Category: Recipes

Totally Kosher: Cookbook #2!

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Pastrami-Style Gravlax

Oh my goodness. I cannot believe we are here. Cookbook #2, the one I swore I would never write, is very much alive, and more beautiful than I could have ever imagined! After all the blood, sweat and tears that I put into writing Millennial Kosher, which was released back in 2018, I was determined to never do it again! Don’t get me wrong, Millennial Kosher was more successful than I could have every imagined, topping the charts at #221 on Amazon and already in it’s 6th printing! But like after every baby, I needed a breather, and the cookbook fever set in again! So here. we. are.!

Philly Cheesesteak

How it all started

My amazing editor, Raquel Pelzel, the editorial director at Clarkson Potter (an imprint of Penguin Random House) , reached out in late 2019 about the possibility of writing a kosher cookbook for the book label. I was really excited about the idea of reaching a new audience outside of the mainstream kosher community, and most importantly, for the chance to demystify some of the stereotypes about kosher food to the world at large. Countless meetings, conversations and emails later, and thanks to my agent Stacey Glick, I was honored and elated to sign with Clarkson Potter for my second cookbook!

Unfortunately due to Covid and the unexpected changes that the world faced (and losing my sense of taste and smell!), the book schedule was pushed off, and I wondered if I’d ever be able to see it happen. But with much perseverance, the support and love of my incredible family and friends, and a truly amazing publishing team with Raquel at it’s head, I’m so glad that I soldiered on to see this dream come true. I tear up just looking through the pages of the manuscript, knowing the many challenges I faced to bring the book to life during such a difficult time, and I know that if was able to do that, I can literally do anything. I have never been more proud…. ok maybe just when birthing my children…. although many authors can attest that writing a book is akin to having a baby!

After what started as a year of recipe testing, that stretched into two, I tested and retested, wrote and rewrote, imagined and reimagined a range of ideas. Some were nixed, most blew my mind, and many become family staples. Recipes were tested and retested by some of my followers and friends and in January 2022, I started to gather all my props, ordered new ones, shopped for backgrounds from the amazing people behind Wood & Stone, updated my photography gear, and hired the talented Chaya Rappoport  as my food stylist, with Rachel Boardman on assist! I turned my dining room over into a photography studio and in just about three week, shot 150 recipes recipes with my amazing team! I am so incredibly proud of the beautiful photos in this book, they’re going to BLOW. YOUR. MIND!

Party in your Mouth Peppers

The Concept

Those who follow my blog or Instagram platform are familiar with my style – a mix of modern spins on traditional foods, recipes inspired by worldwide cuisine (and my travels!), and some of the classic traditional comfort foods of my youth. Totally Kosher is very much a reflection of that – a mix of approachable, family-friendly recipes, dishes for every day dinners, and festive recipes for the holidays.

Lemony Lentil Soup with Saffron

Millennial Kosher vs Totally Kosher

With the book coming out right before Passover, I’m going to ask the question “How is this book different from the other books?” ;)! Well, Totally Kosher introduces a few involved recipes for the more adventurous cook, like Pastrami-style Gravlax, Shlissel Jerusalem Bagels, Spinach Artichoke Khachapuri, and homemade Chili Crisp. Of course I “hold your hand” and guide you through each recipe, even including step by step photographs to make it easier! It also includes a chapter on traditional foods, since I’ve gotten so many messages over the years requesting recipes for the classics – like Golden Chicken Soup, Perfect Potato Kugel and Stuffed Cabbage! Totally Kosher also includes more gluten free and many allergy-friendly recipes so that they are Passover and diet-friendly. You’ll also find beautiful lifestyle photography by the amazing Lauren Volo and Naftali Marasow  with special moments that I’m so proud to share with you!

