Almost as ubiquitous as honey cake is the Jewish apple cake. It is hard to imagine a Rosh Hashanah table without one luscious apple cake nestled among the other delicious desserts. Since we dip apples in honey for a sweet new year, we feel compelled to discover variations on the theme – and of course sample every possible apple-filled treat! I personally love the traditional apple cake (you know the one I mean with the crunch on top, the kind the some people bake in a sheet pan and call a kugel in order to justify eating it on Shabbos!), especially when presented in a tube pan with a golden ring of apples around the top. Yum!!! But everyone has there own preferences. So here is my favorite recipe (thank you Debby Segura!) as well as a few other possibilities. Send us yours – we’d love to post it!
½ cup (1 stick) margarine, room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon cloves
¼ cup nondairy creamer mixed with ¼ teaspoon vinegar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8-inch square baking pan. In a stand mixer, cream margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the vanilla and applesauce and beat until smooth.
Stir together flour, baking soda and spices and pour ½ this mixture into batter. Add the nondairy creamer and then remaining dry ingredients. Stir until completely incorporated but do not over mix. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to finish cooling. Dust with powdered sugar before serving, if desired.
2 cups flour
2 cups apples, peeled and thinly sliced
1-3/4 cups brown sugar
¾ cup (1-1/2 sticks) margarine, softened
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
¼ cup margarine
¼ cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons nondairy creamer
1 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 12-cup Bundt pan. In a large stand mixer, on medium speed, mix together all batter ingredients. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack to finish cooling. Drizzle with Caramel Glaze. To make glaze, stir together margarine, brown sugar and nondairy creamer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and stir in powdered sugar and vanilla. Mix until smooth. If too thick to drizzle, add a little more nondairy creamer.
4 Granny Smith apples
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons margarine
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 cup pareve whip
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Peel apples and slice thinly. Toss with lemon juice. Place margarine in a 9-inch round baking dish. Place in oven until melted; then remove. Sprinkle brown sugar over margarine. Place apple slices in circular shape around pan, slightly overlapping, until whole pan is covered.
Beat together egg and sugar until well mixed. Stir together pareve whip and vanilla. Stir together flour and baking powder. Add to egg mixture alternately with whip, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Pour over apples. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes, then turn over onto rack to finish cooling.
This is the apple cake you expect but so much better – probably as good as it gets – from my good friend and expert chef, Debby Segura.
6 medium sized apples, Mackintosh or Braeburn if possible
1/3 cup honey or ½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
4 large eggs
1/3 cup orange juice
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
Place the oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a ten inch angel food cake pan. Set it aside.
Apple Mixture: Peel, core and slice 4 of the apples into 1/4" thick slices. Core, but do not peel, the last 2 apples, and slice into 1/4" slices. In a medium sized mixing bowl, toss all the apples with the honey or sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice very gently, until coated. Reserve the slices which are not peeled in a separate bowl.
Cake: In the large bowl of an electric mixer combine the flour, sugar, oil, eggs, orange juice, baking powder, vanilla and salt. Increase the speed to medium-high and mix until well-blended, about 2 minutes. Pour 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the batter. Arrange ½ of the peeled apple slices over the batter (being very careful not to let the apple slices directly touch any par of the pan, as it with stick to the pan and be problematic when the cake is cooked). Cover this apple layer with ½ of the remaining batter, and smooth the batter. Arrange the rest of the peeled apples over the batter. Pour the remaining batter over this second apple layer, and smooth this final layer of batter. Arrange the unpeeled apple slices over this batter, creating a fan of slightly overlapping slices that go all around the center of the tube pan. If there is any cinnamon juice left over from the apple mixture, drizzle it over the apple fan. Place the cake pan on a square of heavy aluminum foil (fold up the edges of the foil to form a tiny pan, thus preventing any juice that may leak out of the pan from dirtying your oven), and place it in the oven to bake for 75 to 85 minutes, or until a toothpick tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and place it on a rack to cool for 10 minutes. Gently release the cake from the sides of the pan with a small thin knife, if it appears to stick, and then remove the sides of the pan. Allow the cake to cool, with the center piece still in place, until room temperature before gently releasing and then removing the center piece. Place the cake on a cake stand. Immediately before serving, sift powdered sugar over the cake. Place some tiny apples or crab apples at the base of the cake for a garnish.
