Siggy entrance

Siggy’s Good Food sits on a tree-lined block at the quiet end of Elizabeth St. in NYC. The scribbled message on a sidewalk chalkboard beckons, ALIENS EAT FREE! I didn’t see any extraterrestrials but I bet that those in costume may indeed, eat on the house.

 The quirky entrance leads streams of devoted vegetarians and healthy eaters into the long narrow space with wall to wall windows in the front. Welcoming winter sunlight floods the front of the cafe and provides respite from the howling winter wind. Scuffed wooden floorboards and worn tabletops set the casual vibe as Siggy and her friendly staff greet regulars by name.

The front counter serves as a first stop for those who swing by for smoothies and freshly pressed juices. Knowing that all ingredients served at Siggy’s are organic is reason enough to stop in to check it out. Piles of house made vegan and gluten-free bars are individually wrapped and tempt those who want solids.

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I appreciate the mellow, come stay a while vibe, and yes, good food.

Owner Siggy Sollitto hung out with me as we sipped tea with nana (fresh mint leaves). We nodded in agreement as she shared her commitment to wholesome, organic, and seasonal foods.

She wants her food to taste more like home cooking than fancy restaurant dishes.

 And that’s a good thing.

Siggy grew up in southern Israel where she was surrounded by women who cooked slow simmering Moroccan stews and assembled plentiful salads with locally grown veggies. She laughed as she told me how she begged her mom and grandmothers for measurements when they cooked together.

Siggy

They indicated by showing her with their fingertips, not measuring spoons.

When she arrived in NYC in 1993, she was stunned by the processed foods and out of season produce she saw. Determined to bring change and heighten awareness about the health value of simply prepared foods, she opened Siggy’s in Brooklyn Heights in 2005. She loved the neighborhood and relished knowing her enthusiastic patrons. After a 10 year run, it closed in 2015, much to the dismay of her loyal customers.

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Lucky for us on this side of the river, she opened her Elizabeth St. location in 2012 where she’s been serving the same overflowing plates of salads, mostly veggie wraps, soups and sandwiches to an enthusiastic crowd in NoHo.

 Dishes on the menu are labeled vegan, gluten free or veg and there are plenty of options for customizing dishes by adding from a lengthy list of veggies, proteins, grains, nuts and seeds, cheeses and sauteed greens.

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The salads were loaded with freshly sliced and chopped veggies and simply dressed. The Splendid Sesame Raw Slaw was a towering mound of thinly shaved kale, cabbage and carrots punctuated with finely chopped scallions, parsley and sesame seeds.

Feeling short on veggies? This salad could supply you with your week’s worth.

Scroll down for recipe.

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The Beet and Orange Salad was a perfect antidote to a dreary day. I would have liked it dotted with goat cheese but it was interesting enough with a variety perky greens and a delicious citrusy dressing.

 salmon burger

The Wild Salmon Burger is one of three non-meat burgers offered here (check the black bean and sweet potato or the quinoa and spinach). All are gluten free and available on 7 grain or wheat wrap, GF bun or over baby greens.

The salmon burger was a perfectly crusted, generous mound of fresh salmon (no fillers) seasoned simply with parsley, cumin, salt and pepper and a shmear of vegan mayo. It was moist, savory and worthy of a return visit.

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Hot dishes are all gluten free, dairy free and starch free, making them easy choices for those with food sensitivities. I opted for the Eggplant Veggie and Tofu Lasagna, a noodle-less construction of roasted eggplant layered with shredded carrots, broccoli and tofu ricotta and topped with homemade tomato sauce.

After enjoying other dishes where each veggie was distinct and discernible, I wish this had been less of a blended jumble.  Texture would improve greatly if veggies were left in larger chunks or slices and layered the same way the well cooked and delicious eggplant is.

Other hot dishes include Artichoke Pasta with wilted Kale, olive oil, garlic and herbs, a Wild King Salmon Plate and a daily special of Chick Peas and Spinach.

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Desserts are offered wrapped at the counter and more of a grab and go item. Siggi bakes most of them; we liked the (huge) Walnut Brownie (Gf and vegan) and her Chocolate Chip Cookies.

 More hot items are tacked onto the daytime menu at dinnerBeer and wines are all organic and biodynamic.

Next time I’m feeling short on veggies, I’ll return to Siggy’s for a mound of organic greens piled high with sliced veggies du jour and that moist salmon burger. I won’t even try to resist the roasted sweet potatoes or grilled baby artichokes, either. In a city known for expensive restaurants and often overwrought dishes, I appreciate Siggy’s very reasonable prices and homestyle cooking.

 

Siggy’s Good Food

292 Elizabeth St. (between Houston and Bleecker Streets), NYC

open Monday- Saturday 11 AM- 10:30 PM

brunch menu- Saturday 11 AM- 3:30 PM (shakshuka, GF pancakes, breakfast burrritos and more)

212-226-5775

NOTE: Siggy’s is a great option for those seeking vegetarian and vegan, GF, organic foods. This is not a kosher restaurant.

