photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

Macaroons for Passover are as ubiquitous as rain in springtime. And why not? Gluten-free, dairy-free and super easy to make, you can march yourself right by those packaged goods and whip these up in no time.

Here’s the easiest and most basic recipe for this Passover classic. Consider it a starting point. Add mix-in’s that catch your fancy. Consider chopped pistachios or almonds, chocolate chips, orange or lemon zest or poppy seeeds. Dip into melted chocolate (or drizzle) and they become gourmet. Bake your own and you’ll relish these moist mounds in a whole new way.

Thank you, Tova’s All Natural, for this recipe.

And no guilt, please, if you’re not up for baking. Click here for all you need to know about where to order your Passover desserts.

Chocolate Dipped Macaroons

18 macaroons

Passover macaroons are a great basic to keep on hand because they store well and stay moist.

Here's a super easy, basic recipe. Get creative with mix in's and they will look and taste gourmet.

This recipe is kosher for Passover, gluten-free and dairy free (pareve)


  • 1 1/3 Cup of sweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup of sugar
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of potato starch
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3-4 ounces of fine kosher for Passover chocolate melted (to dip baked and cooled macaroons)


  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
  2. Combine ingredients in a mixer then scoop or shape into 1 ounce rounds
  3. Place on lined or sprayed baking sheet
  4. Bake for 18-20 minutes until browned
  5. When cooled, dip in chocolate and let them cool to form a thin shell


Thank you, Tova's All Natural, for this recipe


Originally Posted in “Chocolate Dipped Macaroons
Thai Coconut Tilapia courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering

Thai Coconut Tilapia courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering

Contributed by Marcia Selden Catering

We all know someone (heck it could be us) who says they don’t like fish.  Most likely it’s because they say it smells, well… fishy.  These dishes will convert even the staunchest non-fish eaters with these mild and delicious recipes.

Tilapia is a great intro fish because not only does it not smell like anything, it has a very mild taste and texture.  It’s readily available, the texture is very similar to chicken, and the best part?  Tilapia cooks very quickly, so you’ll have dinner ready in NO time! Also, while we don’t normally love frozen fish, tilapia is fine to buy frozen.  It defrosts in a few minutes in a bowl of warm water.

Haddock, scrod or cod are your next best bet, still very mild but a little thicker in texture.  Any of these recipes can be made with any of these fishes.

Thai Coconut Tilapia

4 servings

Coconut milk lends creaminess to this spicy fish dish. Control the heat by adjusting the amount of red curry paste and sriracha.

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


  • 1 Tbs. coconut oil (or any cooking oil)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bunch of green beans
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 red pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1 can light coconut milk
  • 3 Tbs. Thai red curry paste
  • 4 tilapia fillets- 4 oz. each
  • ½ C. diced cilantro
  • ¼ C. thinly sliced scallions
  • 1 lime, cut into 4 wedges
  • Kosher salt
  • Sriracha (optional)


  1. Heat a large pan to medium heat. Melt coconut oil in the pan, and sauté onion until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add carrots and cook for about 5 minutes. Add green beans and red pepper.
  3. Add curry paste and coconut milk to the pan. Stir until the curry paste is fully dissolved into the coconut milk, cook for 5 minutes.
  4. Add fish and cook on medium high heat for 5 to 6 minutes.
  5. Season to taste with salt and garnish with cilantro, green onion, and a wedge of lime before serving.

Mediterranean Tilapia Saute

4 servings

This easy one-pan dish sings with the basic flavors of the Mediterranean.

Serve over any whole grain and your meal is complete.

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


  • 2 tsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • ½ C. white wine
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 (4-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 1 C. canned petit Italian seasoned diced tomatoes, with juice
  • ½ C. chopped pitted green or black Greek olives
  • 2 Tbs. capers
  • 1/4 Tsp. dried crushed red pepper, optional
  • 2 C. packed fresh baby spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper


  1. In a large nonstick skillet heat 2 teaspoons of oil over a medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion and sauté for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the wine, garlic, fish, tomatoes, olives and capers and crushed red pepper.
  4. Cover and cook until fish is opaque in the center, about 2½ minutes per side.
  5. Remove lid, add spinach and continue cooking for 3 minutes.
  6. Season with salt and pepper.

