photo: Sarah Lasry

photo: Sarah Lasry

We’re switching it up and baking savory hamantaschen for our Purim celebration next week. And  it couldn’t be any easier.

We’re starting with the perfect basic hamantaschen dough we posted last week. Scroll up or click here to find it.

For a Middle Eastern inspired filling, we’re folding the dough around falafel, popping it all in the oven and drizzling with our favorite tehina. Follow my friend, Sarah Lasry‘s recipe, below, for a totally unexpected savory twist on this traditional treat.

Pair this 3 corned beauty with an Israeli salad (chop chop) and it’s safe to call this dinner.

Note:  Happy holiday! The holiday of Purim begins on Wednesday night, March 4 and continues through March 5, 2015. To see other recipes and learn more about this festive holiday click here and here.

We’d love to know how you celebrate!

What kinds of costumes do you and your kids wear? Your favorite hamantaschen filling? The most creative items you’ve given/ received in Purim gift baskets? We want to know!


photo: Sarah Lasry

photo: Sarah Lasry

Falafel Stuffed Hamantaschen

18 hamantaschen

These hamantaschen are a savory twist on the traditional Purim treats.

Recipe: Sarah Lasry, The Patchke Princess

recipe is dairy free (pareve)


  • 1 perfect hamantaschen recipe (see above)
  • 2 tbsp. dried parsley
  • 1/2 tbsp. Zaatar *optional
  • 2 envelopes falafel ball mix (one box usually contains 2 envelopes)
  • Olive oil


  1. Add the parsley and zahtaar spice to the prepared hamantaschen dough.
  2. Knead the dough and spices together until combined.
  3. Prepare the falafel ball mix according to directions
  4. Roll out the hamantaschen dough and cut out 2 inch circles.
  5. Place the circles onto a prepared parchment lined cookie tray.
  6. With slightly wet fingers, roll small falafel balls from prepared mix and place into center of cut out dough circles
  7. Pinch the 3 tips of dough, creating a triangle shape around the falafel ball. Make sure the edges are tightly closed. (You might need to wet the edges slightly)
  8. Brush a little olive oil on top of the hamantaschen and bake in oven for about 15 -20 minutes until edges are slightly golden.
  9. Remove from oven onto wire rack and let cool completely.


Serve these hamantaschen drizzled with your favorite tehina.

Originally Posted in “Falafel Stuffed Hamantaschen
photo: Shushy Turin-Shine;

photo: Shushy Turin-Shine;

It’s a little early, I know. But the weekend is fast approaching and with it comes an opportunity to commit to mastering the most whimsical of all baked goods: Hamantaschen!

So when Sarah Lasry posted a little preview of what I’ll be posting here NEXT week, our friend Shushy over at Cooking in Heels flipped head over her stilettos for this dough. Sarah promises it’s fabulous, even for those of us who have had problems with corners popping open and shapes looking too, well, UN- triangular. Yup, both Sushy and I confess freely to being hamantaschen challenged.

With thanks to Shushy, who stirred up a lot of expectation on her Instagram account (do check out her fabulous blog) and Sarah Lasry, one of my  ”4 Bloggers Dish: Passover” co-authors and go to recipe expert at Patchke Princess, here’s a dairy free (pareve) dough without a bit of margarine.

YAY for coconut oil!

For more ideas on hamantaschen fillings (chocolate and apricot and kid friendly jelly) and doughs (chocolate and anise and peanut butter), click my previous posts here and here.

Be sure to check back for another hamantschen recipe next week. I’m sworn to secrecy but I CAN tell you that it’s time for something savory- and we’ll have it right here for you.

For new readers, please consider subscribing to Kosher Like Me by clicking into the side bar labeled Sign Me Up. You can also friend me at Facebook here and find me on Pinterest and Instagram- all at Kosher Like Me.

The Perfect Basic Hamantaschen Dough

18 hamantaschen

This recipe is courtesy of Sarah Lasry

If you would like to make this dough in advance: wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and keep in fridge. However the dough will be very hard from the coconut oil when you first remove from fridge, so you MUST leave it for a minimum of 2 hours on countertop to get to room temperature before using.

