photo: Rachel Carr

photo: Rachel Carr

Contributed by Katy Morris

We know it can be frustrating once the temperatures drop and your local farmers’ markets may seem, well, a little lack luster. But there are some interesting vegetables that thrive in the cold weather, resulting in a surprisingly bountiful winter harvest for locavores who know how to bring out the best of these ingredients.

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

In this month’s Seasonal Snippet series, we’re honing in on the humble parsnip. It might not be the most beautiful veg in the bunch but its versatility and earthy flavor can be sweet and subtle. Here’s all you need to know about the homely parsnip and why this classic root vegetable may surprise you.

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

What exactly does root vegetable mean?

The term “root vegetable” technically includes only tuberous roots or taproots like carrots, rutabagas and turnips, but people tend to label anything that grows underground, like garlic bulbs, beets, celeriac, ginger and potatoes (all of which are in different categories) as such.

While they are clearly not the most eye-popping sight in the garden, root vegetables’ time spent buried in the deep rich soil allows them to soak up tons of great nutrients from the ground, making them true nutritional gems.

What do they taste like?

When cooked, parsnips give off a subtly sweet, honey-like flavor with a touch of nuttiness. Their sweetness comes from the long time spent growing underground. The cold weather helps convert the vegetable’s starches into sugars, so farmers wait about two weeks after the season’s first frost to harvest. While the smaller ones can be eaten raw, we prefer them cooked to get that toasted, sweet flavor.

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

What should I look for when buying?

Parsnips look a lot like carrots, but have a distinctly creamy, beige-colored skin. You can find them year round at markets, but right about now is really their time to shine. To get the best ones at the best time of year, make sure they are firm and free of blemishes or soft spots. They should be small to medium in size, as larger ones tend to be more fibrous.

Be sure you are actually choosing parsnips and not parsley roots, as they can look pretty similar (you can usually tell the difference since parsley roots are sold with their greens, whereas parsnips are not).

Photo: Liz Rueven

Photo: Liz Rueven

How should I prepare them?

Be sure to scrub them very well before cooking as these vegetables spend several months underground. Because they are in the dirt for so long, their skins become pretty thick and rough, so peel them before cooking (hang on to those peels though – we love to use them to make homemade vegetable stock for hearty winter soups). Also, note that sometimes they are sold with a light wax coating, which is meant to help retain the vegetable’s moisture and in turn increase its shelf life. Nobody wants to cook or eat wax, right?

What’s the best way to cook parsnips?

They are great accompaniments to stews and soups (when you should add them during the last half hour or so of cooking to get the best flavor and avoid a parsnip mush) and pair really well with herbs like basil, dill, parsley and thyme. These guys are super versatile and can be used as subs for carrots or potatoes. You can steam, mash, boil and fry them, but our favorite way to get the most flavor from them is by roasting or sautéing them.

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

Storage tips?                                         

Since the parsnip is a root veg, they store really well. If you don’t need to use them for a while, just wrap them in a paper towel, put them in a ziplock bag, and throw them in the drawer in your fridge where they will be good for at least a couple weeks. Since the cold helps convert the starches to sugars, they will likely taste sweeter if you decide to refrigerate them before using. Note that you should not peel and cut them if you are going to store them; when exposed to air, they oxidize just like apples do,  so either prep and cook or store them straight away!

Other fun facts:

♦ The parsnip was named after the parsnip swallowtail, a type of butterfly that loves to feed on parsnip

♦ Hundreds of years ago, Europeans used parsnip in wine and jam given its high sugar content

♦ Parsnips are rich in folate, vitamin C and fiber


Parsnip Man, photo: Bobbie Bernstein

Parsnip Man, photo: Bobbie Bernstein

We’ve seen plenty of recipes that invite parsnips as a bridesmaid, but there aren’t too many that honor it as the bride. Leave it to Rachel Carr to create this parsnip-centered recipe that could tempt even the most vigilant naysayer.

You may remember Rachel as the pioneer of Six Main in CT. She has recently closed up shop and relocated to LA, where she is actively working on her blog, The Raw and the Cooked, as well as providing local cooking classes in the area.  In the spirit of shopping winter farmers’ markets she suggests that this salad “would be delicious with many other kinds of vegetables, such as brussels sprouts, & sweet potatoes.”

Thank you Rachel, for this inspired recipe and beautiful photos.

Roasted Pear and Parsnip Salad with Spiced Balsamic & Brown Sugar Glaze

 Roasted Pear and Parsnip Salad with Spiced Balsamic & Brown Sugar Glaze

This wintry salad is the perfect seasonal starter. Natural sweetness is amped up by roasting both parsnips and pears and coating them in a simple and delicious glaze.

