Tag: bbq

Bunless Fajita Dogs

What a week it’s been! I was lucky enough to attend a fabulous food photography class by Andrew Scrivani, food photographer extraordinaire and regular contributor to The New York Times. The class was hosted at the B&H Photo Event Space, which offers lots of free seminars and inspirational lectures. It was my first time going, and I’m definitely going to keep my eye out for more great workshops!

I took a lot out of the class, and I’m sharing it with you here, mostly in my pictures. Andrew spoke about many different aspects of food photography, but what really got me was how he said that our food photos should tell a story. They should evoke emotion in the reader, drawing them into the photo and the scene. I’m only fairly new to “decent” food photography, I’m slowly learning and growing with each blog post, but I really tried to incorporate that into these photos. Let me know what you think!

Now aside from the amazing food photography class, I also took part in a really fun fundraising event for the Ha’or Beacon school. I had never heard of Ha’or Beacon before, but just working with the thoughtful and caring staff on the Culinary for a Cause fundraiser, gave me a small glimpse into the type of people running the special needs school. Aside for a Chinese Auction, the entertainment for the evening was a roundup of cooking demonstrations by yours truly and a few other famous kosher foodies, including OvertimeCook, The Aussie Gourmet, Dini Delivers, Joy of Kosher Magazine Editor, Shifra Klein, and Victoria Dweck, cookbook author and editor of Ami Magazine.

Each of us was assigned a different course to demonstrate including Hors D’oeuvres, Appetizer, Entree, Side Dishes and Dessert. I made the hors d’oeuvres of mini Asian turkey sliders on a cauliflower bun with quick pickled cucumbers and spicy mayo. I really wanted to show people how easy it to make cauliflower-everything (rice, couscous, pizza crust and buns) so I decided on that dish. Needless to say, it was super fun and great to meet so many of my fans!

Now the one thing I didn’t do at the event, was eat. Yes, I tried my turkey sliders but Victoria’s braised short ribs were off limits, not to mention Dini’s quinoa-corn cakes and Miriam’s chocolate crepes. I’m going strong on The South Beach Diet, and I won’t cheat for ‘nothin!

In fact, I’ve really upped my ante by joining a fitness regimen at The Space Brooklyn. They are hosting a 60 day challenge, where they are encouraging participants to get healthy via the mind and body by doing 30 workouts in 60 days. Their amazing lineup of classes helps me mix it up, so that I’m not bored or dreading my workouts. So far I’ve done a yoga class, a circus arts class, a barre burn class, and pilates is on the schedule for tomorrow.

I’m charlie horse in muscles that I didn’t know existed, but I feel so strong and healthy! I’m looking forward to attending some of the other nutrition-based classes that they are featuring during the #30in60 campaign (one of which will include me and my spiralizer!)

So, back to the food, ‘cuz that’s what it always boils down to, right?! Today I’m sharing a favorite dish and a favorite trick. First, how on earth will I get through BBQ season on South Beach?! Well, I”ll tell you…BUNLESS HOT DOGS are the thing! Turning your hot,dog into its own bun is a diet lifesaver! You’ll be amazed at how a simple slit in your hot dog will open up when it’s heated and the filling possibilities are endless!

Fajita spiced peppers and onions are my absolute fave, and I’m sharing my own homemade spice mix below! With no carbs or MSG, it’s great on chicken or beef, perfect in tacos, and definitely over hot dogs. Finish with some sauerkraut (fermented foods are top of the food chain these days) and salsa, and you’ve got yourself a carbless meal that’s filling AND delicious!

Bunless hot dogs are best made with a nice hefty dog, so Abeles & Heymann’s knockwurst are my go-to. I love that they use natural nitrates found in celery and cherry, so there’s nothing artificial about them. In fact, ever since I went down to the factory for a tour, I don’t feel guilty about eating hot dogs at all. They start with real pieces of meat, not the fatty trimmings that I always imagined, to produce an extremely flavorful dog that is unmatched in the kosher industry. Quality and flavor? I”ll take two, please.

What’s your favorite way to top off your hot dog? Share it with me in the comments below!

This post is sponsored by Abeles & Heymann. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Other Hot Dog Recipes:

hot dog eggrolls
spiralized spud dogs
kid friendly dirty rice
fire roasted tomato rice stoup

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Spiralized Spud Dogs

Every since I got my spiralizer, my mind is racing with spiralized recipes. I can’t get enough! From fun curly fries, to healthy zoodle (zucchini noodle) dishes, and creative rice recipes, this compact machine is a powerhouse of possibilities!

What don’t I love about the spiralizer? It’s easy to use, requires little muscle and fits easily into my small kitchen. The blades tuck right into the machine for easy storage.