This recipe is non-dairy (pareve)


  • 3/4 cup coconut oil, room temp.
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 egg, room temp.
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp. grated & finely chopped fresh lemon & orange rinds (the peel of about 1 large lemon & orange)
  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3-4 tbsp. orange liqueur (I use Cointreau or you can use orange juice)


  1. Add the coconut oil and sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer. Using the whisk attachment, cream the sugar and oil till smooth (about 3 minutes)
  2. Add the egg, vanilla & citrus peel one at a time and whisk until combined.
  3. Slowly add the flour one cup at a time to mixer and whisk some more until a dough starts to form.
  4. Add the salt.
  5. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides.
  6. Add the orange liqueur one tablespoon at a time and mix until the dough comes together easily. The dough should not be sticky but pliable and easily removable from the bowl. (You might need a little more liquid to achieve the desired consistency)
  7. At this point you can roll out the dough and fill with your favorite hamantaschen filling.
  8. Bake in 350 F pre-heated oven for about 13-15 minutes on a paper lined cookie sheet.
  9. The Hamantaschen are done when they a slightly golden at the edges and still soft to the touch.
  10. Remove from tray and let cool entirely on rack.
  11. Your Hamantaschen will be crispy with a little chewy bite.


Originally Posted in “The Perfect Hamantaschen Dough
photo courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering

photo courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering

Contributed by Marcia Selden Catering

This colorful citrus salad will brighten even the dreariest mid- winter day. When the forecast calls for snow, this melange of veggies will be a welcome and vibrant addition to your table.   Keep it simple and vegan (pareve) as tangy and fragrant blood oranges balance the sweetness of the roasted golden beets.    Or add a handful of toasted pine nuts and a crumbled salty cheese such as feta, ricotta salata or chevre, if you’d like, for a delicious pop of color and flavor.

If you can only imagine warm food at this time of year, this salad is also delicious when served warm!

For more on blood oranges, why they blush that gorgeous ruby red and why they are so darn healthy, click here.

Blood Orange, Golden Beets & Balsamic Roasted Fennel Salad

4 servings

Blood Orange, Golden Beets & Balsamic Roasted Fennel Salad

This bright and bold salad is the perfect antidote to grey winter days. Try to source your citrus directly from southern orchards whenever possible.

Thank you Marcia Selden Catering, Stamford, CT. for this recipe share.

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


  • 1½ lbs. fennel bulbs (2 fist-sized fennel bulbs)
  • 1 lb. golden beets
  • 2 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • 3 blood oranges, peeled sliced into rounds
  • 2 C. arugula
  • Kosher salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Rinse and slice fennel and beets into ½” thick slices.
  3. Place sliced fennel and beets on a baking sheet (optionally lined with a Silpat baking mat) and drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss to coat the slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  4. Place in oven and roast for 30 minutes, carefully flipping the slices after 15 minutes.
  5. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before tossing with arugula and blood oranges.
  6. Add a small drizzle of olive oil and season to taste with kosher salt and pepper before serving.

Originally Posted in “Blood Orange Salad Brightens Winter Days
photo: Jennifer Abadi

photo: Jennifer Abadi

Do you love to eat foods imbued with symbolism? With the Tu B’Shvat holiday approaching on the eve of February 3 we have an opportunity to pause and connect nature’s wondrous cycles with deeper meaning while enjoying tasty fruits and grains.

The holiday of Tu B’Shvat (15th day of the Hebrew month of Shvat) is often called the birthday of the trees.


Why do trees need birthdays?

There was a Biblical injunction against eating fruit from trees that were younger than three years old (Leviticus 19:23). Even if you planted trees just a few weeks ago, they would still mark their first birthday on February 4 this year.

So all trees had the same birthday and their ages could be calculated.

Pretty clever, eh?


Every year, before I write my post in honor of this holiday, I grab my camera, bundle up and wander about my beautiful frozen yard.


It’s a quiet time to reflect and pay closer attention to what’s happening in the ground and on the trees now that we are firmly in the coldest months of winter.