This recipe was shared by Rachel Carr, vegan chef extraordinaire.

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


  • 4 pears, halved and cored with a melon baller
  • 6 large parsnips, washed
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons brown sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon potato starch
  • 1/4 cup raw pistachios
  • 1-2 handfuls of micro greens or baby greens
  • 1 Tablespoon of brown sugar for sprinkling on top


    For parsnips and pears
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Toss the parsnips and pear halves with the olive oil, salt and pepper.
  3. Roast them for 15-20 minutes on a baking sheet. Remove when golden brown and fork tender. We sliced the parsnips into 1 1/2” pieces on the bias after they were roasted before serving, but you can serve them whole!
  4. For Glaze
  5. In a small saucepan, heat the balsamic vinegar and whisk in the brown sugar, potato starch and pumpkin pie spice.
  6. Bring to a simmer, turn down the heat and allow to reduce for about 10-15 minutes on low heat.
  7. When it is done, it will coat the back of a spoon.
  8. To serve
  9. Arrange the warm roasted pears, parsnips and baby greens on a plate.
  10. Drizzle with the balsamic glaze and sprinkle with pistachios.


*We used brown sugar in this recipe, but feel free to substitute palm sugar, agave, maple or any other sugar substitute.



Contributed by Marcia Selden Catering

Mushroom soup is one of our all-time favorites.  On a chilly day, there’s nothing better than wrapping your hands around a warm mug of soup and enjoying!   Offer this soup as a first course with some fun garnishes, or make it a meal with a big salad and hot crusty bread.

Vegetarian Mushroom Soup

4 servings

This super easy mushroom soup will fill your kitchen with earthy and delicious aromas.

This recipe is vegetarian and dairy.

To make this soup non-dairy and vegan, sub in almond or soy milk for the yogurt. Start with 1/2 a cup and check the consistency once you've blended it all together.


  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • ½ lb. crimini mushrooms, chopped
  • 8 oz. baby bella mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tsp. each-dried sage, rosemary and thyme
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbs. Madeira wine
  • 1 C. plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 C. vegetable broth
  • Truffle oil


  1. Sauté the mushrooms, shallots, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper in a soup pot over medium heat for 10 minutes, until the liquid has mostly evaporated.
  2. Add Madeira wine and bring to a boil and cook until it has reduced by half…about 5 minutes.
  3. Add vegetable broth and Greek yogurt and mix until it is blended. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  4. Purée soup in a blender or Cuisinart or with an immersion blender until it has reached your desired smoothness and is thick and creamy.
  5. Serve with a drizzle of truffle oil and any of the fun soup garnishes, below.


Garnish suggestions: Toasted cashew pieces Frizzled onions Snipped chives Croutons Toasted pumpkin seeds Balsamic diced apples

Originally Posted in “Oh- So Easy Mushroom Soup


My friends Melissa and Marissa taught a group of friends how to make this creamy vegan soup (along with other wonderful dishes) in a Celebration of Harvest hands-on-cooking class at Chabad of Westport, CT this week. For those of you who couldn’t be there,

I just had to share it with you since it’s another great one for Thanksgiving. Don’t be put off by this pic of Melissa taking Kabocha outside for a pounding. The test run -through of this recipe resulted in an easy tip for how to deal with tough squash. Read on.




Roxy resting amid the test kitchen action

Roxy resting amid the test kitchen action

Thank you Melissa Roberts for this scrumptious recipe. It was a hoot being in the test kitchen with you and Marissa (and sweet Roxy) last week!

Kabocha and Coconut-Ginger Soup

makes about 10 cups or 8 servings

Kabocha and Coconut-Ginger Soup

With its hard-as-alligator-skin exterior, approaching a kabocha squash can seem daunting. There’s a trick. A brief roast in a low oven softens the skin and makes cutting into it a breeze.The bright orange flesh whirs up into a velvety texture with a flavor that’s earthy and faintly sweet.

This soup freezes well and feeds enough for a crowd. Think: Thanksgiving.

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

Thank you Melissa Roberts, for this recipe..