 

Splendid Sesame Raw Slaw

Like her grandmothers and mother, Siggy didn’t give exact measurements for this salad. So feel comfortable shredding the raw veggies in proportions that you like, and taste the dressing before serving. Too acidic? Add a bit more olive oil and maybe a drop more agave.

This recipe is vegan,  raw, GF, pareve (non-dairy)

Salad ingredients:

- Cabbage

- Kale

- Carrots

toasted sesame seeds

 

Dressing – rough ratio here …. 

- Red Wine Vinegar – 1/4 cup

- Lemon Juice – 1/4 cup

- Olive Oil – 1/2 cup

- Crushed Garlic – 2 cloves

- Sea Salt – 1/4  teaspoon

- Black Pepper – 1/2 teaspoon

- Agave – 1/2 teaspoon 

  Directions:

Grate salad vegetables on a box grater or in the food processor using the grater blade. Toss veggies to distribute color evenly.

Whisk the dressing in separate bowl and taste.  Pour over salad, toss and top with sesame seeds.

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Katy Morris

Mounds of tart, tangy, juicy grapefruits have made their way north and are brightening up our dishes from breakfast through dessert. Here’s the rundown of why you should be loading up on these citrus delights and how to get your hands on the best pucker-y ones, just in time for National Grapefruit Month.

Don’t forget to scroll down for Liz’s easy recipe for Toasted Grapefruit with Honey and Ginger. 

 

What’s so great about grapefruits?

Oh, let us count the ways! Not only do they add a welcomingly refreshing break from all those root veggies we’ve been roasting this winter, they are packed with immune-boosting vitamins, are a super source of lycopene (an antioxidant that gives red and pink ones their color – yep, just like tomatoes), and help lower cholesterol.

They are also super versatile and can be squeezed into a cocktail or juice (1 medium grapefruit will give you 2/3 cup of fresh squeezed juice), simply sectioned on a bed of greens (we love Rachel Carr’s raw Grapefruit Avocado Salad with Lemon Poppyseed Dressing), broiled & paired with cinnamon and sugar, diced in a salsa and so much more.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

 

What are the various types?

Grapefruits, which are in fact a hybrid between pomelos and oranges and grow in clusters similar to grapes, come in several varieties. Their skin can vary from gold to green and their flesh can be anywhere from light yellow to ruby red. You’ll likely find red, white, pink, and white gold (“oro blanco”) at your local market.

 

Red: It’s said that the darker the flesh, the sweeter the fruit, but red ones can still be bitter. This kind has the highest level of lycopene in it, which is where it gets its vibrant hue.

White: This pale, think-skinned type is comparatively mild tasting than its red and pink counterparts and is almost always seedless.

Oro Blanco: The white gold variety is a cross between a pomelo and a white grapefruit. It is sweeter than other varieties, has a super thick skin and lacks acidity.

 

No matter the kind, you want to pick grapefruit that are plump, blemish-free, and oval. If they are lumpy or oddly shaped, it probably means they are overripe.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

 

Can it really interact with medicine?

Yep, this is true! Without getting too science-y, here’s what you need to know: grapefruit has something called furanocoumarins, which block the kind of enzyme in your body used to break down certain medications. If they aren’t broken down properly, some medication levels can become too strong and be toxic. Be sure to check with your doctor if you plan on eating a lot of them this season.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

What else should I know?

One grapefruit tree can produce 1,300-1,500 pounds of grapefruit every year! They are usually available year-round down south and in California, but winter into early spring is their prime time.

 

About our favorite organic citrus source:

This year, New Orleans based orchard farmer, Isabelle Cossart, told us that the citrus harvest came a month and a half early! That,  combined with the loss of ¾ of her blood oranges (which lasted until March last season) due to weather issues and her rising popularity (she already sold out of all her harvest!) meant we missed our window to enjoy her amazing citrus bounty this winter.

We’ve already marked our calendars for mid-October when her first wave of satsumas (Louisiana mandarins) is expected – we’ll keep you posted.

Learn more about Isabelle Cossart’s Organic Orchard here.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Here’s a simple way to enjoy grapefruit as a snack or as a dairy-free, gluten-free, lo-cal dessert. Liz suggests picking up small amounts of flaked, unsweetened coconut and crystallized ginger in the bulk section at Whole Foods Market.

Toasted Grapefruit with Honey and Ginger

This is a dairy-free (pareve) and gluten-free recipe.

serves 4

Recipe: Liz Rueven

Ingredients:

•2 Ruby Red grapefruits, cut in ½

•2 teaspoons honey

•1-2 teaspoons brown sugar

•1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped

•1 tablespoon coconut flakes (unsweetened)

•1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional for dusting)

 

Assemble:

Using a grapefruit knife, cut around outer edge of each grapefruit. Separate membrane but leave sections in place.

Place grapefruit, cut side up, on a foil lined cookie sheet. If needed, slice uneven bump off bottom so grapefruit half sits evenly on the pan.

