Stuffed Cabbage

There is a cabbage farm just a couple of miles from our house. I am glad it is not closer because at certain times of the year, it is painful to drive down that road – cabbage is a very “aromatic” crop – to put it mildy.


picture from Papen Farms Facebook page

Naturally, cabbage was in our CSA basket.

I had already made rye bread that day, so I would continue to channel my eastern european-ness and made stuffed cabbage for dinner.

Now THIS is comfort food!

I remember stuffed cabbage being an all day process for my mother, so I thought “why would I want to put myself through that?” While I was making this dinner for 3, I realized why hers took so long.  When she made it, she was typically cooking for a holiday meal of 40 people! No wonder it took all day! Trust me, this cooks for a long time, but the actual work time is well under an hour.

Stuffed Cabbage

adapted from Prakkes in Jewish Food – The World at Table by Matthew Goodman

1 medium cabbage, about 2 lbs (locally grown)


1 Tbsp canola oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 cup mushrooms, chopped (locally grown)

1 lb lean ground beef


1 1/2 cups tomato puree

1/3 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/3 cup red wine vinegar

1/3 cup water

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper


Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Add the cabbage to the pot and cook just a few minutes until the outer layers of leaves are pliable and can be removed without breaking (I sliced them at their base with a sharp paring knife to remove it). Place the removed leaves in a large bowl of cold water. Continue this process until you have 10 – 12 leaves removed. Save the rest of the cabbage for lining the pot.

Pat the leaves dry.  For large leaves, slice them in half, removing the center rib. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the the onion and mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft and the mushrooms are well browned. Remove from the skillet and place in a medium bowl.

Add the meat to the skillet and cook til browned, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon. Mix into the onion-mushroom mixture, season with salt and pepper. Let cool.

Line the bottom of a heavy pot or dutch oven with the leftover cabbage leaves.

Place about 1/4 cup of the filling in the center of a cabbage leaf.  Fold the sides of the leaf to trap the filling, the roll up the leaf to form a cylinder. Place in the pot, seam side down. Repeat with the remaining leaves.

In a medium bowl, combine the tomato puree, brown sugar, vinegar and water and season with salt and pepper. Stir to combine, taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour over the stuffed cabbage. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer, covered, until the cabbage is very tender, at least 1 1/2 hours.

Serve the stuffed cabbage with the sauce spooned over it.  Enjoy!

Serves 4.





Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe | Tags: | Leave a comment

Banana-Heath Bar Challah

I do not usually like candy in my challah, not even chocolate chips. But for the challah we would be taking on our Thanksgiving vacation with us, I wanted something decadent…so…banana in the dough and a filling of chopped bananas and heath bar pieces.


And, of course, it had to be shaped like a turkey. Or as my son said. “it’s just a triangle, mom.”

I warmed it before we ate it, and it was truly a treat.  Sweet enough, but not too sweet. Just right.

One of my birthday presents was reusable plastic bowl covers. No more plastic wrap on the bowls! Each step I can do to reduce my environmental impact makes me happy!

Banana-Heath Bar Challah

3/4 cup warm water

2 tsp active dry yeast

1 1/4 Tbsp honey

1/2 Tbsp sugar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

3 eggs, divided

1/4 cup canola oil

1 1/2 bananas, mashed

1 tsp Kosher salt

3 cups flour


1/2 banana, chopped

1 cup crushed heath bar pieces.


In a large bowl, mix the water, yeast, honey, sugar and brown sugar. Place in a warm spot and let sit for about 15 minutes, until the mixture begins to foam.

In a small bowl, mix 2 eggs, oil and mashed bananas.

Add to the yeast mixture. Add the flour and salt. Continue to mix and add more flour if necessary so the dough is no longer sticky.  Place the dough on a floured workspace and knead for about 5-10 minutes and form into a ball. Meanwhile, clean the bowl and soak in warm water.

Dry and oil the bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and roll it in the oil.  Cover with plastic wrap or a reusable plastic cover. Place in a warm place and let rise for 1 – 2 hours (or overnight in the fridge – my favorite) til the dough has doubled in size.

