Oven Baked Ribs with Tequila BBQ Sauce

Serves 6

Guy Fieri inspired oven baked ribs. Guy uses pork ribs, I tried with both beef and short ribs. I like the long beef spare ribs best for this recipe. The Tequila BBQ sauce is extra fun for Purim and is bursting with sweet, savory, spicy and tangy flavors. Use some sauce to brush on the ribs while cooking and the rest to pass for dipping. The meat is fall off the bone soft and next time I definitely need to double the recipe!

Two (4-pound) racks beef ribs
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons granulated garlic
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder or chili powder
Tequila BBQ sauce, for serving, recipe follows

Tequila BBQ Sauce:
One 6-ounce can tomato paste
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup white or gold tequila (I prefer white)
1/4 cup lime juice
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 tablespoon molasses
2 teaspoons chipolte in adobe sauce OR 1 generous teaspoon Sriracha sauce
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 275 degrees F.
Make the rub by combining the cumin, garlic, onion powder, paprika, salt, pepper and ancho chile powder together in a mixing bowl.
Set a few large sheets of foil out (one set for each rack). Place 1 rack on each sheet and divide the dry rub in half. Rub the mixture into the ribs on both sides, and then fold the foil over to form a sealed pouch around each rack. At this stage make sure the racks are meat-side down. Place each pouch on a roasting tray and bake in the oven for 2 hours.

Make the Tequila BBQ Sauce: In a medium saucepan, add the tomato paste, light brown sugar, tequila, lime juice, garlic and molasses. Stir well and bring to a gentle simmer. Add in the chipolte in adobe or sriracha sauce, season with salt and pepper and simmer until the flavors meld together, 2 to 3 minutes. Process with a blender until smooth.

After 2 hours, open up the foil and peel back so the ribs are exposed. Carefully turn the meat over so the meat side is on top, brush with a little bbq sauce and then cook for 1 1/2 more hours with the open foil. When done, the ribs will be tender and the meat will have shrunk back from the bones. Finish under the broiler to add more color, 1 to 2 minutes.
Serve the ribs with remaining Tequila BBQ Sauce.

Real Butter”SCOTCH” Blondies

Makes 12 bars

These are authentic butterscotch blondies, soft, chewy blondies. Use a blended, medium to lower quality scotch for these and save the single malt to sip while you enjoy this sweet treat.

6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted margarine/butter; more softened for the pan
11-1/4 oz. (2-1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. table salt
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup Scotch whiskey
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 cups mini chocolate chips

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9×13-inch baking pan, line the bottom with parchment, and then grease the parchment.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the margarine/butter over medium-low heat. Let cool briefly. Add the brown sugar and stir until combined. Add the Scotch, eggs, and vanilla and stir until combined.
Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and tap the pan on the counter once or twice to break any air bubbles. Bake until the top is golden brown and just starting to pull away from the edges of the pan, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the blondies, invert onto a cutting board, remove the pan and parchment, and flip right side up. Cut into 16 pieces and serve.
Make Ahead Tips
You can store the blondies, covered, at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Peanut Butter Crunch Candy – Friends Favorite!

Makes 3 dozen

Think the center of butterfinger candy. Yes, all that delicious peanut butter flavor, slightly crispy, flakey texture and a melt-in-your-mouth experience! I’m giving these out on Purim. Come on over!

1 cup sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups peanut butter, I used a natural brand
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted peanuts
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Line a 9-inch-square pan with foil. In a medium saucepan, stir the sugar with the corn syrup and water. Add the margarine/butter and bring
to a boil over high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Attach a candy thermometer to the
pan and cook over moderately high heat until the caramel reaches 285°, about 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large heatproof, microwave-safe bowl, combine the peanut butter with the peanuts and salt. Heat the peanut butter mixture in the microwave at high power for about 1 1/2 minutes, until melted and hot. Stir well.

In a small bowl, whisk the vanilla with the baking soda. As soon as the caramel reaches 285°, carefully stir in the baking soda mixture; the caramel will foam and bubble up.

Immediately pour the caramel into the
melted peanut butter mixture and, using a heatproof spatula, fold together as quickly as
possible. You want the mixtures to be combined but not homogenized; the candy will come together very fast.

Immediately scrape the hot candy into the prepared pan and press into a flat, even layer. Let cool completely. Peel off the foil and cut the candy into squares.

