Category: Shabbos

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!

Shaved Brussels Sprout Salad

Gosh, it has been FOREVER. I almost feel like opening with a HELLO WORLD post, like I did in my very first blog post ever. Does anyone even blog anymore?

Well, in an Instagram poll recently, it turns out that people don’t go to blogs as much, although quite a number of you mentioned that you do, indeed, visit the blog, for all the oldiebutgoodies and just to search for recipes with ingredients you have on hand.


Also, the holidays. So many of you visit on the holidays. THANK YOU!!

Speaking of holidays, I hope you had a wonderful one all around. I did not manage to get over here with a Chanukah post. I even missed my 10 year blogoversary. That was a big one. LIFE. It’s hectic these days.

In case you haven’t heard, I was busy wrapping up the manuscript for book #2, so things have been hectic over here. Lots and lots of recipe testing, but sadly none that I can share. It’s been stressful, and taxing, but OH. SO. DELICIOUS. I cannot wait till you all get to cook from it! March 2023 baby!!

In the meantime, I’ve been on a salad kick. Actually more of a SELF CARE kick. My salad making has been more about NOURISHING than feeding myself and the results have been so worthwhile.

And now I get to share the amazing results with you because this salad is everything you want in one: SWEET, SALTY, TANGY, SPICY AND SMOKY!!! Can I get an amen???? Pass the brussels sprouts!

 

Related Recipes:

kale crunch salad
holiday salad
waldorf salad

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Bubby’s Marble Cake

I think about my Bubby a lot this time of year. Oh how I miss her. 

On the eve of Yom Kippur, just as we finished the first pre-fast meal, we’d walk over to her house to ask for a piece of lekach, or honey cake. This custom was instituted as a means of asking for something, in case it had been decreed that during the year one would need to resort to a handout from others, the decree would be satisfied with the asking for honey cake.

(Bubby’s recipe cards for Marble Cake)

One by one, my siblings and I would walk over to Bubby and whisper in yiddish, “Biteh ken ich huben lekach“, or “Please can I have a piece of honey cake”. We didn’t speak yiddish from home, but it was customary to ask in the yiddish language, and Bubby would wait patiently until we said it before handing us a piece wrapped in a white napkin. She would bless us with a myriad of blessings for the year, kissing our foreheads as the line to retrieve her cake wrapped in blessings continued to grow with cousins, aunts and uncles.

When my Zaidy was still alive, we were lucky enough to be blessed by his holy hands, as he cried and patted us on on the forehead in the way only he knew how.

On Sukkos, our house was permeated with the smell of Bubby’s stuffed cabbage and there was nothing like it. Her secret was adding ketchup to the meat mixture to keep it soft, sweet and juicy. And it was the BEST.

But really, Bubby was known for her cakes, and when my mom was growing up, she would always come home to a freshly baked cake after school each day. There was Bubby’s chocolate cake, her honey cake, blueberry pie cake, and of course, her marble cake. And I’m so proud to share a little piece of her with you all as I think of her this holiday season.

Chag Sameach!

Related Recipes:

Bubby’s challah kugel
Bubby’s cabbage soup with flanken

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Charcuterie Stuffed Figs

Leftovers! We all have a love/hate relationship with day-old food that we’ve already eaten. I mean we had it once, we enjoyed it, now why have it again, right?

Sunday night is usually our leftovers day because of all the food we have from Shabbosfest. I tend to repurpose the leftovers and find a new, fun way to serve them, because lets face it, the kids will turn their noses at it otherwise! It’s kind of a competition to me and I love to have fun with it – but we never touch it after the weekend.

Mondays is meatless in our house, and Tuesdays is for tacos (duh), which basically means anything with ground beef. Wednesdays I tend to make chicken, but it’s also the day that I’ll go through the fridge and see if there are any leftover ingredients that are going bad before I do my Thursday restock for Shabbat. If I have fruits on the fringe, I’ll know to make a fruit crisp for dessert and if my veggies are not quite crisp enough for salad, then there’s something with roasted veg on the menu.

This week, when I had leftover deli meat, and a couple of fresh figs, I came up with this sweet and salty appetizer – because that combo is my JAM! I won’t say how many I ate but it was many. And I could have probably eaten the whole tray in one sitting.

 

Related Recipes:

halva and ricotta stuffed figs
orange cardamom malabi with drunken figs

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