Molasses BBQ Glazed Chicken

Molasses BBQ Glazed Chicken

If grilling is in your plan for Father’s Day this Sunday, you may want to treat your guy to this moist, smoky chicken with homemade BBQ sauce. It’s thick and spicy with classic flavors that match perfectly with well, almost any meat or chicken that you’re likely to throw on the grill. 

Grilled Chicken with Smoky Molasses BBQ Glaze and Leeks

6-8 servings

This recipe was shared with Kosher Like Me by Chef Cecily Gans, The Main Course Catering, Fairfield, CT.

Cecily: This recipe can be adjusted depending on locally available produce. In springtime, I often grill asparagus (two bunches for this recipe) with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, and squeeze a quarter of a lemon over it just before serving. In autumn, this is wonderful if you have large tomatoes to grill as a side dish, but almost any grilled seasonal vegetable will work - yellow squash, zucchini, onions, radicchio and sweet peppers would top my list. This sauce recipe is also fantastic on grilled steak - rib-eye is my first choice.

This recipe is MEAT


  • 6 Boneless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs total, pounded to about 3/4")
  • 12 baby leeks (or ramps or about 2-3 bunches of scallions)
  • Kosher salt & freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted pareve (non-dairy) margarine or olive oil
  • ½ cup finely diced shallot
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 6 canned fire-roasted whole plum tomatoes, with juice
  • ¼ cup good quality ketchup
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • ½ cup molasses
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ¼- ½ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Heat the margarine in a large saucepan over medium-high heat
  2. Add the shallots and garlic and cook until soft
  3. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 15 minutes
  4. Place the mixture in a blender and blend until smooth (I use an immersion stick blender right in the pan)
  5. Return to the saucepan and cook an additional 15-20 minutes, or until desired viscosity is reached (*Cool now for storage and future use)
  6. Preheat your grill to medium heat
  7. Season the chicken with salt and pepper to taste
  8. Wrap the leeks in foil and place on the warm side of the grill to wilt
  9. Grill chicken for approximately 6-7 minutes on each side (Remove the leeks from the foil packet when they appear to have softened, season with salt and pepper and place on the grill to just get a slight charring)
  10. Remove the chicken from the grill and baste with the sauce.
  11. Serve the leeks on the side with any additional sauce, warmed up as necessary


Cecily:*I prefer to marinate the chicken in a thin layer of (cold) BBQ sauce for at least an hour or overnight.

Liz: I adjusted the cayenne to 1/2 tsp and chile powder to 1/2 Tb. If you prefer it caliente, go with Cecily's recipe as it is written.









photo courtesy of Hannah Kaminsky, Easy As Vegan Pie, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

photo courtesy of Hannah Kaminsky, Easy As Vegan Pie, Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

I’ve started dreaming about summer pies bursting with bright roasted strawberries and sunny cherry tomatoes. Wait, maybe I should head into savory territory and re-think dinner on the patio with a taco pie layered with black beans, mushrooms and tempeh and topped by shredded Romaine and red bell peppers. Easy As Vegan Pie has me spinning in all different directions and that’s a great thing.

Hannah Kaminsky‘s most recently released volume in her series of vegan creations takes us into savory territory for the first time. Seductive photos and easy to follow recipes are perfect for kosher keepers, vegans and vegetarians, gluten-free folks and anyone searching for a healthier and more creative alternative to sugar and fat laden pies.

While Kaminsky includes fruity beauties like Cran-Cherry Impossible Pie and Pear Praline Pie,  I’m attracted to the pies that reflect her out of the box thinking about flavor combinations that she is so well loved for.

Caramelized Onion and Apple Tart may just have to wait for cooler days cause I’m dreaming of this boozy Mojito Pie as the summer heats up. It’s creamy smooth with blended avocado, non-dairy yogurt and sour cream and won’t weight you down with a fat laden crust.  Maybe the party around the pool should begin with this limey delight!

Watch for my give-away of this wildly creative volume. It just might arrive in your mailbox soon.

You may follow Hannah Kaminsky on her blog BitterSweet . For more frozen treats, take a look at my post on Vegan A La Mode where you’ll find her jammy recipe for Cheesecake Ice Cream. 

Frozen Mojito Pie

8-10 servings

This recipe is vegan and pareve (non-dairy). Thank you, Hannah Kaminsky, for sharing this frozen treat from EASY AS VEGAN PIE.

From Hannah: If a mojito on the rocks is poured over ice, what do you call a mojito made of ice? No, that's not some terrible riddle with a trick answer, but a uniquely refreshing and intoxicating dessert. Straight out of the icebox, each rum-spiked wedge remains impossibly light and creamy, owing to the richness of avocado. Just like the chilled beverage, even non-drinkers will find it effortless to down one or two on a hot day.

Use 1 Unbaked Graham Cracker Crust or Vanilla Cookie Crust in a 9-Inch Round Springform Pan. See recipe below.