Coconut Panko Crusted Tilapia

4 servings

For anyone who loves their fish with a crispy coating, here's a great solution without frying in an abundance of oil.

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


  • 1 C. flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ C. unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1 Tbs. chili powder
  • 1 C. Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 2 Tbs. vegetable oil


  1. Place flour in a shallow bowl or dish. In a small mixing bowl, whisk eggs until combined.
  2. On a plate, mix coconut, Panko, chili powder, and salt with a fork.
  3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over low heat.
  4. Dip tilapia first into flour, then into egg and lastly into coconut-Panko mixture.
  5. Place breaded fish in pan, increase heat to medium and cook on first side for 1½-2 minutes.
  6. Flip fillets and cook on other side until fish is cooked through and flakes easily with a fork, about 3 more minutes.

Originally Posted in “Three Fish Recipes for Non- Fish Lovers

Photo: Michael Bennett Kress

The New Passover Menu by Paula Shoyer enticed me from the first moment I flipped through it’s fifty plus recipes. And for fans of Shoyer’s previous baking cookbooks,  you’ll be thrilled to find 16 mostly gluten-free, kosher for Passover desserts.

Paula’s straight forward approach and sense of humor infuse these pages with easy to follow and mostly health conscious recipes. She begins with an overview called “Freedom from Passover Food Oppression”, reminding home cooks about how stringent Passover food restrictions can be. And then she offers solutions.

Shoyer breaks it all down with simple instructions on preparing for the holiday, planing your Seder table and arranging your Seder plate.

Once the foundations and rules are set (great reminders even for experienced celebrants and useful for newcomers) she launches eight menus, each with 4-6 dishes, including longer sections for an “Updated Ashkenazic Seder Menu” and an “International Seder Menu“. These eight menus are supplemented with a Breakfast section (gluten- free waffles and pancakes? yes, please) and a decadent dessert section, the area that Shoyer is best known for.

Starting at the beginning, I jumped into her chapter on new ideas for the Ashkenazic menu to see what she would illuminate as NEW.

I found it in her recipe for  Chicken Soup with Chicken Meatballs and Zucchini Spaghetti (scroll down for recipe).

Her soup is a traditional and basic chicken soup, much like mine. The twist is in the lovely rendition of protein rich chicken dumplings floating in broth. For those who don’t want the calories of matzah balls, this is a great solution. And for those who love ‘em, she confesses freely to using the packaged mix (ok, I do too) and shares ideas on how to fancy them up with additions like chopped cilantro, parsley or ginger.

What’s really new here is a reliance on fresh ingredients and much less filler like matzah meal and other starches. Take her Asparagus, Zucchini and Leek Kugel (seasonal!) which only includes a 1/4 cup of matzah meal and is sans potatoes. Here’s a great way to lighten up, include a load of spring greens and honor culinary traditions. For those of you who  can’t imagine a kugel-less Seder, this one’s for you.

The International Seder Menu includes eight recipes influenced by the flavors of Turkey, Morocco, France and the U.S. You’ll find the requisite Middle Eastern Charoset, chunky with textures of chopped dates and figs and seasoned with nutmeg and ginger. Consider serving an array of different Charoset renditions at your Seder and get the conversation going about where they originated and why certain ingredients were used in different countries.

photo: Michael Bennett Kress

I love the Sephardic Poached Fish in Pepper Sauce loaded with garlic, onions, fresh cilantro and plenty of chili powder. Shoyer suggests serving it as a main course for lunch. I see it as a lighter and spicier alternative to heavier meats or braised chicken for a weeknight dinner.

The chapters called Italian Vegetarian Menu and BBQ Dinner Menu feel particularly fresh, with the former including a touching tribute to Shoyer’s father, Reubin Marcus, when he was stationed in Northern Italy during WWII. She lovingly tells the story of how he and his army buddies organized two Seders with plenty of moxie and out-of-the-box creativity and planning, while stationed there.