Simanim Potstickers with Pomegranate Soy Dipping Sauce

What’s in the book?

oh gosh, what’s NOT in the book?! I really tried to give you a little bit, and a lot!, of everything. From basic tools to tips and tricks, to a wide range of recipes, the book includes over 150 recipes, each with a beautiful color photo, including:

Basics of the Kosher Kitchen
I explain the basic laws and traditions in the kosher kitchen, a condensed version for those that are not as familiar with the intricacies of the kosher kitchen.

Top Ten Tools & Ingredients for the Kosher Kitchen
I share my favorite kitchen tools and the ingredients that can help transform your kosher cooking.

My Top Ten Kitchen Hacks
I’m all about the shortcuts and kitchen hacks and I include the ones I use over and over again, tried and true!

Top Ten Build Your Own Board Ideas
I love a good board for a party, Shabbat lunch and even a fun weeknight dinner. I share some of my favorites (hello Baked Potato Board, Sushi Board, even a Breakfast and Dessert Board!) including tips on how to build a board + what to include!

How I Master Dinner
Putting dinner on the table every day of the week can be daunting and I’ve taken the guess-work out of what to make for dinner with my basic plan.

Breakfast & Brunch
ohmygosh, this might be one of my favorite chapters, but seriously, can you have a favorite child? From Chocolate Cherry Granola, to Tahdig Toast with Herbed Whipped Feta & Harissa Eggs, what’s not to love? I want breakfast for dinner!

Appetizers & Finger Foods
There are so many fun and colorful recipes here that you’ll want to make for your next party! From a new Hasselback Salami variation, to the coolest spin on corn dogs that you’d never imagine – this chapter is chock full of fingers foods that you’re going to love.

Sammies & Tacos
I’m all about the carbs – just gimme a sandwich! So of course I collected my faves here from a Stuffed Boureka Sandwich to the most amazing kosherized version of a Philly cheesesteak – you’ll find great options for a hearty lunch or weeknight dinner here.

Salads
Gimme a big wooden bowl and I love to fill it up with greens and an array of colorful veggies, lots of textural components and a punchy dressing. Salads, to me, are a meal, and very much inspired by the seasons. You’re going to love my healthier spin on the broccoli salad so many of us grew up on (with a tahini curry dressing!), a Summer Slaw so fresh with an inspired dressing that won’t go bad in the summer sun, and a new age spin on Waldorf Salad with a poppy seed dressing. Yasssss!

Soups
Soup, to me, is about comfort food in a bowl and this chapter is truly exciting. From a humble lemony lentil soup to a Chestnut Latte Soup inspired by my trip to Paris, not to mention the Corned Beef & Cabbage Ramen that so beautifully graces the cover of the book… you’re gonna want that one!

Cholent with Quick Kishke

It’s Tradition!
This is new for me, because I’m all about putting my own spin on tradition. But for Totally Kosher, I really wanted to include some of the classic traditional dishes that are staples in many Jewish homes. From homemade gefilte fish, that is a treasured family recipe, to Golden Chicken Soup and cholent, you’ll have all the recipes you need to host a Shabbat meal.

Fins & Scales
I feel like fish can be intimidating to many, and I really want you to go out of your comfort zone here – so we’re talking homemade gravlax, crudo and whole roasted branzino. Get comfortable with serving fish other than salmon!

Just Wing It
This chapter is takes you around the world from a fun spin on Pad Thai to an Italian Chicken and Orzo Bake, a Yemenite-inspired sheet pan chicken and a Za’atar Turkey Roast that’s festive enough for Thanksgiving dinner!

Split Hooves
From approachable weeknight dinners like Taco Tuesday Pasta and Burger Bowls (with the most insane Umami Burger Bombs), to the perfect Cowboy Steak and Pucker Up Ribs, this chapter includes doable recipes for everyday and festive roasts for company.

Meatless Meals
You know I’m all about Meatless Mondays in my house – and I’m passionate about taking a break from animal protein. This chapter includes vegan fare like Chickpea Curry, the most amazing tofu dish and the crispiest falafel you’ve every had! There are also plenty of dairy delights that include a fun spin on latkes, an incredible shakshuka and a gnocchi that only dreams are made of!