    Mojito Filling:
  • 1 Ripe Medium-Size Avocado
  • 1/4 Cup Lime Juice
  • Zest from 1 Large Lime (About 1 1/2 Teaspoons)
  • 3/4 Cup Light Agave Nectar
  • 1/2 Cup Vegan Sour Cream
  • 1 6-Ounce Container (3/4 Cup) Plain Vegan Yogurt
  • 1/4 Cup White Rum
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Peppermint Extract
  • 1/8 Teaspoon Salt


    This no-bake icebox pie comes together in a flash.
  1. Begin by pressing the graham cracker crust mixture into the bottom of a 9-inch round springform pan and about 1 1/2 inches up the sides.
  2. Place the pan in the freezer to let it solidify.
  3. Meanwhile, pit and peel the avocado and toss the flesh into your food processor along with the lime juice and zest.
  4. Thoroughly puree, pausing after about a minute of blending, to scrape down the sides of the bowl with your spatula.
  5. Add in the agave, "sour cream," and yogurt, pureeing again until completely smooth.
  6. For the final addition, incorporate the rum, peppermint extract, and salt together with a few quick pulses.
  7. Transfer the pale green filling to your prepared crust, smoothing out the top evenly by giving the whole pan a few gentle taps on the counter.
  8. Place the pan back in your freezer, being careful to set it on a flat, stable area—don't attempt any crazy balancing acts on top of the frozen peas here! Trust me, scraping ice-hard pie filling out of the freezer is no fun task.


Allow the filling to freeze, undisturbed, for at least two hours before applying the coconut whipped cream on top in a swirled fashion. Either serve right away, or keep the pie stashed in the freezer for up to 2 weeks, until you're ready to dig in.

Chocolate Cookie Crumb Crust

About 2 Scant Cups Finely Ground Crumbs

Chocolate Cookie Crumb Crust

This recipe is vegan and Pareve.

From Hannah Kaminsky's Easy As Vegan Pie:

A simple crumb-based crust is only as good as the cookies it's made from, meaning that quality really counts here. It's a good sign when friends walk into your kitchen and demand to know what smells so good, when it's only the plain crust in the oven! If you can't secure flavorful store-bought wafer cookies, suddenly find your stash has run low, or simply want to create your treats completely from scratch, the DIY alternative is easier than it may sound. Rather than painstakingly shaping each biscuit, this formula yields a loose, crisp crumb mixture that needs little further persuasion to reach the ideal pie crust consistency. In fact, after measuring the proper amount of crumbs for your desired crust, you can put them right back into the food processor and use the pulse function to incorporate the melted margarine called for in the recipe (page xx). You're well on your way to pie perfection from there.


  • 1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/3 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 6 Tablespoons Non-Dairy Margarine, Melted


  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees and line a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or a silpat.
  2. Combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  3. Mix on low speed until all the ingredients are well blended.
  4. Drizzle in the melted margarine while the mixer runs on low, until the mixture is thoroughly moistened and clumps together in small clusters.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to double-check that there are no remaining pockets of dry ingredients before proceeding.
  6. Spread the coarse crumbs on your prepared sheet pan. Bake for 28–32 minutes, until no longer shiny and the crumbs around the edges have darkened slightly.
  7. Remove from the oven and let the crumbs cool completely on the sheet pan.
  8. Before using in your next pie masterpiece, toss the whole batch of baked crumbs into your food processor and pulse until finely ground. Now you're ready to start baking again!


Graham Cracker Crumbs: Omit the cornstarch and swap the cocoa out for an equal measure of graham flour.

Vanilla Cookie Crumbs: Omit the cocoa powder, increase the flour to 1 1/3 cups total, and add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract.

Originally Posted in “Frozen Mojito Pie


Contributed and photographed by Paloma Aeylon

Falafel. Shawarma. Hummus. Shnitzel. Shakshuka. These are typically the foods we salivate over in anticipation of touching down in the land of milk and honey. While these Israeli delicacies certainly warrant our attention and appetite, there’s a culinary craft that’s lesser celebrated despite its rich role in Israel’s colorful cuisine.

Selection of white cheese (gvina levana) at Basher Cheese, Tel Aviv

Selection of white cheese (gvina levana) at Basher Cheese, Tel Aviv

Produced with passion by farms dotting the map of the holy land, Israel’s dairy has developed into an art that attracts lactose lovers worldwide. Gvina levana. Bulgarit. Zefatit. Labane sprinkled with zatar. These are merely a few delicious dairy discoveries that never fail to leave a lasting impression.

wide array of cheeses

Family-owned dairy farms throughout the country have recently made it a point to introduce artisanal items unique to Israel. As more boutique cheese-makers populate the country’s north and south, Israelis are even starting to identify differently pronounced regional flavors. Tzfatit, for example, a mild curd cheese molded in a basket, deviates in taste when made in the Negev as opposed to its original birthplace in the Galilee.

Watch out France. You’ve got an unassuming foe de fromage in your future!


With Shavu’ot at our doorstep, Israel’s cheese mongers are about to have a voluptuous variety of dairy products to choose from throughout the country. Marking the moment that Moses received the Torah on Mount Sinai, also called Har Gavnunim (similar to gevinah, the Hebrew word for ‘cheese’), Shavu’ot represents the day that Jews began observing the laws of Kashrut (Kosher).

Without the tools needed to prepare Kosher meat, the Jewish people headed straight for milk-made magnificence. This is why, to this day, the arrival of Shavu’ot elicits indulgent images of blintzes, cheesecakes, casseroles, and all-around killer creaminess.



