharing about why they’re important to the Jewish calendar. I love that all of the foods in her cookbook are fresh and inspirational – using very clean ingredients. I recently made her Lamb, Butternut Squash & Quince Tagine and it was a huge hit with my family and guests. I also made her Winter Greens Saute and I know it will be a staple on our table over the next several weeks. I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone who loves exploring new flavors, while sticking to the traditional Jewish calendar. Even putting aside the Jewish calendar, this book stands out as a fabulous cookbook with fresh recipes. This Shabbat, I plan on serving Amelia’s Braised Beef with Semolina Dumplings. It’s the perfect Shabbat Chanukah meal.

Because I rarely share desserts with you, I decided to share this fabulous winter cake recipe with you. Blood Orange & Olive Oil Polenta Upside Down Cake evokes flavors of the Middle East and would be a special treat for your holiday table.

Blood Orange & Olive Oil Polenta Upside Down Cake
 
Syrup-soaked cakes, usually made with semolina and called tishpishti or namoura, are popular throughout the Middle East. With its stained-glass effect from the variegated colors of blood oranges, this upside-down cake, which gets its nubbly texture from sunny cornmeal, is drenched in a sophisticated ruby-red blood-orange syrup. Use fine-grind cornmeal or polenta; stone-ground meal doesn’t get tender enough in baking.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert

Ingredients
FOR THE CAKE
  • 4 blood oranges
  • 2⁄3 cup (145 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (125 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2⁄3 cup (105 g) cornmeal (not stone-ground)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup (165 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
FOR THE SYRUP
  • ½ packet (¹⁄8 ounce/3.5 g) unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Using a Microplane grater, grate zest from 2 of the blood oranges and reserve. Juice the 2 oranges and reserve. Cut both ends off of each of the remaining 2 oranges, then cut each orange crosswise into rounds ⅛ to 1/16 inch (3 to 2 mm) thick. Cut all but one of the slices in half and discard any center pith.
  2. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the bottom of a flameproof and ovenproof 10-inch (25-cm) skillet (a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is perfect) and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Heat skillet over medium-low heat until most of the sugar is bubbling. Remove from the heat.
  3. Starting at the outer edge of the pan, lay the halved orange slices in the melted sugar with the “scalloped” edge of each slice touching the edge of the pan. Fit as many orange slices as you can into the circle, pinching their corners as you set them into the hot sugar (use a knife point or tongs to adjust the fruit as needed). Some slices will have a “prettier” side; make sure those are placed face down in the sugar. Arrange the remaining halved orange slices in concentric circles toward the center, finishing with the reserved whole slice in the center.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the oil and granulated sugar on medium speed until thickened and golden. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is thick and creamy gold, 3 to 5 minutes total. Beat in the zest and 1 tablespoon of the juice. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, beating after each addition just until blended.
  5. Pour batter evenly over the orange slices and gently smooth the top. Bake the cake until golden brown, the top springs back to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake sides. Invert a serving plate over the cake, invert the pan and plate together, and lift off the pan. If any fruit sticks to the pan, loosen it with a spatula and place it on the cake. While the cake is hot, use a fork or bamboo skewer to make holes in it without going all the way through.
  6. While the cake is baking, make the soaking syrup. Fill a medium bowl one-third full with ice and a little water and nestle a smaller bowl, preferably metal, in the ice bath. Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) of the remaining orange juice into a small pot, sprinkle the gelatin on top, and let soften for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir granulated sugar, Cointreau, and lemon juice into the remaining orange juice, then stir the mixture into the softened gelatin. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar and gelatin, about 1 minute. Do not allow to boil. Pour syrup into the waiting bowl and stir from time to time until it thickens to the consistency of maple syrup, about 15 minutes. Spoon or brush some of the syrup over the cake. Allow it to soak in, then spoon or brush on more. Repeat until you have used all the syrup.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing, then cut into wedges with a serrated offset knife to serve.

 

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Arugula Pesto

pasta-with-arugula-pesto

If my 10-year-old self could see me now, I wonder what she’d say.

