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

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 or directly from

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

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

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 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

What’s for Dinner ?

I get a lot of cooking questions, especially now that I am fortunate enough to personally meet so many people at my demos. The questions range and of course fall into every category, but what is actually downloaded from my website (thank you loyal readers for 9 amazing blogging years!) is more narrow. Readers want meats, chickens and desserts. Yes, salads and soups are popular too (especially in my book 🙂 but that evil question, “WHAT’S FOR DINNER?” weighs heavy on every family. Don’t worry I’ll keep posting lots of different types of recipes and always bring you the latest in food trends, but this week, I’m helping with a few new dinner ideas. Simple skillet chicken dishes that are quick and full of flavor. The first, Chicken with Paprika, is a traditional Hungarian recipe, that I’ve updated with a bit more garlic, a little cayenne, and a pinch of sugar for contrast. It’s a one skillet recipe and goes great with any terrific bread to dip in the sauce, baked potatoes or my favorite, basmati rice. The second is a Pan Roasted Chicken with Tropical Sweet and Spicy Glaze, flavored with cumin, pineapple, and chile. It’s robust and complex flavors make it very satiating.

A few other weeknight tips. Keep side dishes simple, make sure they pair well with the main, i.e. simple rice, potatoes, roasted vegetables and make a fresh salad, one night spinach, another kale, another cabbage or romaine to keep it all interesting. Remember complex flavors mixed with whole grains and veggies keep people full and well nourished. I love soups this time of year too but I’ll get to more of that when the weather gets colder.

Remember, send me recipes you would like to share, send me questions, or other types of recipes you want to see more of, at

Skillet Pan Chicken with Paprika
Pan Roasted Chicken with Tropical Sweet and Spicy Glaze

Kosherfest 2016

International food lovers this was your show. Matcha. Kimchi, baklava, spanikopita, tahini were all there for the tasting. Plus artisanal and farm-fresh products looking to introduce themselves to the kosher market. It’s a fun and fattening day filled with food and foodie friends (that is the best part – sharing it with others who obsess about food as much as I do).

A few standout products for me this year, that I must share…

KoKo Kosher Korean – 2 faves here, kimchi and gochujang (a fermented Korean condiment made from red chili, rice syrup, soybeans, and salt – I’ve been looking for it with a hecksher for months and am very excited to post some recipes featuring this ingredient.) Korean food is a big food trend, kimchi has been on restaurant menus for a few years now, so its very exciting that this product is new to our market and coming soon to your market.

Parvella – Italian chocolate spread available in 4 flavors, intense hazelnut, vanilla, coffee and orange. This is a delicious, NO palm oil, NO milk, NO peanuts, NO eggs and NO gluten and PAREVE chocolate spread. It’s rich, creamy and I’m excited to use it as a ganache, a frosting, in mousse, swirled in hot cocoa, the possibilities are endless and super scrumptious. I know the name of the product is not exactly inviting, but taste it, it’s divine.

A bunch of smoked and dried meats – Amsellem, pure beef, dried sausage in a few flavors. Think kosher pepperoni, slightly smoky, flavorful, and softer than beef jerky. Jack’s Gourmet, launched their turkey sausages in both regular and Andouille, wonderful addition to their terrific line of products. And new from Pelleh Poultry, artisanal, hormone and antibiotic free, duck products. From Duck Fry (duck bacon), Duck cherry sausage, duck rillette, duck fat, and fresh duck parts, this makes duck accessible and easy to prepare for the home cook. Admittedly, I went back for seconds and will add these items to my refrigerator.

Yoffi Israeli products – chocolate tahini, Zaatar tahini, date spread, honey, tasty and totally on-trend.

Savannah Bee Honey – I’ve been buying from them for years and giving their honey as gifts, but now the entire kosher world is introduced to their wonderful products and packaging. I liked their new chocolate honey (it wasn’t available when I did my Rosh Hashanah order this year) and loved the whipped honey with lemon. Say goodbye to frosting, this is my new glaze on every muffin and cake!

Thank you Kosherfest for the fun-filled day of food and new inspiration. And as I say, every year, now I need to go to the gym

Roast Your Turkey Like a Pro

Avoid Frozen Bird, if possible
Freezing creates ice crystals that expand and puncture the meat’s cells. Fresh turkey meat stays juicier when cooked.

If frozen, thaw it safely. A refrigerator set no higher than 40F is the safest place. This can take up to six hours per pound, so a 16-pound turkey can take up to four days to thaw.

Never brine a kosher turkey. The koshering process has already brined it. Its no wonder the kosher birds always win the juiciest, tastiest turkey contests.

Start to roast it upside down. Typically breast meat finishes cooking before leg meat. To solve this dilemma, start cooking the turkey upside on 450F for 30 – 45 minutes, to transfer maximum heat directly to the legs and thighs while protecting the breast. After 45 minutes lower the heat to 300F, and cook 20 minutes per pound. For the last hour, raise the temperature to 375 and cook for one hour to brown the skin (if you don’t want to start with this method, cook it right side up 17 minutes per pound in a 325F oven.).