Whether defined by the homemade touch of a private Israeli kitchen, the speedy simplicity of a street vendor, or the gourmet innovation of Tel Aviv’s chef restaurants, there’s a morning-to-night staple in the sabra dairy diet that’s easy to make and deserves a spot on your Shavu’ot menu. Bourekas, or börek as originally coined in Turkey, is a traditional Ottoman comfort food brought to Israel with the influx of Turkish Jews.

In Ladino, a Jewish-Spanish dialect, boureka is the singular name of this ageless food favorite. However, because Israelis were so used to hearing the plural form of the term, bourekas (no one simply bought only one boureka!), the double plural suffix stuck. Coming in a variety of shapes, sizes, and flavors, the deliciously destructive b-bomb will be a guaranteed winner on your dairy-day table.


Commonly made with yummy yufka or flaky phyllo dough, the boureka is filled with cheese, minced meat, or vegetables and is topped off with sesame seeds, making the ultimate savory sensation. Whether enjoyed as a small snack accompanying tea or eaten as a hearty meal served with a hard-boiled egg, these cheese bourekas are sinfully addictive!

NOTE: Shavuot 2014 is celebrated from sundown on June 3 through one hour after sundown on June 5.

What dairy delights will you be enjoying for Shavuot? We want to know!


Inbal Baum (left), founder, Delicious Israel

Inbal Baum (left), founder, Delicious Israel

Paloma Aelyon, Director of Delicious Development at Tel Aviv-based culinary tourism company Delicious Israel, has a voracious appetite to explore and document a culture linked closely to her Turkish Jewish heritage. Her passion for storytelling, matched with past experience in marketing for the travel and culinary industries, fuels her desire to share a behind-the-scenes peak into the colorfully complex reality that permeates Israel.

Founded by Israel’s food expert, Inbal Baum, Delicious Israel offers intimate culinary crusades in Israel.

If you want to the real-deal boureka, you know who to call!

Cheese Bourekas

20 bourekas

Cheese Bourekas

Dairy Recipe- Paloma Aelyon

A staple in the homes of every Turkish grandmother, the recipe for bourekas, or bourekitas, as my Istanbul-born Uma calls them, is an inevitable hand-me-down to subsequent generations of future Jewish mothers. Often eaten alongside a small glass of freshly brewed Turkish tea, the aroma of bourekas has always been a nostalgic reminder of my grandmother’s tiny kitchen, family breakfasts, and competitive evening card games.

Here's my version of Uma’s cheese-filled favorites.


    Cheese Filling
  • 1 lb, 2 oz gvina levana (fresh white cheese) or ricotta
  • 9 oz kashkaval or Parmesan, grated
  • 9 oz brinza or feta, crumbled
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 T. corn starch
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • The Pastry
  • 3 lbs, 5 oz puff pastry dough
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 T. water, for brushing
  • Sesame seeds for garnish


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Beat all ingredients for filling until smooth.
  3. Roll the dough into ¼ inch thick sheet. Cut into 5-inch (12-cm) squares.
  4. Put one tablespoon of the filling in the center of each square, fold diagonally to form a triangle and pinch the edges together.
  5. Arrange the bourekas with sufficient space between them on a tray lined with baking paper.
  6. Brush the triangles with the beaten egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until the bourekas are golden.




Originally Posted in “Delicious Dairy & Bourekas in Israel

photo 1

Marcia Selden Catering

The farmers markets are finally open, fresh spring herbs and bright green vegetables abound.  There’s no better time to take out your patio furniture and invite a few friends for cocktails and a few nibbles.  Here are our favorite dips, using fresh herbs from your local farm.  Buy whatever fresh vegetables they have that day and make a mouth-watering crudité platter.  These dips travel beautifully, and can go to the beach for a sunset picnic.

Greek Herbed Feta Dip

This dairy dip was shared by Marcia Selden Catering.


  • 2 C. feta
  • ½ C. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ½ C. finely chopped fresh basil
  • ¼ C. finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 Tbs. Sumac
  • 1 Tbs. Zatar spice
  • 1 Tbs. lemon zest
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Olive oil


  1. Blend feta and a splash of water in a food processor.
  2. Transfer to a medium bowl and mix in parsley, basil, mint, and chopped dill; season with salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle with oil and top with dill sprigs.

Farm Fresh Veggie Dip

This dairy recipe was shared by Marcia Selden Catering.


  • 8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 C. Greek yogurt
  • 4 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 Tbs. fresh chervil, minced
  • 1 Tbs. kosher salt
  • ¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place the cream cheese, Greek yogurt, scallions, parsley, chervil, salt, and pepper in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and blend.
  2. Serve at room temperature.

Green Goddess Dip

This dairy recipe was shared by Marcia Selden Catering


  • 3 Tbs. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 Tbs. White wine vinegar
  • 1 Garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Ripe Avocado, seeded and removed from shell
  • ½ C. Sour cream
  • ¼ C. Flat leaf parsley
  • ½ C. Basil leaves
  • 3 T. Fresh tarragon leaves
  • ½ C. Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Use a food processor.
  2. Add all of the ingredients except the salt and pepper.
  3. Pulse until all ingredients are well combined. Taste and add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Transfer to a container with a lid and refrigerate for a minimum of one hour to let the flavors develop.