Sausages are all the rage. And with good reason. There are so many possibilities, enough variety to satisfy every palate. One of the newer entries into the field is Jack’s Gourmet, operating out of Brooklyn, New York. Founded by a professional chef and a dentist (don’t ask!), Jack’s offers a Boerewors sausage, German Bratwurst, Hot Italian, Mexican Style Chorizo and Sweet Italian. Fresh and delicious, with no artificial ingredients, fillers, by-products or MSG, each bite delights the senses. GKC impressed all friends this summer with the Boerewors sausage and the sweet Italian sausage grilled to perfection and tasted off the BBQ. They have become staples in our fridge. Until now, it was hard to find kosher sausage with intense flavor and texture and real sausage taste. Jack's Gourmet has succeeded in is. Try them on their own, sautéed with peppers and onions, or dressed in a bun. Or try them in these easy soup recipes Jack's Gourmet shared with us:
2 (32-ounce) boxes Imagine Corn Soup
1 red pepper, chopped
1 (15-ounce) can corn kernels, drained
½ onion, chopped
4 Boerewors, sliced
Pour all ingredients into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes until flavors combine. If you are a corn soup fan, you should also try this version.
2 (32-ounce) boxes Imagine Tomato or Tomato-Basil soup
2 cups cooked white rice
4 sweet Italian sausages, sliced
Pour all ingredients into medium stock pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with a green salad.
2 (32-ounce) boxes Mushroom Soup
1 (14-1/2 ounce) can mushroom pieces
4 Hot Italian Sausages, sliced
Place all ingredients in medium stock pot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with a crusty bread.
Online and just about everywhere, it seems that people are focused on “going green”. From farm fresh produce stands and farm-to-table popular restaurants to alternative energy and water conservation plants, “going green” has certainly captured our attention. Products that carry a “green label” are innovative, progressive, and conscience-oriented. But whoever would believe that kosher, specifically kosher chicken would fall into that category?
Yes, its true, kosher chicken has gone green. Well not any kosher chicken, that’s for sure, but Empire Kosher , known for its tasty and kosher chicken, has developed an admired reputation for being socially and environmentally conscious as well as truly natural in every step of the production process.
GKC had to find our more. We got in touch with their CEO, Greg Rosenbaum, to find out what does green and kosher really mean. Greg told us that, “Green kosher is eating healthy, safely and strictly kosher, buying responsibly, promoting worker and animal welfare, protecting the environment and supporting small family farmers and their communities.” I wondered, does the kosher community care about this? I mean, do they really understand? They should! This is revolutionary for the kosher market! Empire Kosher is committing to limiting the number of chickens a farmer can raise at any given time, raising poultry in a humane way that is healthy for both consumers and animals, respecting and replenishing the environment in ways that will ensure its continued viability for many generations to come, providing safe working conditions and a fair wage to employees as well as generous compensations to their network of small family farmers.
GKC is impressed, this puts Empire Kosher ahead of its competition and draws an implicit contrast with other food companies in the news.
Customers and GKC readers repeatedly praise Empire’s exceptional taste, texture and quality of product. Clearly we have good taste, as they year after year, win taste tests by prestigious publications like the NY Times, Gourmet Magazine, Food and Wine, and many more.
Empire CEO emphasized that in addition to being “green kosher”; they offer a wide variety of all-natural, organic, free-range, anti-biotic free, vegetarian-fed poultry. All with no growth hormone added (to better understand these terms go to the Turkey blog from Thanksgiving).
The news about Empire Kosher comes at a great time. Rosh Hashanah is a busy cooking period for the kosher consumer and all of us are eager to purchase products that have the greatest flavor and are mindful of the gifts of this planet. Thank you Empire for being a leader in the industry and for respecting our world.
A little more from Empire…they shared a few holiday recipes that are great for the holidays. I tried them they are super easy and exceptionally tasty!
Summer is winding down. You are either in the middle of your last hurrah – an end of August family vacation – or caught up in the whirlwind of shopping for school supplies and clothing. Either way, the end of summer is in the air. And we’re all trying to hold on just a little longer. Here are some recipes that will keep you thinking of summer the whole year through.
And now just sit back and enjoy the remaining days of summer. School and the High Holidays are just around the corner. Stay tuned for our High Holiday cook book, coming September 4th!
This serves 2 but can be doubled or tripled or…for a crowd.
3 ounces rum
3 ounces cream of coconut
6 ounces pineapple juice
2 cups crushed ice
Combine in blender and pour into glasses. Aaah!
These are so easy, and good that you won’t be able to stop making them!
2 cups sugar
½ cup (1 stick) margarine
½ cup soy milk or nondairy creamer
4 tablespoons cocoa
2-1/2 cups quick oats
½ cup chunky peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Combine sugar, margarine, soy milk and cocoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for 1-1/2 minutes only. Remove from heat and stir in oats, peanut butter and vanilla. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto wax paper. Cool until set, then store in the refrigerator.