Drizzle each half with honey and sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.

Broil for 2-3 minutes until sizzling. Remove and sprinkle with coconut flakes.

Place back under the broiler for another 1-2 minutes, being mindful to not burn the coconut.

Remove from oven and top each half with bits of crystallized ginger.

Serve warm.

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

There are plenty of reasons to consider serving chili on Super Bowl Sunday. It’s healthy, a cinch to prepare, satisfies a crowd and feels like a party once you mound the toppings in an array of colorful bowls. Serving chili on a chilly winter day is as natural as well, watching Sunday football.

Even if you don’t, your friends do and they need to eat. And so do you.

Scroll down to find four easy chili recipes to satisfy your crew. You’ll find a range that will appeal to all eaters. These recipes are so effortless you might even consider making more than one crock of this spicy party food so everyone can be happy.

 I adapted a slow cooker chili from Jimmy Fallon’s recipe which he demo’ed on Martha Stewart in 2009. If you have a moment, take a look. Martha reveals a crazy bit about how and where she disposed of cooking grease when she was a newlywed in CT.

I’m still reeling from this image.

For those of you put off by the prospect of soaking dried beans, Fallon suggests adding canned beans to the chili during the last hour. Adding them at the end prevents the whole shebang from turning into a mushy mess. It also give you an opportunity to open the lid of your slow cooker and check the consistency of your chili.

For those of you who are game for soaking dry beans, place them in plenty of cool water and soak for 8 hours (overnight). Drain the liquid, add to your recipe and cook chili on HIGH for 8-10 hours.

If you’re worried about your dried beans cooking to the right consistency, you may want to prepare your chili with plenty of time to spare before kick-off. I’ve been known to hit the start button again (on high) and cook for another two hours (lid on) if the beans aren’t soft enough.

Too much liquid? Remove the lid, jack the temp up to high and leave the lid off while some of that liquid evaporates. The savory aromas will waft through your kitchen enticing friends to dig in.

 

Not up for beef chili?

Try this vegan stovetop Quinoa, Black bean and Miso chili for a load of color and non-meat protein.

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Prefer lean ground turkey in your chili? Check out Two Peas and Their Pod’s slow cooker turkey chili.

And for those of you who are bean adverse but still want to hitch up to the chili wagon on game day, try this quick and easy stovetop “Meaty” Vegan Chili with Artisan Tofurkey Andouille Sausages from Hannah Kaminsky.

Lastly, if you’re committed to melting cheese on your mound of veg or vegan chili, consider Sincerely Brigitte‘s all natural, vegetarian and kosher Jalapeno Cilantro or smoked and spicy Chipotle Cheddar. You’ll have to shred it yourself but it’s worth it.

For kosher keepers who want shredded vegan cheese, consider Daiya dairy free cheeses. They come in four flavors and are certified (OU).

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

EASY SLOW COOKER BEEF CHILI

adapted from Jimmy Fallon’s recipe as presented on Martha Stewart

recipe is MEAT

serves 8-10

This recipe is ideal for those who prefer to use canned beans in their chili. Consider adding jalapeno peppers to this recipe if your crew likes it spicy. Remember that most of the heat is in the seeds of the pepper so seed them well. I chose to leave them out, altogether, and placed them on the side with other toppings.

Suggested toppings: chopped and seeded jalapeño peppers, lime wedges, crumbled tortilla chips, chopped fresh tomatoes, dairy free sour cream, dairy free shredded cheese, chopped or shredded salad greens or cabbage, hot sauce, diced raw onion, slivered black olives.

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound lean ground beef  (We recommend Grow and Behold)

Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

1 large white onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup chile powder

2 teaspoons ground cumin

⅛-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 heaping tablespoon Global Gardens Dream Dust (mostly cacao, cinnamon, cardamom)

2 (28-ounce) cans chopped tomatoes, juices reserved

1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving

1 (12-ounce) bottle amber beer or 1 cup dry red wine

2 (15-ounce) cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed

 

Directions:

Heat oil in a large skillet and brown beef, seasoning with salt and pepper. Drain beef and place in slow cooker insert. Do not clean out the pan.

In the same pan, sauté onion until translucent and season with chili powder, cumin, cayenne and Dream Dust.

Add garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes. Add mixture to slow cooker insert and stir.

Add remaining ingredients EXCEPT BEANS to insert, stir and set slow cooker to 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low. Do not peek.

At end of cooking time, add beans, stir, and leave lid off the crockpot. Cook for another 30 minutes on high or 1 hour on low.

Garnish with toppings.

NOTE about slow cookers: DO NOT lift the lid of the apparatus to stir or peek during cooking. When lid is opened, heat is lost. If you MUST open the lid, add another 20-25 minutes of cook time.

 

 

Originally Posted in “Easy Slow Cooker Chili for Game Day
Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Whether the inevitable winter sniffles have your sinuses stuffier than spring hayfever or you’re just in need of a warming, nutritious fix, a bowl of piping hot chicken soup is just what the doctor ordered. And the New Year calls for a new recipe, don’t ya think?

