Monthly Archives: March 2015

Homemade Horseradish

My Uncle Heshey used to bring freshly grated horseradish to our Seder each year. Of course, as a child, I dreaded the dipping of the matzoh into the horseradish.  But as I grew older, I grew to appreciate he sinus clearing properties of horseradish.  It “hurt so good.”

This year, I was inspired to make my own horseradish.


It was actually quite simple, and turned out very well. It all starts with a simple root…


And it all happens in the food processor – horseradish, vinegar, sugar, salt and a little white wine.


Gefilte fish, here we come!

Homemade Horseradish

1 horseradish root (about 1/2 lb)

1/3 cup white vinegar

2 Tbsp white wine (optional)

1 tsp sugar

Kosher salt


Peel the horseradish.


Cut it into small pieces.


Process the horseradish until it is fine. You will be processing it more, so it doesn’t need to be superfine at this point.


Add the vinegar, wine, sugar and salt and process until combined.


Store in a glass jar in the fridge. Press it down so that the horseradish is in the liquid, so the top does not dry. “Enjoy.”






Makes about 1  cup.

Categories: Jewish Holiday, Kosher, Passover, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

Smoked Salmon Salad Sandwich on Challah

I finally accepted that I am fated to not have a dry weekend for my husband to till my garden for me.  I have an irrational fear of the using roto-tiller, so I picked a dry weekday and decided to hand till (yes, using the hoe) the area I needed to get my early plants and seeds in.  I had already set up a trellis for sugar snap peas outside the garden, so they have a few days head-start.  In the garden proper are now parsnips, spinach, kale, cauliflower, bok choy and carrots alongside the garlic and strawberries from last year. It feels good getting the plants and seeds in, but I am not looking forward to all the weeding I will have to do – hand tilling is just not as effective a way to start off.

Of course, after the garden work, I was not in the mood to cook, so it was a simple dinner.  I decided to create my own version of the sandwich I had the night I left for Norway. A salmon salad with tarragon and marinated tomatoes on a brioche roll.


My version used a good smoked salmon, tarragon mayonnaise and marinated tomatoes on challah.


Smoked Salmon Salad Sandwich on Challah

4 roma tomatoes, sliced

1 Tbsp olive oil

Kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper

Challah, sliced

1 lb smoked salmon

3/4 cup mayonnaise

3 Tbsp chopped fresh tarragon

1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar


The night before, slice the tomatoes about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick. In a small bowl, toss with the olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate until ready to use (you can take them out a little earlier to come to room temperature).


In another small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, tarragon and vinegar.  Set aside.


Break the salmon into bite sized pieces and place in a medium bowl.


Add enough of the mayonnaise mixture to the salmon to the taste and texture you want.


Spread the salmon on the challah, top with tomatoes and season to taste.


Serve and Enjoy!


Serves 4.



Categories: Kosher, Recipe, Sandwich | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Spice-Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes and Cauliflower

If you have been wondering what the picture in the header of the blog is, here is the post to answer the question… Jerusalem artichokes I dug out of the garden last week.


When I went out to the garden to check the plants, expecting that the crop would be a failure due to really soggy ground all winter.  To my surprise, I dug out 4 1/2 lbs of very dirty, but very nice tubers.


After some intense hose work, I had a tray of beautiful Jerusalem artichokes.


First dish…Anne Burrell’s Spice-Roasted Cauliflower and Jerusalem Artichokes, spiced with cumin and cayenne.



Totally delicious!

Spice-Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes and Cauliflower

By Anne Burrell

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-size florets

1 pound Jerusalem artichokes, cut into 1-inch dice (from the garden)

Extra-virgin olive oil

Kosher salt

1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Finely chopped fresh chives, for sprinkling (I did not have any in the house)


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower and Jerusalem artichokes; toss them generously with olive oil and salt.


In a small bowl, combine the cumin and cayenne and add to the vegetables. Toss well to thoroughly combine.


Spread the veggies on a baking sheet in one even layer-use two baking sheets, if necessary.Roast 20 minutes, then stir the veggies so they have the chance to brown all over and rotate the pan to ensure even cooking.