Punch down the dough, then knead in the chopped banana and 1 cup heath pieces.


Divide the dough and braid as you desire – or make a turkey🙂. Place on a parchment covered cookie sheet. Cover with plastic wrap or a damp clean dishtowel. Let rise for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F.

Beat the egg with 1/2 Tbsp water and brush over the dough. Bake for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature is around 180F.

Cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!





Categories: Bread, Recipe | Leave a comment

Khoresh Karafs Morgh – Persian Celery Stew with Chicken

The celery from my CSA basket was adding up, perfect for some Khoresh Karafs – Persian Celery Stew.


I can vividly recall the first time I had Khoresh Karafs; it was the first time I was in Tehran, and we were having dinner at my husband’s niece’s apartment. His sister made khoresh karafs for dinner. I was not excited at the thought of CELERY stew, but my husband was very excited. All it took was one taste – this is good stuff! Earthy, yet bright, and very satisfying, Persian comfort food.

Typically, khoresh karafs is make with beef, but I happened to have some chicken I had recently roasted, so I made khoresh karafs morgh. It turned out surprisingly good! I Iike it just as well with the chicken, and what a delicious use for leftovers!


Khoresh Karafs Morgh

Adapted from My Persian

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

1 lb of chicken (cooked & cut into bite-sized pieces)

1 onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 bunch scallions, chopped

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 head of celery (locally grown)

1 bunch of mint

1 bunch of parsley (from the garden)

2 Tbsp dried fenugreek

3 dried Persian limes

2 tsp advieh

salt & pepper


In a Dutch oven, heat 2 tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, scallions, and garlic until translucent.


Add add the chicken and turmeric. Season with salt and pepper, puncture the dried Persian lemons and add them and 3 cups of water.  Cover and cook while you work on the greens.


Cut the celery in pieces about 2 inches long. In a separate pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, add celery, and saute for about 5 minutes.

Rough chop the parsley and mint.


Add the celery, chopped herbs, advieh, and 2 cups of water to the meat pot.  Cover and cook on medium for 1 1/2 hours. Adjust seasoning.


Serve with rice and enjoy!

Serves 4-6

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe | Tags: | 1 Comment

Roasted Parsnip Bread Pudding

I harvested my parsnips last week.

I ended up with quite a nice crop, best one yet.

The first use was in a bread pudding I made for Thanksgiving, and it was one of our favorite sides (although nothing ever compares to the sweet potato casserole).


The bread pudding would also be good for a brunch, so I don’t feel the need to save it solely for a Thanksgiving dish. So I might as well go ahead and post it now.

Roasted Parsnip Bread Pudding

from Martha Stewart

1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (from the garden)

Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus 1 1/2 ounces (3 tablespoons), melted, plus more for dish

2 large leeks, white and pale-green parts only, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced, and rinsed well (about 3 cups)

1/3 cup dry white wine

2 tsp chopped dried thyme (from the garden)

2 cups heavy cream

5 large eggs

1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

1 loaf (12 ounces) brioche, crust removed and bread cut into 1-inch cubes


Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Drizzle parsnips with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast, shaking occasionally, until caramelized and tender, 23 to 25 minutes. Let cool. Reduce heat to 375.

Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a medium saute pan until melted. Add leeks, and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; add wine, and return to heat. Let simmer until reduced, 1 minute. Add thyme, and remove from heat. Stir in roasted parsnips.

Whisk together melted butter, heavy cream, eggs, and 3/4 cup Parmesan in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add leek-parsnip mixture, then fold in bread.Butter a shallow 2-quart baking dish, and pour parsnip mixture into dish. (Mixture can be refrigerated overnight.)

Cover loosely with parchment, then foil, and bake until golden brown and puffed, 50 minutes. Remove parchment and foil. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan, and return to oven. Bake for 10 minutes more.


Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.


Categories: Kosher, Parsnips, Recipe, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Shanghai Braised Beef with Turnips

Turnips from the CSA and beef from our local butcher; the makings for a dinner the men in our family would really enjoy.