That’s why we combed our favorite recipe and bloggers’ sites to share 20 variations on chicken soup (including a few vegetarian versions) we’re hankering to try.

 

Classic Jewish Penicillin

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

What better way to kick off the list than a throwback to Liz’s classic Homemade Chicken Soup? She loads it with seasonal veggies and fresh dill and tosses in thin noodles for a classic comforting, healing soup. This is the one that’ll draw you to the table yearning for a hug from your Bubbie.

Want to eliminate that messy straining at the end of your simmer? Liz shares a great tip in her recipe.

If you’re craving traditional matzo balls be sure to check out Ronnie Fein’s guide to matzo balls. She breaks down the differences in flavors/ textures and shares her recipe for “medium, slightly-firm, soup soaked delicious matzo balls.” Ya. We’re in!

 

Lots-o’ matzo

 

Photo: Amy Kritzer, What Jew Wanna Eat

Photo: Amy Kritzer, What Jew Wanna Eat

Jewish matzo ball meets Chinese egg drop in this tasty chicken soup by Amy of What Jew Wanna Eat.

 Sandy Leibowitz over at the Kosher Tomato suggests stuffing your matzo balls with caramelized onions to make them extra tasty and super fluffy before plopping them in your chicken stock.

 

Cream it up – but hold the cream

 

Photo: Chanie Apfelbaum, Busy in Brooklyn

Photo: Chanie Apfelbaum, Busy in Brooklyn

Bread lovers, this one’s for you! Chanie of Busy in Brooklyn serves her coconut milk based chicken soup in freshly made bread bowls for a hearty, chicken potpie-like dish.

 

Filled with fresh herbs and seasonal veggies, this Israeli-inspired, dairy-free cream of chicken soup from This American Bite is the perfect addition to your Shabbat table this winter (and beyond!).

 

South-of-the-border-inspired 

 

Photo: Sandy Leibowitz, The Kosher Tomato

Photo: Sandy Leibowitz, The Kosher Tomato

Zest it up with Kosher Tomato’s Southwestern chicken tortilla soup, full of warming spices like oregano, cumin, chili powder, and garlic powder, and spiked with fresh lime juice and cilantro.

Cuban and Jewish cuisine collide in this wholesome “Jewban Penicillin” chicken soup from Jennifer Stempel on the Nosher.

The combo of mint and cilantro in this Mexican sopa de pollo recipe from Orangette gives an added depth and uplifting taste. Buen Provecho!

 

Schmaltz-free and Vegetarian

 

Photo: Vicki and Ruth, May I Have That Recipe

Photo: Vicki and Ruth, May I Have That Recipe

Vegetarians out there can still enjoy the comfort of homemade soup with this vegan Thai style soup from May I Have That Recipe? Vicki and Ruth incorporate Thai ingredients like sesame oil and ginger and finish with tofu for some protein.

 

Swap chicken for chickpeas in Nava Atlasvegan “chick-un” noodle soup and enjoy this veg-version of the soothing classic.

 

Try changing out the noodles from the previous recipe and throw in some of Molly Yeh’s “never fail” dumplings (keep in mind these are made with butter so get your veg broth simmering).

 

Asian-Inspired

 

Photo: Melinda Strauss, Kitchen Tested

Photo: Melinda Strauss, Kitchen Tested

Enjoy a soft-boiled egg atop this miso chicken ramen from Kitchen Tested. Watch creamy richness infuse this broth when you break the yolk.

 

The Blue Apron dished out a traditional Northern Thailand Khao Soi recipe, which calls for crispy wonton noodles, coconut curry broth and ginger.

 

Joy of Kosher claims this dairy-free Thai Chicken Coconut Soup is “so good you’ll think you’re in a restaurant.”

 

Other International Gems

 

Photo: Maureen Abood; Rose Water and Orange Blossoms

Photo: Maureen Abood; Rose Water and Orange Blossoms

Mauren Abood of Rose Water & Orange Blossoms has a tantalizing, simple Lebanese soup flavored with fragrant cinnamon and made with short pieces of vermicelli.

 

Chew Out Loud offers a mouthwatering garbanzo-couscous-veggie combo to create an easy Moroccan chicken stew that is super easy to make.

 

Avgolemono is a traditional Greek lemon-egg soup made with just a handful of ingredients. The eggs create a thicker, cream-like consistency while the lemon adds a pleasant zest. Check out Savuer’s simple recipe here.

 

Super soups with super foods

 

Give your immune system a boost this winter with Anh’s superfood-filled recipe, which includes amaranth, quinoa, and the healing aromatics of ginger and cinnamon. Heads up, kosher-keepers: this recipe calls for fish sauce, so be sure to check out the Kitchn’s vegan version here if you can’t find one in the store.

 

Add a super protein punch to your chicken soup with Bob’s Red Mills Middle Eastern chicken soup with freekeh recipe.