Roast another 20 minutes, then stir and rotate again. Roast the vegetables for an additional 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are brown, tender and smell wonderful-almost like popcorn! If they aren’t lovely and brown, let them continue to roast for another few minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning, if necessary.


Remove the veggies from the oven, sprinkle with chives and transfer to a serving dish. Serve immediately. Enjoy!


Serves 2 – 4.

Categories: Cauliflower, Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

Cashew Sesame Energy Bars

It is that time of year again.  I am training for my next half marathon – the Delaware half on Mothers Day.


I have been fighting tendon pain in my left leg, so I have been training on the Nordic Trak, which does not irritate it the way running does.  I even did 8 miles on the Nordic Trak a couple of weeks ago (talk about tedium, but I watched a movie while I did it). Today I will be hitting the road again for the first time for a 9.5 mile run.  I am a bit nervous.

To help me get in the mood, I made some new energy bars. I got the recipe from Runners World magazine, but it appears the recipe is also from Bon Appetit magazine. Either way – it’s a winner.  I am not sure if it is one I will bring running, if I do I will cut it into nugget size.  But it is great for either before or after… or both.


They are very healthy, and the crunchiness is a textural change from my typical almond date energy bars.  The main ingredients… raw cashews and sesame seeds that you roast to kick things off.


from Runners World & Bon Appetit “Crunchy Cashew Sesame Bars”

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

cups cashews

6 tablespoons raw sesame seeds

5 tablespoons flaxseed (I used milled flaxseed, so I did not roast it, if you use whole flaxseed, also roast them)

¼ cup wheat bran

¾ teaspoon kosher salt

¼ teaspoon ground cardamom

½ cup pure maple syrup

1 tablespoon coconut oil

Process cashews and remaining seeds with wheat bran, salt, and cardamom in a food processor until mostly finely chopped. Place in a medium bowl.

Bring maple syrup and coconut oil to a boil in a small saucepan; cook, stirring, 1 minute. Pour over cashew mixture and stir to coat.

Press mixture firmly into prepared pan with wet hands (it will be sticky). Top with reserved seeds; press to adhere. Bake until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Let cool, then cut into bars. Enjoy!
Do Ahead: Bars can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.





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

My Two Adopted March Holidays – St. Patrick’s Day and Persian New Year

As I am busy preparing mentally and physically for Passover, I am taking a break out for “my” two March holidays – St. Patrick’s Day and Persian New Year (Nowrooz). Why are they mine?

St. Patrick’s Day – Well that is simple…I grew up in New York City, and all New Yorkers are Irish on St. Patty’s Day! So I was typically the host of my college St. Patty’s Day parties and my Romanian father made corned beef and cabbage every year. But, I also have 2 half-Irish daughters, so my Irish ties have run even deeper for the past quarter century. I traditionally make their grandmother’s Irish Soda Bread

irish soda bread7

This year’s celebration included a quick version of corned beef, cabbage and noodles (see recipe below).

Persian New Year (Nowrooz) – My newest holiday came into my life with my Persian husband around 16 years ago. Every year it sneaks up on me.  So, on the 20th I will be making his favorite traditional dinner Sabzi Polo ba Mahi

sabzi polo10

Corned Beef and Noodles with Cabbage -Quick Version

Adapted from Michael Simon

1/2 Lb High quality deli Corned Beef, sliced

1 Yellow Onion (chopped)

1/2 Head Green Cabbage (sliced) (locally grown)

2 tablespoons Grainy Mustard

1 Lb Egg Noodles

1 tablespoons Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

1 tablespoons Butter


Cook egg noodles to package directions.

Meanwhile, in a large covered skillet oven over medium high heat add 1 tablespoon butter and olive oil. When the butter has melted add onion and pinch of salt. Sweat onions for about 2 minutes.


Add sliced cabbage to pot and add another pinch of salt. Put lid on pot and cook for 3 minutes.


Remove lid and add the beef with pepper, to taste. Mix well to combine.


Add noodles and mustard and toss everything together.


Serve immediately and Enjoy!