I saved the turnip greens for a gumbo – that came out well, but not outstanding, we all decided it was good but not blog-worthy. But I love being able to use all parts of the vegetables that come in my CSA box.

But back to the turnips themselves.  They melded with the meat, it was a luscious and satisfying dish. There was not a drop left in the entire pot when dinner was done. That makes me very happy!

As you can see, I served this with Persian rice – I was outvoted by the overwhelming desire of my “diners” to have tadig – the crispy rice that comes with good Persian rice. But, really this should be served with a sticky rice.

Shanghai Braised Beef with Turnips

from Roots by Diane Morgan

3 Tbsp canola oil

1 1/2 cups scallions, thinly sliced

4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1 jalapeno chile, stemmed, seeded and minced

1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced

2 lb boneless beef chuck, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 2-inch chunks (locally raised)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp flour

1 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar

2star anise pods

1 1/2 inch piece cinnamon stick

1 tsp five spice powder

1/3 cup rice wine

2 cups beef broth

3 Tbsp soy sauce

1 lb turnips, peeled and cut into wedges (locally grown)

Cooked rice for serving


Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325F.

In a large dutch oven, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add 1 cup of the scallions, the garlic, jalapeno and ginger and cook, stirring, until tender and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Do not allow the garlic to burn. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the mixture to a plate.

Season the beef generously with salt and pepper and toss it in the flour til evenly coated. Return the pot to medium-high heat and add the remaining 1 Tbsp oil.  Working in batches, brown the meat on all sides, 6-8 minutes per side. Using tongs, transfer the meat to a rimmed baking sheet.

Pour off all but 2 Tbsp of the fat from the pot and return to medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar, star anise, cinnamon stick, and five-spice and stir until fragrant and the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Add the wine and stir to loosen the brown bits stuck to the pot bottom.  Bring to a simmer and reduce the liquid by half.

Return the onion mixture and the meat with any accumulated juices on the baking sheet to the pot. Add the stock and soy sauce and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Cover with a tight fitting lid, transfer to the oven and braise for 2 hours, stirring the meat once after 1 hour.  After 2 hours, add the turnips to the pot, stirring to submerge them in the liquid.

Re-cover, return to the oven and cook until the turnips are tender when pierced with a fork, about 30 minutes longer. The meat should be very tender. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Spoon the rice into shallow bowls and ladle the stew over the top, serve and enjoy! 

Serves 4

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe | Tags: | 1 Comment

Fig & Hazelnut Soda Bread

Flipping through the channels one night I came across The Great British Baking Show, specifically the Bread episode. I was hooked. But also, I saw some amazing soda breads being made. First on my list to try was the Fig and Hazelnut Rye Bread. I went to every store around me, but was not able to find rye flour.  Since I did not want to wait to order any through the mail, I decided to make a whole wheat version.


I made larger loaves, so I had to adapt the cooking time as well.

The bread was a hit for breakfast with some butter and jam.

My husband and I have also been seen putting nutella on it as well.img_4689

The evening after I made these, we had a beautiful Delaware sunset.

Fig & Hazelnut Soda Bread

adapted from The Great British Baking Show Fig and Hazelnut Rye Bread

250g bread flour

250g whole wheat flour

170g plain flour

2 tsp baking soda

20g light brown sugar

140g butter, softened

350g dried figs

200g hazelnuts

600-700ml buttermilk

50g sesame seeds to decorate

50g oats to decorate

1 medium egg, beaten with a tsp of water


Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Rub the flours, sugar and butter together to form bread crumbs. Stir in the bicarbonate.

Toast the hazelnuts, allow them to cool. Chop the figs and hazelnuts. Add the figs and hazelnuts to the flour mixture, stirring well.

Gradually add the butter milk until you have a fairly wet dough, you will likely need more than 600ml but less than 700ml.

Take half the dough and form into a large oval loaf on the parchment-lined baking tray. Repeat with the other half of the dough.Brush with beaten egg and sprinkle the seeds and oats on top. Bake for about an hour or until the bread is baked through and the crust is nicely browned.