I was a picky eater with a pretty developed flavor palate. My parents are foodies, but at 10, I was anything but. My parents had a rule that we had to try everything. We couldn’t just stick out our tongue. I remember several evenings around the family dinner table where it was a total battle of wills to just take a bite of the mahi mahi or two bites of the curry. Who knew?

At age 10, all I wanted was a crunchy iceberg salad at dinner. Instead, I had a plate of mesclun and arugula greens. I remember the requests to “finish the arugula on the plate and then….” I didn’t believe in arugula at age 10. Why does this strange lettuce have to have so much flavor?! Arugula, really?? Who knew that I would grow up to be this person that seeks out arugula. Heck, I even grow arugula on my fire escape! That’s how much I love it!

In the off season, I tend to buy the bags of baby arugula from Trader Joe’s. Arugula is in season now – as are a variety of other greens. And I’m in salad green heaven.

Arugula is a fantastic green characterized by its amazing slightly peppery flavor. It’s also sometimes called roquette or rocket greens.

fresh-arugula

Last week, as I came upon the farmer’s market outside my office, I spotted some beautiful greens and I had to have them. I eagerly bought two bunches. Of course, when I came home and picked up my CSA, there were a couple more bunches. This whole lot of arugula was in addition to a bag of baby arugula sitting in my fridge. Um. I think I had more arugula that I needed. I mean, I love salads, but this much arugula was making me twitchy.

I decided to make a pesto out of the greens. My husband usually turns down a basil pesto, but I had a hunch that the lighter flavor of the arugula leaves would be more to his liking. And I was right!

I washed and dried a few cups of the greens and pulsed it in my Cuisinart along with some garlic, lemon juice, pine nuts, salt, pepper and olive oil. It took all of two minutes.

Arugula-cuisinart

I added the pesto to some pappardelle that I tossed with some sautéed shallots, garlic, mushrooms, chickpeas and additional lemon juice. I sprinkled on some red pepper flakes and ground black pepper and dinner was served. Dinner was a success. I stored the rest of the pesto in my freezer. I am totally making this again. If only arugula season was year-round.

Hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

Arugula Pesto
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 3.5 cups of arugula leaves (you can include some of the stems), washed
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • ½ cup toasted pine nuts
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • additional salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Place everything except for the olive oil in to the bowl of a food processor.
  2. Process everything then slowly pour in the olive oil until everything is processed and mixed together.
  3. Taste the pesto and add additional salt and pepper as needed.
  4. Enjoy! Add this pesto pasta or use as a pizza topping. The options are endless.

Arugula-Pesto-Long-as-Smart-Object-1

 

Roasted Beets and Beet Greens with Pasta

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If you’ve been following along on Facebook and Instagram feed, you probably already know all about my CSA and the amazing produce I get each week. I’ve been getting a weekly share from a local farm called Alstedes. Each week it’s like a foodie birthday present. As I pick up the crate of veggies and farm fresh cage-free eggs, I get a huge smile on my face. What am I going to make first out of all the amazing goodies?

I love beets. I love all kinds of beets. The first box that contained beets had me so happy. I had a bunch of red beets from the farmer’s market in my fridge, so when the golden beets came, I was exuberant. I love to see those rings when you cut in to a beet. They’re just so pretty. And the colors? I love it!

beet rounds

I often simply slice or grate beets and put them in a simple salad or side dish, but I decided to include them in something more substantial for dinner. I also wanted to include the beet tops. Did you know that you could eat beet greens? You totally can! Just wash them and eat them raw in a salad, or you can saute them! They’re fantastic and so good for you!

I started out by roasting my beets. I peeled and sliced the beets thinly and tossed in some olive oil, salt and pepper and placed on a baking sheet. I baked at 415 for about 20 minutes – keeping an eye on them so that they didn’t burn.

I cooked up the pasta, reserving some of the pasta cooking water.

I then sliced up both bunches of washed beet greens.

I toasted some pine nuts, then added some olive oil, chopped onion and garlic to the pan.

Next, I added the greens, some salt and pepper.