 

Kabocha squash and bok choy float beautifully in this spicy (from the jalapeño kick), feel-good chicken soup from Bon Appétit.

 

Photo: Lynda Balslev; TasteFood

Photo: Lynda Balslev; TasteFood

Swap the noodles for farro in this recipe from Taste Food. Carrots and fresh parsley brighten it up while the farro offers a nutritional punch and great texture.

 

Which ingredients make your chicken soup special? Have tips or secrets to share?  We want to know!

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Winter salads can taste a little lackluster, we know. But colder months provide an opportunity to create pairings with dried fruits and nuts that sing differently but still shine in composed salads bursting with warm flavors and colors.

In honor of Tu B’shvat, the start of spring in Israel, it’s traditional to consider the seven ingredients mentioned most frequently in the Bible (Deut. 8:8) as inspiration for at least one holiday dish.

The seven species are figs, grapes, pomegranates, olives, dates, wheat and barley.

Do they seem too disparate to throw together in one dish?

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

We were inspired to combine pan-seared figs, pomegranates, olives (oil) and dates (as silan, actually date honey) in one salad. Channeling other ingredients and flavors from Israel, we sought out halloumi cheese, a salty and firm cheese, best when browned in a bit of butter. Harissa ties the sweet and savory elements all together. And since we love pistachios anywhere and always, we thought they would look and taste great dusted over the whole shebang.

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Celebrate Tu B’shvat from sunset 1/24- sunset 1/25 this year. For more on this holiday and the symbolism associated with each of the seven ingredients, click here.

For past posts including why this holiday is called the Birthday of the Trees and how we can find signs of spring even on the coldest winter days, click here.

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How do you connect these seven ingredients? Do you have recipes to share? Or ideas if you were to take this challenge?  Please share in the comments below or hop over to our facebook page to let us know there. Not friends on facebook yet?  Please be sure we are so you don’t miss a thing.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Winter Salad with Sauteed Haloumi Cheese, Figs and Pomegranate Arils

 This salad adds bright color and warm flavors any winter meal. We eat it in celebration of Tu B’Shvat, the holiday of the trees and the beginning of springtime in Israel. It incorporates four of the seven foods mentioned most frequently in the Bible. Add sliced grapes, a layer of cooked barley and croutons and you’ll be at 100%!

Halloumi is a salty, firm sheep’s milk cheese with a high melting point that can be browned in a pan or grilled without melting. Harissa  is a chili based Middle Eastern condiment that may be found in powdered or paste form. The heat factor varies so start with a little and taste as you go.

 

This recipe is vegetarian and dairy.

serves 2 as a main dish or 4 as a side salad

 

Ingredients

 Salad:

4 cups salad greens of choice

4 oz. Haloumi cheese, patted dry and sliced into 4-5 slabs

1 teaspoon butter

5 dried figs (chose plump pretty figs), sliced through the fat side

1 Tablespoon shelled pistachios

2 teaspoons pomegranate arils (seeds)

¼ teaspoon harissa seasoning (powdered spice or paste)

4 teaspoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

 

Dressing:

 4 Tablespoons EVOO (use only very good oil here)

2 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (or to taste)

1 Tablespoon SILAN (date honey). Honey may be substituted

1 clove garlic, crushed or finely minced

⅛ teaspoon harissa seasoning

salt and pepper to taste

 

Assemble the salad:

 Wash and spin dry salad greens, leaving leaves whole. Arrange in 2-3 layers on a shallow platter.

Heat butter in a small non-stick pan and brown Haloumi cheese on both sides. Set aside.

In the same pan (no additional butter necessary) saute the figs, seed side down until golden. Set aside.

Chop or pulverize pistachios (how much texture do you want?) and toss with powdered harissa seasoning. If using harissa paste, mix the paste into the dressing and leave pistachios dry.

Distribute parsley over salad greens and top with pomegranate arils, sliced figs, Haloumi cheese, and pistachio bits.

 

Assemble the dressing:

 Blend all ingredients together and adjust seasoning to taste.

Dress the salad and serve immediately.

 

Notes: All ingredients may be prepared in advance but assemble salad just before serving.

Harissa may be found as a combination of powdered spices (think CURRY) or as a paste at NY SHUK, our favorite and most authentic source.

Originally Posted in “Winter Salad that Meets the Challenge
Photo: Liz Rueven; Goat Cheese, Silan and Olive Galette

Photo: Liz Rueven; Goat Cheese, Silan and Olive Galette

The challenge: Create a recipe with seven seemingly disparate ingredients.  A wild mystery basket full of items on CHOPPED?

Nope! It’s Tu b’shvat and these ingredients sing together in this sweet and savory galette I created for The Nosher. Be sure to click here to read how it all comes together in this easy recipe.