With that, Shoyer includes four straightforward Italian dishes including a handy and easy Gnocchi with tomato and light cream sauce and this do-ahead crowd pleaser, Eggplant Parmesan.

photo: Michael Bennett Kress

The BBQ Diner Menu reminds us that Passover is a celebration of the emerging spring season. Shoyer reminds us to fire up the BBQ if weather permits. Basic recipes for Garlic Marinated Steak with Onion Jam and Roasted Eggplant with Bell Pepper Vinaigrette will have me reaching for this volume long after the holiday ends.

photo: Michael Bennett Kress

Shoyer is a renowned kosher baker so her fans will turn to the final section of this cookbook  with much anticipation. They will be pleased.

photo: Michael Bennett Kress


She includes 15 new desserts, many of which are gluten-free. Like her prior baking books, she presents a broad range of baked goods here including Fully Loaded Cookie Bars (jammed with pistachios, pecans, shredded coconut, ground almonds,chocolate chips, raisins and dried cranberries- whew!), easy-to-make Triple Chocolate Biscotti and this elegant  hazelnut, coffee infused Opera Cake, filled and topped with chocolate ganache.

The New Passover Menu would make a great holiday gift or a handy all-in-one Passover addition to your own library.  We’re giving one copy away so be sure to click back in tomorrow to enter. It will be easy, promise!

To read more about why we love Paula’s The Kosher Baker click here.

All photos and recipe reprinted with permission from New Passover Menu © 2015 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress

Chicken Soup with Chicken Meatballs & Zucchini Spaghetti

14-16 servings

This recipe is from The New Passover Menu by Paula Shoyer. All photos and recipe reprinted with permission from New Passover Menu © 2015 by Paula Shoyer, Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Photography by Michael Bennett Kress.

Advance prep: Soup may be made 3 days in advance or frozen; meatballs may be made 1 day in advance.

Equipment: Measuring cups and spoons • Large soup pot • Cutting board • Knives • Vegetable peeler • 2 medium bowls • Large sieve or strainer • Garlic press • Food processor

From Paula Shoyer: "Like most people, I love matzoh balls. Although everyone knows me as a from-scratch baker, I am admitting here that I always make matzoh balls from the mix. After eating my mother’s matzoh balls for years, which alternated from year to year between light and fluffy and something else (I think because of variations in egg sizes), once I tried the balls from the mix, I never went back. Constant dieting has forced me to avoid them, so I developed chicken meatballs as an alternative. They even look like matzoh balls. But the traditionalists out there need not worry, as I have also provided ideas below for updating traditional matzoh balls."


    For the Soup
  • 2 whole medium chickens, cut into pieces
  • 2 large onions, quartered
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 leek, white and light green parts only, cut lengthwise in half
  • 6 stalks celery with leaves, cut crosswise in half
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and cut in thirds
  • 1 fennel bulb, quartered
  • 1 turnip, peeled and quartered
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 gallon (3.8L) water
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • ½ bunch dill
  • Salt and black pepper
  • For the Chicken Meatballs
  • 2 boneless chicken breasts (about 5–6 ounces each)
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons ground almonds or matzoh meal
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • for the GARNISH
  • 2 medium zucchini, not peeled


    To make the soup
  1. PLACE the chicken pieces in a large pot. Add the onions, carrots, leek, celery, garlic, parsnips, fennel, turnip, bay leaves, and salt.
  2. Add the water and bring to a boil.
  3. Use a large spoon to skim the scum off the top of the soup. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and let the soup simmer, checking after 5 minutes and skimming off any additional scum.
  4. Add the parsley and dill, cover, and simmer for 2 hours. Let cool.
  5. Strain through a large sieve, reserving the carrots to return to the soup when serving.
  6. Taste the soup and add more salt or pepper if necessary.
  7. To make the meatballs
  8. WHILE the soup is cooking, prepare the meatball mixture.
  9. In the bowl of a food processor with the metal blade attachment, mix together the chicken, stock, ground almonds, garlic, and egg until a paste forms.
  10. Add the scallions, salt, and pepper and pulse a few times to mix.
  11. Transfer the meatball mixture to a medium bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for up to 1 day, until ready to shape and cook the meatballs.
  12. USE a spoon to scoop up the meatball batter and wet hands to shape it into 1 1/2-inch (4-cm) balls. Bring the strained soup to a simmer, add the meatballs, cover, and cook for 8 minutes.
  13. To make the garnish
  14. MEANWHILE, prepare the zucchini “spaghetti” for the garnish.
  15. Slice the zucchini lengthwise into 1/4-inch-thick (6-mm) slices.
  16. Keeping the stack together, use a vegetable peeler to shave the zucchini into long strips.
  17. Slice the reserved cooked carrots into rounds and return them to the soup.
  18. Top each serving of soup and meatballs with some of the zucchini spaghetti.