  • 3 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
  • 3 leeks, light green and white parts only
  • 1 (2 inch) piece ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder, preferably Madras
  • Generous pinch cayenne (optional)
  • 1 (3 ½ to 4 lb) kabocha squash
  • 2 cups vegetable broth or stock
  • 2 cups water
  • kosher salt for seasoning
  • 1 (13.66 oz) can well-stirred coconut milk (regular or light)
  • For garnish
  • (one or a combination): chopped cashews, lightly toasted unsweetened coconut*, chopped cilantro


  1. Preheat oven to 300F with rack in middle. Place squash on a baking pan and roast until skin yields slightly when pressed, 30 to 40 minutes. Cool.
  2. Once cool, halve squash and remove seeds with a large spoon (discard seeds) and cut into 6 to 8 wedges. Cut away skin with a large knife and chop squash into 1” pieces.
  3. Halve leeks lengthwise and cut crosswise into ½ inch pieces.
  4. Place in a bowl and cover with cold water. Agitate leeks to remove any sand and grit. Repeat once more. Drain and pat dry on towels.
  5. Heat oil in a heavy 5-quart pot over medium heat. Add leeks and ginger and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened (but not browned), about 5 minutes.
  6. Add curry powder and cayenne (if using) and toast, stirring, 1 minute.
  7. Add squash and and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes.
  8. Add broth, water, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a simmer, then cook, partially covered, until squash is tender, 20 to 30 minutes.
  9. Stir in coconut milk.
  10. Let cool slightly then puree in batches until very smooth. Adjust seasoning if necessary.


*Spread coconut in a single layer on a sheet pan and place in a preheated 350F oven, stirring occasionally, until lightly toasted, about 5 minutes. Cool completely.


Originally Posted in “Kabocha and Coconut-Ginger Soup
The Modern Kosher Kitchen by Ronnie Fein. Photo: Glenn Scott

The Modern Kosher Kitchen by Ronnie Fein. Photo: Glenn Scott

Do you serve a soup course for Thanksgiving? I love the warm spices and seasonal veggies highlighted in the soups we’ll be sharing this week and next. Consider making any of these bowls of goodness 3-4 days ahead of the feast. They will all benefit from time spent resting in the back of your refrigerator as their flavors develop.

And best of all, we’re keeping each dish quick and simple but they won’t taste that way, promise.

Thank you, Ronnie Fein, author of the recently released The Modern Kosher Kitchen, for this bold and vibrant soup. To learn more about Ronnie’s latest cookbook, check out why we love it by clicking here.

Carrot Soup with Harissa and Coconut

serves 6

This soup recipe was shared by Ronnie Fein, author of The Modern Kosher Kitchen, 2014.

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


  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1-1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons Harissa*
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • salt to taste
  • toasted coconut for garnish, optional


  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and carrots and cook briefly.
  4. Add the stock and cloves, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover the pan partially and cook for 25 minutes or until the carrots are soft. Remove the cloves.
  5. Puree the soup in a food processor or blender (or use a hand blender). Return the soup to the pan. Whisk in the Harissa.
  6. Stir in the coconut milk. Bring the soup to a simmer. Cook for 10 minutes.
  7. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste.
  8. Serve garnished with toasted coconut if desired.


* Harissa is a Middle Eastern spice blend. Search Harrissa from NY Shuk on Kosher Like Me to find Liz' favorite brand.

Originally Posted in “Carrot Soup with Harissa and Coconut
photo: Leaf and Ardor Tea Co.

photo: Leaf and Ardor Tea Co.

In our search for a gluten-free, dairy-free recipe that puts roasted sweet potatoes front and center in a Thanksgiving dessert, we turned to Leaf and Ardor Tea Co., a CT. favorite.

They started with their Masala Chai Tea Blend, which already smells like freshly baked cookies in Autumn!  But instead of cookies, they’ve taken those warming spices in their carefully composed tea (ginger, cinnamon, cardamon, clove and a sprinkle of black pepper) and wandered into fall’s veggie patch to bake these Sweet Potato Mini Bundts with Masala Chai Glaze.

Looking to wow your guests with originality at the end of your Thanksgiving feast? We’ve gotcha covered.

Sweet Potato Mini Bundts with Masala Glaze

10 mini bundt cakes

This Autumnal dessert recipe was developed by Leaf and Ardor Tea Co.

It highlights the goodness of freshly roasted sweet potatoes in combination with their perfectly seasoned Masala Chai Tea. By incorporating the tea in both the cake batter AND the glaze, they double up on the deliciousness of these fragrant and warming spices.