Veg & Sides
Hearty grains, colorful veggies and flavorful fixings fill this chapter with new side dishes that complement any meal! Party in your Mouth Peppers are bold and beautiful, Herbed Farro Pilaf that packs in the greens (and flavor!) and addictive Japanese sweet potatoes are just a few of the recipes you’ll find here.

The Bakery
I’m so proud of the desserts in this book, I can’t even tell you! I feel like I’ve really evolved as a baker ever since my first cookbook, and the recipes here are reflective of that. From Baklava Palmiers to Brownie Bar Hamantaschen, and the most beautiful Harvest Bundt Cake that you ever did see. Plus cookies that will absolutely blow your mind and Kosher-for-Passover bars that you’ll never believe are gluten free!

Noshes & Nibbles
You know me, I’m all about the noshing, and we’ve got such a great collection here. From fun cocktails, to ice pops, sweet nuts and savory crackers and cracklings and jerky… so much yes.

You’re so Extra!
I’ve definitely saved the best for last, because this chapter is just WOW. So many toppings and dressings and spice mixes and confit – staples to keep in your fridge and your pantry to liven up every dish – like Soy Marinated Eggs, homemade dukkah, a refreshing twist on pickled onions, candied jalapenos and an addictive coffee rub.

How to Plan Menus
Now that you’ve got the recipes, do you think I’d keep you hanging? Here, I guide you on how to plan an actual menu without overdoing it, plus recipe suggested for the holidays.

Skirt Steak Tacos

How to Order

Totally Kosher is available for preorder on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, Book Depository, Books A Million, Bookshop.org, Hudson Booksellers, IndieBound, Penguin Random House, Powell’s, Target, and Walmart! You can also find the book in your local bookstore once it’s released on March 21st, 2023! I am so appreciative of your preorders, which really help for the sale of the books and help the stores determine how much to order.

Baklava Palmiers

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there mostly new recipes in the book or are they from your blog?
Oh my gosh, I don’t think there are actually any recipes in the book from my blog! You’re looking at over 150 brand new, never seen before dishes!

Do the recipes use hard to find ingredients?
It’s really important to me for the kosher cook to go out of their comfort zone and experience new flavors and cuisines. So yes, there is a small portion of recipes that include ingredients like tamarind paste, pomegranate molasses, miso paste, dried chiles or orange blossom water. These ingredients are all pretty easy to find these days, and I urge you to think outside the box and try them! That being said, I recognize that in some countries, these ingredients may be difficult to get kosher, and therefore, the majority of recipes in the book use common ingredients. Additionally, some recipes offer substitutions, where possible.

What can I expect to find with each recipe?
Clear and concise instructions that are easy to follow. Many of the recipes include variations and notes on how to simplify the recipe or prepare it a different way. Recipes also include a note if they are freezer friendly (with instructions when necessary). Many recipes also include helpful tips.

Are you available for book signings and cooking demos?
Yes! I love to bring my passion for reinventing kosher foods to audiences worldwide. Email imtotallykosher@gmail.com for more information on how to book a book signing or demo in your area!

Will the book be available in stores?
Absolutely! Look for it in your local Judaica shop, Barnes & Nobles and wherever major books are sold. If you don’t see it, ask your book seller to bring it in!

What is the cover photo of and why did you pick that one?
The cover photo is my Corned Beef & Cabbage Ramen. Those that know me, know how much I love a good ramen bowl and I felt this dish really embodied what Totally Kosher is all about – unexpectedly kosher, fun and reimagined food that is colorful, flavorful and influenced by world cuisine.

Got more questions about the book? Leave a comment below or email me at imtotallykosher@gmail.com.

Lighting Shabbat Candles with my Daughters

All photos from Totally Kosher ©Chanie Apfelbaum.

