Winter Soups

I traveled to Chicago this week to teach and WOW, winter is on. Across the nation, cold weather has arrived. The west coast has more snow in the mountains and Los Angeles temperatures in the 50’s? In NY we have been spared a bit until now. My soup pots are out! It’s time for hearty, meal-in-a-bowl, delicious warm soups. Here are a few options that fit the bill.

Smoky Spanish Meatball Soup
Red Pepper, Corn and Black Bean Chowder
Alphabet Soup with Meatballs
Chicken Udon Soup

Perfectly Browned and Caramelized Onions

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Caramelized onions are a great “secret” ingredient to have on hand. They lend their deep flavor to so many dishes, like roasted chicken or mashed potatoes or pizza. But also to stews, sandwiches, burgers and more. The secret to making them is patience. It can take awhile for the onions to become deeply browned. Covering the skillet at the beginning helps the onions to soften and release their liquid, then slowly cooking them uncovered makes them meltingly soft and sweet. Since caramelized onions stay well covered in the refrigerator for a week, and can even be frozen, you may want to make a double batch to keep some for an instant source of flavor to enhance weekday meals. If you do that, use a 12-inch skillet to accommodate the extra volume.

Caramelized Onions

Good to Know

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Common problems and solutions that I think are “Good to Know”…. Let me know if you have others, I love to answer reader questions, email me at ekurtz@gourmetkoshercooking.com

Soup too salty?
Add two peeleded potatoes, cut in four or five large pieces. Cook for 10 – 15 minutes in soup. Remove potatoes, add more water to soup if necessary. Reserve potato for mashed potatoes or as a snack. The potatoes will draw out the saltiness.

Dish too spicy?
Add sour cream, non-dairy sour cream, any dairy product or product that acts like a dairy product, like soymilk, almond milk, rice milk, coconut milk, cook and stir into dish. Or add a bit of honey or sugar.

Burned your soup?
Submerge pot of soup into a larger bowl filled with cold water. Don’t mix! Let it sit for about 10 minutes and do not stir the soup. Leave the scorched part on the bottom and ladle out the soup from the middle of the pot. Rewarm and serve.

Bread is stale?
Make bread crumbs, croutons, or bread pudding. Or wrap it in damp towel and bake in a 350°F oven for 15 minutes. It will be ready to eat.

Preserved Lemons and Recipes

Preserved lemons add a salty zing to any dish, especially in tagines or soups. They are available in some markets, but its also easy to make your own. The only hard part is waiting 4 weeks for them to be ready to use.

Preserved Lemons

Use them in these recipes. They add zesty, salty, freshness.
Roast Chicken with Shallot and Meyer Lemon Sauce
Baby Lamb Chops with Minted Meyer Lemon Spread
Add them to this tagine:
Slow Cooker Chicken Tagine

Four Steps to the Crispiest Cutlets

Hanukah is a time for frying everything, so why not give you some tips on classic cutlets for Hanukah too.

Fried meat just tastes good. But to unlock the wonders of breading and frying, I’m talking a seriously crispy crust, you have got to use the right technique.

1. Pound: Put meat between two pieces of plastic wrap, then use a meat mallet or the bottom of a skillet to pound to a ¼” thickness. This ensures quick cooking and plenty of surface area for big-time crunch. Or buy them pounded evenly.
2. Season: Liberally seasoning the pounded-out cutlet with salt and pepper before the breading process adds another layer of flavor.
3. Bread: The key to great schnitzel: Coat the meat in flour, then dunk it in beaten egg and let the excess drip off; firmly press cutlet into finely ground crumbs, turning to coat both sides and making sure there are no gaps. I use seasoned crumbs or season my own crumbs with garlic and onion powder, kosher salt and pepper, dried parsley, or whatever extra seasoning I’m in the mood for.
4. Fry: Heat ½” oil in a large cast-iron skillet. Test if it’s hot enough by adding a pinch of crumbs to the pan. If the oil immediately bubbles rapidly, it’s ready. Cook chicken in batches. Drain on paper towels; season with salt.

Try this recipe: Pretzel Crusted Chicken Cutlets

Hanukah Marshmallow Dreidels

From ToriAvey.com

What you need
Jumbo marshmallows
Stick pretzels
Nutella hazelnut spread or Pareve hazelnut chocolate spread
Chocolate candy kisses

Optional Toppings
Cake decorating gel
Chocolate or vanilla candy coating
Vegetable shortening
Candy sprinkles

Extra Equipment
Parchment paper, cookie sheet (for candy coated dreidels)

First, push a pretzel into the flat side of the marshmallow, sticking it in as far as you can without puncturing the opposite side. Next, spread a small amount of Nutella onto the base of a chocolate kiss. Use the Nutella as “glue” to attach the kiss to the flat end of the marshmallow. At this point, you can use cake decorating gel to write one of the four Hebrew dreidel letters onto the surface of the marshmallow… Nun, Hey, Gimel, Shin Here are the Hebrew letters if you need a guide: These letters stand for the Hebrew phrase, Nes Gadol Haya Sham– which means “A great miracle happened there.” Cake decorating gel takes a long time to dry, so give your letters a few hours to set… if your kids can wait that long! If you want to add a candy coating to your dreidel instead of the letters, make sure your marshmallow dreidels are prepped and ready to go before you start working with the chocolate. You will need to work quickly while the chocolate is soft. Place the dreidels on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, with at least an inch or two in between each dreidel. Melt your chocolate or vanilla candy coating according to the package directions at the lowest temperature setting possible. Ideally the consistency of the melted coating should be like chocolate syrup—not overly thick. If your candy coating seems too thick after melting it, you can thin it out using a tablespoon or two of vegetable shortening. Once it’s melted, transfer the melted candy coating to a cool bowl. Working quickly, dip your dreidels one-at-a-time into the coating and roll them until the surface is evenly covered. As you dip the dreidels, make sure you don’t leave them in the hot candy coating for longer than a few seconds at a time. If you leave it longer, the Hershey kiss will melt and you’ll have a flat-bottomed dreidel. Pull the dreidel out of the coating and hold it over the bowl, point side facing downward, for a few seconds to get rid of excess drips. Place it on the parchment-lined cookie sheet and coat immediately with sprinkles. Once all of your dreidels are coated, let them dry for 15-20 minutes until the candy coating has set. A slight “puddle” will form underneath each dreidel, so it won’t look perfect—but that’s not the point. It will still look dreidel-ish, and it will taste yummy! Have fun!