This recipe is Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free (pareve)


    For the bundt cupcakes:
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato (1-2 sweet potatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons Leaf & Ardor Masala Chai loose-leaf tea
  • ½ cup water
  • 3/4 cup oat flour (gluten free)*
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • 1/8 cup maple syrup (Grade B, preferably)
  • For the Masala Chai glaze:
  • ¼ cup steeped Masala Chai tea
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar


    For the roasted sweet potatoes
  1. preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Prick each sweet potato with a fork and place on a tin foil-lined baking sheet. Bake until tender, about 45 minutes. Allow to cool, remove skin, and mash with a fork.
  3. Heat water to boiling. Add Masala Chai blend. Steep 5 minutes. Let cool.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Lightly oil the bundt cupcake pan.
  5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together the mashed sweet potato, egg, olive oil, brown sugar, maple syrup, vanilla and 1 tablespoon of tea.
  7. Pour the wet mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  8. Pour the batter into the cupcake tins (filling each tin approximately 2/3 full).
  9. Bake for 7 - 9 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
  10. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Gently remove from pan.
  11. For the Masala Chai glaze
  12. mix together ¼ cup tea, vanilla, and confectioners sugar.
  13. Pour over bundt cakes.


* Use Bob's Red Mill gluten-free oat flour
















Originally Posted in “Sweet Potato Mini Bundts

plated-Butternut Squash with butter and sage

Contributed by Katy Morris

One of the most popular New York based kosher chefs of Kitchensurfing and Chef de Cuisine of Prime at the Bentley, Chef David Egidio Donagrandi, offered his take on a classic seasonal ravioli recipe, crafted exclusively for Kosher Like Me readers. We are indeed, honored and appreciative.

These pumpkin or butternut squash filled ravioli are a perfect way to use the bright orange gourds you’ll find at your farmers’ market through November and December. 


“This recipe is a classic, very popular dish in the North of Italy from mid September until the end of November when pumpkins are very much available. What inspires me about this dish is the warmth and sweetness the pumpkin brings to a fall menu. It is a fun and easy dish to make and the fact that all ages, from small kids to adults, love this dish makes it a popular one to serve and share with family and friends for the holiday.”


We love that his motto on cooking is “SIMPLE and CLEAN” and this recipe is a perfect showcase. Consider substituting butternut squash if you prefer it. This ravioli dish would make a perfect vegetarian option for a Thanksgiving side (if your Thanksgiving is meat-free) or appetizer.

And don’t get intimidated by the length; Chef David has simply laid out, in meticulous detail, his suggestions for making the perfect, homemade ravioli.


Interested in having this Italian culinary mastermind cook for you? Book him via Kitchensurfing’s easy to use website.

Note: Chef recommends using a Ravioli Maker in this recipe. Check out what the team at The Kitchn had to say about why it’s a good idea to use one.

All photos courtesy of Kitchensurfing. Grazie!

Pumpkin (or Butternut Squash) Ravioli with Butter and Sage

4 servings

Pumpkin (or Butternut Squash) Ravioli with Butter and Sage

This recipe was developed by Chef David Egidio Donagrandi, a kosher chef at Kitchensurfing and Chef de Cuisine of Prime at the Bentley, NYC.

Note that the ravioli can be made ahead of time and frozen to be used on another occasion. Be sure to dust ravioli with flour before freezing so to prevent sticking.

This recipe is dairy.


  • 12 oz. pumpkin or butternut squash, seeded, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • for the dough
  • 3 1/8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 yoke
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch salt
  • for the filling
  • 12 ounces cooked pumpkin from above
  • 7 oz. ricotta cheese
  • 2 oz. grated parmesan
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 pinch black pepper
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • for the sauce
  • 4 oz butter
  • 10 sage leaves - chop or simply break with your hands


    Prepare the pumpkin
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Lightly salt the pumpkin and double wrap it using aluminum foil
  3. Place the pumpkin in the oven for 50 minutes or until is soft
  4. Prepare the dough
  5. Mix all the ingredients together and knead the dough for 4 to 6 minutes or until the dough is smooth
  6. Wrap it in plastic wrap and let it rest for 20 minutes at room temperature
  7. Make the filling
  8. Mash the pumpkin while it is still warm
  9. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. The filling should feel soft but not too loose. If is too soft, you can add a little bit more parmesan.
  10. Make the ravioli
  11. Cut the dough that was set aside into 4 equal parts. Leave two parts out for the first batch and keep the other two parts covered in plastic wrap so it does not dry while you make the first batch.
  12. Clean off a work surface and dust it with flour
  13. Dust a rolling pin with flour to prevent the dough from sticking. Roll out each part of the dough until it is about 1/8 inch thick. You will have two layers of flat pasta.
  14. Place one flat layer in the metal part of the Ravioli Maker* and press it with the plastic mold. The mold will create the pockets for the filling.
  15. Add a small spoon of filling into each pocket of the ravioli. Be sensitive to the amount of filling you are adding; too much filling will cause the ravioli to burst when cooking.
  16. Brush one egg yolk on one side of the second layer of the pasta so it becomes sticky.
  17. Place the layer with the brushed yolk facing down on top of the pasta that contains the filling.
  18. Press them together using a rolling pin so the layers stick together. The Ravioli Maker will mark and cut the ravioli into individual pieces.
  19. Flip the Ravioli Maker and gently separate each ravioli from the other, making sure the borders are closed. By doing this carefully, you will prevent filling from running out when ravioli is cooking.
  20. Repeat steps 2 to 9 of this phase to make the second batch of ravioli.
  21. Cook the ravioli
  22. Bring a large pot of salted water to boiling over medium heat.
  23. Reduce heat to a gentle simmer and place the ravioli in the water.
  24. boil for 3 or 4 minutes or until soft.
  25. Sauce and Plate
  26. Place a sauté pan on medium heat.
  27. Add butter and sage leaves to the pan and cook until the butter melts (it starts bubbling); remove from fire.
  28. Strain the ravioli and add it to the pan with the butter and sage, mixing gently with a tablespoon (Do not break the ravioli).
  29. Place the ravioli on 4 plates, sprinkle with parmesan and serve.