Liz’s note: for spices like sumac and zatar check out the spice sources listed in my previous post here. 

Originally Posted in “Dips from the Garden

Mom's Day

With Mom’s Day fast approaching the time is ripe to focus on simple and healthy spring salads. Local produce is finally appearing at farmers’ markets with earliest spring crops, asparagus, rhubarb and kale, leading the pack. For this tasty and nutritious Quinoa and Kale Salad we are highlighting a load of fresh green herbs and Lacinato kale.

ingredients in place-best

This salad requires little more than chopping and tossing. It’s a one pot, one bowl wonder, loaded with protein and rich with vitamins. There are no special skills required for this one. Dads, teens, friends who may not be whizzes in the kitchen: this one’s for you.

Treat your Mom (wife, sister, friend). She’ll appreciate knowing that you made the effort to whip up something homemade (no obligation to tell her how easy it was).

Chopped kale tossed into warm quinoa softens it just enough.

Chopped kale tossed into warm quinoa softens it just enough.

Thank you, Cecily Gans, for this easy and nutritious salad.

Cecily is a well known chef and foods educator, certified holistic health counselor and executive chef/owner of The Main Course Catering in Fairfield, CT. She has taught Culinary Arts at Staples High School in Westport, CT for almost 15 years and developed the curriculum for that program. Cecily is available for private and group cooking classes. Contact her directly at

Quinoa & Kale Salad

6-8 servings

Quinoa & Kale Salad

This simple, delicious and highly nutritious composition highlights kale, quinoa and a load of aromatic green herbs. The chopped kale is stirred into hot quinoa, wilting it just enough to tenderize it while all vitamins remain in the bowl.

This salad is dairy.

Thank you, Cecily Gans, for this recipe.


  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup chopped Lacinato kale
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, halved, optional
  • ¼ cup diced shallot
  • ½ cup feta cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 cup combined chopped parsley, dill & scallions


  1. If necessary, rinse the quinoa under cold water.
  2. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.
  4. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork and fold in the raw, chopped kale. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
  5. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, shallot and feta cheese.
  6. To make the dressing, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, and herbs in a small bowl.
  7. Pour dressing over the salad and stir until mixed well.


NY SHUK creators Ron and Leetal Arazi. Photo: Eunice Choi

NY SHUK creators Ron and Leetal Arazi. Photo: Eunice Choi

Hankering for those complex Middle Eastern flavors? NY SHUK has created three jarred condiments that may end your search for those nuanced flavors that are difficult to achieve on your own.

Ron and Leetal Arazi’s harissa, tanzeya, and L’ekama, from their NY SHUK pantry, are so authentically Middle Eastern, so delicious, so flexible, that you may soon find yourselves counting on them as staples in your kitchen.  And they make it easy to be creative by posting a wide array of recipes on their website for inspirations.


If NY SHUK looks familiar to you it’s because I’ve often posted about their cooking classes and events in my Side Dish column. They are unique in a myriad of ways, including their expertise in hand rolling cous cous, an old world culinary treasure they brought with them from Israel via their experiences in their parents’ home kitchens. Leetal is the pastry chef, food stylist and photographer. Ron is the chef with training from culinary school and through his cooking in Israel, France and NYC.

Ron’s parents came to Israel from Lebanon and Morocco and Leetal grew up loving her Turkish grandmother’s cooking. Creating dishes that are deeply rooted in North African cooking was a natural for them.

They teach the art of hand rolling cous cous at various spots in NYC and Brooklyn and spent a couple of long seasons pleasing noshers at Brooklyn’s Smorgasburg.

photo: Celine Choi

photo: Celine Choi

If you’re lucky enough to find a class with them, it promises to be a fascinating and delicious experience. I’ll keep you posted. For now, they have taken a hiatus from Smorgasburg and are fully focused on their products.

Here’s what’s in the shuk at this time.

Harissa- a garlicky chile paste often used in North African cooking, especially in Morocco. It can range from medium to spicy depending on the blend of chiles used. Coriander lends a subtle flavor. NY SHUK’s harrisa is coarsely textured, unlike some of the runny jarred versions on the American market. It’s not overwhelmingly hot;  I loved the subtle acidity from vinegar. Do I taste sweetness, too?

Swirl into lentil or  chickpea soup or stew, use as a rub on meat or chicken or mix into eggplant. In Israel, harissa is never far from falafel.

KLMTuna Salad With Harissa & Cure Lemon

Ready for a twist on same old tuna salad? NY SHUK mixes their tuna with harissa and chopped cured lemons. YUP.

L’ekama- literally means “spice mixture” and this one is a grand combination of 14 toasted spices, infused with garlic and chiles and preserved in olive oil.

KLMRoasted Eggplant Salad

Forget mayo or tehini as a mix in for this eggplant salad. Four tablespoons of L’ekama and equal parts EVOO will rock your summer eggplant in a whole new way.