I am always surprised by what I see.

When we moved to this home, almost 20 years ago, we transplanted a couple of small’ish cherry trees. I wrapped them securely in burlap blankets, “heeled” them in for the winter and found a sunny spot to plant them in the spring. They flourished in their new home and surprised us by flowering twice that year.

They have flowered twice (sometimes more than twice!) every year since.


There is nothing so strange as seeing those pink blossoms in January. I’ve learned that it’s very rare for small flowering trees to bloom more than once a year.


I’m relieved to learn that they are of a a rare species rather than examples of terrifying global warming. These Autumn Blooming Cherries are my favorites.

As we celebrate the birthday of the trees on Tu B’Shvat we focus on the seven species native to Israel and mentioned in the Bible. They are wheat, barley, olives, dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates (Deut. 8:8).

We’ll be celebrating by eating this colorful fruit salad created by Jennifer Abadi. It contains 4 of the 7 species mentioned. Enjoy this sunny dish for dessert or with yogurt for breakfast.

To read more about Tu B’Shvat and to see other recipes that include the seven species click here to find Molly Katzen’s Grilled Bread Salad with Figs and Walnuts


and here to find Kim Kushner’s Pecan Fig Biscotti.

photo courtesy of Kim Kushner, THE MODERN MENU

photo courtesy of Kim Kushner, THE MODERN MENU

Fruits of Israel Salad

6 servings

This fruit salad includes 4 of the 7 species of fruits mentioned in the Bible, making it the perfect dish to serve for Tu B'Shvat. Dates, grapes, figs and pomegranates add texture and color while harkening back to native fruits.

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

Thank you Jennifer Abadi!


    For the Salad
  • 4 large mejool dates (or 8 regular sized dates), pitted
  • 4 dried (or fresh) figs, stems removed
  • 3 fresh apricots, or 6 dried
  • Seeds from 1 pomegranate (or dried sour cherries, if not in season)
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 cups assorted grapes (black, green, red)
  • ½ cup pistachios and/or almonds, crushed
  • For the Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 to ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Chop all the fruit into bite-size pieces and place into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Sprinkle the crushed nuts, chopped mint leaves, lemon juice, honey, and ground cinnamon over the top and toss the fruit salad with a fork and spoon. Adjust seasonings according to taste.
  3. Serve chilled or at room temperature in serving bowl. Plain yogurt may be served on the side, if desired.

Originally Posted in “Finding Meaning in Winter Fruit Salad
Google Images

Google Images

Delicious and creamy, this vegetarian and gluten-free  Mushroom Polenta Lasagna from Marcia Selden Catering can be made in under an hour! Additionally it can be made vegan by substituting soy cheese for the cheeses in the recipe.

If you really want to save time, purchase pre-made polenta rolls and grocery store grilled vegetables, and you’ll have this dish ready in no time!

Mushroom Polenta Lasagna

8 servings

This vegetable packed lasagna is a super gluten-free option for those steering clear of pasta.

This recipe is dairy. Sub in vegan cheeses to convert this to a dairy-free (pareve) and vegan one dish wonder.

Thank you, Marcia Selden Catering, for this recipe.


  • 4 C. water or vegetable stock
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1¼ C. quick cooking polenta
  • 1 C. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 C. baby spinach
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • Vegetable Filling
  • 1 large eggplant, small dice
  • 1 large red bell pepper, small dice
  • 2 C. mushrooms, small dice
  • 1 C. diced onion, small dice
  • 1 C. diced zucchini, small dice
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh basil
  • 2 Tbs. dried oregano
  • 2 C. grated mozzarella or mozzarella-style soy cheese
  • 1 C. goat cheese (optional)
  • 3 C. marinara sauce
  • 1 C. grated Parmesan or Parmesan-style soy cheese