I love how fast everything cooks up in this dish. The greens take only a few minutes to wilt.

I tossed the cooked pasta in to the pan with a small amount of the cooking water.

I plated the pasta and greens and served with the amazing roasted beets and some goat cheese. So simple, yet so delicious!



Roasted Beets and Beet Greens with Pasta
 
Author:

Ingredients
  • 2 bunches of beets (about 6 medium beets)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Beet Greens from two bunches of beets, washed and sliced
  • additional salt and pepper as needed
  • Goat Cheese
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • ¾ pound pasta, cooked according to directions on box (reserving some pasta water)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Peel and slice the beets in to thin rounds. Toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and place on baking sheet. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box, reserving some pasta water.
  4. Toast pine nuts in large pan for 2 minutes.
  5. Add in the olive oil, salt, pepper, onions and garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes to soften. Add in the beet greens and saute a couple more minutes.
  6. Mix in the cooked pasta and a couple tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.
  7. Plate the pasta and greens. Top with goat cheese, roasted beet rounds and Parmesan Cheese if desired.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Enjoy!

 

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Massaged Kale and Persimmon Salad

persimmonandkalesalad

I’m always looking for ways to liven up the typical winter fare. I try to cook seasonally as much as possible, but I end up just craving different vegetables after a few straight days of root vegetables. What’s your solution for the winter fruit and vegetable rut?

I find that a leafy and yummy salad can save the day. Changing up your and adding new and interesting ingredients can boost it to a new level.

I love a good massaged kale salad. I tend to always stick to my reliable butternut squash and kale salad, but I wanted something a bit different. I had some Tuscan Kale in my fridge. Tuscan Kale has a bit of a different texture than the traditional kale. The leaves are darker and a little less curly.

I decided to pair it with some radicchio and endive, which I knew needed to be used up.

I was about to toss some butternut squash in the oven, yet again, when I glanced at my fruit basket. I had some beautiful, juicy persimmon waiting to be eaten. Persimmon are a fall and winter fruit. It’s one of my favorite fruits. I had a hunch that the persimmon would pair well with the kale and slightly bitter radicchio.

persimmon

I washed, cut and trimmed the Tuscan Kale. I transferred it to a large bowl and massaged it with some light sprinkle of sea salt.

tuscan-kale

I washed, peeled and sliced up some of the persimmon. The peel of the persimmon can be an irritant for some people.

I mixed up the softened kale with some red onions, radicchio and endive. I topped that mixture with the persimmons and some goat cheese. I love the way chèvre cheese adds a nice creaminess to a salad!

I made a simple olive oil and lemon dressing to go with the salad. I mixed the juice of one lemon with olive oil, salt, pepper, dijon mustard and a small bit of maple syrup.

The salad was delicious! I’m so glad I stepped away from the squash for the night.


Massaged Kale and Persimmon Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad

Ingredients
For the Salad:
  • 4-5 cups of Tuscane Kale, stems removed, cut up
  • 1 small head of radicchio, chopped
  • 2 small heads of endive, chopped
  • 2 persimmons, peeled and sliced or subed
  • chèvre goat cheese
  • sea salt
Salad Dressing
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • ⅔ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp. dijon mustard
  • salt
  • ground pepper
  • 2 tsp. maple syrup

Instructions
For the salad
  1. Place the washed, cut and stemmed kale in a large bowl
  2. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt over the kale
  3. With your hands, massage the kale for a few minutes to break down and soften the kale. You can see how I did it here.
  4. Once the kale is ready, add in the chopped radicchio and endive
  5. Add in the persimmons and goat cheese
  6. Mix up the dressing ingredients in a separate container and shake well

persimmon-and-saladt

Kale and Butternut Squash Salad

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The first time that kale showed up in my CSA, I was petrified and had no idea what to do with the abundance of curly leafy greens sitting in my kitchen. Ever since then though, I have learned to love kale and all of its applications. While I love kale cooked in dishes like frittata and roasted kale, it’s also great raw, in a salad.