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Simanim Plov

I’ve been working on so many recipes for #yeswecanchag initiative including this sheet pan chicken and tzimmes, this 6-spice Moroccan stoup, and this Israeli couscous with beef.  My fellow bloggers and I also got together and created THIS MENU of bonus budget-friendly recipes! I hope these recipes help you scale down your cooking this Chag while still bringing showstopping dishes to the table!

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Denver, Colorado to host a cheese-board-building demonstration at The Jewish Experience 20th annual wine & cheese event. The event was set up beautifully, and they even served my Mile High S’mores Pie in the Mile High City to celebrate, how fun?!

Since the demonstration was late in the week, I stayed in Denver for Shabbos at the home of Rabbi & Mrs. Zeldy Engel of Chabad Cherry Creek. Zeldy was so warm and welcoming, and she happily took me around the neighborhood hot spots, even driving out to Red Rocks for a breathtaking and scenic view of the mountains.

Zeldy prepared many of my cookbook recipes from her well-worn copy of Millennial Kosher and her sister’s recipe for Moroccan fish that smelled like actual heaven. But the star of the Friday night meal was PLOV. Zeldy hosted two Bucharian sisters, Aliza and Sharona, who came over earlier in the day to prepare this labor-intensive dish. By Friday night, the smell was intoxicating, and the huge pot was painstakingly transferred onto a huge round platter in middle of the table. Not only was the dish beautiful, it’s flavor was absolutely mindblowing – savory, spicy, with a hint of sweetness from the carrots and heat from the jalapenos. As I was eating it, my mind started wandering in a million directions on how I could “trash it up” (as I like to say!) and put my own spin on it. Wish Rosh Hashanah approaching, I thought it would be a great idea to incorporate some of the simanim, or symoblic foods that we eat on Rosh Hashanah, so I replaced the onions with leeks, and the jalapenos with apples, and finished it off with pomegranate seeds for a colorful one-pot-meal worthy of your holiday table. Yes. We. Can. Chag!

Related Recipes:

hummus simanim
simanim fritto misto
simanim pasta
simanim holiday salad

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#YesWeCanChag Yom Tov on a Budget!

Times are tough. With rising food costs and growing expenses, shopping and preparing for countless meals and guests for the holidays is more difficult than ever. I’m on a mission to help! Together, with some pre-planning, smart thinking and budgeting, YES. WE. CAN. CHAG. L’chaim!

I started the hashtag #YesWeCanChag over on Instagram as a community initiative to help us all create delicious and holiday-worthy dishes this Chag on a budget. I believe that the High Holidays should be a time of reflection, introspection, joy and love. They shouldn’t have to be a time of stress – and it all starts with perspective. Why are we here? We’re here to bring our family and friends around the table to celebrate our traditions and heritage. It doesn’t matter what we serve, so much as how we serve it. Set a beautiful table. Set a beautiful tone (relax!). Make everyone comfortable. The food is secondary. Yes. You read that right.

So, realistically, how can one budget when there is meal after meal, night after night?

For starters, my fellow bloggers and I have put together a menu of budget-friendly recipes which you can download here!

sushi nachos, Millennial Kosher, page 68

COMPOSE A BALANCED MENU

First things first, do away with the 3-4 course meals. No one can eat that much. It’s costly. It’s hard on the cook….There are so many reasons to scale back. Instead of a three course dinner with fish, multiple salads and dips, assorted proteins and sides and then dessert, serve a balanced meal without the fuss. To do this, imagine you’re in a restaurant – you order an appetizer – one or two at most, and then your main, which comes with a protein and two sides – then dessert. This is how you serve! So lets plan a holiday meal:

APPETIZER (choose 1-2): salad, assorted dips, hummus with toppings, sushi/tartare/crudo, nachos, tacos

ENTREE (choose 1 main, 1 starch and 1 vegetable or 1 main, 2 vegetables) : main (fish, chicken, meat), starch (rice, pasta, potatoes, couscous, farro), vegetable (cauliflower, asparagus, green beans, brussels sprouts, salad)