KLMTanzeya, Caramelized Onions And Pistachios Over White Rice


And finally, there’s the sweetie called Tanzeya, a dried fruit medley of figs, raisin and apricots slow stewed with sugar and spices. It can lean sweet, paired with yogurt and granola or savory served over rice with caramelized onions and pistachios.

Shop the NY SHUK Pantry on their beautiful website and enjoy their super creative serving suggestions and easy recipes.

Coming up, they’ll be sharing hand rolled cous cous and tastes of their products at Lior Lev Sercarz’s spice lab/shop, La Boite, on May 16 from 3-7.  Click here for more info.

Kosher Note:  At this time, NY SHUK products do not have a kosher certification but all of their ingredients are kosher. The process for acquiring a kosher cert is expensive and complicated, which makes it very difficult for start-ups of this size. Their intention is to obtain a kosher cert in the near future.

Thank you to Ron and Leetal, who have responded to my many notes and inquiries over the last year or so. All photos are by Leetal Arazi unless other wise noted. They are copyrighted NYSHUK.

When Leetal offered so many recipes for me to share, it was a tough call. I landed on this bright and spicy Potato Salad to help you with your yearning for a non-mayo version as the summer heat approaches. This one is perfect for the outdoor buffet in the heat of those dog days.

Moroccan Potato Salad

4-6 servings

Moroccan Potato Salad

This potato salad is great addition to any party, especially as a side dish for a BBQ meal. This recipe calls for HARISSA from NY SHUK's Pantry.

This potato salad is pareve, non-dairy and vegan.


  • 4 medium size peeled boiled potatoes
  • 2 tbsp. Harissa
  • 2 tbsp. lemon
  • 4 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • garnish:
  • ½ cup chopped black Moroccan olive
  • Handful chopped parsley/coriander


  1. Cut the potatoes into bite size pieces.
  2. Mix well the Harissa, lemon, oil, water and salt.
  3. toss mixture together with the potatoes.(Mix carefully so the potatoes keep their shape).
  4. Sprinkle the olives and herbs on top before serving.


Note from Leetal:

Make sure to use cured black Moroccan olives; they are more salty and work great with the potatoes.










Minty Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote

Minty Rhubarb and Strawberry Compote

Katy Morris

Fruit or Veggie? When considering rhubarb most of us think of it a fruit. After all, we generally enjoy rhubarb in sweet dishes like pies, tarts, and cobblers.  Low and behold, rhubarb is indeed a vegetable – right there with celery, fennel, and asparagus.

And it’s time to welcome it as one of the earliest vegetables of the spring season. Don’t let your lack of familiarity with these stalks prevent you from exploring its many uses!

rhubarb stalks

What does rhubarb taste like?

Most people think that rhubarb is sweet on its own, but when eaten raw, it actually taste quite tart and “watery” like celery. That’s why most people combine rhubarb with sugar and other natural sweeteners, like strawberries, the perfect compliment.

Dark red stalks tend to have more flavor than lighter ones, and those with smaller stalks are more tender than larger ones.

Watch out for the leaves and don’t EVER eat them, as they contain a high amount of toxic poison called oxalic acid crystals that can result in some serious repercussions. When preparing rhubarb, simply cut them off and discard.


rhubarb leaves = POISON!

rhubarb leaves = POISON!

What should I look for when choosing rhubarb?

Chose shiny, firm, crisp, dark, red stalks. The deep red color indicates its tartness, and dark green, blemish-free leaves are the best. Note that the variation in color does not indicate whether it is ripe or not; instead, simply look at the size as your indicator. Ripe stalks will be about 1-2 inches thick.


How much should I buy?

A good rule of thumb is that to get about 3 cups of sliced, uncooked rhubarb, you must buy at least a pound.


What about storage?

Rhubarb tend to perish quickly, so either use it right away, or store the stalks in a sealed plastic bag in your fridge’s veggie drawer where they should be okay for 4-5 days. Be sure to get rid of the leaves but keep the stalks in tact so they can better retain their moisture.

If you want to freeze your rhubarb, slice the stalks into chunks and put in an airtight bag. Stored this way, they can last for months.


What about prep?


First, trim off the leaves and toss them. If you have found ripe, mature rhubarb where the diameter is greater that 1 inch, it’s easiest to slice them lengthwise in half.

If you get them from the farmer’s market, you may have to pull the fibrous strings off too. Wash thoroughly. If you are going to be making a stew or sauce, 1-inch slices should be good, but recipes for pies and tarts usually call for smaller pieces.


How do I cook it?

Although we all think of strawberry and rhubarb as the ultimate duo, there are many other ways to cook, pair, and enjoy rhubarb. You can make great jams with it and add in some ginger for a more dynamic flavor profile. Rhubarb is also great in savory dishes, and can be stewed (about 10 minutes), roasted (20 or so minutes), or pureed and paired with fish or in stews. The flavor of rhubarb becomes sweeter the more you cook it.

See Kosher Like Me’s Facebook page for the simple and scrumptious Minty Strawberry Rhubarb Compote shown above. Does it remind you of a compote your grandmother used to simmer? When Liz made it for her family it disappeared in one sitting. Nuf said.


Tip: When stewing, don’t use iron, aluminum or copper saucepans because the reaction with rhubarb can result in stained pans, and it will turn the rhubarb brown. Go with cast iron or non-stick to be safe.