1 pound smoked trout, skinned and filleted
¾ cup mayonnaise
2 scallions, minced
1 tablespoon capers, mostly drained
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon paprika
Blend together all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth paté forms. Transfer to container; cover and chill for 24 hours before serving.
POPBAR is the chic-est pop you will ever have!
I am an official “popaholic” now! Didn’t know it until last week when I visited the coolest new trend in artisan cold desserts in NYC called Popbar. Artisan ice creams are not new, although very popular, but none are as cool and fun for adults and kids as Popbar, located in the West Village of NYC. I met Reuben Ben Yehuda there, one of the creators and owners of Popbar and he gave me and the kids I brought an amazing tour and tasting of all that Popbar has to offer. Imagine this: the freshest flavors in pops, including peach, passion fruit, mixed berries, mint, coconut, chocolate, pistachio, blood orange, vanilla and much more, available as either gelato, yogurt, or sorbetto pops. That’s not all! Now dip or half dip them in what they call “Poppings” - like dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate (Yup! Its real white chocolate) and then other natural toppings, I mean “poppings” (no gummy bears, or rainbow sprinkles here), chocolate chips, chocolate sprinkles, chopped nuts, pistachios, and more. Hundreds, maybe thousands of options; my time there was definitely too short!
Popbar was opened in May of 2010 by two European Jews, Reuben Ben Yehuda and Daniel Yaghoubi, one from Italy and one from Germany and was immediately recognized and featured by the Food Network. At my visit to Popbar, I asked Reuben, “What makes these pops so fantastic?” He said that they took 2 years developing the concept and recipes. Each flavor is made with fresh ingredients - some from Europe (like the pistachios), and all are made in the store in the West Village so they have total control of taste, texture and the final product. Most of the pops are sold within 24 hours of being made. Also, the experience is so special and specific for each customer, some eat them plain and savor the delicious flavor and others create the most incredible and endless possibilities of combinations. I first had the peach, topped with white chocolate and almonds. So summery, and the hint of rich white chocolate made it decadent. Next I moved on to my daughter’s mixed berry plain, a perfect blend of berries, and then to coconut, which is so impressive. It tastes like real coconut, not highly sweetened unnatural and imitation coconut. I am not sure if people really appreciate the complexity and deliciousness of real coconut but this is it. Dipped in chocolate it was heavenly, without all the calories and fat of ice cream (okay the chocolate dip added a little but, hey, I had to splurge a bit).
Popbar pops are not something I want to have every so often when I make it to the village but every night. Lucky for me they make them to go in a six-pack thermal bag and they deliver in NY to homes and businesses. They even do parties with mini-pops all over the Tri-State area including Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Call them, check them out in NY, or visit their website for details. And go hungry; you will want to taste a bunch!
Popbars are kosher certified by National Kosher Supervision under Rabbi Mehlman
Before summer ends we feel compelled to do a piece on that summertime favorite of kids and adults alike – the milkshake. Nothing beats that thick, calorie-rich (I once read the calorie count at Baskin-Robbins and I still haven’t recovered from the shock!), cold drink. I mean, let’s face it; isn’t that the real reason you bought a blender??!!! So here’s to indulgence – for just one afternoon, throw caution to the wind and make everyone’s favorite treat. There’s a flavor and a design for every taste. Here are some of our favorites.
¾ cup milk
¼ cup chocolate syrup
3 scoops vanilla ice cream
Place all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Serves 2.
This is the basic building block of milkshakes. You can change the flavor of the ice cream or add your favorite fruit to create a completely different beverage.
3 cups ice cream
1-1/2 cups milk (it will definitely be richer with whole milk)
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons sugar
Blend all ingredients on low to medium speed in blender and serve. Makes 2 servings - don’t forget to share!
Your favorite 2-servings milkshake recipe – it can be chocolate or vanilla, depending on your taste preference.
1 cup brewed coffee, chilled
Blend on low speed until all ingredients are incorporated. Perfect on a lazy summer afternoon.
This drink is evocative of everyone’s favorite summertime treat.
3 cups vanilla ice cream
1-1/4 cups orange juice
¼ cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons sugar
Place all ingredients in blender and blend on low to medium speed. Serve immediately!
What is it about fasting that makes us all so obsessed for days before the fast? I am not referring to the spiritual side (as that is worthy of the obsession) but the food aspect. Did you know that most healthy adults could survive many days and up to a month without eating? Regardless, days before the fast, I am reducing my caffeine intake and worrying about how I will manage. I have heard of all sorts of “fast survival” techniques, from caffeine suppositories, extra strength Excedrin without water (that’s my personal favorite), drinking coffee right before the fast to fool your system and give it caffeine for the morning, eating 2 tablespoons of honey before the fast, and crazy carbo loading. Everyone has their own strategy; tell us what yours is so we can share it with our readers.