  1. In large saucepan, bring water and olive oil to a boil over medium-high heat. Gradually whisk in polenta. Stir with whisk, and cook until polenta is thick, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add spinach and grated Parmesan cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Pour polenta into two 8×8-inch baking pans until 3/4-inch thick. (You will need two layers of polenta.) Alternatively, pour polenta into 1 large pan and, when cool, cut polenta into two layers to fit size of 8×12-inch lasagna pan.
  4. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm.
  5. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  6. Toss diced vegetables in olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano.
  7. Add a good pinch of Kosher salt and pepper, and arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer.
  8. Roast for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
  9. Remove from the pan and set aside. If using goat cheese, stir into vegetables.
  10. Unmold polenta, taking care not to break. If using two 8×8-inch pans, cut the pieces so they fit in 8×12-inch lasagna pan. Reserve single piece of polenta for top layer.
  11. Reduce heat to 350°F.
  12. Spread 1 C. marinara sauce in bottom of lasagna pan.
  13. Top with a layer of polenta, then add a layer of roasted vegetables, cover with a sprinkling of mozzarella cheese.
  14. Add another layer of polenta, remaining marinara sauce, mozzarella cheese, and top with Parmesan cheese.
  15. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

Originally Posted in “Mushroom Polenta Lasagna
photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

This week we’re making winter salads a whole lot brighter by using locally grown hydroponic greens. Be sure to check in tomorrow to see why hydroponics are a healthy, local, sustainable solution for growing greens, vegetables and herbs in poor soil or inhospitable climates (Ya- We’re talking about YOU, winter!)

I bought a hydroponically grown Mesclun mix at my local farmers’ market in Westport, CT and was psyched to have crisp greens to play with in January.

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

The leafy mix of escarole, red and green lettuces, mustard greens, parsley and watercress was so fresh that a simple vinaigrette would have been enough (Dayenu).

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

But I couldn’t resist warming up my kitchen by roasting a wintry mix of sunny golden beets, bright carrots, those gorgeous purple skinned sweet potatoes along with red pears and apples. I sliced all veggies and fruit to about the same size so they had a chance to cook evenly. It’s important to remember to give the beets, sweet potatoes and carrots a head start since they need more time to soften.

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

Have you tried hydroponically grown veggies and greens yet? What are your thoughts? 

Winter Salad with Roasted Fruit & Veggies

Winter Salad with Roasted Fruit & Veggies

Here's an easy salad recipe that doesn't require quantities since you'll decide which vegetables and fruits to include and how much of each you would like. I've given ingredient suggestions according to what was available in my winter market in January in CT.

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, dairy free (pareve) as written. Feel free to add toppings according to your taste.


  • golden or red beets-unpeeled
  • carrots-peeled
  • sweet potatoes-unpeeled
  • red or green pears- firm and unpeeled
  • apples- unpeeled
  • 2-3 Tb. EVOO
  • salt and pepper
  • Mixed salad greens- washed and spun dry
  • Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup EVOO
  • 3 Tb. lemon juice
  • 1 Tb. honey
  • 1 shallot-minced
  • 1 Tb. Dijon mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 Tb.chopped fresh herbs of choice (I like mint and thyme)-optional


    Roast Veggies
  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Slice veggies and fruit so they are approximately even in size.
  3. Place all veggies in one bowl and fruit in another. Toss with EVOO and salt and pepper.
  4. Line 2 cookie sheets with non-stick foil.
  5. Spread beets, sweet potatoes and carrots on one pan and give them a 10-15 minute head start.
  6. Place apples and pears on a separate pan and place in oven after veggies have been roasting for 10-15 minutes..
  7. Continue roasting for 20-25 minutes, tossing items with tongs so they brown evenly and vegetables are tender to the fork.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool.
  9. Place washed greens in a large bowl or on a flat platter and top with roasted fruit and vegetables.
  10. Vinaigrette
  11. Whisk all ingredients together until combined. Taste and adjust lemon, salt and pepper.
  12. Gently drizzle salad with vinaigrette and toss.


This salad is all about flexibility.

Play with your salad by adding in any of these:

Greens: chopped kale, arugula,tatsoi, collards

Crunchies: chopped pistachios, pepitas, chopped pecans, chopped walnuts, sunflower seeds

Cheese: anything local! crumbled feta or goat, grated parmigiano

Dried fruit: craisins, chopped figs, dried cherries, chopped dates


New Year’s eve is often a potluck affair with our gang. What are you whipping up for the celebration?