Cut or uncut, the candy can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Cleaning Out My Freezer

I’ve got a few things in my refrigerator and freezer and about once every three months I decide that I not only need to empty the freezer, pantry and fridge, but I must USE those ingredients including frozen meats that I bought during sales, and frozen fruits and vegetables. Here are a few recipes that I came up with to use some items lingering in your kitchen. Yes, they may serve a purpose but you will be thrilled with the results and use these recipes over and over again.

Minute Steak with Sweet Creamy Mushroom Marsala Sauce
Rainbow Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze
Any Type of Fruit Upside Down Cake

Any Type of Fruit Upside Down Cake

Serves 12

1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
5 tablespoons margarine butter, melted
2 peaches, pitted, peeled and sliced 1/2-inch thick, fresh or frozen (or other fruit, like pineapple, apples, pears, plums
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) margarine or butter, at room temperature
4 ounces Tofutti Cream Cheese or dairy cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup soymilk or milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven. Grease the sides of a 9-by-3-inch round cake or bundt pan or upside-down cake pan – pan with removable bottom.
Sprinkle the brown sugar in the pan and pour in the melted margarine or butter. Top with the peaches and blueberries and set aside.

In a mixer, beat the sugar with the room temperature margarine/butter on medium speed until fluffy, then increase to high speed for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn off the mixer, add the Tofutti cream cheese ,and then mix on medium speed.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the flour, baking powder and salt.

Turn the mixer off and add the eggs, then mix on low speed to beat in the eggs. Add the flour mixture slowly, then add the soymilk and vanilla extract and mix until combined. Spread the batter over the fruit and transfer to the oven.

Bake 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides to loosen the cake and invert onto a plate. Let cool and serve.

Minute Steak with Sweet Creamy Mushroom Marsala Sauce

Serves 12

3 tablespoons unsalted margarine, plus more if needed
3 lb. Minute Steak, split, use both pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups sliced cremini, button, or wild mushrooms, or a mixture
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 cup soymilk
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup Marsala wine or Madeira wine
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

Heat margarine in a medium skillet set over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the minute steaks with salt and pepper and sear on both sides, about 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Remove from pan and place in oven-safe dish.

Heat the same skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms, onions and garlic and cook until the onions are translucent and the mushrooms “weep,” or release water, about 5 minutes. Then add the flour, 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and the mustard, and stir to combine. Add the, soymilk, broth, Marsala wine and Worcestershire. Mix in the pan to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, 4 to 5 minutes. Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over meat.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cook for 12 minutes or until meat is cooked through. Slice meat and serve warm with sauce.

Rainbow Roasted Vegetables with Balsamic Glaze

Serves 8

2 red bell peppers, stemmed and seeded, cut into 1 1/2-inch-thick rounds
2 medium carrots, cut into 1 1/2 -inch pieces
2 medium parsnips. cut into 1 1/12-inch pieces
2 cups broccoli florets, cut into 2-inch florets (fresh or frozen, very dried)
2 cups cauliflower, cut into 2-inch florets (fresh or frozen, very dried)
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon dried thyme, or fresh
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Balsamic Glaze

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F and place a rack in the center of the oven.
Arrange the peppers, carrots, parsnips, broccoli and cauliflower in rows to create a rainbow of colors on a large baking sheet. Scatter onion powder, garlic powder, and thyme over the vegetables and drizzle with the oil. Season generously with salt and pepper. Roast until the vegetables are tender and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Drizzle the Balsamic Glaze over the vegetables and serve.

Balsamic Glaze:
In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until syrupy and reduced to 1/4 cup, 8 to 10 minutes. Yield: 1/4 cup

Great Go – To Ice Box Cinnamon Pecan Cookies

Makes 3 dozen cookies

3 sticks unsalted margarine or butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg white
3 cups flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
Egg Wash
1 egg
1 teaspoon water
½ cup pecan halves

In a mixer, cream margarine and sugar on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes. Gradually add vanilla and egg white, scraping down bowl to fully incorporate.

In a medium bowl, sift flour, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda together. Add to creamed margarine mixture and mix on low speed until just combined. Add chopped pecans and mix.

Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll each into a log about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap the logs in parchment paper and plastic wrap. Refrigerate or freeze until firm.

Preheat oven to 350F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. With a sharp knife, cut the logs into ¼-inch thick slices. Transfer the cookies to baking sheets about 1 ½ inches apart. Brush lightly with egg wash and top with a pecan, gently pressing to adhere.