Massaged kale is a great way to eat raw kale. When you massage some kale with a bit of kosher salt, the kale begins to soften and break down pretty quickly. It only takes a few minutes to knead it to perfection.

As you may already know, I love fall veggies. The abundance of greens and gourds make me so happy. I seem to be roasting up squash weekly. The massaged kale pairs very well with the roasted butternut squash. I thought I’d share with you this fantastic salad.

I began by peeling and cubing my butternut squash. I sprinkled it with olive oil, salt, pepper, cloves of garlic and fresh herbs. I then roasted it at 400 for about 40 minutes.

cut-up-squash

While the squash roasted, I washed, trimmed and cut up the kale.

cut-up-kale

I placed the kale in a large mixing bowl and sprinkled some kosher salt over the kale. With my clean hands, I kneaded the kale well. Massaging the kale quickly brought out the water in the kale and broke it down. You will see in the before and after pictures of the kale how much it reduces as you massage it!

kale-before-and-after

I dressed the kale with some chopped shallots, pumpkin seeds, dried cranberries, ed wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, pepper and that yummy roasted squash.

kale-for-top

This salad is so delicious  and keeps well in the fridge for a few days. Hope you enjoy!

Kale and Butternut Squash Salad
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad

Ingredients
Roasted Butternut Squash
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
  • 1.5 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
  • 5 cloves smashed garlic (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. ground pepper
Kale Salad
  • 1 bunch of kale
  • kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  • 2.5 tbsp. pumpkin seeds
  • 2 tbsp. dried cranberries
  • 1 chopped shallot

Instructions
For the Butternut Squash:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400
  2. Peel and cube the butternut squash
  3. Toss the squash with olive oil and spread over a baking sheet
  4. Sprinkle over the herbs, salt and pepper
  5. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, checking on the squash and flipping, every 15 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven once it’s browned, but but not overdone. Cool.
For the Kale and Salad:
  1. Wash and trim the kale. Cut away the tough stems.
  2. Chop up the kale and place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Sprinkle some kosher salt over the kale
  4. With you clean hands, knead the salt in to the kale. Knead for about 3-5 minutes. You will see the kale reduce and soften. The moisture will seep out of the kale.
  5. Toss the kale with the olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
  6. Mix in the rest of the salad ingredients, along with the butternut squash.
  7. Enjoy!

kale-salad

Creamy Vegan Dill Salad Dressing

vegandilldressing

With my bounty of amazing salad greens from my CSA, I’ve been making salads most nights for the next day’s lunch. The other night, I had run out of vinaigrette, and was trying to decide what kind of dressing to make next.

I had just received a a huge amount of dill in that week’s veggie share. I was still wondering what I should do with it. It then occurred to me to use a small amount of it in to a salad dressing. I remember having a great creamy dill dressing. I wanted to recreate it in some way, but I didn’t want it to be the same gloopy dressing. I just wanted some of that flavor.

I’ve noticed that many creamy salad dressings tend to include either a sour cream or buttermilk on the dairy side. On the non-dairy side, I am always seeing mayonaisse in dressings. I didn’t want either of those things.

I wanted something vegan.

I thought about the cashew sauce I made for pasta this winter. The cashew cream brought so much creaminess to the dish. I wondered if I could do something similar with a salad dressing.

I quickly grabbed some cashews out of the freezer and began soaking. I let them soak for about an hour and prepped the other ingredients.

After about an hour, I drained the cashews and placed in my Cuisinart Food Processor along with some shallots, garlic, dill, salt, pepper and water.  With the machine running, I then slowly added some olive oil to the mix.  This dressing would also work well in a high-powered blender.

I transferred the dressing to a jar. Of course I tried a bit before placing in the fridge to chill for the next day. Delicious! I am definitely going to use cashews more often to add creaminess to dressings!