I turned to my good friend, Melissa Roberts, for suggestions. I wanted a savory and impressive dish to share with friends at brunch or supper alongside an elegant flute of bubbly. She suggested this delectable Kale Phyllo Pie;  I’m right on it.  

It hits all the marks: readily available ingredients, one-dish,festive and easy to prepare. Most importantly, it is a beautiful and mouthwatering dish that will please everyone at the party. Vegetarians, omnivores, locavores, flexitarians, kosher keepers- this one’s for you.

phyllo kale and feta

As the new year approaches we’d like to wish all of you a great 2015. May it be filled with health, plenty of laughter and scrumptious eats!

Thanks for following us here at  Kosher Like Me. Your enthusiasm here on the blog, on facebook, twitter, instagram (kosherlikeme) and pinterest is what keeps us searching for the best to create, discover and share with you. If you haven’t followed us on these platforms, please do!

SOOOO- Onto the Kale Phyllo Pie. Don’t be afraid of the phyllo, folks. Here’s how easy it is to whip this up:













Kale Phyllo Pie

6-8 servings

This recipe was shared with us by Melissa Roberts. Here's what she had to say,

"Here's a not so distant cousin to the more familiar Greek favorite. Traditionally made with spinach, kale gives this pie an autumnal twist. It's the ultimate one dish meal that’s versatile (brunch, lunch, or dinner), and perfect for easy entertaining."

This dish is vegetarian and dairy.


  • 5 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, finely chopped
  • 32 oz frozen kale, thawed
  • 1/3 cup chopped fresh dill
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 pound good feta, coarsely crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 12 sheets phyllo dough, thawed if frozen


  1. Special equipment: cheesecloth or a kitchen towel (not terrycloth); a 9-inch deep dish pie plate (at least 1 ½” deep)
  2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with rack in middle.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.
  4. Add onions, 1 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent and golden, 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. Using a large piece of double layered cheesecloth or a kitchen towel, place kale in center, gather up sides and twist tightly to squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Put kale into a bowl, then gently mix in the onions, dill, eggs, nutmeg, bread crumbs, and feta.
  6. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil with melted butter.
  7. Brush pie plate with some butter mixture. Line pie plate with 8 stacked sheets of phyllo dough, in a slightly overlapping, circular layer, brushing each with melted butter and letting the edges hang over the pan.
  8. Pour the kale mixture into the middle of the phyllo and fold the edges up and over the filling (it won’t reach the center to cover, not even close!).
  9. Brush remaining 4 sheets phyllo with butter mixture, crumple them slightly, then arrange to cover exposed filling in the center.
  10. Brush top with any remaining melted butter.
  11. Bake until the top is golden brown and the filling is set, 45 to 50 minutes. Check pie after 20 minutes and cover loosely with foil if top is beginning to brown too quickly.
  12. Remove from oven and allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.

Originally Posted in “Easy Entertaining with Kale Phyllo Pie


A few weeks ago I had a first hand view of the late season harvest on a warm November afternoon with my local farmer, Patti Popp, at Sport Hill Farm in Easton, CT. We meandered through the fields and into one of her greenhouses to check out rows of unripe, green tomatoes clinging to their vines.

November’s weakened sun was not warm enough to ripen this bounty.  We needed to pick ‘em or let ‘em wither. 


Patti plucked a a few pounds of these apple-green beauties for me. I returned to my kitchen with an armload of luminous, unripe tomatoes and no idea what to do with them.

plenty of green tomatoes

While I never tasted fried green tomatoes growing up in the Northeast, I was as charmed as y’all by the 1991 movie Fried Green Tomatoes. I’m sure I tasted them some time in the 90′s after the movie was released and they began to appear on restaurant menus north of the Mason-Dixon line.


I turned to my only southern friend in CT, Lori Cochran Dougall (Director of the year round Westport Farmers’ Market), for advice on how to handle my bounty.  She advised me with charming Southern gusto.

Turns out that she LOVES fried green tomatoes.


If you can bare to eat one more fried food after this week of celebrating Chanukah, these are well worth it.

