Monthly Archives: September 2015

Cousin Bentzi’s Noodle Kugel

How many ways can you say “yum!”? I think this may be my favorite noodle kugel recipe ever.

I guess is should give you some context. My cousin Bentzi lives in Israel and we have never met. But we have bonded over our mutual love of cooking and feeding people.

He sent me his recipe for noodle kugel, which was translated from Hebrew. As I was about to make it, I realized that I did not understand some of the translation, so I have probably tweaked his recipe a bit.  I guess this is my version of Bentzi’s noodle kugel.

It was a hit even with family members who do not usually like noodle kugel.


Cousin Bentzi’s Noodle Kugel

1 lb package of wide egg noodles

1 stick butter, softened and cut into small cubes

3 eggs, beaten (locally raised)

4 – 5 Tbsp apricot preserves (or plum or peach)

1/2 Tbsp cocoa

2 – 3 Tbsp flour

1 cup walnuts, chopped

1 apple, peeled and grated (locally grown)

1 cup raisins, prunes and dried apricots, coarsely cubed (I also used dried pears)

3/4 cup sugar

1/8 – 1/4 cup cinnamon-sugar for sprinkling on top 


Preheat the oven to 350F.  Line a baking dish with parchment paper (you can use either a 9×13 pan or loaf pans)

Cook the noodles according to package directions (til al dente). Drain and place in a large bowl with the butter (you can also toss them with a little oil first, I didn’t and the noodles did not stick together).

Add all the other ingredients except the cinnamon sugar. Mix well.

Transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake until a deep golden brown, 30 – 35 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature and enjoy!

Categories: Apples, Kosher, Pasta, Recipe, Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Fresh Lima Bean Gratin

I was not able to get lima beans planted this year and I have been really missing having had a lima bean harvest.  So, when Cam and I went to the farm store, we both jumped on the bushels of lima beans.  Now that I have so many beans in my refrigerator, I need to shell them and figure out new ways to use them (although I am always tempted to do my never say never again’ lima beans, we all love it).

I made a dent in the beans today with this gratin.  It needed 4 cups of shelled beans.

The recipe called for making it in individual ramekins, which I do not have, so I made it as one large casserole.

It was very tasty and, combined with a salad, made a very satisfying dinner.

On a funny note, I decided to try another new (or so I thought) recipe as a side dish for Rosh Hashanah – Tok Cel Lima Beans.  As I was making them I realized that they seemed really familiar…very familiar.  So, before I wrote a new post I did a search.  I made the exact recipe last summer – Roasted Lima Beans!  Well, they were every bit as good this time!

Fresh Lima Bean Gratin

adapted from Grace Parisi in Food & Wine Magazine

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, 1 tablespoon melted

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound shallots, halved if small, quartered if large

8 thyme sprigs (from the garden)

Salt and freshly ground pepper

4 cups shelled lima beans (1 1/4 pounds) (locally grown)

1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 cups half-and-half

1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (locally grown)

1/2 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)

1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley (from the garden)


Preheat the oven to 425°. In an ovenproof dutch oven, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter in the oil. Add the shallots and thyme, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat for 1 minute. Cover tightly and roast for about 30 minutes, until very tender.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan of salted water, cook the limas until just tender, 5 minutes. Drain and cool under running water. Spread on paper towels and pat dry.

Transfer the shallots and thyme to a plate; leave as much fat in the pan as possible. Strip the thyme leaves from the sprigs and return to the shallots.

Lower the oven to 375°. Add the flour to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, whisking, for 1 minute. Add the half-and-half and simmer until thickened, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the limas, shallots, thyme and tomatoes; season with salt and pepper. 

In a bowl, toss the panko and parsley with the 1 tablespoon of melted butter; sprinkle over the gratins.

Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Turn on the broiler and broil for 2 minutes, just until browned.Let the gratins rest for 10 minutes before serving. Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4 – 6


Categories: Kosher, Lima Beans, Main Dish, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Kale Salad

Something has been eating the fall plants in my garden. Although the plants are atill small, the other day I harvested as much kale and Swiss chard as I could. I washed them, placed them in a single layer on paper towels, rolled them up, placed them in a plastic bag in the fridge.

That was almost a week ago.  Tonight I used the kale in a salad, and the texture and freshness of the kale was perfect.

I made a champagne vinaigrette, inspired by a sherry vinaigrette I found in the Edible Pioneer Valley magazine. It went perfectly with the kale. A definite keeper in my salad dressing arsenal.

Kale Salad

4 cups kale, stems removed and leaves torn into bite-sized pieces (from the garden)

1/4 cup dried cherries

1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Champagne Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp champagne vinegar

1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

3/4 tsp soy sauce

3/4 tsp Dijon mustard

3/4 tsp Kosher salt

1/2 Tbsp fresh Thyme leaves (from the garden)

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 shallot, minced


Make the dressing – in a blender, puree the vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, mustard, salt and thyme leaves.  With the blender running, add the olive oil. Pour into a covered jar and add the shallots, shake well.

Make the salad – Toss the kale, dried cherries and parmesan in a bowl.

Toss with some of the dressing.  If it seems too dry, add more dressing.

Serve and enjoy! We had ours with salmon cakes from Tori Avey.

Serves 2 – 4.

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

Pasta with Kale Pesto and Roasted Butternut Squash

Time to use the first of the butternut squash from my garden.  

It was “parents night out”, with Cam spending the evening at Tae Kwan Do. So, our version of night out – a good dinner, a walk with the dog, and a movie rental.  We finally watched The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel – what a treat!

But I digress; our dinner was so pretty and colorful.  And equally tasty.  This was a another great recipe from Melissa Clark. I have really been enjoying trying her recipes.

Pasta with Kale Pesto and Roasted Butternut Squash

By Melissa Clark

1 ½ pounds butternut squash (from the garden)½ cup extra virgin olive oil, more for drizzling

¾ teaspoon kosher salt, more for squash

Freshly ground black pepper

1 small bunch (about 1/2 pound)lacinato kale, center ribs removed

8 ounces pasta (penne rigate works well)

cup toasted pine nuts

2 large garlic cloves, roughly chopped (from the garden)

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

Freshly squeezed lemon juice, to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese, for serving


Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Use a vegetable peeler to peel squash, then halve it lengthwise and scoop out seeds. Dice squash flesh into 1-inch pieces, place on a baking sheet, and toss with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread pieces into an even layer, making sure there is space between them.Roast, stirring squash pieces once or twice, until golden brown and tender, about 30 minutes.Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; have ready a bowl of ice water. Drop kale into boiling water and cook for 45 seconds. Use tongs or slotted spoon to transfer kale to ice water.Bring water in pot back to a boil, adding more if necessary so there is enough to cook pasta. When water in pot comes back to a boil, cook pasta according to package directions.

Drain kale well, then wrap tightly in a dry kitchen towel and squeeze thoroughly to remove any excess moisture. Roughly chop leaves.

In a food processor, pulse together kale, nuts, garlic, salt and lemon zest until mixture is smooth and salt has dissolved. With motor running, slowly drizzle in the oil until fully incorporated. Taste and add more salt dissolved in a little lemon juice, if necessary.

Drain pasta, reserving a little cooking water. Toss pasta with kale pesto and some pasta cooking water if necessary to help it coat pasta. Add cheese, lemon juice and salt to taste.Serve topped with squash and more cheese and Enjoy!

Serves 3.


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

Zucchini Tian with Curried Bread Crumbs

This was going to be my last dish with the zucchini from my garden, so I wanted it to be a good one.  This recipe intrigued me – curry AND rosemary – I wanted to make it, but I wasn’t positive that it was going to actually taste good.