Keep in mind that when rhubarb is cooked, its juice becomes thick and its fibers fray off, so when making rhubarb chutneys or jams, you have to cook it for a long time. If you cook it for a shorter time, it will retain its cohesiveness.


Rhubarb Recap:

Family: Part of the genus Rheum in the plant family, Polygonaceae, herbaceous perennial plants

Peak season: Late April through July

Nutrition info: Low in fat & calories, high in fiber, calcium, vitamin A, and potassium

What to look for: Firm, fat, and vibrant.

Important to know: The leaves contain poison! Do not eat them!

Storage: 3 days in a plastic bag in the fridge

Cooking: Both savory AND sweet dishes! Check out a suggestion below…

rhubarb- chopped

Thank you, Louisa Shafia, for your tantalizing recipe for Rhubarb and Rose Water Sorbet with Rice Noodles. Find more Persian recipes in Shafia’s recently released and VERY beautiful book The New Persian Kitchen.

Note from Liz:  This book is not kosher but it has plenty of vegetarian and easily adaptable, kosher friendly recipes within. I’m so crazy about it that as soon as I received my copy from Amazon, I promptly bought a second to give as a gift.

Recipe and photo reprinted with permission from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc.

Food Photography credit: Sara Remington © 2013

Rhubarb and Rose Water Sorbet with Rice Noodles

6-8 servings

Rhubarb and Rose Water Sorbet with Rice Noodles

Recipe,notes and photo courtesy of Louisa Shafia, THE NEW PERSIAN KITCHEN, 2013


On the streets of Tehran you’ll find food vendors selling dishes of chewy frozen vermicelli suspended in an icy white sherbet with a perfumed scent. This whimsical treat is called faloodeh, and is one of the earliest known frozen desserts, dating as far back as 400 BCE. Faloodeh is typically white, but this version is colored bright pink by a compote of rhubarb. A drizzle of something tart, like sour cherry syrup or lime juice, brings this dessert vividly to life.

This recipe is vegan and pareve (non-dairy)


  • 2 ounces rice vermicelli
  • 1 pound rhubarb stalks, preferably red, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 11/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon rose water
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice, plus extra for garnish
  • Crushed pistachios, for garnish
  • Sour cherry syrup for garnish (optional)


  1. Put the vermicelli in a bowl. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil, and pour over the vermicelli. Soak for 4 minutes, until tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. Cut the vermicelli into 1-inch lengths.
  2. In a saucepan, combine the rhubarb with the water, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the rhubarb is very soft. Let cool completely.
  3. Pour the rhubarb into a blender. Add the rose water and lime juice and blend until smooth. Stir the vermicelli and rhubarb together in a large bowl. Pour into a shallow bak¬ing dish and freeze, uncovered.
  4. Rake the faloodeh with a fork after 2 hours to prevent it from freezing into a solid mass. Freeze and stir again after 2 hours. Repeat after another 2 hours, if necessary. The faloodeh will have a malleable consistency, somewhere between ice cream and sorbet, within 4 to 6 hours. Scoop it into serving bowls and top with pistachios and lime juice. Drizzle with sour cherry syrup, if desired. The faloodeh tastes best within 24 hours of being made.


Reprinted with permission from The New Persian Kitchen by Louisa Shafia, copyright © 2013. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Random House, Inc. Food Photography credit: Sara Remington © 2013

Originally Posted in “Seasonal Snippet: Remarkable Rhubarb


I’m not interested in fooling our dinner guests into thinking I’ve slaved for days to cook for them. But I am interested in easy techniques that yield delicious results and even a little drama on the plate.

I should have learned this easy technique for cooking fish eons ago. The truth is that I  didn’t learn it until I took a cooking class in my hometown in CT a few weeks back   The theme was Deceptively Easy Recipes for Entertaining.


When I saw Salmon en Papillote on the menu I was super psyched. This easy technique is virtually fool-proof, yielding moist, flavor rich results each time. Bring the neatly wrapped packages of salmon to your spring table and utter VOILA as you slowly unwrap them and the savory aromas permeate the air.


Do you love a great cooking class? We’re posting an exciting spring/early summer schedule of kosher, kosher-friendly and vegetarian cooking classes this week.  You’ll want to  save that post for reference.

L-R Melissa Roberts and Marisa McDonald

L-R Melissa Roberts and Marisa McDonald

Thank you Melissa Roberts and Marisa McDonald for sharing this recipe. Check out their impressive bios after this recipe.

If you are interested in organizing a hands on cooking class with Melissa and Marisa, contact

Salmon en Papillote

4 servings

 Salmon en Papillote

Papillote means balloon in French. The steam created inside a tightly wrapped package of ingredients bound in parchment paper puffs and expands--like a balloon! This is a healthy, impressive-looking, but simple technique that can be used in everyday cooking.

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy).