Matzoh Ball Variations (gebrokts)

Combine your choice of any one of the following with one packet from a 5-ounce (142g) package of matzoh ball mix to make 13 matzoh balls. Plan on 2 matzoh balls per person:

• 1 teaspoon fresh finely chopped ginger plus 2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro

• ½ teaspoon black pepper

• 1 carrot peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch (6 mm) pieces

• 1½ teaspoons mixed finely chopped fresh herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, and basil

Originally Posted in “Chicken Soup-Hold the Matzah Balls
photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

Contributed by Melissa Roberts

By now, winter feels endless. Had enough heavy stews and soups already? Even when stuck in winter’s grip, you can bring the warmth of sunnier climes to the table with this one dish fish entree that combines the flavors of Provence.

Thick cod fillets are nestled in a rustic tomato based sauce with fennel, bell pepper, plenty of sliced garlic, onions and olives. The vegetables are cooked down to their essential richness, then finished with a hit of orange zest. The ease of this dish is perfect for a weekday meal rotation, and even better, the sauce’s flavors deepen if made a day or two ahead. Just reheat in the baking dish or bring to room temperature before adding the cod.

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

Cod in Provencal Fennel-Tomato Sauce

4 servings

Recipe: Melissa Roberts

A deglaze of Pernod or Pastis, an anise flavored liquor (and distant cousin of absinthe) complements the licorice flavor of the fennel in the sauce. In fact, it’s an essential ingredient in bouillabaise, a Provencal classic. If you don’t have Pernod on hand and prefer not to add it to your bar collection, white wine can easily be substituted without sacrificing flavor. Butter is added at the end to enrich the sauce, but can be also be omitted if making the dish dairy free. Flexibility is key to rustic cooking.

This recipe is dairy with pareve (non-dairy) option


  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow or red onion, chopped
  • 1 medium fennel bulb with tops, tough outer layer trimmed and bulb chopped (reserve fronds)
  • 1 medium bell pepper (any color), chopped
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Pastis or Pernod*
  • 1 (32 ounce) can peeled plum tomatoes, drained of juice
  • 1/3 cup pitted picholine or kalamata olives, halved
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter**
  • 4 (6 ounce) center cut Atlantic cod fillets
  • 1 orange


  1. Heat 3 tablespoons oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add onion, fennel, and ½ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until just softened, about 10 minutes.
  3. Add pepper and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally until vegetables are completely softened, 8 to 10 minutes more.
  4. Add Pastis and cook, stirring until half of liquor is evaporated. Add tomatoes, crushing them with your hands or with the back of a spoon, then olives and ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.
  5. Simmer sauce 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Transfer to a 2-quart shallow baking dish.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F with rack in middle.
  7. Arrange cod fillets over sauce. Drizzle top of fish with 1 tablespoon oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake until fish is opaque and just cooked through, 12 to 14 minutes.
  8. Chop ¼ cup’s worth of fennel fronds. Zest some orange over cod fillets (best done with a microplane) and sprinkle fish with chopped fronds.


*A equivalent amount of dry white wine may be substituted.

**Butter enriches the sauce at the end, but omit it if you wish to make the dish dairy free.

Cook’s note: Sauce (without fish) can be made and kept chilled in an airtight container up to 3 days ahead. Bring to room temperature or reheat in baking dish before adding fish.

Originally Posted in “Cod Provencal & Dreams of Warmer Days
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