Category Archives: Fruit and Vegtables

Sweet and Spicy New Year Carrot Salad

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If grad school has taught me anything, it’s that the less ingredients and the simpler the recipe, the better: for the sake of time efficiency and really tasting those yummy fresh veggies! Since Rosh Hashana is on a Monday this year, try out this carrot salad recipe this year to save some time and enjoy some seasonal produce. You can make it an hour before you serve it or a couple days in advance! The longer the carrots marinate in the dressing, the better.

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Filed under Fruit and Vegtables, Holidays, Jewish, Rosh Hashana

Lentil Salad with Walnuts and Pomegranate for Sukkot

Lenils with Walnuts and Pomegranate

I know Sukkot ends on Wednesday so I am sort sneaking this one in under the wire, but as typically happens I start to get a little Jew’ed out by the time Simcha Torah rolls around. I already managed to get in some delicious trayfe-on-trayfe antidote in the form of mussels with pork belly at the latest hot SF pop-up, Mission Chinese yesterday. It was delicious and was accompanied by some blogger dick-wagging with my friend Eric, over who has more hits from the more obscure reference. His is the Stout Scarab, which is the essentially the original mini-van and what he claims is a highly efficient use of vehicular space. I have my doubts.  Mine are pashtida and schug (thanks Daf) . I am only mentioning this because it allows me to link to his high traffic post multiple times in an attempt to claim to be a source of his traffic and ultimately get the last word. (Insert evil laugh here)

Sukkot is one of those odd Jewish holidays that I still manage to learn something new about every year. This year I learned while meals should be eaten in the Sukkah, there are actually only six things that may not be eaten outside of the Sukkah. Weirdly, they are the five grains that constitute chametz (or the forbidden grains) for Passover, wheat, barley, spelt, rye and oats, along with grape products. This is further solidifying my believe that while Sukkot celebrates the harvest, Passover only exist because we ran out of the harvest from the fall.

At any rate I was looking for something with grains or legume and pomegranate for Sukkot. I had a bag of dry lentils left over from side dishes for lamb and luckily Cooks Illustrated provided inspiration yet again.

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Filed under Fruit and Vegtables, Jewish, Pasta and Grains, Sukkot

Roast Chicken with Apples, Honey and Fennel

Chicken with Apples and Fennel

Question: How long does it take five young professionals in San Francisco to come to consensus on high holiday plans via email and text? I’ll never know the answer. My friends and I started discussing it at the end of August and went in circles for weeks. It was like the set-up to a bad joke – liberal Jews, raised reform, reconstuctionist, conservative, one a convert, all of us with a slight twinge of traditionalism mixed with egalitarianism, and none of us are currently members of a particular synagogue.  We even specifically started “shul shopping” by going to some shabbat services looking for a place with the right mix for all of us. The only thing I learned is that the perfect shul does not exist, but in line with the old joke, the one that each person won’t set foot in, does. Luckily, through an impromptu shabbat dinner, we all ended up at the same table and settled on plans within ten minutes. It was a High Holiday miracle!

The dinner came together because I was looking for a Rosh Hashana recipe and serendipitously one appeared in my inbox. I subscribe to a few recipe list and one for salmon with apples and fennel appeared and I knew I was on the right path. Salmon is a pain to make for a crowd because it can easily get dried out, plus it is expensive, not to mention that my good friend, Sarah, now won’t eat fish because she believes it is all unsustainable and toxic. Chicken is almost always the answer for a meal for a crowd of Jews and what I turned to. Since I was sort inventing this recipe I decided a test run was necessary before my larger Rosh Hashana shabbat dinner and invited my friends to serve as guinea pigs.

After working all day and grocery shopping the thought of doing the photography was feeling a bit overwhelming so I called in an old debt and enlisted my good friend Ryan Simon to serve as the official photographer. He has been nagging me to upgrade to an SLR, so this seemed like a good opportunity to let him show me the goods and if it might be worth the investment. All the photos on this post are his, and I threw in a couple of extra because they were particularly good, so I urge you to click and enlarge them.

I also suggest you to look back at some past Rosh hashana recipes as we have a really nice collection going. I personally will be reviewing the how to braid a spiral challah post so I can impress my guest next week. L’Shana Tova!

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Filed under Fruit and Vegtables, Holidays, Jewish, Meat, Rosh Hashana, Sukkot, Yom Kippur

Watermelon and Feta

I realize my recent recipes have been feta heavy. I promise this is the last one I will post for a while, but I just couldn’t resist the watermelons stacked up at the store last week

Like many people, watermelon evokes lots of memories for me. The obvious one being summer but the more interesting is my dear old friend Kelly V. I pretty much can’t see a watermelon without thinking of her. Kelly spent a summer several years ago on a mission trip to Israel and when she returned she was obsessed with a favorite Tel Aviv snack,  watermelon and feta. I was a bit unconvinced that this was as delightful as she claimed when she first brought it up, but her enthusiasm and insistence of the wonders of this two tastes together convinced me to try it. Low and behold it is a fantastic combination of sweet and salty, crunchy and creamy and an amazing hot weather snack or side dish.  Kelly became so well known for touting this dish a friend bought her an adorable t-shirt with watermelon slices on it, which solidified the connection in my mind even more. When she left Berkeley for Chicago,  I sent along to her a old Zionist Congress poster that had once been on display at my old workplace. It was an illustration of a watermelon encouraging people to  “Buy Hebrew watermelon”. To my knowledge, the poster graced the wall of the Avodah bayit and now is happily ensconced in the dining room of Moishe House Chicago. I am sure that the visitors to her home know that the sweet friendly feelings that come along with the watermelon on the wall, are the same ones that she expresses to all the people she meets.