If not, file under ” recipes to try after harvest’s grand finale” next year.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Sriracha Remoulade

20-25 slices

Fried Green Tomatoes with Sriracha Remoulade

Fried green tomatoes are a Southern classic and a great way to enjoy unripened, end of the season tomatoes from your local farmers' market.

These are great served sliced in half or quarters on top of a simple bed of fresh greens with a squeeze of lemon or the remoulade sauce here.

This recipe is non-dairy (pareve)


  • 4-5 green tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon each- salt and pepper
  • 1 cup self rising white cornmeal mix
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 Tablespoons canola oil- divided for 2 pans
  • Remoulade
  • 1 cup low-fat mayonnaise
  • 2 scallions- chopped finely
  • 2 Tablespoons parsley- chopped finely
  • 1 Tablespoon Sriracha hot chili sauce (or more to taste)


  1. Cut tomatoes into 1/2 inch slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Combine cornmeal mix and panko crumbs in a shallow dish. Set up a second dish with flour.
  3. Whisk eggs in a bowl.
  4. Line up assembly line of flour, eggs and cornmeal/panko mix.
  5. Dredge each slice of tomato in flour, shaking off extra. Then dip slice into egg and cornmeal mixture. Prepare all tomato slices for frying.
  6. Heat oil in 2 large, non-stick pans. Gently place tomatoes into hot oil and fry until golden, turning once. Fried tomatoes should be crispy and lightly browned.
  7. Place fried tomatoes on paper towel lined plates or cookie sheet.
  8. Season with additional salt and pepper.
  9. Remoulade
  10. Stir all ingredients together in a medium bowl until well combined. Keep covered in refrigerator until ready to serve.


Fried green tomatoes may be kept warm in a 225 degree oven on a foil lined cookie sheet. It's best to eat these right away.



Toloache 50

Contributed by Katy Morris

Need some help spicing up your Chanukah dinner celebrations? No problema!

Renowned Chef Julian Medina invites you to venture south of the border for the Festival of Lights this year. Actually, just south of Houston.

Once again, he has combined his Mexican heritage, present-day Jewish practice, and culinary erudition to create an enticing four-course Mexican Chanukah dinner at each of Toloaches and Yerba Buena for a non-traditional yet authentic holiday feast.

“I found it an exciting challenge to attempt to blend the Mexican cuisine and flavors I grew up eating with the traditional holiday dishes,” commented Mexico-born Chef Medina, who moved to NYC in 1996 and converting to Judaism after marrying an observant Jewish woman from the UES.

Chef Julian Medina

And after competing on Iron Chef America in 2012, he is no stranger to challenges. Although he didn’t walk away from that TV show a champ, he has certainly knocked this culinary fusion experiment out of the park.

For years now, he has served up his triumphant Mexican-infused Chanukah classics, like potato-jalapeno latkes with horseradish crema and Mexican sufganiyot - treats potentially holiday-fatigued cooks look forward to year after year.

This year, head over to your choice of Toloache 50, 82, Thompson or Yerba Buena (they will also be serving a limited edition of the menu at Coppelia) on any evening between December 16th and December 24th to enjoy them yourself. Reservations are a must.

Toloache Thompson

And be sure to check out these Mexican and Pan-Latin bistros the rest of the year too as they regularly offer vegetarian options made with locally sourced, seasonal ingredients (Toloache 82 even has its own full vegetarian dinner menu).

Okay, enough of the small talk – let’s get to the menu. For starters, you will enjoy a guacamole con pescado ahumado (recipe below), made with smoked white fish.

Whitefish guacamole- Chanukah menu 2014


One of the most popular of the small plates on the Chanukah is their trio of latkes, inspired by his mother-in-law and comprised of a potato-jalapeno latke with a horseradish crema, a zucchini latke with a tomatillo apple salsa, and a Mexican cheese latke with chipotle and agave nectar.


Another appetizing small plate option is the ensalada del chef (salad comprised of a roasted sweet potato Carpaccio, shaved brussel sprouts, manchego cheese, marcona almonds, sherry vinaigrette and pomegranate). For the main entrée, he poaches halibut in olive oil and pairs it with parsnip puree, romanesco salad and a chile ancho salsa.