Tip from the chef: If you don't have a Ravioli Shaper you can just cut out circles in the flat pasta using a cookie cutter or an upside-down water glass. Add a small ball of filling in the center of each circle, fold the pasta and press the edges so you have a half-moon shape hand made ravioli! You can seal the edges of the ravioli by pressing firmly with a fork to add to the homemade shape.


Originally Posted in “Making Perfect Autumnal Ravioli
The Modern Kosher Kitchen by Ronnie Fein. Photo: Glenn Scott

The Modern Kosher Kitchen by Ronnie Fein. Photo: Glenn Scott

The cruciferous Autumn darling of the season seems to be cauliflower. With the proper prep and seasoning, it’s pretty easy to forget how you felt about this veggie when you were a young’un. 

Ronnie Fein’s soon to be released cookbook, The Modern Kosher Kitchen; More than 125 Inspired Recipes for a New Generation of Kosher Cookswill promptly convince you to re-consider this nutty sister in the cabbage family. 

Watch for my give-away of Fein’s latest cookbook on Thursday. Contest runs from October 29 at 6 PM until November 5 at midnight. It’s easy to enter!

Roasted Cauliflower "Steak"

4 servings

This recipe is from Ronnie Fein's new cookbook, The Modern Kosher Kitchen; More than 125 Inspired Recipes for a New Generation of Kosher Cooks. Fair Winds Press, November 15, 2014

This from Ronnie: " Cauliflower is milder than most of the other vegetables in the cabbage family. I’ve cooked it all sorts of ways, sometime to tame it, sometimes to bring out a robust flavor. Roasting caramelizes the outside and gives the cauliflower a nutty flavor and a satisfyingly crispy surface."

This recipe is Pareve (non-dairy) and vegan.


  • 1 small head cauliflower
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon Sriracha
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons thyme leaves
  • salt to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Remove the green leaves at the bottom of the cauliflower and trim most of the fibrous stem attached to the head. Slice the head into 3/8-inch thick slices; rinse and dry the slices on paper towels. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard, Sriracha, garlic, and thyme in a bowl.
  3. Brush this on both sides of the cauliflower slices.
  4. Place the slices on the parchment.
  5. Sprinkle with salt to taste.
  6. Roast for 15 minutes. Turn the slices over and roast for another 10-15 minutes or until tender and crispy.


Serving Suggestions and Variations from Ronnie Fein: " Sriracha provides some heat, but if you prefer less spice, don’t add it; the dish is perfectly tasty without it."

Originally Posted in “Crispy Roasted Cauliflower “Steak”
photo: Marcia Selden Catering

photo: Marcia Selden Catering

Contributed by Marcia Selden

Pull out your pashminas, fall is in full swing!  Grab your pumpkin spiced latte and check out our 3 favorite warm-your-belly filled pumpkin recipes to make for your next meal! We think everything tastes better in a tiny pumpkin.

Savory Bread Stuffed Pumpkins

6 servings

This delicious homemade stuffing is bubbling with ooey, gooey cheese. It would be a perfect accompaniment to simply grilled fish.

This recipe was shared by Marcia Selden Catering. It is DAIRY.