GKC consulted with the experts (now who is an expert faster???) and here are our tips and recipes for a successful fast.
- Lots of Water. The discomfort from fasting is actually not from fasting but from lack of fluid. Super hydrate before the fast. Drink a great deal a day or two before as well and then really fill up with fluids before the pre-fast meal.
- Reduce caffeine intake. The headache associated with fasting is from caffeine withdrawal. One week prior to fasting start reducing your caffeine intake to about 1 cup a day or drink decaffeinated teas and coffees to fool your system. If this is too tough, seriously consider the caffeine suppositories or an aspirin before the fast to rid yourself of those headaches.
- Eat Normal Sized Meals. Overeating will not stave off the effects of hunger and may make you more uncomfortable. The excess fluids needed for your body to process large meals may also lead to dehydration which is counter productive. So while we eat numerous meals before the fast and a pre-fast meal, do not overeat.
- Eat carbs; yup, it’s true. Complex carbs like those in pasta, breads, rice, fruits and vegetables, are best for maintaining energy levels during the fast. The also help your body absorb water more efficiently so eating carbs will help you stay hydrated. Whole-grain products and fruits and vegetables with fiber are best because they digest slower and keep you feeling full longer.
So what are you making? One friend serves Pizza, and another serves salmon, rice, and whole-wheat pasta.
I’m making some of these…
Angel Hair Pasta with Mixed Tomato Sauce
Watermelon Tomato Salad with Mozzarella Cheese and Lemon Dressing
Lots of fruit for dessert
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
This is a great weeknight dinner or lunch anytime. I like to eat it sometime before a fast because it is filled with carbs but also has some healthy protein in it. Its great with smoked salmon too but that may be too salty before a fast.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 large eggs
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 red pepper, sliced and cut in half
1 cup diced tomato
8 ounces cooked salmon fillet (I use whatever is left over from a weeknight salmon dish), cut into bite-size pieces or smoked salmon
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
4 large (burrito-size) flour tortillas, warmed
1. Heat oil in a skillet over high heat. Add eggs and milk; scramble in skillet. Cook until barely set, then stir in salt, pepper, chives, red pepper, tomato, and salmon.
2. Spread 2 tablespoons cream cheese onto center of each tortilla. Spoon warm egg mixture over cheese, dividing evenly. Roll up burritos, tucking in ends. Serve with salsa if you like.
The tomatoes are so ripe and delicious this time of year. In this recipe we used different color tomatoes to give it more color and flavor. If you only have Roma tomatoes or Vine Ripe red ones the recipe still comes out very tasty.
2 tablespoons pure olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 large shallots, minced
1 pound yellow tomatoes, diced
1 pound ripe green heirloom tomatoes, diced, or vine ripened red ones, diced
1/4 cup chopped basil
2 sage leaves, finely chopped
Kosher salt to taste
1/2 pound angel hair pasta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, or 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
In a skillet, heat the oil. Add the garlic and cook over low heat until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until softened, 4 minutes.
In a bowl, toss the tomatoes with the garlic, shallots, basil and sage. Season with salt.
In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente; drain and transfer to the large bowl. Toss well with the butter; serve.
Watermelon and tomatoes are so good for a pre-fast meal. They both contain a lot of water to keep you hydrated.
3 cups watermelon, cut in chunks
3 cups tomatoes, cut in chunks
3 green onions, finely chopped
3 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper to taste
1 cup good quality mozzarella cheese, cut in ½ inch pieces
Whisk together the lemon juice and olive oil. Add kosher salt and pepper to taste. Toss the watermelon, tomatoes, onions and cheese. Add the dressing, toss and serve.
When the nine days arrives, it seems to be the signal that summer is almost over (even if there are still many weeks until school starts!) and, even more importantly, it seems that Rosh HaShanah is right around the corner (stay tuned for our great High Holiday menus and restaurant recipes!) But I’m getting ahead of myself. Right now the goal is to participate in the mourning for the Temple in Jerusalem by not eating meat or drinking wine yet still preparing healthy and tantalizing meals for our families. At GKC, we empathize with that goal and want to share with you some of the recipes we are serving. We would love to invite you all over but the next best thing is making these dishes and drinks yourself.
Just because we can’t have wine doesn’t mean we can’t have other drinks. This Spicy Bloody Mary is one of my new favorites.
There’s nothing that says Nine Days about these Butterscotch Cookies but they’re so good, it doesn’t matter.