 

 

 Photo: Kate Sears; Poisson a la Marocaine

Photo: Kate Sears; Poisson a la Marocaine

When a cookbook author launches her intro with a line like “I don’t always love to cook,” her honesty feels like the confession of a delightfully candid friend. Or something we each feel, but probably don’t say, as we face another ___________ (fill in the blank: Monday, weekend, holiday, Shabbat, work week, school week, family dinner….)

It’s this tone of openness that first attracted me to Kim Kushner’s The New Kosher, Simple Recipes to Savor and Share (2015).

Watch for our cookbook give-away later this week! 

She describes a hectic life with three young kids in NYC where everyone is on the move and her kitchen is not the tidy fantasy stage set of methodical slow cooking.  Instead, meals provide moments (some rushed, some leisurely) where family and friends gather to enjoy deeply flavored, uncomplicated dishes.

 

Photo: Kate Sears; Roasted Eggplant and Red Onion with Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Photo: Kate Sears; Roasted Eggplant and Red Onion with Yogurt Dipping Sauce

 

But don’t be deceived.

 Uncomplicated and simple may include only 5-6 ingredients but Kushner serves up bold flavors, approachable preparations, and easy ideas for presentation. Her flavors reflect her Mom’s kitchen, where Moroccan and Israeli inspired dips and mezze crowd the table alongside main dishes.

Recipes will tempt kosher keepers and others looking for easy meal ideas ranging from basics and starters all the way through sweets. In general, recipes are not technique driven, making them particularly appealing to today’s busy home cooks.

 

Here are some of the dishes we’re most excited to prepare:

 

Photo: Kate Sears; Pomelo Salad with Red Onion, Mint and Cilantro

Photo: Kate Sears; Pomelo Salad with Red Onion, Mint and Cilantro

Pomelo Salad with Red Onion, Mint and Cilantro is a colorful winter salad that takes about ten minutes to assemble and provides a bright start (or finish) to any main course.

 

Photo: Kate Sears; Red Roast Chicken with Lemon, Whole Garlic and Vegetables

Photo: Kate Sears; Red Roast Chicken with Lemon, Whole Garlic and Vegetables

Red Roast Chicken with Lemon, Whole Garlic and Vegetables is a classic one dish meal, perfect for a winter evening.  A healthy selection of carrots, zucchini, fennel and onions benefit from being roasted surrounded by the flavorful juices of this upright chicken.

 

Photo: Kate Sears; Crispy Rice Cake with Saffron Crust

Photo: Kate Sears; Crispy Rice Cake with Saffron Crust

Crispy Rice Cake with Saffron Crust has just four ingredients but will wow your guests. Kushner provides the easiest technique for achieving the perfectly crisped tadig that everyone will fight for.

 

Thankfully, desserts that benefit from butter and other dairy remain unadulterated by margarine.

 

Photo: Kate Sears; Cinnamon-Chocolate Pound Cake with Greek Yogurt

Photo: Kate Sears; Cinnamon-Chocolate Pound Cake with Greek Yogurt

 

Dairy free hamantaschen with three luscious fillings (Rocky Road, Cookies and Cream, Ferrero Rocher) and Biscotti (Chocolate Chunk with Lavender or Olive Oil with Hazelnuts and Rose Water) stand out among the pareve desserts.

Photo: Kate Sears; Kim Kushner

Photo: Kate Sears; Kim Kushner

We’re giving away one copy of The New Kosher later this week! Be sure to check back and enter to win!

Kim was kind enough to share this delectable dish with us. Thank you, Kim!

 

poisson à la marocaine

Recipe and photo (at top of blogpost) courtesy of Kim Kushner, THE NEW KOSHER, Simple Recipes to Savor and Share, A Weldon Owen Production, 2015.

serves 6

Recipe is pareve

 To me, nothing defines Moroccan cooking more than the classical preparation of fish. The vibrant red, yellow, and green colors, the spicy aroma, and the delicate textures all come together in this perfect dish. Traditionally, the fish is assembled and marinated in the fridge overnight, but if you are short on time, you can easily go ahead and cook it straightaway.”

 

For the Paprika Oil

1⁄2 cup (13⁄4 oz/55 g) sweet paprika 2 cups (16 fl oz/500 ml) canola oil

 

For the Saffron Water

1 tablespoon saffron threads
1 cup (8 fl oz/250 ml) boiling water

4 cloves garlic, quartered

1  bunch fresh cilantro, stems reserved and left whole, leaves chopped

2  red bell peppers, seeded and finely diced

3  dried red chiles, such as guajillo, ancho, or pasilla

6 grouper or tilapia fillets, about 6 oz (185 g) each

1–2 preserved lemons, cut into small pieces Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper Fresh cilantro for garnish

 

To make the paprika oil, in a glass jar, combine the paprika and oil and shake until well blended. Set aside. This will serve as the base for your Moroccan cooking. Store in a dark pantry and always shake before using.

 To make the saffron water, preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C). Place the saffron on a small piece of aluminum foil and fold over to secure the saffron inside. Toast in the oven for no more than 1 minute. Use your fingers to crumble the saffron into tiny pieces. Place in a small glass jar, pour in the boiling water, and shake until well blended. This mixture will also come in handy for Moroccan cooking.