Chanukah menu 2014 Halibut


If you still have room left, definitely try his now famous Mexican sufganiyot– donuts filled with dulce de leche.

Can’t make it out to dine this Chanukah? Lucky for you, we snagged the great (and easy) guacamole con pescado ahumado recipe from Chef Medina so you can enjoy at home. This appetizer is sure to help keep friends and family at bay as your homemade golden latkes are crisping to perfection!

NOTE: Toloache and its sister restaurants have plenty of vegetarian items on their menus for anyone kosher like me. These restaurants are not kosher.

All photos are courtesy of Toloache.

Chunky Avocado with Whitefish Salad

serves 4

This Guacamole con Pescado Ahumado or Guacamole with Smoked Whitefish is a perfect starter for any meal. Guacamole lovers beware! This may be addictive.

Thank you Chef Julian Medina, Toloache, NYC, for this recipe.

This starter is non-dairy (pareve)


  • 2 Mexican Haas avocados
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 2 Tb. cilantro, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup whitefish salad
  • kosher salt
  • for the whitefish salad
  • 1 cup smoked whitefish
  • 1 Tb. mayonnaise
  • 1 Tb. red onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. chives, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cilantro, chopped


    For the whitefish salad
  1. Combine all ingredients and mix well. Set aside
  2. For the Guacamole con Pescado Ahumado
  3. Scoop the pulp out of the ripe avocados into a bowl and set aside.
  4. In another bowl, combine the diced onion and jalapeno with the lime juice and a pinch of salt.
  5. Allow to marinate for 3 minutes.
  6. Add to the marinated ingredients: avocados, cilantro and whitefish salad.
  7. Mash ingredients together and check the seasoning.
  8. Serve with warm tortilla chips.


This salad is super simple to make. If you have a reliable source for fresh, tasty whitefish salad, you may use that instead of making your own.





Originally Posted in “Whitefish Guacamole Spices Up Chanukah

latke 8

Chanukah, Hanukkah, Hannuka, however you transliterate it,  it spells L-A-T-K-E  deliciousness for all eight nights of celebration.

Starting with the perfect traditional potato latke (pancake) and winding our way from savory to sweet, we’re providing a range of flavors and ingredients for you to sizzle at home as you celebrate.

As always, thank you Marcia Selden Catering, for your inspired recipes.

Selden describes latkes as quite possibly, the perfect party food,  ”Who doesn’t love potatoes, especially ones that can be made topped with or made with so many different ingredients ?!  Make ‘em small and serve as an hors d’oeuvre with toppings such as crème fraiche and smoked salmon or caviar, or make them large as a side dish to brisket, roast chicken, steak etc. No one can eat just one!!!”

Marcia's Best Latkes

48 mini or 20-24 large

Here's the perfect, traditional potato latke from a real maven. If you want to stick with the basics, serve this with homemade applesauce and you will thrill everyone at your table.

This potato latke recipe is non-dairy (pareve).


  • 4 med. potatoes (2 lbs.)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 small grated onion
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 1/3 C. flour
  • 2 thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • dash pepper


  1. Grate potatoes and cover with iced salt water in a large bowl.
  2. Drain well and squeeze out all of the liquid possible. Grate and drain juice from the onion. Add the egg, grated onion (drained) flour, scallions, salt and pepper to grated potatoes.
  3. Heat 1/4 cup oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot, but not smoking. Working in batches, spoon batter in the desired size pancake, and pat down gently with a fork. Reduce heat to moderate, turn over and cook until the undersides are browned, about 5 minutes more.
  4. Transfer to paper towels, drain well and season with salt.
  5. Add more oil to skillet as needed.
  6. Keep latkes warm on a wire rack set in a shallow baking pan in the oven.
  7. These are best when served fresh and hot out of the oven with homemade apple sauce or thick rich sour cream and chives.


In general, one potato yields 2 large latkes.

latke 1

Spinach and Zucchini Latkes

These veggie packed latkes are more green than potato and are deliciously savory. Enjoy them with sour cream topping, below, if you want to go dairy.