Let cool on wire racks.  Enjoy!

Categories: Bread, Recipe, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Cold Cucumber Salad

One of the treats we get in our CSA basket is locally grown english cucumbers.

I loved pickles and pickling things, so I decided to try a riff on Trisha Yearwood’s cucumber salad.

As usual, the pickling liquid cooked up really fast, but it also created a great design in the pot. Check it out – look at that inner circle, it’s perfect.

I tasted it a couple of hours after I put it in the fridge, it was ok.  It really does need the overnight to really pickle. It was great the next day! Refreshing and light with just the right amount of ‘pickle’!

Cold Cucumber Salad

Adapted from Trisha Yearwood

2/3 cup white vinegar
1 cups sugar
2/3 teaspoon dill seeds
3 oz vegetable oil
1 english cucumber, sliced (locally grown)
1/2 red onion, thinly sliced in rings
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced


Place the cucumbers, onion and bell pepper in a large bowl.

In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the vinegar, sugar, dill seeds, vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat and allow to cool, about 20 minutes.

Toss the vegetables with the liquid mixture.

Refrigerate overnight.

Serve cold and enjoy!

Serves 4

Categories: Cucumber, Recipe | 3 Comments

Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

Time to use another section of my giant crookneck squash.


I roasted about 2/3 of the neck and since I only needed 2 1/2 cups of pulp, it was still too much , so I will need to find another use for the couple of extra cups of pulp. Since even just the plain roasted pulp was delicious, that will not be a difficult thing to do.

I used the squash in place of butternut for these lasagna roll ups. The squash is the base for both the filling and the sauce.

They were delicious!

Butternut Squash Lasagna Roll Ups

Slightly adapted from Proud Italian Cook

1 butternut squash (or part of a crookneck squash), enough to get 2 1/2 cups of pulp (locally grown)

10 cooked lasagna noodles


2 cups of squash pulp

1 cup ricotta

¼ cup of cooked, chopped spinach, measured after it is drained well

½ cup of grated parmesan

⅓ cup of grated asiago

1 egg (locally raised)

1 small garlic clove grated on a microplane

Kosher salt and pepper to taste


½ cup of reserved squash pulp, pureed smoother than the pulp for the filling

2 shallots, finely diced (I used 1 shallot and 2 very small onions from my garden)

½ stick, unsalted butter

1 small bunch of sage leaves (from the garden)

¾ cup of stock, I used vegetable

¾ cup of cream

½ cup of grated parmesan

Kosher salt and pepper to taste


Prepare the squash ahead of time (you can even do it the day before and refrigerate it until ready for use).  Cut lengthwise, with skin still on, remove seeds and roast the squash, cut side down at 350 degrees until tender and a knife goes through with ease, close to an hour. Let it cool, then scoop out pulp.


Mash 2 cups of the squash pulp into small chunks, making it easy for spreading.

Add in ricotta, egg, cheeses,grated garlic, zest, salt and pepper.

Mix together well, then fold in spinach until incorporated.


In a medium-sized skillet, saute the shallots in the butter with the sage leaves until slightly golden.

Remove the sage leaves, then add the broth and whisk in the ½ cup of the well pureed squash that was reserved until nice and smooth on low heat.

Whisk in the cream and add the grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.


Place a little sauce on the bottom of a shallow baking dish.

Spread about 3 tablespoons of filling on each cooked lasagna noodle.

Roll up and place them seam side down in the baking dish.

Spoon sauce on top of each lasagna roll up, plus grate a little parmesan cheese on top of each. Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes, sauce will be set and top will be slightly golden.

Serve topped with some sauce and enjoy!!

Serves 4-5.

Categories: Butternut Squash, Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Spinach, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Bereketei – Ethiopian Sabbath Bread

For first Shabbat after the election and I decided that I would feed my soul by baking bread. A good long process of baking bread…a sourdough. And I would celebrate not only diversity, but the diversity within my religion and make Bereketei – Ethiopian Sabbath Bread.

One of the first steps was to toast some fenugreek seeds.  I never cooked with fenugreek seeds before.  I use dried fenugreek leaves in Persian cooking, but not the seeds.