DESSERT: (choose 1) mousse, cake, cookies, fruit, sorbet, ice cream

fall harvest roast, Millennial Kosher, page 182

CHOOSE BUDGET FRIENDLY CUTS OF MEAT

Instead of following a recipe for a specific cut of meat, shop what’s on sale. Many cuts are interchangeable! The important thing to understand about how to cook meat is whether you DRY ROAST or BRAISE it. Tough cuts of meat require low and slow cooking in a braising liquid to help tenderize the meat, until it’s soft and falls apart. More tender cuts are cooked at high temperatures for a shorter period of time to firm up the muscles fibers. They’re usually served rare or medium rare, with a pink interior and a chewy texture. Therefore, if you are following a recipe for a braised brisket, but brisket is $21.99/lb., you can substitute a chuck eye roast at $15.99/lb. for any braised recipe. When it comes to braised meat – the simple rule to follow is that it’s ready when it’s fork tender – so put your fork in it and if it feels soft as butter, then it’s ready! If it’s still tough, keep cooking it for another hour, and check again. If you’re a meat novice, you’re definitely safer going with a braising cut, whereas dry roasted meat need more precision so as not to overcook (and a meat thermometer is recommended). It’s hard to overcook braised beef – 325 degrees for 3 hours is a good rule of thumb for a 3 lb. roast. Tougher cuts like 2nd cut brisket can sometimes use an additional hour or two.

Read my Guide to Purchasing and Preparing Kosher Meat for more information about different cuts of kosher meat. If you are unsure, ask your butcher if it’s a “braising” or “dry-roasting” cut.

Another great way to make the most of cheaper cuts of meat is to cook it in an instant pot/pressure cooker or to cook it sous vide – which tenderizes cheaper cuts.

Aside for purchasing budget friendly cuts, you can also get more bang for your buck by braising meat until pull-apart tender and then serving it in tacos, on a flatbread, or over nachos to stretch a small roast to serve many!

Additionally, you can get creative with the most budget-friendly cut – ground beef – and turn it into a festive appetizer or entrée. Some holiday-worthy ideas include: meatballs, single-serve empanadas or meat knishes with a mushroom sauce, spaghetti Bolognese, stuffed cabbage, shepherd’s pie, kofta kebabs, beef flatbread, moussaka.

sukkah onigiri

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX (OR BARN!)

You don’t need to make meat the star of every meal! Consider serving a dairy meal with shakshuka, frittata, quiche and a cheese board or serve a classic chicken paprikash with dumplings! You can do falafel or sushi in the sukkah. Themed meals are super fun over the course of the holiday.

ramen bowls, Millennial Kosher, page 182

MAKE IT A ONE-DISH-MEAL

With so many holiday meals, you don’t have to be so formal. Consider a one-dish-meal one night in the sukkah – like build your own ramen bowls (you can even use leftovers here!),  Yemenite chicken soup with freshly warmed pita, some schug and hummus, Unstuffed cabbage with little meatballs or a hearty mushroom barley soup.

leftover chicken soup pot pie

REPURPOSE YOUR LEFTOVERS

With meal after meal during the Chagim, waste not! use leftovers to your advantage. Here are some ideas:

•leftover roast can become: nachos, tacos, bourekas, pulled beef pizza/flatbread, shepherd’s pie, pulled beef sandwiches, eggrolls, wontons

•leftover chicken can become: chicken pot pie, chicken tortilla soup, chicken tacos, ramen bowls, chicken Caesar salad, Pad Thai, chicken wraps

•leftover fish can become: sushi salad, fish patties, fish tacos, fish nachos, salmon pasta salad, summer rolls

•leftover rice can become: fried rice, rice pancakes, arancini, risotto, tomato rice soup, bibimbap

•leftover pasta can become: pasta salad, kugel, minestrone soup, Asian noodles
•leftover mashed potatoes can become: shepherd’s pie, bourekas, gnocchi

USE THIS NOT THAT

Remember that recipes are just guidelines, you don’t need to follow them to a T (unless you’re baking, then it’s another story!). Substitute cheaper ingredients when you can. For instance, instead of getting sushi grade tuna for sushi salad, consider using kani (mock crab sticks). Use barley instead of farro or apples instead of figs and sliced almonds instead of pine nuts.