  • 1 (1 ½ lb) piece center cut salmon fillet, skinned and cut into 4 equal sized pieces
  • 1 medium carrot, halved lengthwise and very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 1 medium leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, washed well to remove any grit, then very thinly sliced crosswise
  • 4 ounces (about 4 large) shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and very thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 (1 to 2” long) thyme sprigs
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lemon zest
  • 4 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons dry white wine


  1. Preheat to 400F with rack in middle.
  2. Place a piece of salmon in the center of a parchment piece.
  3. Arrange vegetables around fish and season with some (about ¼ teaspoon each) salt and pepper.
  4. Top each fillet with a thyme sprig and sprinkle with ½ teaspoon lemon zest. Drizzle 1 teaspoon each olive oil and wine over fish.
  5. Fold parchment over fish and vegetables to make a triangle. Beginning with one corner (not the pointed end), gather and crimp paper tightly around fish, twisting the end to tighten package securely.
  6. Place packages directly on a large (4 sided) baking sheet in oven and roast 12 minutes.
  7. To serve, place each package on a plate and use scissors to open. Serve immediately.


Equipment: 4 (15”) squares parchment paper

About the instructors:

Melissa Roberts was a food editor for Gourmet for 9 years, developing and writing recipes for the magazine before its closing in 2009.  Pre-Gourmet, she was a cook and stylist in the Food Network’s kitchen. A Westport transplant by way of New York City and the mom of two boys, she is now a  freelance writer, recipe developer and tester for magazines and websites, including, Kosher Like Me, ctbites, The Fairfield Green Food Guide, Bon Appetit, Real Simple, Fine Cooking, and Health.

Marisa Mcdonald graduated from the Institute of Culinary Education in 2007 with diplomas in Culinary Arts and Culinary Management.  She went on to work for the event planning and catering divisions of The Cleaver Company, located in NYC, until moving to Westport in 2010.  On her own she has catered everything from a wedding for 100 to a dinner party for 6.  Her biggest challenge is coming up with new and interesting dishes to feed her husband and 3 hungry boys each night.

Originally Posted in “Elegant and Easy Salmon en Papillote

washed and prepped

Katy Morris

April showers bring May flowers and asparagus! While local farmers are gearing up for their spring harvest, we found one veg that is in peak season now…Green Asparagus.

Eaten raw, stir-fried, boiled, or steamed, as a side, in salads or soups, this versatile, tender veggie of the Lily Family has been highly prized for centuries. It is packed with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant nutrients, provides digestive support, and is delicious.

What’s not to love?

How does it grow?

stalks in the field

Asparagus is a “perennial” vegetable, which means that it can live for several years without having to be replanted  (most other veggies must be planted each year). Starting from the root of the asparagus, stems grow upward underground until they develop into spears and emerge through the soil – this is when they are harvested.


It takes almost three years from the time the seed is planted to the first harvest of the stalks!

Did you know that the asparagus plant has a gender? That’s right, it can be either male or female; the female ones produce seeds (which makes their stalks smaller), and the males are larger and tend to be more desirable at harvest.

asparagus picked

When is the prime time for asparagus?

Now! Although you can get it all year round in most places, early spring is the really the best time to get the highest quality stalks.


What should I look for when buying them?

You want green asparagus stalks that are firm, straight, relatively thick, smooth, and of a vibrant green color. Be sure the tips are closed. Stay away from stalks that have a dull, light color and look limp. If you are cooking them all at once, it’s wise to choose stalks of the same size so you will have some uniformity when cooking.

tips (1)

OK, I bought some beautiful local asparagus. How should I store them?

Green asparagus shouldn’t be stored for too long; we recommend cooking them soon after buying. If you must store them, you want to make sure they get enough moisture, so try wrapping them in a wet paper towel  (closer to the end of the stalk) and seal in a zip lock bag. Stored this way they should stay fresh for about 3 days.


What about cleaning?

Before cooking, rinse the stalk and especially the spears under cool water to get rid of any remaining dirt or bugs that might be stuck. You may snip off the bottom inch of the stalk and use the rest as you wish (whole, diced, sliced, etc.) depending on the recipe. Note that if you have asparagus that has a tough outer skin, you may opt to peel away the coat with a vegetable peeler, but this is not necessary.


What’s the best way to cook them?

There are many ways to cook them. Try coating them in olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and pepper and roast in the oven…super simple and delish. Adding a pinch of parmesan cheese on it is also great.

You may also use the spears alone in salads, or poach them, use them as a side for a fish dinner or even with eggs for a perfect brunch.

Check out below for another one of our favorite recipes using green asparagus.


OK, I have to ask. Why does my “you know what” smell after eating asparagus?

Don’t worry, we were wondering the same thing. This doesn’t happen with everyone, but if you do experience this, you aren’t alone. Scientists say that this happens because the sulfurous amino acids from the asparagus break down into different sulfur-containing components that often, well, smell bad.

Let us know where you are finding local asparagus and how you like to prepare them. We want to know!

Makura owner, Orna took us on a walk through her farm. Here she shows us how pomegranates grow.

Makura owner, Orna took us on a walk through her farm. Here she shows us how pomegranates grow.