Well, I was in for such a  pleasant surprise – when I put the toasted seeds in the grinder with some salt, a wonderful aroma rose up as I the grinder whirred! I called my daughter over to smell it, and she said it smelled like matzoh ball soup. You know what? She was right, that was exactly what it smelled like! And it is what the house smelled like as the bread baked. Warm and comforting.

It was just what I needed.

A note: this is an all-day baking process that starts the night before, so be prepared.

Sourdough Bereketei
adapted from Maggie Glezers’ A Blessing of Bread
1/2 cup very active fully fermented sourdough (refreshed 8-12 hrs earlier)
60 grams warm water
about 1 cup white whole wheat flour
Seed Mix:
1 tbs. fenegreek seeds
1 tbs + 1 tsp kosher salt
5 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cups warm water

Seed mix

The evening before baking:
Feed your sourdough around 12 hours before you intend to start baking.
Baking Day:
Place the flour in a large bowl, stir in the water and let sit for 20 minutes.
While that sits, make the seed mix. Important – turn on the exhaust fan and toasting the fenugreek seeds in a small pan over medium heat. The seeds will turn darker brown and turn fragrant (do not touch the seeds with your hands before they are mixed with the salt or it will become bitter.) Let the seeds cool and place in a spice grinder with the salt until coarsely crushed. Set aside.
Add the starter and the seed mix to the flour mixture.
Turn out onto your work surface and knead until until it is well mixed and fairly smooth.
Place it in a warmed, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it ferment for 2 hours.
Place parchment on a large baking sheet. Divide the dough in half  and shape into tight round loaves. Cover with plastic and let rise until tripled in size about 5 hours. About 1/2 hour before baking, place a baking stone in the upper 1/3 of the oven and heat to 425F.
Turn on the exhaust fan again. Bake for 35-40 minutes.After the first 20 minutes, rotate the loaves. Let cool on a wire rack. Enjoy!
Makes 2 loaves.



Categories: Bread, Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | 3 Comments

Minestrone for an Autumn Day

I went to one of our local farm stores and found this…

It’s a crookneck squash, and it is gigantic! It is about the size of 3 or 4 butternut squashes! So you will likely be seeing this, or parts of it, a few times over the next few weeks. This recipe used just 1/2 of the bulb section.

We also dove into out CSA box and pulled out some collard greens.

My daughter and I had been to one of my favorite Persian kabob restaurants in DC today, so I wanted a light dinner.  Time for some minestrone soup.

When you look at my pictures below, feel free to chuckle at the size pot I used. I don’t know what I was thinking.

Minestrone Soup

adapted from Cooking Classy

2 medium carrots, diced

1 medium onion, chopped

1 Tbsp olive oil

3 cloves garlic, minced

6 cups vegetable stock

2 1/2 cups 3/4-inch diced yukon gold potatoes

2 1/2 cups 3/4-inch diced crookneck or butternut squash (locally grown)

1 medium zucchini, sliced into half-moons or quarters

1 – 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 tsp dried oregano (from the garden)

1 tsp dried thyme (from the garden)

2 bay leaves

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2-inch parmesan rind

2/3 cup dry ditalini pasta

2 cups packed chopped collard greens (ribs removed)

1 – 14.5 oz can cannelini beans, drained and rinsed

Shaved parmesan cheese, for serving


Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and carrots and saute 3 minutes then add garlic and saute 1 minute longer.

Stir in vegetable broth, potatoes, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves, pamesan rind and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Bring to a boil then and stir in pasta if using. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and and simmer for 10 minutes, add the collard greens. Cover and cook another 5 minutes. Stir in the cannelini beans and cook until collard greens are tender, about 5 minutes longer. Remove bay leaves

If you want a thicker soup, use an immersion blender for about 10 seconds.

Serve warm topped with shaved parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

Serves 6 – 8.

Categories: Butternut Squash, Carrot, Kosher, Recipe, Soup, Vegetarian, Zucchini | Tags: | Leave a comment

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