If you have time to marinate the fish: Pour 1 4 cup (2 fl oz/ 60 ml) of the paprika oil into a large sauté pan. Add the garlic, cilantro stems, bell peppers, and chiles. Place the grouper on top and add the preserved lemons. Pour 3 tablespoons of the saffron water evenly over the fish. Use your hands to rub the liquids into the fish.

Season with salt and pepper. If you have time, cover the pan and let the fish marinate in the fridge for up to 24 hours.

Remove the pan from the fridge, place over medium- high heat, and cook, covered, for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the fish, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes longer. The dish should look bright and bubbly. Serve right away.

If you have don’t have time to marinate the fish: Pour 1 4 cup (2 fl oz/60 ml) of the paprika oil into a large sauté pan. Add the garlic, cilantro stems, bell peppers, and chiles, place over medium-high heat, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the peppers and chiles are softened, about 4 minutes.

Place the fish on top and add the preserved lemons. Pour 3 tablespoons of the saffron water evenly over the fish. Season with salt and pepper. Tilt the pan so that the liquids are evenly coating all of the fillets. Cover and cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, sprinkle the cilantro leaves over the fish, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes longer. The dish should look bright and bubbly.

Serve right away.

All photos courtesy of Kim Kushner, THE NEW KOSHER, A Weldon Owen Production, 2015.

 

 

Originally Posted in “What’s New with Kim Kushner
The Classic Burger. Image courtesy of by CHLOE.

The Classic Burger. Image courtesy of by CHLOE.

 

Here’s an adapted version of the Classic Veggie Burger recipe that had us swooning at by CHLOE.’s NYC cafe.Thanks for sharing with us, Chloe!

Read our full review of by CHLOE here.

 

Veggie Burger 

Adapted from by CHLOE.

Recipe and photo courtesy of Chloe’s Kitchen (Simon & Schuster 2012)

This recipe is vegan and gluten- free, pareve (dairy-free)

 

Burgers

1 8-oz package tempeh OR 1 cup cooked brown rice

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 15-oz can lentils, rinsed and drained

1 cup walnuts, toasted

½ cup all-purpose flour, or gluten-free all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 Tbsp canola oil

 

To make the burgers:
Fill a large pot with enough water to reach the bottom of a steamer basket.  Using a knife or your hands, break tempeh into 4 pieces and place in the basket

 

Cover and steam for 20 minutes.  Check the pot occasionally and add more water if necessary. Steaming the tempeh will remove bitterness (if using brown rice simply skip this step).

 

In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, and sauté onions until soft and lightly browned.  Add garlic and cook a few more minutes.  Transfer to a food processor.  Reserve skillet for later use.

 

Add steamed tempeh (or rice), lentils, walnuts, flour, basil, salt and pepper to the onions in the food processor. Pulse until the walnut pieces are very fine and the mixture comes together.  If necessary, transfer the mixture to a large bowl and mix with your hands.  Adjust seasoning to taste.  Form the mixture into eight burger patties with the palms of your hands.

 

Heat canola oil in reserved non stick skillet over medium-high heat, and pan-fry patties in batches, adding more oil as needed.  Flip the patties, and let cook until they are nicely browned on both sides.  Remove patties from pan and drain on paper towels.

 

Originally Posted in “by CHLOE.’s Much Loved Veggie Burger
photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

Marrakesh chicken is a real crowd pleaser. It’s interesting enough to serve for holidays or special dinners. It’s easy enough to serve for casual weekend gatherings, too. We appreciate the load of dried apricots and figs along with warmth inducing cumin and ginger during these  winter months.

Best of all, this dish is best when assembled a day in advance.

We love that. 

Marinate chicken the eve before you’re cooking. The chicken benefits from bathing in red wine and absorbs the sweet and tangy flavors of the other ingredients. You’ll have plenty of time to round out your meal with a crisp green salad or a simply wok’ed winter green with a bit of garlic or slivers of fresh ginger. Serve with your grain of choice so not a bit of the gravy is lost.

Note: Green peppercorns lend a complexity and mild piquancy to this dish. They provide a fiery kick like freshly ground black pepper but are meant to be eaten whole. Here’s more on green peppercorns and why they add balance to many French inspired dishes.  We reduced the amount in this recipe by half when we made it for a crowd during Chanukah.

Thank you, Marcia Selden Catering and Event Planning, for this recipe.

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

 

 

Chicken Marrakesh

 

This recipe is MEAT.