  • 6 small pumpkins
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • ¼ lb. stale bread, cut into ½” chunks
  • ½ C. cup each of thinly sliced onions and mushrooms, sautéed in butter to golden brown
  • ¼ lb. cheese, such as Gruyere or Emmenthal (Swiss), cut into ½”chunks
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ¼ C. snipped fresh chives
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh thyme
  • 1/3 C. heavy cream
  • Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg


  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350° F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, parchment paper, or foil.
  2. Cut a cap off of the top of each pumpkin. It's easiest to work your knife around the top of the pumpkin at a 45-degree angle. Clear away the insides of the pumpkin using a grapefruit spoon. Season the inside, generously, with salt and pepper, and put them on the baking sheet.
  3. Toss the bread, cheese, garlic, onion, mushrooms and herbs together in a bowl.
  4. Mix the cream with nutmeg, salt and pepper and wet the bread filling with a bit of this mixture. Test for seasoning.
  5. Pack the filling into pumpkins until well filled. Evenly pour the cream over the pumpkin. You don’t want the ingredients to swim in cream, but you do want them nicely moistened.
  6. Put the cap in place and bake for about 1 hour—check after 45 minutes. You want the filling to be bubbling and the flesh tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. Remove the cap during the last 15 minutes so that any excess liquid can evaporate and the tops brown.

Creamy Spinach and Porcini Risotto Stuffed Pumpkins

6 servings

This is a rich and delicious way to enjoy pumpkin filled to the brim with easy to prepare risotto.

This recipe was shared by Marcia Selden Catering.

It is DAIRY but can be made pareve (non-dairy) by switching the butter to Earth Balance margarine and eliminating the cheese. Risotto without cheese is still lovely, albeit a little less creamy.


  • ½ oz. dried porcini or other dried mushrooms
  • 1 C. boiling water
  • 5 C. vegetable stock, more if needed
  • 3 Tbs. olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 C. arborio rice
  • ¾ tsp. salt
  • 1/3 C. dry white wine
  • ½ lb. chopped baby spinach
  • ¾ C. grated Parmesan
  • 2 Tbs. butter
  • 6 small pumpkins


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Carefully slice the top of each pumpkin and using a grapefruit spoon, scoop out the inside being careful not to puncture the bottom of the pumpkin. Season the inside, generously, with salt and pepper, and put them on the baking sheet. Cover with a damp paper towel and set aside until ready to use.
  3. In a small bowl, soak the dried mushrooms in the boiling water until softened, about 15 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and strain their liquid into a medium saucepan through a sieve lined with a paper towel. Add the stock to the mushroom-soaking liquid; bring to a simmer.
  4. Rinse the mushrooms well to remove any grit, chop them, and set aside.
  5. In a large pot, heat the oil over moderately low heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add the rice and salt and stir until the rice begins to turn opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the wine and the chopped mushrooms. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed.
  7. Stir ½ cup of simmering broth into the rice and cook, stirring frequently, until the broth has been absorbed. The rice and the broth should bubble gently; adjust the heat as needed.
  8. Continue cooking the rice, adding the broth 1/2 cup at a time and allowing the rice to absorb the broth before adding the next 1/2 cup. Cook the rice until almost tender, about 25 minutes, and add the spinach.
  9. Cook, stirring, until the rice is tender, about 5 minutes longer. You may not need to use all the liquid, or you may need to add more stock or wine. Mix in the parmesan cheese and butter.
  10. Fill each pumpkin with risotto and place pumpkin cap on each pumpkin. Put them on a baking sheet. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until the flesh of the pumpkin is tender enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife.

Apple Compote Stuffed Baby Pumpkins

6 servings

This recipe shouts Autumn brunch with it's sweet, nutty filling and decadent whipped cream topping. You will blow your guests away with the irresistible scents of baking apples and spices.

This recipe was shared by Marcia Selden Catering. It is DAIRY.


  • 6 small pumpkins
  • 4 firm tart apples, peeled and diced- we love Honey Crisp
  • ¾ C. dried cranberries
  • 1 C. brown sugar
  • ¾ C. maple syrup
  • 2/3 C. toasted pecan pieces
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ginger
  • 2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 6 Tbs. butter
  • 2 C. heavy cream
  • 1 tbs. vanilla
  • 1 C. powdered sugar
  • Cinnamon Sugar


  1. Cut the tops off each pumpkin. Using a grapefruit spoon, scoop out the insides.
  2. Mix the apples, cranberries, toasted pecans, brown sugar, maple syrup and spices together. Fill the pumpkin with the mixture and dot with butter.
  3. Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 1-1½ hours, until the pumpkin is tender when you poke it with a fork.
  4. While the pumpkins bake, whip cream, vanilla and powdered sugar until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to use. Serve pumpkins with a dollop of whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon sugar

Originally Posted in “Mini Pumpkins Filled Three Ways
photo: Natalie Woyshner

photo: Natalie Woyshner

Contributed by Katy Morris

How does a non-Jewish, half-Mexican, half-Japanese, treyf-loving chef become the first ever kosher “cheftestant” on one of the most popular TV shows in the country?

