photo: Jennifer Abadi

photo: Jennifer Abadi

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

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


Why do trees need birthdays?

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

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

Pretty clever, eh?


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


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


I am always surprised by what I see.

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

photo courtesy of Kim Kushner, THE MODERN MENU

photo courtesy of Kim Kushner, THE MODERN MENU

Fruits of Israel Salad

6 servings

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

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

Thank you Jennifer Abadi!


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


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

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

Google Images

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

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

Mushroom Polenta Lasagna

8 servings

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

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

Thank you, Marcia Selden Catering, for this recipe.


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


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

Originally Posted in “Mushroom Polenta Lasagna
photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

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

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

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

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

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

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

photo: Liz Rueven

photo: Liz Rueven

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

Winter Salad with Roasted Fruit & Veggies

Winter Salad with Roasted Fruit & Veggies

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

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


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


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


This salad is all about flexibility.

Play with your salad by adding in any of these:

Greens: chopped kale, arugula,tatsoi, collards

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

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

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


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

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

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

phyllo kale and feta

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

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

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













Kale Phyllo Pie

6-8 servings

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

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

This dish is vegetarian and dairy.


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


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

Originally Posted in “Easy Entertaining with Kale Phyllo Pie


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

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


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

plenty of green tomatoes

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


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

Turns out that she LOVES fried green tomatoes.


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

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

Fried Green Tomatoes with Sriracha Remoulade

20-25 slices

Fried Green Tomatoes with Sriracha Remoulade

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

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

This recipe is non-dairy (pareve)


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


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


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



Toloache 50

Contributed by Katy Morris

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

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

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

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

Chef Julian Medina

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

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

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

Toloache Thompson

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

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

Whitefish guacamole- Chanukah menu 2014


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


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

Chanukah menu 2014 Halibut


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

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

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

All photos are courtesy of Toloache.

Chunky Avocado with Whitefish Salad

serves 4

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

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

This starter is non-dairy (pareve)


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


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


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





Originally Posted in “Whitefish Guacamole Spices Up Chanukah

latke 8

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

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

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

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

Marcia's Best Latkes

48 mini or 20-24 large

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

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


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


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


In general, one potato yields 2 large latkes.

latke 1

Spinach and Zucchini Latkes

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

These latkes are NON-DAIRY (pareve)


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


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


Herbed Sour Cream


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


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

latke 5

Sweet Potato, Caramelized Carrot and Apple Latkes

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

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


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


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


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


Apple, Walnut and Pomegranate Compote

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

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


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


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


Prepare and store up to 3 days in advance.

Originally Posted in “Sizzling Latke Variations for Chanukah
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