Sure, I have a julienne peeler, and even the vegemagic gadget, but they don’t come close to creating authentic-looking noodles with as much ease as the Paderno spiralizer. I’ve spiralized russet potatoes, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, beets, carrots, apples, cucumbers, and zucchini’s (my favorite!).

The great thing about spiralized veggies are the endless possiblities. Sure you can make noodles – but you can also pulse them in a food processor to make veggie “rice”. Or you can mix some noodles with spices and eggs and stuff them into ramekins to make “buns” or “latkes”. I weigh down the mixture with a can to form patties and pan-fry or bake until crispy and tender. I do the same to make a “pizza pie” or “rosti” in a frying pan. Such fun ways with veggies, right? It makes dieting SO much easier!

So enough about spiralizing in general…lets get into specifics! Would you look at these ADORABLE spud dogs??? How cute are they?!

Wrapped in spiralized potatoes, these crispy spud dogs are like french-fry-wrapped franks – two favorite BBQ dishes in one! I was SO excited when I came up with the idea – but I was equally lost by what to call them. So, I did what any blogger would do – I made a #NAMETHISRECIPE contest! My Instagram readers really pulled out all the stops on this one, with creative names like “The Tatered Dog”, Dog-Eat-Chips, “Doggie Fries”, SlinkyDog, “Twisty Frank”, FrankNFries, “Piggy In a Slinky”, “The French Dog”, DogNChips and more! But my all time favorite was “Spud Dog”, a name that both Esther Chase and Perry Wolff came up with. They both won a copy of my ebook and the title of an innovative new way to serve up an American favorite.

I think the best part of this recipe is that it’s not a recipe at all. You can make the potatoes thick or thin, or wrap them up in ribbon slices. Spice them up with your favorite french-fry seasoning, or keep them simple! Roast or pan-fry, fill or top them – any way you go, they’re sure to be a crowd-pleaser!


Other Labor Day BBQ recipes:

grilled marinated chicken
grilled corn with za’atar garlic butter
grilled chickpea burgers
portobello burgers with sundried tomato aioli
best BBQ potato salad

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Portobello Burgers with Sundried Tomato Aioli

When Dena from Chai & Home contacted me about a collaboration between Jewish bloggers to celebrate summer recipes, I was more than happy to join the team. I love the opportunity to work with and promote other bloggers, especially those that share the same traditions and customs as me. “A Very Jewish Summer Week” has been underway since Monday, with fun and exciting posts ranging from tablescapes to summer camp packages.

You can join in on the fun, by visiting the following blog posts:

Monday: Evoking Childhood Shabbat Memories on YentaMamas
Tuesday: Shabbat Style: Alfresco Orange Tablescape on Chai&Home
Wednesday: Summer Camp Care Packages on MadeByMamaleh
Thursday:  Grilled Portobello Burgers with Sundried Tomato Aioli by ME ;)
Friday: Ceviche & Champagne on Bisstyle. English translation here.

When I thought about what kind of recipe to post as part of a weeklong summerfest, I just knew it had to involve grilling. It doesn’t hurt that my newly purchased grill pan was waiting to be broken into! Well what better way to celebrate “A Very Jewish Summer Week” than with the  quintessential American summer food – burgers. Burgers, especially grilled ones on the BBQ, are a summer staple in our culture. When you think of summer BBQ’s – burgers and hot dogs are the very first things that come to mind. They cook up rather quickly on a hot grill, and paired with some fresh lettuce, tomato and onion, make the perfect summertime meal.

The only problem with featuring an authentic burger on “A Very Jewish Summer Week” is that as an observant Jew who keeps kosher, cheeseburgers are a no-no (we don’t eat milk and meat together). I’ve never been to McDonalds or Burger King, and I’ve never tried a slice of melted cheese on a beef patty.

So what’s a kosher blogger to do? I decided to celebrate both my Jewishness, and the joy of Summer BBQing with something even better. A grilled portobello burger with all the fixings. With the Nine Days (a period of mourning in which observant Jews abstain from eating meat). soon approaching, we’ll be thankful for this delicious vegetarian take on a summer classic!

Now, back why you’re all here. The burger. I decided on a portobello mushroom cheeseburger because thick and meaty portobellos are the perfect stand-in for beef in a vegetarian sandwich. They also lend themselves really well to grilling. To take this vegetarian burger over the top, I topped it off with some sundried tomato aioli, the perfect complement to grilled mushrooms. The addition of mozzarella cheese, beefsteak tomatoes, bitter arugula and red onions leaves nothing behind. One bite of this heavenly sandwich and you’ll forget what meat burgers are all about!

UPDATE 10/2/13: This recipe won 2nd place in The Mushroom Channel’s Swap It or Top It Contest. To watch me make the burger for News 12 Brooklyn, click here.