I didn’t pick kosher, kosher picked me,” he claims.

Chef Katsuji Tanabe of L.A.’s premiere authentic Mexican kosher restaurant, Mexikosher and recent winner of Food Network’s Chopped, made it through the first round of Top Chef last Wednesday eve. 

On the eve of the premiere, I asked him to Tell Me More.


First off, why KOSHER?! You are not even Jewish!

I have a famous quote, “I didn’t pick kosher, kosher picked me.” Having a young family now makes it much easier for me to own a kosher business, as I have come to cherish the Sabbath for the time that it allows me to spend with my family and friends.  This luxury is typically non-existent in the restaurant world. As to cooking kosher, it is quite honestly what keeps me interested and challenged on a daily basis.


How have the challenges you faced growing up helped shape who you are?

When I lived in Mexico, we enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle.  When I moved to Los Angeles, I had to work much harder than the average person and dedicate myself to my career, just to once again achieve that status that I enjoyed early in my life.  Just being a cook was never going to be enough.  It forced me to focus upon my craft and culinary technique very early on in my career, rather than chasing television shows.

MexiKosher Chicken burrito, photo: Natalie Woyshner

MexiKosher Chicken burrito, photo: Natalie Woyshner


I’m sure you have gotten plenty of interesting reactions when people find out you are half-Japanese, half Mexican, non-Jewish, but kosher. What were some of these reactions?

When I first began cooking kosher, they assigned two Jewish kosher supervisors to watch over me, because they did not believe that I could possibly be adhering strictly to kosher regulations.

People oftentimes think that this is a joke, but the kosher community has pushed me to not only succeed, but to be the best chef that I can be.  It is the loyalty of my regular customers that has kept me cooking for the kosher community, rather than simply taking the simper path of opening a regular restaurant in Los Angeles.

It has become my “calling.”

Tuna and Halibut Ceviche. photo: Natalie Woyshner. Recipe below.

Tuna and Halibut Ceviche. photo: Natalie Woyshner. Recipe below.


TOP CHEF -- "Sudden Death" Episode 1201 -- Pictured: Alvara "Katsuji Tanabe" Soto -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

TOP CHEF — “Sudden Death” Episode 1201 — Pictured: Alvara “Katsuji Tanabe” Soto — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)


You are about to be the first ever kosher chef on one of the most popular reality TV shows in the US. Tell us what you are thinking! 

 First, it was impossible for me to cook kosher for Top Chef.  I am very proud of my kosher status and I speak of it often on the show, but the show was not equipped for this.  And honestly, it is my lifetime of playing hockey, not another cooking competitions, that gave me a competitive edge for these shows.

TOP CHEF -- "Boston's Bravest and Finest" Episode 1202 -- Pictured: (l-r) Greogry Gourdet, Dougie Adams, Keriann Von Raesfeld, Katsuji Tanabe, Joy Crump -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

TOP CHEF — “Boston’s Bravest and Finest” Episode 1202 — Pictured: (l-r) Greogry Gourdet, Dougie Adams, Keriann Von Raesfeld, Katsuji Tanabe, Joy Crump — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

Much of the success on these shows depends as much upon mental strength as culinary talent, and I thrive in competitive environments.

Pictured: (l-r) Katsuji Tanabe, Todd English, Padma Lakshmi -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

Pictured: (l-r) Katsuji Tanabe, Todd English, Padma Lakshmi — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

Can you tell us a little about your involvement with the Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles?

I have a young daughter and another on the way, and I wanted the focus of my charitable affiliation to include children in some way.

JBBSLA offered me the chance to work directly with the kids with healthy cooking classes, and it was good chance to offer them some much needed attention in the kosher community.   They are an amazing organization that happens to be celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year. The timing couldn’t have been better for us to form a partnership, so that I could use my fifteen minutes from Top Chef to benefit our community.


TOP CHEF -- "Boston's Bravest and Finest" Episode 1202 -- Pictured: Katsuji Tanabe -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

TOP CHEF — “Boston’s Bravest and Finest” Episode 1202 — Pictured: Katsuji Tanabe — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

How do your kosher customers respond when using unusual, authentic ingredients like cactus leaves?

The kosher community, especially the younger generation, is watching all of this food on television now, and they are demanding that they be able to enjoy these food items as well, while remaining kosher.  In my experience, our customers have been very open and receptive to anything new and interesting that we’ve offered, including recently brain, tripe, and other ingredients that you would normally never see in the typical kosher restaurant.


We’ve seen that in kosher restaurants, chefs tend to go either meat or dairy – but often times Mexican food is thought to necessitate both. How have you gone about exploring non-dairy substitutes?