Don’t cover the turkey. Covering the turkey will create moisture and ultimately steam or poach the meat, yuck. It actually will dry the bird out and not create a moist, crispy texture. If your turkey is browning too much, turn the temperature down and continue to cook until it reaches 165F.

Roast it on a rack. This encourages air circulation around the turkey and speeds up cooking. A rack also keeps the bottom skin crisper by raising it above the juice in the pan.

Baste it a bit. Basting just crisps up the skin; it does not make the meat juicier or help prevent drying out (that just happens from overcooking). For a darker skin, add a little brown sugar or agave to the basting juices. The combination of protein and sugar on the skin creates a dark, crispy texture.

Rest for juiciness and easier carving. Just like with BBQ, the turkey needs to rest for the juices to redistribute and not run off in the cutting process.

Degrease the pan drippings by cooling it off and skimming the fat.

Thicken gravy with starch. Use cornstarch, tapioca, or potato starch, mixed into warm gravy without too much thickener. Use just 1 teaspoon (instead of 1 tablespoon flour).

New Thanksgiving Recipes
Maple Roasted Carrot Salad
Sweet Potato Pound Cake
Salted Caramel Whipped Mousse
Cranberry Apple Sauce
Cranberry Sauce with Dried Apricots
Fall Greens with Apples, Pears and Toasted Nuts
Pumpkin Ice Cream and Graham Cracker Torte
Full Thanksgiving Index

Fasting and Pre Yom Kippur Seuda

Best tips on fasting and Pre Yom Kippur Seuda, plus a few other recipe ideas

I may add one of these recipes to my menu
Cavatappi with Eggplant and Pine Nuts
Grilled Chicken and Romaine Salad with Tahini Lemon Dressing
Avocados Stuffed with Roasted Vegetable Salad
Cobb Salad with Sweet Roasted Onion Dressing
Apple Upside Down Cake
Stuffed Baked Apples

Index for Succot here, get cooking!
Lots of Rosh Hashanah recipes are perfect for Succot too, Rosh Hashanah recipes here
And of course, thousands of options in every section, General Index here

New 2016 Rosh Hashanah Recipes

Rosh Hashanah menus should of course include some wonderfully familiar flavors of the holiday like pomegranate, sweet honey, and apples. I like to combine these with other trendy and fall seasonal foods that together make a scrumptious memorable meal. Below, find some new favorites of mine that will definitely be appearing on my Yom Tov table. Chag Sameach!

Flavors of Fall Butternut Squash and Corn Soup
Tomato Cumin Soup

Mustard Rosemary Glazed Salmon

Honey Ginger Apple Chicken
Sticky Sweet and Spicy Pomegranate Chicken
Five Spice Chicken Thighs with Apples and Sweet Potatoes
Sweet and Tangy Spare Ribs, by Renee Muller, from “Our Table”

Rosh Hashanah Quinoa Salad
Tomato Barley Salad
Honey Sweetened Blackened Carrots
Farro Salad with Apples and Herbs
Balsamic and Honey Sweetened Beets and Onion Salad with Mixed Greens and Apples (and deli meat, optional)
Fall Green Salad with Apples, Nuts and Fall Spices
Gluten Free Apple Kugel , Recipe by Orly Gottesman of Blends by Orly

Maple Apple Almond Torte
Cinnamon Swirl Vanilla Ice Cream Bars
Blueberry Lemon Icebox Cake
Apple and Honey Rosh Hashanah Muffins, by Renee Muller, from “Our Table”

For more Rosh Hashanah recipes, check out our index.
Don’t forget to book your holiday cooking demo or personal chef time now

Aryeh’s Kitchen

What a week! It started with an awesome event in Briarwood Queens with a fabulous group of women from Chabad who made me feel so welcome! And was followed by an incredible trip to Nashville. GKC secret….I’ve always wanted to go to Nashville and I’m obsessed with country music. At one point in my younger days I owned both green and pink Tony Lama cowboy boots, shhhh don’t tell anyone. I not only taught a class at the fantastic Chabad of Nashville, how cool is that?, but I also explored the history, music and eats in their “little bigtown”.
Top eats?! Aryeh’s Kitchen, the chicest kosher food truck, located on the gorgeous campus of Vanderbilt University. First I met Yosefa, the only female mashgiach I’ve ever met who jumped off that truck to give me a great Southern hello and a big hug. Next came chef and server with their Southern accents and even better food. Check out this menu,


Bubby’s brisket with Vidalia onion marmalade (Southern style of course with a little smokiness), Naked Ox burger, and Nashville Taco Chicken. I had an amazing lunch and loved watching the swarms of students, all types, waiting for their Aryeh’s Kitchen fix. Caf cards (yup those Vanderbilt cafeteria cards work – Aryeh thought of everything), credit cards and cash, its all good there and they are fast with this yummo food. Who has time in Nashville for sit down fancy food, grab a burger at Aryeh’s and go listen to some awesome music, which by the way, starts at about 11 am everywhere, outside the pharmacy, in the bars, restaurants and on every corner. Talented…super talented musicians sharing the love and hoping for a little tip.