Bake until edges are lightly browned, 12-14 minutes. Cool.

Rich Brownie Drop Cookie

Makes 2 ½ dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted margarine or butter, softened
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
3 large eggs, at room temperature
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a stand mixer, beat the margarine/butter, sugar, brown sugar and chocolate until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until fully combined. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl and add slowly to the batter until mixed. Add the vanilla and fold in the chocolate chips.
Drop by generous spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

Midnight Munching

I know I know, so many doughnuts and latkes, its time to watch what we eat, be healthier, walk more….okay, I get it, I’m with you. But still, I have a bit of a nighttime sweet tooth. I like a little treat, not a piece of cake, or even a bowl of ice cream, just a crunchy, chewy cookie as an evening snack. I’ve added these new ones to my repertoire plus listing a few old favorites.
Happy Midnight munching!

New Recipes:
Rich Brownie Drop Cookie
Great Go – To Ice Box Cinnamon Pecan Cookies

Love these!
Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Cookies
Cheater Easy Peasy Lemon Cookies
Pareve Chocolate Nutella Cookies

Hanukah O’Hanukah A Few of My Favorite Things…

Every cook needs a great Cast Iron Skillet. Most brands are adequate but the cast iron is an amazing surface for browning and searing. They are oven and broiler safe and most importantly retain heat while cooking. This one is preseasoned so it’s ready to use.

At every cooking class my students ask me about knives. YES, they are super important and a good quality knife will both save you time chopping and be much safer while cutting. I love Global Knives, they are made of stainless steel in one piece and stay sharp. A good size is important and I like the indentations on the sides to prevent vegetables from clinging to the knife. Start with one, but you will go back for more at every holiday.

My new favorite cooking toy…Sous Vide Precision Cooking, with wifi and phone connection. Rub your meat, turkey, veal, fish…with a great dry rub, seal it in an airtight bag and let the sousvide work its magic in the water bath. This one knows exactly how long and at what temperature to circulate the water, and BAM! A few hours later, the perfectly, soft, juicy recipe is done. I sear the fished meat, for some great texture and served it Shabbos day at room temperature. So far, I’m on a roll, with amazing London Broil, veal breast, and pastrami. Stay tuned with exact recipes, but get into the new craze!

If you don’t have a copy of my cookbook (WHY NOT?!?!) Get one now or remember it makes a great Hanukah gift or Shower gift or Hostess gift or just anytime gift It’s on Amazon.com or directly from Emunah.org

I’m a big fan of kosher salt and finishing salts. I use this marble holder to easily toss in a nice pinch of salt to every dish. This is both chic and functional. It keeps the salt dry and fresh too. Available at Surlatable.com

I still love the Thermapen or Thermapop for those on a budget. A thermapen: Good quality, instant read thermometers make everyone a better cook. They are so helpful when making chicken, turkey, caramel and so much more. Again, get one that’s got a bright color and have fun with it! You’re giving it as a gift so wrap it up in a fun way too! This one is a bit of a splurge so it’s a great gift and it’s the best one out there.

I still love these too.

1. A sorbet machine: My kids bought this for me last year and we all reap the benefits. I use it almost every week and have so much fun experimenting with different flavors. I’ve made pareve Italian straccata and tons of fruity varieties for summer Shabbos and dairy versions for Shavuos. My favorite machine is the Cuisinart, it’s small and easy to use. Watch for specials, mine came with two bowls as a promotion.

2. An immersion blender:
If you don’t already have one of these, then you must be given one as a gift. Every household needs a juzer (that’s my word for what it does, juz the food)! It’s the best for pureeing soups and making salad dressings. Have fun, buy it in a funky color. Immersion blenders come in all sorts of colors and prints. I like the Cuisinart immersion blender and they go on sale often too.

3. A grill pan: I use this pan all-year long but especially when it’s too cold to grill outside or you just have a small amount to grill. It’s great for people who don’t have the space for a grill or simply don’t own one. I have one for Passover too!

4. Photo gifts: This is a good idea for the mom who does not want another kitchen item. My mother-in-law’s favorite presents are anything with photos of the kids on it. We have created them all, umbrella, blankets, ties, photo books and this year personalized oven mitts. That’s perfect for the kitchen lover too.