 

Creamy Vegan Dill Salad Dressing
 
Prep time

Cook time

Total time

 

Author:
Recipe type: Salad Dressing
Serves: 6-8

Ingredients
  • ½ cup cashews
  • water for soaking
  • ½ cup chopped fresh dill
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • additional salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Soak the cashews in water to cover for at least an hour.
  2. Drain and rinse the cashews.
  3. Place all of the ingredients except for the olive oil in a blender or food processor.
  4. Process the dressing. Slowly add in the olive oil with the processor or blender going.
  5. Transfer the dressing to a bottle.
  6. Store in refrigerator.
  7. Enjoy!

vegandilldressing

Spinach and Beet Salad with Goat Cheese

http://www.salutbaramericain.com/

I never used to be a salad person. I would eat it and enjoy it, but I never really sought it out or really appreciated it. It wasn’t until I couldn’t eat salad that I started to crave it and get more creative with salad. Crohn’s has kept me away from raw vegetables on and off at different spurts in my life. So here I am now, Crohn’s free, and taking full advantage of this lull in my life. Summer has come on with full force and with that, we have some beautiful veggies showing up in the markets. Baby spinach is one of my favorite greens. You may have noticed that it shows up in some of my favorite dishes.

Since it’s summer time, I like to eat more fresh dishes that don’t require heating up the house.

I think it was my sister that introduced me to this Spinach and Beet Salad with Chèvre and Walnuts. I ate it on one of my visits back home to Minneapolis. Since then, I order this salad on whatever menu I see it on. I decided to make it myself. I had recently received some beautiful beets in the CSA and I had everything else in the fridge.

The spinach I used in this salad was prewashed and ready to go. I roasted some beets and I toasted some walnuts in the oven.

I served the salad with a red wine, basil  and shallot vinaigrette that I quickly whipped up in my Cuisinart Mini-Prep processor.

red-wine-vinaigrette

Spinach and Beet Salad with Goat Cheese
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • 1 small bunch of beets (about 4-5 small beets)
  • 1 bag of pre-washed baby spinach
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 small red onion, sliced thinly
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • sea salt
  • fresh ground pepper
  • goat cheese (Chèvre)

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Trim off the ends of the beets and place in foil. Sprinkle olive oil over the beets and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in the foil.
  3. Roast the beets in the oven for about 40 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and cool.
  5. While the beets cool, place the walnuts on some foil and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and cool.
  7. When cooled down, slice the beets thinly.
  8. Layer the salad – first the spinach, then the beets, then the onions and walnuts, then the goat cheese.
  9. Sprinkle on a dressing of your choice. I would recommend a red wine vinaigrette.

 

Red Wine, Basil and Shallot Vinaigrette
 
Author:
Recipe type: Salad Dressing

Ingredients
  • 1 shallot
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 15 basil leaves
  • 5 tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper

Instructions
  1. Place everything except for the olive oil in to the food processor.
  2. Start blending the mixture.
  3. Slowly pour in the olive oil and let the mixture emulsify.
  4. Transfer dressing to a container.
  5. Enjoy on your favorite salad.

spinach-and-beet-salad

 

Caprese Salad

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I was so happy when I found out that Matan and Ali of AliBabka, a fellow blogger, were getting married. The Kosher Connection group of bloggers is hosting a virtual sheva brachot to celebrate with them. The Sheva Brachot are the seven blessings said at a Jewish wedding and it is customary to hold special meals for the new couple for the days following the wedding. We call these meals Sheva Brachot.

For today’s meal, I decided to contribute one of my favorite salads. The caprese salad is a simple dish, but always looks elegant and is the perfect salad starter for a dairy or vegetarian meal. Remember to always use a good olive oil and balsamic vinegar and the freshest mozzarella you can find when making this dish. It truly makes a difference.




Caprese Salad
Ingredients:

1 pound fresh mozzarella
2 medium-sized vine ripened tomatoes
Fresh basil leaves  – a handful
Olive Oil for drizzling
Balsmic Vinegar for drizzling
sea salt
fresh ground pepper

Directions:

Slice up your tomatoes and mozzarella in to 1/4-1/8 inch slices and wash and stem your basil leaves.

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Lay out the tomato, mozzarella and basil in alternating layers on a serving dish.

Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Drizzle with about a tablespoon or two of olive oil and vinegar.
Serve and enjoy!
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