These latkes are NON-DAIRY (pareve)


  • 2 C. blanched and chopped fresh baby spinach
  • 2 C. zucchini
  • 1 lb. Yukon Gold potatoes peeled
  • 1 large onion
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ C. matzo meal
  • 2 Tbs. thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • ½ Tbs. Kosher salt
  • Canola oil


  1. Grate the potatoes, zucchini and onion in food processor.
  2. Squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Place the grated mixture in a bowl and add the spinach, egg, matzo meal, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well.
  3. In large, non-stick skillet, heat enough oil to cover bottom of the pan on medium high heat.
  4. Spoon the batter (about 2 Tbs. per latke) into pan, being careful not to crowd the latkes.
  5. Cook until crisp and brown on one side, then turn and fry on other side. Keep finished pancakes warm in oven until all pancakes are fried.
  6. Drain on paper towels and keep warm on a wire rack in the oven on low heat. Serve with herbed sour cream.


Herbed Sour Cream


  • 1 C. sour cream
  • 2 Tbs. each-chopped flat-leaf parsley, chives, fresh dill
  • 1 Tbs. lemon juice, plus 1 tsp. finely grated lemon peel
  • Kosher salt and pepper


  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Can be made up to 2 days in advance.

latke 5

Sweet Potato, Caramelized Carrot and Apple Latkes

These colorful gems utilize the best of fall crops, and they’re gluten free too!

These latkes are dairy free (pareve) and gluten-free.


  • 3 peeled & grated carrots (about 2 C.)
  • 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
  • ½ C. grated onion
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 sweet potatoes, grated (about 5 C.)
  • 1 C. grated apple, a tart variety such as Granny Smith or Braeburn
  • 1 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/3 C. potato flakes
  • 1 tsp. each Kosher salt and pepper
  • canola oil


  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Mix grated carrots and balsamic vinegar and place on Silpat lined baking sheet. Roast for 5-6 minutes.
  3. Grate sweet potatoes and apples (in this order to keep apples from oxidizing). Roll mixture in a clean dish towel to squeeze out excess moisture. Combine with carrots, grated onion, eggs, potato flakes, and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  4. In large skillet, heat 1/4-inch oil over medium-high heat 2 to 3 minutes or until hot (exact oil amount needed will vary depending on the size of your skillet).
  5. Drop batter by large spoonfuls into hot oil, flattening batter to form 2- to 3-inch pancakes. Fry 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and edges are bubbly.
  6. Drain on paper towels placed on a wire rack.
  7. Serve hot with apple, walnut and pomegranate compote (find recipe below).


The Apple, Walnut and Pomegranate Compote (below) is bursting with flavor and works perfectly here. This compote may be made in advance.


Apple, Walnut and Pomegranate Compote

This compote is a delicious accompaniment to the Sweet Potato, Apple and Carrot Latkes above.

This compote may be dairy or pareve if using a dairy free margarine.


  • 1 C. walnut pieces
  • ¼ C. white granulated sugar
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter (or non-dairy margarine)
  • 3 Tbs. maple syrup
  • ¼ C. apple cider
  • ¼ tsp. each-ground ginger, nutmeg and cinnamon
  • 1¼ C. apple sauce
  • ½ C. fresh pomegranate seeds


  1. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat, add 1 cup walnuts, 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1 Tbsp butter (or margarine).
  2. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring frequently so the mixture doesn’t burn (especially towards the end).
  3. When the sugar mixture starts melting, stir constantly until all sugar is melted and nuts are coated. Transfer nuts onto a sheet of parchment paper and separate so they don’t clump together.
  4. Set aside until ready to use.
  5. In a small pot combine maple syrup, apple cider and spices.
  6. Cook over medium high heat until liquid has reduced in half, about 5-6 minutes.
  7. Let cool and stir into apple sauce. Add cooled candied walnuts and fresh pomegranate seeds. Serve.


Prepare and store up to 3 days in advance.

Originally Posted in “Sizzling Latke Variations for Chanukah