Well, it lived up to the hopes for my farewell zucchini dish, it was full of deep, rich flavor, with a great texture contrast from the breadcrumbs and onion-tomato mixture.

I served it with rice, we ended up mixing it all together, yum!!  Definitely worth a try. But be prepared for a house smelling of curry…makes you want to eat more!

Zucchini Tian with Curried Bread Crumbs

By Melissa Clark

1 tablespoon curry powder7 ½ tablespoons olive oil1 ¼ cups whole-wheat or regularpanko bread crumbs2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt1 large white onion, halved and thinly sliced

2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary

1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved

¼ cup dry white wine

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon orange zest

½ teaspoon black pepper, more to taste

4 medium zucchini (about 1 1/2 pounds), thinly sliced (about 7 cups)


Heat oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, then add curry powder and let toast until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, then stir in panko bread crumbs and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl and wipe out skillet.
In the same skillet, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over high heat, then add onions, rosemary and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring often, until onions are a deep golden brown.Add tomatoes and cook for another 5 minutes. Pour white wine into pan and bring to a simmer, scraping up any brown bits. Remove from heat and stir in garlic, orange zest and black pepper.Grease inside of a medium-size gratin dish with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and spread a third of the onion and tomato mixture on the bottom. Begin layering zucchini in an overlapping pattern, beginning around the outside and working your way in.Sprinkle with a third of the bread crumbs. Repeat layering two more times, ending with bread crumbs.Drizzle 3 tablespoons olive oil over bread crumbs and bake for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until vegetables are extremely tender and top has browned.Serve with rice and Enjoy!

Serves 4 – 6.
Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Tomatoes, Vegetarian, Zucchini | Leave a comment

Challah Project # 11 – Raisin Honey Challah

After making what we decided was the perfect challah for Rosh Hashanah (Brown Sugar Challah with Pomegranate Glaze) about 3 weeks before Rosh Hashanah, I couldn’t make it again for the actual holiday, it was too soon for a repeat. So, I decided to try an experiment for our ‘real-time’ holiday challot.

I had plenty of high-gluten flour in my pantry that needed to be used.  I had bought it by mistake and have been trying to figure out what I should use it for. I found some recipes for challah that used high-gluten flour, so I decided to try it in this relatively simple raisin challah and see how the texture would be.  It was beautiful!  Such a a great challah!

And absolutely delicious when paired with the honey I brought back from my trip to Norway!

A great way to start our new year, Shana Tova to all!


Raisin Honey Challah

Adapted from Miriam Szokovski‘s Round Raisin Challah with Sweet Crumb Topping


2 Tbsp dry yeast

2 1/2 cups very warm water

3 large eggs, beaten, with a little (about 1/2 egg-worth) removed (locally raised)

5 Tbsp honey

1/2 cup canola oil

1 Tbsp salt

1/2 cup raisins

8 – 9 cups flour (I used high gluten flour)

Egg wash

1 egg (locally raised)

Crumb topping

1/4 cup flour

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

2 1/2 Tbsp canola oil


In a very large bowl, dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water and let sit about 15–20 minutes until slightly frothy.

Add the rest of the ingredients and half the flour. Mix until a loose batter forms. Add the rest of the flour a couple of cups at a time, until the dough is soft but not sticky. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator overnight (or a warm place to rise for about 1½ hours). Dough should double in size.

Punch the dough down and let it rest for 10 minutes. Divide into 2. Roll each half out into a long rope.  Form into a round spiral loaf or braid and then form into a round loaf.

Place loaves on a parchment sheet-lined cookie sheets and let rise for another 40 minutes.

Make the sweet crumb topping by putting the flour and sugar into a bowl. Slowly add the vanilla and oil, mixing with a spoon, or your fingertips until you it reaches crumb consistency.

Egg wash the loaves and sprinkle with crumb topping.

Bake at 375° F for approximately 45 minutes. Loaves should be golden brown and firm on the bottom. Enjoy!