Calling ALL Readers…

I love when readers send me their pictures of the recipes they make. Send me your pictures of the recipes you make from CELEBRATE. I’m putting together a post of YOUR pictures of the recipes you make from CELEBRATE so send them over!

Thank You

Thank you West Orange, Englewood, Cedarhurst and Brooklyn for great events!
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Kosherfest 2015

Kosherfest was certainly a foodfest, a cheesefest, a fleishfest, and an extravaganza filled with fantastic products to taste and enjoy. With record-breaking attendance, the aisles were filled with discriminating tasters hoping to find the best of Kosherfest. Kosher brands, old and new hoping to get the attention from markets, distributors and kosher media friends. Yes, tasting is fun, but connecting to other foodie friends makes the experience a super food day!

My Kosherfest 2015 favorites right here….
italian truffle
Squirrel Brand Italian Black Truffle Almonds: Crunchy, rich, delicious and my new salad topper. Italian Black Truffle Almonds® are a first of their kind. Aromatic black summer truffles are hand-harvested in Northern Italy and ground into flavorful sea salt so their distinct flavor permeates through the condiment. Once folded into our finest selection of sweet California almonds…the flavor transcends all senses. This product is VEGAN and GLUTEN FREE and Pareve.

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The Cheese Guy, Double Ale Cheddar Cheese: Admittedly, I liked every cheese I tasted from the Cheese Guy, plus the Maple Apple Butter, which was even more amazing with a thin slice of cheese and a cracker, yes this is the snack of all time! Find these cheeses in your market, kosher cheese has never tasted this flavorful.

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Malka Beer: Beer brewed in Israel with awesome chic logo and bottle. The pale ale is perfect. Currently in most states and coming to others but check your liquor stores and request it. It’s a taste of Israel, support of Israel and a great beer.

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Mina brand Harissa and Shakshuka sauce: Great harissa, from mild (its harissa so mild has a good kick too) to apicy (WOW, serious heat and flavor). I’m adding it to so many sauces. Israeli inspired foods are super trendy. Shakshuka sauce, just add to pan, heat and poach eggs right in the pan. Creative product and definitely going to be a big hit.

Jack’s Gourmet Sausage: Of course his sausages are popular at Kosherfest, great taste and texture, smoky, and perfectly prepared. Their booth was crowded and happening, and their new Pulled Beef Brisket is a big winner. It makes an easy dinner and lots of sandwich leftovers.

Best Ingredients, Best Results, Best Chips by friend Estee Kaffra of Kosher Scoop has added an instant crumb topping (yes, just add to apples, pears, muffins, challah and bake for instant crumb topping), and all-natural .

Look out for these products too, pending distribution, but I’m sure they will be coming soon!

Ludwig Farmstead Creamery: More unbelievable cheese, made on an Illinois farm with no hormones, or antibiotics, and made with raw milk cheese to create award-winning Artisan cheese. Currently get it online but hopefully in stores soon.

best-ingredient
Pure Genius: Brownies and blondies packed with beans, protein, fiber and invisible goodness. I liked the blondie made from chickpeas and lots of chocolate chips. Just certified kosher, and available soon in your markets. Boost your edible IQ with this treat.

I’m still full…okay not really, but I’m still bursting from happiness over so many foods, condiments, snack items, and opportunities in the kosher cooking world. We are so lucky and it certainly is not what it used to be. So eat up and support kosher brands!

Pumpkin Snacks and Treats

Pumpkin is in season and it’s one of my husband’s favorite flavors. Fall flavors are warm and inviting and the colors mirror the beauty outside. I love the fall leaves (really hate the winter weather!) and watching my yard come to life with color. In celebration of fall and pumpkin season, here are three great pumpkin treats, we love these as snacks or dessert. Next week, fall flavored meals. We just can’t get enough!

Pumpkin Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars, vegan and gluten-free
Chocolate Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Pumpkin Spice Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Weekday Quick and Easy

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I’m on the road…at the great challah bake, demo’ing, speaking on radio shows (did you hear me on Naomi Nachman’s Table for Two, it’s here, if you missed it) and having fun “Celebrate’ing” the book launch. Thank you so much for your emails and your wonderful support!

CELEBRATE is in stores now, check your local store or get it at:
Emunah.org
Feldheim.com
Amazon.com

Meanwhile, my weeknight repertoire needs to be fast and fresh. Yesterday, I picked up fresh fish and pasta and had dinner done in about 35 minutes just in time for school pick-ups. I made Flounder with Lemon and Garlic and Spaghetti with No-Cook Tomato Sauce

Here are some a few others on my list for the upcoming weeks.
Sweet and Savory Chicken Thighs with Zucchini and Summer Squash
Easy Mirin Glazed Salmon
Easy Dijon Chicken
Easy Italian Bean Soup
Asian Meatball
Chicken Caesar Skewers
Chicken Strips with Bow Ties
Vegetarian Chili Casserole with Cornbread Topping