Serves 5.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe | Tags: | 2 Comments

Spinach Stuffed Shells

When I was a child, I was a horrible eater, so picky.  One of my daughters was also a picky eater, and it was a real hassle, but she was easy compared to me.  My poor mother, there were so few dinners I would eat; I struggle to think of more than 5.  Often, she resorted to pancakes or cereal – maybe that is why, to this day, I love breakfast for dinner?  Eventually, when I hit my teens, she was slowly able to add to my dinner menu.  One of the hits that worked for both me and my almost pickier brother was spinach stuffed shells.


Over the years, I have evolved the dish, changing the cheese to whole milk rather than part-skim, changing the ratios of spinach to cheese, changing sauces.  But it is still a very easy, very tasty dinner that also served me well with my picky daughter who wouldn’t eat anything green but the green in here was ok.  I make the marinara sauce, but you can use jarred sauce; I use creamed spinach, I like it best, but you can also use chopped spinach if you can’t find creamed.


Spinach Stuffed Shells

12 oz pkg Jumbo shells

9 oz pks frozen creamed spinach

15 ox container whole milk ricotta cheese

8 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

3 1/2 cups marinara sauce


About 1  – 1 1/2 hours before you plan to serve dinner, prepare the shells according to package directions.  Rinse and drain.

Prepare the creamed spinach, open the package, cool.


Heat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, mozzarella, salt, pepper and spinach.


Pour the sauce into a 9 x 13 pan.  Stuff the shells.


Add the shells to the dish.


Bake for 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!


Serves 6-8.


Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Pasta, Recipe, Spinach, Vegetarian | 1 Comment

Pasta with Kale and Garden Frustration

Ah, I wish I wasn’t writing this post.  Note: if you don’t want to read it, skip to the last paragraph for the link to a great recipe.  I am writing while sitting in my bed after 3 days and nights of illness.  I am still not allowed or eat with, little less cook for, my family.  I don’t want any of them to catch this from me. I finally have some energy and was able to get outside to walk the dog.  But mostly I am confined to my room and am bored and frustrated.

I am frustrated since I checked my garden while I was outside today.  The soil is so wet, I am worried for the root vegetables that have overwintered. And with more rain expected, tilling will not happen any time soon.  I would normally have tilled last weekend but the garden was buried in snow.  I would normally have either planted my early vegetables then or be doing it this weekend.  If I can’t get them sown by the end of the month, I may have to forgo the truly cold weather crops like peas and snap peas.  I guess I could try planting them as a fall crop, but I have not had luck with that in the past.  One hopeful possibility is that I may be able to find another place to plant them outside the garden where I may be able to get them in sooner; they are some of our favorites and I would hate to miss them.

Snap Pea, Carrot, Avocado, Tomato & Feta Pasta 1

I am bored because my head is not ready for reading and there is only so much TV and so many movies I can watch without getting headaches.  But I have caught up on every series I like and even watched Foxcatcher (Steve Carrell was incredible, but since it took place near here, I remember the event. I found the move really disturbing – because it was very well done).

Steve Carell in “Foxcatcher.” Credit Scott Garfield/Sony Pictures Classics

I must say I have been well taken care of.  Between my husband and our daughter, Lauren, who is home on Spring Break, I have been kept hydrated and fed as much BRAT food, chicken soup and eggs as my body would take.  Tonight, I was finally ready for a real meal. I had some nice organic kale that was sitting in my fridge waiting to be used.  I also had a very simple Daphne Oz pasta recipe that had plain enough ingredients that I could eat it.  I emailed it to my husband, who emailed it to Lauren. Her first time making dinner for us.  I did some coaching via text, but she was basically on her own, I was to stay in the bedroom so as not to contaminate the house.  About 1/2 hour later, my dinner appeared – it smelled perfect, looked great and tasted delicious!  The only problem was that they gave me a generous portion and, since I hadn’t eaten much food at one time, I had to force myself to in it in increments when what I really wanted to do was wolf it all down.  Great job, Lauren!


Categories: Kale, Recipe | Leave a comment

Black Beans and Rice

There is something very satisfying about this cross between Cuban, Costa Rican and Mexican beans and rice.