Makes 2 round loaves.

Categories: Bread, Kosher, Recipe, Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Vegetarian | Tags: | Leave a comment

Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts

I had more of the Freeman’s corn, so I decided to try a corn salad with dinner tonight.  How could it not be good with toasted walnuts, feta and jalapeños? Well, it wasn’t good, it was great!  So much flavor and texture!


And it was a good thing the corn salad was so good, because my main dish, bindi masala, was a total fail.  The flavor was ok, but too many of the okra were just too tough.  no amount of cooking broke them down.  Oh well, at least the corn was great!

Corn Salad with Feta and Walnuts

from Real Simple magazine

1 cup walnuts
4 cups fresh corn kernels (from 4 ears), raw or cooked (from Freeman Farm)
2 jalapeños, seeded and thinly sliced (from the garden)
2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
 kosher salt and black pepper
1/2 cup crumbled Feta (2 ounces)

Heat oven to 400° F. Spread the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Let cool and roughly chop.


In a large bowl, combine the corn, jalapeños,


Toss with lime juice, oil, walnuts, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Sprinkle with the Feta before serving. Enjoy!


Serves 6.


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

Honey Cookies

I love Rosh Hashanah. And I love eating honey: honey and apples, honey in the challah, honey on the challah, honey apple cake, honey on my chicken… honey, honey, honey!

Of course that also means local honey. Luckily we have a lot of local honey to choose from. These are just a few that happen to be in my cupboard.


So, when I found this recipe for Honey Biscuits (what we would call cookies) on the Monday Morning Cooking Club website, I was very excited.  But I did not end up being the one to make the cookies, my daughter did.  Then Cam helped her with cutting out the cookie shapes. (Truth be told, this was last year, when Arielle was still home for the holidays, this year she had to return to Israel too early).


I love them!  Perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.


Ruth’s Honey Biscuits

2.12 oz Unsalted Butter at room temperature

3/4 cup caster sugar

1/2 cup honey 

1 egg 

14.82 oz Plain (All purpose) Flour (3 scant cups)

teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

pinch Ground Cloves

1 egg white lightly whisked for glazing

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking trays.
In an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar until pale and creamy. Warm the honey gently in a saucepan or in the microwave until lukewarm, then add to the butter mixture. Add the egg and mix well.
Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and cloves. Beat into the butter mixture on a low speed until a soft dough forms. Shape the dough into a ball, cover with plastic wrap. Rest in the freezer for one hour, or the fridge for 2 to 3 hours.
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured counter to about 5 mm thick, then cut out shapes with a biscuit cutter and
place on the prepared trays, well spaced to allow for spreading.
Brush with the egg white and bake for 10 – 12 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool on the baking trays. Store in an airtight container for up to one month.
 Makes about 30 biscuits/cookies.



Categories: Dessert, Jewish Holiday, Kosher, Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur | Leave a comment

The Challah Project #10 – Brown Sugar Challah with Pomegranate Glaze …Perfect for the High Holidays

I really enjoy making special Challahs for the High Holidays.  Two of my favorites are Date Challah and Apple Cinnamon Challah; but now we may have a new favorite – Brown Sugar Challah with Pomegranate Glaze!

It is beautiful on the outside and sweet and enticing on the inside.It captures the wishes for a sweet year and just brings a smile to the face of everyone who eats it.Can you tell we really liked this? The three of us finished it off in a day!

Brown Sugar Challah with Pomegranate Glaze

from Molly Yeh

3/4 c warm water
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 1/4 c + 2 tsp brown sugar
3 c all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp kosher salt
A pinch of cardamom
1/3 c vegetable oil
3 eggs
2 c powdered sugar
2-3 tbsp pomegranate juice

In a measuring cup or small bowl, combine the water, yeast, and 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. Let sit for a few minutes until it gets foamy on top.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl or bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, mix together 1/4 cup of brown sugar, the 3 cups of flour, salt, and cardamom. In a separate bowl, mix together the oil and 2 of the eggs.