SHOP ON SALE

Be flexible with your menu and buy what’s on special. Most types of white fish are interchangeable in recipes, and as mentioned above, you can substitute many cuts of meat in a recipe as well.

drunken figs

BUY SEASONAL PRODUCE

Seasonal produce is cheaper because it’s abundant and more local  (when produce is out of season, they need to ship it in from tropical climates, making it more expensive).

HOST A POTLUCK

Invite over some neighbors or friends and have them bring a dish or two! Everybody wins!

Got more ideas for cooking Yom Tov on a budget? Comment with them below!

How to use Tajin


If you’re a fan of Trader Joe’s chili lime seasoning, you should know that it was inspired by the OG – Tajin! Tajin is a chili lime spice mix native to Mexico. You’ll find it used by street-side vendors throughout the region, sprinkled over tropical fruit like mangos, papaya and pineapple. Tajin has become a popular worldwide and is kosher certified.

Tajin Classico is their classic blend made from dehydrated chili, lime juice and sea salt. They also sell low sodium and habanero varieties as well as sauces to be drizzled over fruit and veggies. Tajin adds zing to fruit, veggies, popsicles, eggs, fish and poultry – it makes your mouth pucker with a bit of heat that is really refreshing. You can even get mini ones and attach them to gift jars of tropical fruit, like I did one year for Purim!

Here are some great ways to use it!

-Rim your cocktail glass with it. It pairs especially well with tequila!
-Sprinkle over fruits like watermelon, mango, peaches, papaya, pineapple, apples.
-Sprinkle over crunchy vegetables like jicama, cucumbers and carrots.
-Sprinkle over popsicles or sorbet like mango, lime, or coconut.
-Sprinkle over eggs, sunny-side-up style, deviled or soft boiled.
-Brush fresh broiled corn with mayonnaise or butter and roll in Tajin.
-Sprinkle over salmon before cooking.
-Make a dip with mayonnaise, tajin, garlic and lime juice.
-Add to panko or breadcrumbs for chicken fingers or fish sticks.
-Sprinkle over fried tortilla chips.
-Sprinkle over guacamole or avocado toast.
-Sprinkle over roasted chickpeas, cauliflower or potatoes.
-Sprinkle over popcorn.
-Mix into tuna salad.

Related Recipes:

vegan elote seasoning blend

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Halloumi Fries

Well it’s been just about 8 weeks since my last pre-Passover blog post, which means the holiday of dairy delights, Shavuot, is upon us. I’ve traveled to Prague, Berlin and London in that time and while I was able to put many feathers in my traveling cap, I am tired.

In between traveling, I’ve been editing and re-editing the manuscript for my upcoming cookbook, so when it comes to cooking, I’m a bit burnt out creatively! I’ve been drawing a lot of inspiration from my trips, like these Halloumi Fries which they sold in Camden Market in London, and I was determined to try them.

Halloumi is like a cross between feta and mozzarella, and the benefit of this cheese is that you can fry it! It’s delicious doused in all types of sauces (I had an amazing honey sriracha version at Kanteen in London) – but this Middle Eastern take really appealed to my tastes.

I don’t know what I loved better about making these – getting back behind the camera, and styling the shot or getting to eat it for lunch! I miss blogging and wish I had more time for it these days – but thank you for always coming back here and supporting BIB, I appreciate you!

Wishing you a Chag Sameach! XOXO

Related Recipes:

halloumi waffles with tomato jam and balsamic syrup
Greek salad with feta croutons
camembert en croute salad
brie marsala pizza

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