I fell in love with rice and beans in Costa Rica; what a great side dish for breakfast.  But it is more versatile than that, it can be eaten as a side dish with fish or chicken. But I have to say that I do like it best with fried eggs.


Black Beans and Rice

1 1/2 cups long grain rice
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 red pepper, minced
1 small onion, minced
5 cloves garlic (from the garden), minced
1 Tbsp cumin
½ Tbsp dried oregano (from the garden)
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
½ tsp kosher salt
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 ½ cups chicken stock


Heat the oven to 350F.

Put the rice in a mesh colander and rinse under cold water til the water runs clear, about 1 minute. Set aside.

In a Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Cook the red pepper and onions, stirring frequently, until tender and starting to brown.


Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.


Add the cumin, oregano, tomato paste and stir 1 minute. Add the rice and stir to coat, 1 minute.


Add the beans, salt, vinegar and chicken stock. Heat to a simmer.


Cover and put the pot in the oven. Cook for 30 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.


Fluff with a fork and serve. Enjoy!


Serves 4-6.





Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Recipe | Tags: | Leave a comment

Really Yummy Brussels Sprouts for Two

I am really looking forward to spring vegetables.  I love winter squashes, sweet potatoes, and cabbage, but I am really ready for the freshness of the bright green spring veggies.  One winter vegetable I never seem to tire of, however, is Brussels Sprouts.  I love roasted Brussels sprouts, pan seared, steamed; I have even been known to chow down of fresh sprouts (but that is only fun because I can eat them leaf by leaf, it doesn’t really taste great).  I am not one to typically but pre-sliced or pre-cut vegetables, but I happened to find pre-sliced Brussels sprouts at the market and I couldn’t resist them.  So it was time to caramelize some Brussels Sprouts!


This is so simple, fast and tasty.  We had them along side eggs for a quick, light and healthy dinner.

Really Yummy Brussels Sprouts for Two

1/2 Tbsp Safflower Oil

2 cups sliced Brussels Sprouts

2 cloves garlic, minced (from the garden)

Kosher salt, freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup water

sprinkling of lemon or lime juice


Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat.

Add the Brussels Sprouts and garlic, sprinkle with some salt and pepper and stir to coat with oil.


Cook until beginning to caramelize, about 7 – 10 minutes.


Add water and cook about 2 more minutes.  The Brussels sprouts should be vibrant green and still have a little bite to them.  Do not over cook or they will become mushy and a bit bitter.  Check seasoning and serve.  Enjoy!


Serves 2.

Categories: Kosher, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 2 Comments

Kulich – a Russian Purim Challah

They tried to kill us…we survived…let’s eat! Ah, the story of many a Jewish holiday.  And Purim is no exception. The most familiar food is hamantaschen, or Haman’s hats.


Russian Jews also make a sweet Challah braided to symbolize the rope Haman was going to use to hang Mordechai, but was instead used to hang Haman.  I decided to bake a kulich this year –  a 6-strand braid.



So…let’s eat!


½ cups warm water

1 T dry yeast

½ cup sugar

3 eggs

½ t salt

½ cup vegetable oil

3-4 cups flour

Sesame seeds for sprinkling


Pour water into mixing bowl, and sprinkle with yeast and sugar. Wait ten minutes until bubbly.

Add 2 eggs, salt, oil and half the flour. Mix (by hand or with an electric mixer with bread hook attachment) until combined. Add more flour, a little at a time, until dough is smooth and elastic.

Place in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise one hour. Briefly knead dough, then let rise, covered, for another hour.

Divide dough into six parts,


and roll each into long strands.


Pinch together at one end, then braid the strands. (Alternate crossing the right strand over the three to its left, then the left strand over the three to its right.)


Pinch together at the bottom when done.


Place on a cookie sheet, cover, and let rise one more hour. Beat remaining egg, and brush it over the loaf to glaze. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Preheat oven to 350 F, and bake approx. 45 minutes, until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Enjoy!


Makes one large loaf.








Categories: Bread, Kosher, Purim, Recipe, Vegetarian | Tags: | 4 Comments

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