5. An ihome: One of my favorite childhood memories is singing and dancing in the kitchen with my sisters while we helped my mom prepare dinner. Lucky for me, my children and I continue to do the same thing all the time. Cleaning dishes and setting the table has become so much more fun when we play music and sing along. With technology today there are so many ways to get music going in your kitchen and share the good times. Costco usually has a good deal on some kind of ihome too.

6. A Bosch Universal Mixer (for Challah):
Admittedly, I was married for 15 years before I got one, but now, wonder why I waited to get one. This is the best and easiest way to make challah. High capacity, high quality, great challah!. I highly recommend this to anyone who frequently makes bread or challah and even for those who are interested in starting to make challah but find the kneading time too daunting by hand or a smaller machine.

7. A peppermill: This kitchen essential is not only helpful but super chic too! I love finding different pepper mills that match the season or the kitchen space. These are gorgeous and decorative.

8. A thermapen: Good quality, instant read thermometers make everyone a better cook. They are so helpful when making chicken, turkey, caramel and so much more. Again, get one that’s got a bright color and have fun with it! You’re giving it as a gift so wrap it up in a fun way too! This one is a bit of a splurge so it’s a great gift and it’s the best one out there.

Edible Dreidels

Thank you to reader, Esther Chanowitz for this fantastic edible craft.

Fresh radishes, washed and trimmed off the bunch, dried, cut the top and tail stem
Strong Plastic Toothpicks

Hold the radish in your hand and visualize four sides on the radish, each side being a side for a letter

With adult supervision ONLY:
Using a small pairing knife, held VERY CAREFULLY as a pen, engrave, or cut out a Nun ,
next to it, a Gimel, then a Hay, and finally a Shin.
Each letter, removing the red, exposing the white flesh of the radish. It takes some practice to perfect the carvings, but its fun.,
Esther says to practice writing the letters on paper first.

Press the plastic toothpick into the middle, all the way down, so it has a draydel like bottom..

Soak in a bowl of cold water, and keep in fridge until needed. These are adorable as garnishes on a plate and fun to play with too.

Thank you Tori Avery for this Marshmallow Chocolate Edible Dreidel recipe.

And these are a cute way to make everything yummy and looking like Hanukah!

A Few New Hanukah Recipes

A celebratory decadent roast for Hanukah, Salt and Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast.
For either dairy or meat seuda, this is wonderful comfort food at it’s best,
Dairy or Meat Potato Casserole with Sauteed Onions.

Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Sauteed Pastrami Bites is a great seasonal side dish alternative. And super fast and easy, cake mix dessert when you are too busy to fuss over dessert too.Cheater Cake Dessert.

DONUTS and Lots of Hanukah Desserts HERE

Cheater Cake Dessert

Photo: Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman/Working Calves at Timâs, Food Network,

Super fast and easy, cake mix dessert when you are too busy to fuss over dessert too.

Serves 10-14

Fruit Options:
6 apples, peeled and sliced
6 pears, peeled and sliced
3 cups blueberries
Frozen cubed fruit
One 21-ounce can cherry pie filling
One 15-ounce can crushed pineapple
1 box white cake mix (18 ounces)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) margarine
Whipped cream, dairy or non-dairy for serving

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix any variety of fresh or canned fruit into a 9 x 13 baking dish. I like the combination of apples and pears, or the combination of apples and cherry pie filling, or fresh pears with canned crushed pineapple (semi-drained). But use whatever you like, fresh, frozen or canned (canned pie fillings have a lot of sugar so mix them with some fresh fruit)
Sprinkle the cake mix over the top of the fruit. Slice the margarine into tablespoons and distribute evenly over the surface of the cake mix.

Bake until the tops are brown and bubbly, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Serve with whipped cream

Dairy or Meat Potato Casserole with Sauteed Onions

Ree Drummond
Pioneer Woman/Working Calves at Tim’s
Food Network

Either dairy or meat, this is a crowd pleaser! It’s old fashioned comfort food that is a great alternative to latkes.