1 year ago: kid-friendly dirty rice
2 years ago: easy strawberry shortcake

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Grilled Chickpea Burgers

First of all, I’m happy to say that we are back in business. My very talented husband was able to recover most of the stuff off my faulty hard drive and I’ve learned a few important things along the way.

#1 Back up your stuff on an external hard drive or through dropbox.
#2 Don’t put too many pictures in one folder. Sort folders by date or topics.
#3 If you use windows, defragment and run a disc cleanup on your hard drive every month. You can do so by right clicking on your hard drive and clicking properties. Disc cleanup can be found under the general tab. Defrag can be found under the tools tab.
#4 If you like to surf the web for recipes like I do, chances are you have malware/spyware on your computer. Run software like Malware bytes weekly to get rid of all the junk that slows down your computer.

And now back to our scheduled programming…food! :)

I’m sure most of you are warming up the grill for a nice BBQ over this long holiday weekend. Hot dogs and burgers are the usual fare, but I’ve got something healthy, light, vegetarian, and positively delicious. Last week, my husband rounded the kids up for a trip to Costco on Erev Shabbos, while I put the finishing touches on our Shabbos menu. He returned with the usual fare – napkins, tissues, some produce and an extra special gift – an assortment of food magazines. In lieu of flowers that week, we drooled over tantalizing photos of delicious recipes I promised to make. From all the magazines (granted not the best selection at Costo), “Fine Cooking” stood out with the most delicious recipes, including a feature on “Going Meatless on the Grill”. I knew I had to try the Grilled Chickpea Burgers, so I heated up the BBQ on Sunday afternoon and got grilling!

If you like falafel, you’ll love these flavorful patties. Serve with coleslaw, Israeli salad, or sliced cucumbers and tomatoes. Charif, chumus and techina round out your meal, for the perfect meatless BBQ.

Happy Grilling!

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Lag Ba’omer – Best BBQ Potato Salad

I love Lag Ba’omer. Why do I love Lag Ba’omer? Well besides for the fact that it’s a good excuse for a BBQ, I love it because it makes me think of Meiron, which in turn makes me think of Israel, and Israel makes me feel like home. I spent seminary in the Holy Land over 10 years ago, and I just fell in love with its spiritual and physical beauty. Just looking at pictures of Jerusalem tugs at my heartstrings and I yearn to go back. When I got married, I told my husband, all I want is for you to take me to Israel! Well seven years and two children later, I got my wish. Last year we won roundtrip tickets (!) and we couldn’t imagine a better time to go then for Lag Ba’omer. We decided to spend Shabbos at Kibbutz Lavi in Tiveria, so that we could drive straight to Meiron after Shabbos. It turned out to be a beautiful hotel in an equally beautiful kibbutz, with nice accomodations and delicious food.

How can one describe the scene of Meiron on Lag Ba’omer? Thousands of people from every walk of life, pilgrimaging up the mountain towards the Rashbi’s holy kever…each person beseeching the tzaddik for their personal salvation, collectively asking for our redemption…a thousand glowing candles burning bright…prayers…tears…brotherhood…holiness…(I apologize for lack of pictures, but had I brought my good camera to Meiron, it would no longer be my “good camera”, but rather my “broken to pieces by throngs of people camera”).

As beautiful as it all sounds, practically speaking, it was anything but easy. We had two young children, a double stroller, thousands upon thousands of people, darkness (we went at night)…Going from parking lot to bus to the base of a verrrry steep hill which we needed to climb with our stroller. But we made it to the other side, and it was worth every push and shove!

After a late night in Meiron, we could not resist making the ascent to Tzfas to visit the kever of the Arizal. Tzfas is one of the four holy cities of Israel (Jerusalem, Chevron and Tiveria make up the other three), and it is truly magical. The scenery from the mountaintop, the ancient shuls and the holy sages that are buried there are just some of what makes the mystical city special.

Traditionally, we make bonfires on Lag Ba’omer to commemorate the light that the Rashbi brought to the world through his Torah learning. On our drive back down to Yerushalayim, we could not resist stopping for some “Al Ha’esh”. Decks, a beautiful restaurant located in Tiveria was the perfect spot to get our BBQ fix. It is situated on an extended Deck (hence the name) overlooking the kineret, making you feel as if you are on a boat. There are glass windows from ceiling to floor with blue crystal waters as far as the eye can see. Decks serves traditional Israeli fare, as well as an extensive “Al Ha’esh” menu which is served on a personal BBQ at your table. The food was incredible, the scenery breathtaking, and the day totally and completely unforgettable.

So, without further ado, in honor of the holiday of Barbeques, I give you my favorite BBQ potato salad recipe:

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