When the yeast has proofed, add it to the dry ingredients, immediately followed by the egg mixture. Mix to combine and knead, either on a floured surface, or with the dough hook for 7-10 minutes, adding more flour as needed, until smooth.

Transfer to an oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel, and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. (or cover it with plastic wrap and put it in the fridge overnight, like I did).

Turn onto a lightly floured surface, and roll the dough out into a large (approximately 10-inch by 14-inch) rectangle. Sprinkle on the remaining cup of brown sugar, and roll it up like a jelly roll.

Pinch the edges to seal them shut and then coil into a swirl shape with the seam side down. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment.

Beat together the remaining egg with a splash of water and brush it lightly onto the challah. Let it rise for 30 more minutes while you preheat the oven to 375.

Bake the challah until it’s golden brown and cooked through, about 35-40 minutes. Because this challah is round, it will take slightly longer to bake than a typical loaf. It may look done on the outside after about 20 minutes, but it will still be raw on the inside. If you’d like, you can tent the loaf with foil after 20 minutes to prevent it from getting too done on top.

When it’s done baking, let it cool and make the glaze.

To make the glaze, mix the powdered sugar with 2 tablespoons of pomegranate juice. Add more until you reach your desired consistency. Drizzle or pour it on your loaf and enjoy!

Makes 1 loaf.

Categories: Bread, Jewish Holiday, Kosher, Recipe, Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur, Vegetarian | 4 Comments

Khoresh Bademjun va Kadoo (Persian Eggplant & Zucchini Stew)

I had a medium-sized eggplant from a local farmer and  a tiny one from my garden, but not enough for Khoresh Bademjun. What to do? I really wanted Persian food. Of course, I also had plenty of zucchini from my garden. Why not try a Khoresh (stew) sing both vegetables?


Since our vegetarian daughter was home, no meat would go in this dish.  So I needed to to make sure there would be enough flavor and texture to the dish.  Layering was my approach.  First the fried onions and turmeric, topping that with the sliced tomatoes, then fried zucchini.


Finally, it all got sealed in by the fried eggplant.


And cooked until the flavors all blended together.  We dove in so fast that I did not get any pictures of the final plates before they were eaten. Since they really looked a lot like my other Khoresh Bademjuns, here is one of those to give you the idea….


This was an experiment that went very well.  I will be making this and trying more variations on it in the future. This is Happy Food.

Khoresh Bademjun va Kadoo (Persian Eggplant & Zucchini Stew)

Canola oil

1 medium eggplant (plus one tiny one from the garden), peeled and sliced about 1/4″ thick

1 large or 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 ” chunks (from the garden)

1 large onion, sliced

1/2 tsp turmeric

3 tomatoes, sliced (from the garden)

1/2 cup water

Kosher salt


Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with a good amount of salt.  Let sit for 20 – 30 minutes. Rinse off the salt and dry the slices.

In the meantime, place about 1/4 inch of oil in a large skillet (I like to use cast iron, but any non-stick will do).  Heat over medium-high heat.  Cook the zucchini in batches until lightly browned and cooked through, flipping once through cooking. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.


Place the onion in the skillet, sprinkle with the turmeric and salt and cook until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and set aside.


Now, Fry the eggplant, in batches, until golden browned on each side, about 3 – 4 minutes per side.  Note:  it is preferable to overcook the eggplant rather than undercook it. Drain on paper towels. Sprinkle lightly with salt.


Drain the excess oil and wipe the skillet.  Begin layering with the onions, then the slices of tomatoes.


Add the zucchini.


Place the eggplant on top to seal the dish as much as possible.


Cover and cook over medium heat for 1 hour.

Serve with rice and pickles.  Enjoy!


Serves 4.


Categories: Eggplant, Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe, Vegetarian, Zucchini | 1 Comment

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