Serves 12

3 tablespoons canola oil
2 onions, chopped
½ pound pastrami cubes or sliced imitation bacon (use either meat or dairy variety – dairy type is soy based)
8 russet potatoes
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 sticks (1 pound) margarine
1 cup Tofutti (non-dairy) sour cream or dairy sour cream
1 cup grated Cheddar or Jack (or a mix of both), plus more for topping (omit for meat option)
1 cup soy milk or milk
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3 green onions, sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Bread crumbs, optional

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until caramelized and browned, about 16 minutes. Remove onions. Add a bit more oil if needed, and heat to medium-high. Add pastrami, imitation bacon (meat or dairy) and cook until lightly browned about 4 minutes. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Scrub the potatoes, then place them on baking sheets. Rub the potatoes with the canola oil and bake until tender, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Remove the potatoes and lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.
Slice the margarine into pats and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add the pastrami, onions and sour cream (dairy or non-dairy variety). With a sharp knife, cut each potato in half lengthwise and scrape out the insides into the mixing bowl. Tear up 3 of the skins and throw them in. Smash the potatoes with a potato masher. Add the cheese (if making dairy version), milk (dairy or non-dairy variety), seasoned salt, green onions and some salt and pepper and mix together well.
Grease an oven-safe baking dish, and then spoon the mixture into the dish, top with more grated cheese (for dairy version) or with bread crumbs and bake until warmed through, 25 to 30 minutes.

Shredded Brussel Sprouts with Sauteed Pastrami Bites

A great seasonal side dish alternative.

Serves 8

6 ounces pastrami, cut into ½-inch dice
4 tablespoons capers, drained
2 (12 – 16) ounce bags brussel sprouts, 2 pints Brussels sprouts, halved (frozen are fine, defrost before using)
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup currants
1/4 cup raisins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium pan over medium heat, cook the pastrami and capers, until pastrami is slightly caramelized, about 5 minutes. Remove from the pan, reserving a little of the fat in the pan. Add the Brussels sprouts to the pan and cook over medium heat to begin to brown. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, a little salt (pastrami is salty and capers too so just a pinch) and pepper. Place into the oven and roast, tossing a couple of times, until nicely caramelized, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from oven.. Add the pastrami, the capers, pine nuts, currants and raisins. Toss and check for seasoning. Serve.

Salt and Herb Crusted Standing Rib Roast

A celebratory decadent roast for Hanukah.

Serves 8 – 12

1 bone-in or boneless rib roast (5 bone or up to 9 pounds)
Olive oil
1/4 cup tri-color peppercorns
5 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 cup kosher salt
1/2 cup minced garlic

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.

Heat some oil in a large skillet over high heat. Sear roast until a nice dark golden color, 2 to 3 minutes per side.
Place the peppercorns into a bag and crush with a rolling pin. Shred the leaves from the thyme and rosemary sprigs. Mix the salt with the crushed peppercorns, rosemary leaves, thyme leaves and garlic. Pour olive oil over the rib eye and pour on the rub mix. Massage oil and herbs all over meat. Pat slightly to get it to stick to the meat. Roast for 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to 275 degrees F and roast until a meat thermometer registers 130 for rare/medium-rare, about 20 more minutes (the roast will continue to cook slightly after removing from the oven). Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 to 20 minutes before slicing. Slice and serve immediately.

Dec 21, 2016: Congregation AABJ&D

AABJ&D Presents a New Jewish Culture Series

Beginning in September, AABJ&D will be offering the community four classes on Jewish Culture. Each course in this new series will offer an opportunity
to explore a topic in depth. Depending on the class, classes will meet weekly or monthly. We will begin a pilot trimester in September that will run through December. A second trimester will start in January and go through March, and our final trimester will run from April through June. Participants will pay a fee to cover expenses of instructors and materials. Please complete and submit the registration form (with a non-refundable payment as indicated) to the shul office by September 5, 2016. ALL CLASSES WILL MEET AT AABJ&D.

Jewish Culture Fall Offerings

~ Israeli Dance for Women – Taught by Elyse Litt, this class will meet weekly on Tuesday nights. There will be a beginners class from 7:30- 8:30 pm, followed by a class for intermediate dancers from 8:45- 9:45pm. Classes will meet on November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; and December 6, 13, 20.

Fee: $56 for shul members, $72 for non- shul members
~ Israeli Dance for Men- Taught by Jake Altholz, this class will meet weekly on Tuesday nights. 7:30 – 8:30 pm. Classes will meet on September 6, 13, 20, 27; November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29; December 6, 13, 20.

Fee: $84 for shul members, $108 for non- shul members
~ Jewish Life Around the World- Taught by Rabbi Sacha Pecaric, this course will meet 4 times on Wednesday evenings, from 7:15- 8:30 pm. Classes will be September 28, October 26, November 16 and December 14.