Liz’s note:

I was in Israel for Passover last week and began my quest for asparagus soon after arriving in the Haifa area.  We decided to visit a small olive oil producer named Makura, where we met the farmers and bought some beautiful ceramics from Orna, the owner (along with husband, Guy),  last year. Somehow, Orna has a little spare time to throw bowls after tending to the acres and acres of olive trees (some from the Roman era), grapes, oranges, persimmon, lychee and avocados.

ceramics and edibles in Kerem Maharal

ceramics and edibles in Kerem Maharal

Makura did not have asparagus but Orna made a quick phone call to her friend Anat Avitar, who has been growing many acres of asparagus in the next village, Kerem Maharal, for more than 20 years. We visited with Anat the next day, and after seeing rows and rows of seedlings next to her ceramic studio, we drove out to the sunny fields which were brimming with acres of feathery foliage of the asparagus plants.

in the field

Not only did Anat share fascinating facts about asparagus but she is ALSO a talented and prolific ceramicist. Next time, I’m bringing an extra suitcase and plenty of bubble wrap!




Asparagus with Anchovies and Lemon Dressing

6-8 servings

Asparagus with Anchovies and Lemon Dressing

Before you snub anchovies, you should know that when chopped and dissolved in a little olive oil, they add a depth of flavor and a piquant boost with no discernible trace of the source.

When you taste deeply delicious Mediterranean cooking, and Italian dishes in particular, anchovies are often the secret ingredient. Just try….

This recipe is pareve.


  • 2 pounds asparagus, rinsed and patted dry.
  • 4 Tb. olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 2 ounce tin of anchovies, rinsed in cold water, patted dry and chopped into a paste*
  • 4 Tb. Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tb. freshly squeezed lemon juice


  1. Cut off only the white ends of asparagus stalks (about 1 inch). Lay the asparagus on a cutting board. Using a vegetable peeler, shave with a very light hand, mid-way up each stalk.
  2. Place asparagus in a pot that is large enough to contain the asparagus, lengthwise.
  3. Cover with just enough water to submerge the stalks, add salt and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  4. They should be crisp and slightly undercooked.
  5. Drain asparagus in colander and plunge into ice bath to stop the cooking.
  6. In the same pan, add olive oil and anchovy paste. Simmer slowly, stirring, until the anchovies dissolve in oil.
  7. Pat asparagus dry and return them to the pan with tips all facing in one direction.
  8. Add parsley and lemon juice and turn once or twice, with tongs, so that asparagus are coated in the dressing.
  9. Remove from pan and place on platter. Drizzle with juices from pan and decorate with lemon wedges.


*Some canned anchovies have tiny tails and backbones. Simply remove them before you chop. Asparagus may be served warm or at room temperature. Leftovers would be great in an omelet or tossed into scrambled eggs. Alternatively, cut the stalks into one inch pieces and add to any green salad.

This recipe is from my collaborative eBook, "4 Bloggers Dish: Passover".





Originally Posted in “Seasonal Snippet: Asparagus

Quinoa Asparagus Salad

It’s an all recipe week here at Kosher Like Me, with Passover in full swing and the local farms starting to sprout.

Asparagus and radishes are among the earliest spring veggies and welcome harbingers of the abundance to come. Watch for our Seasonal Snippets ALL about asparagus next week.

Quinoa is a delicious and highly nutritious seed that behaves like a whole grain. It’s fluffy texture and slightly nutty flavor makes it a welcome addition to our Pesach table. It is a “perfect protein” in that it contains all 9 essential amino acids, resulting in a perfect choice for vegetarians.

 Need more reasons to love quinoa? It is gluten-free and super easy to make, too.

Find this recipe and 50 plus more kosher for Passover inspirations in “4 Bloggers Dish: Passover, Modern Twists on Traditional Flavors“. Click here to buy.


Quinoa Salad with Spring Vegetables and Buttermilk Dressing

4-6 servings

This recipe is from my collaborative Passover eBook, "4 Bloggers Dish: Passover".

This salad is kosher for Passover, dairy, vegetarian


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cup water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound asparagus, rinsed, patted dry and ends trimmed
  • 6 radishes, washed, trimmed and sliced thin
  • 2 Tb. toasted pine nuts
  • 2 tsp fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1 ounce crumbled feta or goat cheese
  • Buttermilk Dressing
  • 2 TB. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, peeled and minced
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 Tb. olive oil
  • 6 Tb. buttermilk


  1. Rinse quinoa in a fine strainer and combine with water in pan on stovetop. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cover.
  2. Simmer 15 minutes or until water is absorbed. Stir once, uncover and set aside to cool.
  3. Steam asparagus until just barely tender- 2-3 minutes.
  4. Plunge into ice bath to stop them from cooking. Pat dry and cut on the diagonal, into ½ pieces.
  5. In a large bowl, combine cooked quinoa and all other ingredients. Toss gently and set aside while you make the dressing.
  6. Dressing
  7. Place all ingredients in a mini-processor, Magic Bullet or whisk quickly by hand. Dressing should be creamy. Taste and adjust salt and pepper.
  8. Combine
  9. Dress salad when ready to serve. Drizzle with extra olive oil if you prefer it more moist.


Prep Ahead: This salad will last in the fridge for 2-3 days. The quinoa benefits from more time with this creamy buttermilk dressing.

Take To Go: This salad tastes better at room temperature, making it a great one to pack for easy lunches or day trips.

Originally Posted in “Quinoa Salad with Spring Vegetables