Go to Nashville, the music is incredible and now the eats are terrific too. Check out the website for hours but usually all day and into the night while school is in session. 615 955 3344

Chabad of Nashville ( has great guest accommodations and Shabbos meals for a very reasonable fee. Rates and availability are online or email them.

Back to School, Back to Snack Time and Super Easy Dinners

I’m back! Hi and thanks for those who wrote to me and said they missed their weekly GKC. I needed some R & R and spent more time than I’d like to admit, planning and preparing my son’s Bar Mitzvah (which was wonderful). I can’t believe school has started, my Rosh Hashanah testing is in full swing, and my classes are in full swing, where did the summer go? This week I’m in Briarwood, Queens, West Orange, NJ and then Nashville. Stay tuned for pics and feedback. Don’t forget to book your holiday classes or personal chef time asap, its getting very busy. Email me at for dates and rates.

In the meantime, here are a few must have recipes for back to school, back to snack time, and super easy dinners. This time of year its all about getting restarted, then thinking about the holidays…yes that’s coming soon!

Snack Time
Healthy Apple Sauce Muffins
Kale Chips
Lots of homemade Granola Bars, every variety

Easy Dinners
Super Fast Tandoori Weekday Chicken
Maple Dijon Chicken
Super Simple Lemony Roast Chicken
Easy Mirin Glazed Salmon
Easy Lemon Baked Sole with Breadcrumb Topping

2016 Nine Days Meals and Ideas

The Nine Days are a difficult time for so many reasons. It seems so unimportant to fret over the lack of meat and chicken in our daily meals, but we all still worry about how to feed our families in a wholesome and delicious way when our easy go-to items are not options. Fret no further, help is here. Here’s what I’m thinking….

Fish Tacos
Grilled Tuna Skewers with Asian Sauce
Cedar Planked Salmon with Dill Sauce
Vegetarian Chili
Tuna Tartare

Of course…
Caramelized Onion and Boursin Cheese Pizza
Curstless Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
Pasta with Eggplant and Red Pepper
Add tuna or salmon to Greek Salad
Roasted Vegetables and Lentils with Aromatic Spices

Need more inspiration?

From fish, to pasta, to quiche, make this a week of new recipes, flavors, and adventure in the kitchen. Here are a few ideas and older posts that might help.
– Want to make pasta just right? Not sure what type or sauce works well together…try these pasta recipes and cooking tips
– Like Salmon? Try these salmon burgers, Poached Salmon, Teriyaki Salmon, or Dozens of other Salmon Recipes
– Tired of just salmon? Try Flounder with Lemon Caper Sauce, or Pretzel Crusted Fish,, Halibut in Puttanesca, Olive oil Poached Cod with Zucchini and Tomatoes or how about endless other fish recipes too
– A few personal favorites…Pan Seared Cod with Cilantro Vinaigrette and Creamed Corn, Sea Bass with Balsamic Reduction, Salmon with Apple Corn Curry Sauce
– Quiche?Try these quiches, or my preference, Mushroom and Spinach Frittata
– I don’t wait for the nine days to make the Caramelized Onion Boursin Cheese Pizza, and these pizza recipes are great ideas too.
Nine Days wrap up from years past, recipes, tips, menus, and more

CORN Season!

A basket of sweet corn, three ears partially husked
Fresh local corn is super tasty, not starchy, subtly sweet, and in prime season. What’s great is that it’s available in almost every market and in every state.

Buy it
Buy it and eat it fresh, don’t store for more than two days if possible.
Leave it in the husks, resist pulling back the husk to check the kernals. Feel it and makes sure it feels firm all the way to the tip.
Store it in the refrigerator.
Choose ears that are heavy for their size and have pale golden silks.

Cook it – 3 options…
Grill it: Heat a bbq to about 375°F. Remove silks, but keep husks in tact. Pull husks around corn. Place over medium to low heat for a nice smoky flavor. Cooking time will depend on the size of the ears. You can also grill it shucked over direct heat for great smoky char. It takes about 8 minutes total cooking time.

Cook it in a pot: Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Add the husked corn, cover and remove the pot from the heat. Let stand until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

In the microwave: Microwave shucked corn, no more than 4 at a time, on high, for 2 minutes each ear. You can microwave them in the husks and silks, by the way, and after they are through cooking, the silks literally slide right off the corn, it just requires a little more cooking time.

Flavor it
Schmear corn with lots of fix-ins, pre or post cooking. Like herbs and butter mixtures, lime zest and juice and chili powder, mayonnaise and spices, shredded cheese, or even wrap it in pastrami.

Quick Tip Cutting
Easiest and cleanest way to cut kernels off the cob.

Eat it Plain and Simple
Or use it in these delicious recipes:
Summer Corn and Tomato Salad
Chickpea, Corn and Dill Salad
Romaine Salad and Corn Salad with Avocado Dressing
Sweet Corn Salsa
Pastrami Corn and Red Pepper Saute
Fennel Red Pepper and Corn Salad
Pan Seared Cod with Cilantro Vinaigrette and Creamed Corn
Corn Soup with Imitation Crab or Smoked Salmon