Serves 8-10 

Ingredients:

2 whole Chickens, cut into four pieces

6 Garlic cloves

1 T Dried Thyme

1/2 T Dried Cumin

1 t ground Ginger

1 t Salt

1/2 C Olive Oil

4 t Green Peppercorns (soaked in water and drained)

1 C whole pitted Black Olives

1 and ½ C Dried Apricots

1 C dried small Figs

1/2 C good Red Wine

Zest of 2 Lemons

½ C packed Brown Sugar

1 C large Pecan pieces or Pine Nuts

 

Directions:

Marinate chicken in all the ingredients through the lemon zest overnight.Place the marinated chickens in a large baking pan and remove from the refrigerator one hour before baking. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with brown sugar and nuts and continue cooking, covered, for 20 minutes. Uncover and cook until it looks golden brown.  Transfer to a platter and drizzle a few spoons of the pan juices over the chicken.

Originally Posted in “Marrakesh Chicken for a Crowd
Photo: Hannah Kaminsky

Photo: Hannah Kaminsky

By Katy Morris

Jicama (pronounced “hee-ka-mah”) has made its way up north to uplift our winter dishes with its welcoming crispness – a perfect textural contrast to all the root veggies we’ve been roasting lately.

And with Chanukah calories having settled into certain, ahem, body parts, it’s the perfect time to switch gears and think about raw, low-cal, seasonal salads.

Jicama adds a juicy, mild crunch that’s set off by a refreshing sweetness. It’s a member of the bean family, native tuber of the Americas, and is often referred to as Mexican turnip. Stroll down the street in Mexico and you’ll find it julienned with a simple splash of lime juice and dash of chili powder.

 

Where can I find jicama? 

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

If you’re taking a break from the chilly temps this winter and heading south of the border, you’ll find jicama in local outdoor markets and from street vendors. Jicama can be steamed and stewed, but it is most often eaten raw with a few simple ingredients for a refreshing and nutritious snack or atop tacos or salads as a garnish. Their refreshing quality also perfectly balances biting spices in salsas and dips.

 Not taking a winter escape this year? ¡No hay problema! Jicama can be found in plenty of stores up north, like Balducci’s and Whole Foods. They’re exported from the south but are starting to grow stateside in Texas and California, as well.

 

What should I look for when buying?

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Many places sell them pre-cut, but if you’re looking for them whole, they will be those bulbous, potato or turnip-like root vegetables. Their bumpy, gray, tan or brown skin protects a creamy white flesh inside. Pick firm jicama without blemishes, bruises or dents. Go for those that are medium-small in size (larger ones tend to be starchier and less sweet).

 

What’s the best way to use jicama? 

 

Photo; Liz Rueven

Photo; Liz Rueven

Simply wash (super well), peel and enjoy. That’s it!

Jicama is often eaten raw, as it does not discolor quickly like many other chopped vegetables and fruits (hence why they are often sold pre-cut). It adds a nice crunch once peeled (note: the skin is not edible), sliced or cubed and tossed in a salad in place of cucumbers or apples, or added to crudité platters.

This Latin America tuber is also great atop tacos (you have to check out Liz’s award-winning Turkey Taco recipe if you haven’t already) and paired with complementary flavors and textures like onions, avocadoes, tomatoes, and cilantro.

 

You can indeed cook jicama; just keep in mind that it soaks up other flavors quickly. It’s best to use quick-cooking methods so it can retain some of its crispness. Consider adding jicama to stir-fries instead of water chestnuts. You can also treat them like potatoes and mash them up or use them for a cool twist on French fries.

 

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

Storage tips?

Treat them as you would potatoes and store in a cool dry place when you buy them whole. If you buy them pre-cut or chop up too many at once and need to store some, put them in a plastic bag in your fridge after splashing with acidic juice. They should be good for a couple weeks.

 

We want to give a special thanks to Hannah Kaminksy and Nava Atlas for their duo-contribution of this simply delicious recipe. For more vegan (always kosher and pareve!) recipes check out Nava Atlas‘ chock full of goodness blog, VegKitchen  and Hannah Kaminsky’s vegan creations at Bittersweet blog.

 

 

Have you experimented with jicama? How do you prepare it?  Comment below and let us know!

 

 

Jicama Salad with Oranges and Watercress

 

Photo: Hannah Kaminsky

Photo: Hannah Kaminsky

This salad recipe was shared by Nava Atlas. 

According to Atlas, “This colorful and crunchy salad is a perfect way to dress up a fall harvest or holiday meal.”

This recipe is raw, vegan, pareve, gluten-free.

 

Ingredients

 

  • 1 medium jicama, peeled and cut into short narrow strips
  • 3 to 4 clementines or other small seedless oranges, sectioned
  • 1 bunch watercress, mostly leaves, some stem fine to include
  • ¼ cup cilantro or parsley leaves
  • 4 to 6 ounces mixed baby greens
  • Juice of ½ lime to 1 lime, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar or maple syrup
  • ¼ cup toasted pumpkin seeds

 

Instructions

 

  • Combine the jicama, orange sections, watercress, cilantro or parsley, and mixed greens in a serving bowl and stir together.
  • Drizzle the lime juice, olive oil, and agave over the salad and toss again.
  • Let stand for 15 minutes or so for the flavors to meld.
  • Scatter the pumpkin seeds over the top and serve.