Interestingly, there is a big difference between authentic Mexican cooking and Tex Mex.  In our traditional cooking in Mexico, we use very little cheese or dairy, so the provided a natural extension to then make this authentic cuisine kosher. I do use a good soy cheese on my burger, and sometimes, thanks to molecular gastronomy, I can re-create cream based items that are kosher, but never to use in my own Mexican foods.


Backstage pass to MexiKosher's salsas.

Backstage pass to MexiKosher’s salsas.

You seem to put your salsas front and center. Which is your favorite?

Salsa could be considered a “mother sauce” in Mexican cooking; and Chile Guajillo is the mother of all salsas. Fifty percent of a classic taco is the salsa, so it is not just out front in my restaurant, it is very much in the forefront of the cuisine.  We are always experimenting with friends and family to come up with new flavors.


TOP CHEF -- "Sudden Death" Episode 1201 -- Pictured: (l-r) Ron Eyester, Adam Harvey, Melissa King, Mei Lin, Gregory Gourdet, Stacey Cogswell, Mikhail "Mike" Patlazhan, Rebecca LaMalfa, Keriann Von Raesfeld, Joy Crump, Dougie Adams, James Rigato, Alvara "Katsuji Tanabe" Soto -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

TOP CHEF — “Sudden Death” Episode 1201 — Pictured: (l-r) Ron Eyester, Adam Harvey, Melissa King, Mei Lin, Gregory Gourdet, Stacey Cogswell, Mikhail “Mike” Patlazhan, Rebecca LaMalfa, Keriann Von Raesfeld, Joy Crump, Dougie Adams, James Rigato, Alvara “Katsuji Tanabe” Soto — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)


Be sure to tune into Bravo’s Top Chef Season 12 on Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PST to follow Chef Katsuji Tanabe in this addicting competition for culinary victory. We wish Katsuji all the best!


Thank you to the Top Chef contestant, Katsuji Tanabe, for sharing this Tuna and Halibut Ceviche recipe that proved a success in the show’s audition.

Tuna and Halibut Ceviche

Tuna and Halibut Ceviche

This recipe was generously shared by Chef Katsuji Tanabe, owner of MexiKosher in L. A. He prepared this ceviche as part of his audition for Top Chef Boston on Bravo.

Photo credit: Natalie Woyshner

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy) and fish.


  • 1lb Tuna large cubed
  • 1lb Halibut medium size cubed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 slice jalapeno
  • 1/4 yuzu juice*
  • 1/4 cup super virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Sake
  • 1/2 cup cubed jicama
  • 2 tbsp sugar


  1. Combine the sugar, sake, one-half of the chopped jalapeños, and soy sauce
  2. Bring all to a boil, reduce temperature and allow to slowly reduce until thickened
  3. Set aside and chill
  4. Salt the tuna and halibut with 1 tbsp of kosher salt, allow to cure for 30 min (covered, in refrigerator)
  5. Mix the fish with yuzu juice, olive oil, jicama, sliced jalapenos and marinate for at least 5 minutes
  6. Plate the bottom of the bowl with a smear of the soy sauce, mix the fishes with jicama drizzle and olive oil
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro


*Yuzu is a small citrus fruit that resembles a miniature grapefruit. It is both tart and floral.




Leaf and Ardor created this quinoa dish by simmering the grain in brewed Heaven and Earth tea

Heaven and Earth Tea lends an earthy undertone with notes of raisin and cedar.  In this recipe, the floral scent of jasmine is punctuated  by diced apricots and chopped pistachios.

Heaven and Earth Quinoa

2 servings

This quinoa recipe was developed by Leaf and Ardor Tea Co. It uses their Heaven and Earth tea blend as a simmering liquid for oh- so- easy quinoa.

It would be a perfect entree for vegetarians or an easy accompaniment to fish or chicken.

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


  • 1 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons Leaf & Ardor Heaven & Earth tea
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced finely
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 5 dried apricots, diced
  • ¼ cup unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions (green portion), very thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. Heat water to approximately 200° (slightly below boiling). Steep tea in hot water for 5 – 6 minutes (tea should steep to a chestnut brown color).
  2. Add olive oil and sliced shallots to medium saucepan, and sauté shallots over medium-low heat until slightly caramelized/tan in color. Add 3/4 of the minced ginger and sauté for an additional minute.
  3. Add quinoa to sauté mixture, mix in well and immediately add the tea liquid. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes or until water is evaporated.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in pistachios and apricots. Place in serving dish. Sprinkle on top all of the sliced scallions and remaining minced ginger.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.


Originally Posted in “Heaven and Earth Quinoa