Rabbi Sacha Pecaric was born in the former Yugoslavia. After studying in Prague, Rabbi Pecaric continued his studies at the rabbinic department of the Yeshiva University where he obtained rabbinical ordination, the department of philosophy of Columbia University (M.A.) and FAMU Charles University (Ph.D.). Rabbi Pecaric previously lived in Kraków where he ran the Ronald S. Lauder Foundation, aimed at providing education to the local Jewish community as well as local non-Jews. While in Krakow, he established Pardes Lauder, a Jewish religious publishing house that has so far published more than 30 books, including the first translation of the Torah from Hebrew to Polish made by a Jew after World War II. He has been teaching at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School since 2013.

The course will examine four fascinating countries where Jews have lived for centuries – Italy, Greece, Poland and Czech Republic. Rabbi Pecaric knows the histories of these countries intimately and their languages fluently. The course will examine the past and present Jewish communities with practical information for those intending to visit these countries. The course includes an in- depth presentation of the Jewish historical presence in Venice, Athens, Krakow and Prague.

Fee: $25 for shul members, $36 for non-shul members.

~Sephardi Cooking- Taught by Elizabeth Kurtz. Ms. Kurtz started www.gourmetkoshercooking.com in 2009. She is also the author of the best-selling cookbook, CELEBRATE, and contributes regular cooking columns to several publications. Classes will meet on Wednesdays: September 14, November 30 and December 21 from 7:30 – 9:30 pm

Fee: $75 for shul members, $100 for non- shul members (includes materials)

Congregation AABJ&D
700 Pleasant Valley Way | West Orange, NJ 07052
T: 973-736-1407 | F: 973-736-8006

Mushroom Cauliflower Soup


Recipe(s) from THE SILVER PLATTER SIMPLE ELEGANCE: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results
By Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz

Artscroll/November 2016
pareve • passover • gluten-free • freezes well • yields 8 servings

Rich and rustic but light on calories, this dish has become a household favorite. The cauliflower adds that thick, creamy consistency so you can skip the cream you’d usually add to a mushroom soup.

1-2 Tbsp grapeseed oil
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
(about 2 tsp)
6 cups button mushrooms, sliced
1 large head cauliflower, cored, cut into small florets
6 cups water or
vegetable broth
2 tsp kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp minced fresh thyme leaves, plus additional whole thyme leaves, for garnish

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; sauté for 6-8 minutes, or until softened.
Add mushrooms; sauté for 5 minutes longer, until softened.
Stir in cauliflower, water, salt, pepper, and thyme; bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, for 30-40 minutes, or until cauliflower has softened, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.
Using an immersion blender, process soup until smooth. If soup is too thick, add a little water. Adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with additional thyme leaves.
Norene’s Notes
Buying Tips: Look for thick, compact heads of cauliflower with creamy white florets.
Storage Tips: Store unwashed cauliflower in the refrigerator in an open or perforated bag, stem-side down, for up to a week. Pre-cut florets will stay fresh for 2-3 days.
Preparation: Don’t wash cauliflower until it’s ready to be used. Soak in salt water or vinegar and water to help force out any insects lodged between the florets. Remove outer leaves; then cut away the stalk with a sharp knife. Cut each cluster from the core, leaving a little bit of the stem with each cluster. Cut into florets.

Hoisin Steak Bites


Recipe(s) from THE SILVER PLATTER SIMPLE ELEGANCE: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results
By Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz

Artscroll/November 2016
meat • freezes well • yields 6-8 servings

These little bites of steak are simple, sophisticated hors d’oeuvres. The hoisin-based marinade tenderizes the meat, infusing each tidbit with both sweet and savory flavors. Serve these on toothpicks or on a bed of rice or quinoa as a main dish, too.

1 London broil or 3 boneless rib eye steaks (about 2 lb/1.8 kg total)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
(about 2 tsp)
½ cup hoisin sauce
¼ cup ketchup
3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
2 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
grapeseed oil, for frying

Cut meat into ¾-inch chunks; place into a resealable plastic bag.
Sprinkle meat with salt, pepper, and garlic. Add hoisin sauce, ketchup, maple syrup, and vinegar. Seal tightly. Marinate for 1 hour, or up to 24 hours in the refrigerator. Turn bag over occasionally so meat is covered with marinade.
Remove bag from refrigerator. Remove steak from marinade; reserve marinade.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, fry meat until browned on all sides, turning meat as needed.
Meanwhile, pour marinade into a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes to create sauce.
Serve meat on small skewers or toothpicks. Drizzle sauce over meat or pour sauce into a small serving bowl for dunking.
Norene’s Notes
Variation: Instead of beef, substitute boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into chunks.
For a pretty presentation, spear a cherry or grape tomato on one end of each skewer.
Leftover steak bites are a great addition to green or grain-based salads.

Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cake


Recipe(s) from THE SILVER PLATTER SIMPLE ELEGANCE: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results
By Daniella Silver and Norene Gilletz

Artscroll/November 2016

pareve • gluten-free option • freezes well • yields 2 loaves

You can’t beat the combination of fruit and chocolate in this fragrant cranberry loaf. Perfectly tart and sweet, it’s a great cake for breakfast, brunch, or an after-dinner treat. It makes two loaves, so freeze the second one for another occasion.

3 eggs
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ¼ cups vegetable oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups orange juice
2 ½ cups flour (or gluten-free flour with xanthan gum)
1 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 cups fresh or frozen cranberries (no need to thaw)
1 ½ cups mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs with sugar, oil, and vanilla on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until light.
3. Reduce mixer speed to low; gradually blend in orange juice.
4. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix just until combined. Fold in cranberries and chocolate chips.
5. Divide batter evenly between prepared loaf pans; spread evenly. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry.
6. Allow loaves to cool for 20 minutes. Invert onto serving platters.

Norene’s Notes
• Muffin Variation: In Step 5, scoop batter into muffin pans coated with nonstick spray or lined with paper liners until ¾-full. Bake at 375°F for about 25 minutes. Yields 18-24 muffins.
• Frozen cranberries don’t need to be thawed. Just rinse and pat them dry with paper towels before folding them into the batter

Giveaway: Simple Elegance: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results Cook Book


My friends and colleagues, Daniella and Norene are back! Daniella Silver, author of, The Silver Platter: Simple to Spectacular, once again teams up with author Norene Gilletz – to bring their new cookbook, Simple Elegance: Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results. As Daniella says, “ It’s not about dozens of hard-to-find ingredients, pricey equipment, and complicated instructions. It’s simply about paying attention to the small details – an unusual garnish, an unexpected ingredient, a touch of flair in presentation.” No surprise, we are friends, right?! I’m all about easy enough for everyday but special enough for Shabbos.

It’s full of recipes with ingredients you probably already have and easy to follow instructions. If you like quinoa, there are many options to try, also sweet chicken dishes, and lots of side dishes.

I tested quite a few things from the book….here’s a sampling, and a few sneak peak recipes.
Mushroom Cauliflower Soup – smooth, creamy without the cream, nice weeknight soup
Hoisin Steak Bites – sweet flavored meat, marinade came together in two minutes. I grilled them though, instead of pan-fried as per the instructions. Flavorful and less fattening.
– Honey Roasted Pistachio Chicken – guests enjoyed it
– Everything Kale Salad – beautiful salad, I’d omit the honey but had beautiful crunch and assorted ingredients.
– Granola Ice Cream Cake – I made it in a loaf pan and served it with a strawberry sauce from the site, but it was a lovely dessert.
Cranberry Chocolate Chip Cake/Muffins – sweet and tart contrast is both pretty and tasty in these.

SIMPLE ELEGANCE contains over 160 recipes and each one includes Norene’s Notes, techniques, tips and advice from cooking guru, Norene Gilletz. All recipes have indications whether it’s freezer-friendly for make-ahead cooking, kosher for Passover, gluten-free, and full nutritional analysis. From Appetizers, Soups and Salads to Fish, Poultry, Meat, Dairy, Sides and Desserts.

I’ve got one to giveaway, just in time for Hanukah. You know the drill…post a comment to enter, post it on instagram for double entry (FOLLOW me on Gourmet Kosher). Submit to enter, through December 22 at 12 am.
Submit to win this cookbook
1. Subscribe.
2. If you are already a subscriber, send us a comment. We love to hear your thoughts and ideas.
3. Follow me on instagram Gourmet Kosher, and like the post and tag two friends for double entry
Enter by December 22, 12 a.m.

Effortless Recipes with Sophisticated Results
From the kitchen of Daniella Silver
With tips & techniques from Norene Gilletz
Artscroll/November 2016
Hardcover/ $34.99 US / $48.95 Canada
ISBN-13: 978-1-4226-1834-9