A couple of  brief asides – I will be at the Hazon Food Conference at UC Davis later this week and will be on the Food Writers Panel with Joan Nathan and Jeffery Yoskowitz. If any of my readers are there, come introduce yourself and be sure check out the panel!

Also, since I know there is one person out there who always reads my posts, a big happy birthday to my Dad today! Thanks for being such a faithful reader and always trying to think of a way for me to make money off the blog.

recipe after the break

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Filed under Dairy, Fruit and Vegtables, Israeli

Fattoush

fattoush

Supposedly it is the height of summer, but the only way you would realize this in San Francisco would be by the availability of great summer produce.   I had a pile of zucchini that was dumped on graciously given to me by a friend. Even with plans of zucchini bread I needed some other uses. I decided to continue on with my Israeli theme of late and make some fattoush with a little twist.

Fattoush has it origins in the Levant and the word itself comes from the root fatoot, which translates as anything crumbled.  There are a bunch of recipes in the family but fattoush or pita salad is probably the most common and a great way to use up stale pita. It is a middle eastern version of panzella and is pretty much a dressed-up Israeli salad with toasted or fried bit of pita stirred in. There are a ton of versions but all include cucumber, tomatoes, and a lemon-olive oil dressing.  I decided to add some bell pepper and a big pile of zucchini  roasted with red onion.  I fancied up my pita with some sumac and topped it with a generous spinkling of feta, because I never pass up the opportunity to include more cheese in my diet.

recipe after the break

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Filed under Fruit and Vegtables, Israeli, Pasta and Grains

Dilly Carrots

For those of us who can’t jetset to San Francisco to eat the famed Wise Son pickles, this easy-to-do recipe will not only provide tasty results BUT will also make you feel like a DIY superstar. The Heathens have offered a couple different variations of pickling, but I would like to add my favorite from the Ball Complete Book of Preserving. These make a fun gift (perhaps for the Purim mishloach manot you’re making in a couple weeks??)

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Filed under Cured and Pickled, Deli, Fruit and Vegtables, Jewish

Shakshouka!


Besides being exceptionally entertaining to say, Shakshouka is a simple and homey meal. It can be found in most cafes, breakfast places, and sometimes even dedicated shakshuka spots everywhere in Israel. Equally popular as a Saturday brunch or a breakfast outdoors as a high energy meal before taking down camp. It’s usually served in it’s pan with a bread basket companion. This dish is basically a tomato sauce with eggs easy-over eggs atop. Definitely one of the best “pantry raid”, “one pot meal”, AND “leftover reviver” I’ve ever known.  On those lazy nights I always remember my dad (the resident cook in my house growing up) taking stock of the fridge and somehow managing to whip up an always delicious shakshouka that left the whole family satisfied.

One of the many wonderful qualities of this dish is it’s versatility. The beauty of it, in my eyes, is the fact that you can turn out a great shakshouka just with what you have on hand. A great place to use up that extra bit of pasta sauce, the last half of the tomato paste from the can, extra veggies that managed to sneak away to the back of the drawer and aren’t looking so fresh.

In this version of  shakshouka we chose it as our “brunch” on a mini picnic to the Ben Shemen forest.  Easy to make, even outside, minimal  prep time, and it turned out excellently on the small burner we had to cook on.

Here’s how we made it, but really, no shakshouka I’ve never managed to recreate a shakshuka.

Click to read the recipe!

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Filed under Breakfast, Fruit and Vegtables, Israeli, Jewish, Parve

Thanksgiving Redux

Pumpkin Kugel for Thanksgiving

With the holidays rapidly approaching and Hanukkah falling a mere week after Thanksgiving this year, the heathens are in full blown production mode, getting ready to delight our faithful readers with some new holiday fare.   Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love that the entire point of the holiday is to simply share a meal with your family and friends. There are no gifts to wrap and no temple to be guilted into going to. My family has a tradition of going around the table and saying what we are thankful for.  As only can happen in families, about 25 years ago the youngest of us at the time, said she was thankful for Jello, and to this day we have a Jello mold on the buffet, despite the fact that it rarely gets eaten anymore.  Every family has the dish that it wouldn’t be Thanksgiving without, and I love hearing from my friends of different ethnic backgrounds tell about dishes from their family’s country of origin that have a place of honor at the Thanksgiving table.  So, as you are planning your menu, don’t be afraid to bring in an element of Jewish or Israeli cuisine, to this uniquely American holiday. While we are roasting our pumpkins and grating our potatoes, we invite you to peruse some of our recipes from Thanksgivings past.

Dafna’s Israeli couscous – Thanksgiving Style

Ari’s Pumpkin Kugel

Gordon’s non-Jewish Pumpkin Pie – with pumpkin roasting instructions

My Sephardic Pumpkin Challah

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Filed under Ashkenazi, Fruit and Vegtables, Holidays, Israeli, Sephardic

New Fruit for Sukkot

fruit for sukkot

I was going to do a “what to do with your leftover etrog” post for Sukkot but discovered from the folks over at the Jew and the Carrot, that actually eating the etrog may be a bad idea. It turns out that most of the etrogim produced for the United States are blasted with pesticides to make them look pretty but probably pretty toxic to ingest. So, at the suggestions of Jo Ellen, the editor of Zeek,  I have decided to embark on a taste test of fruits I have never tried.  Given Sukkot’s tradition of eating fruits, nuts and grains this sounded like a good way to start the holiday especially because it comes so early in the year and it is still a bit warm here in Cali.  We do have a couple of other traditional recipes  posted from last year, so I urge you to check out our Holishkes (Sweet and Sour Stuffed Cabbage and Ma’amoul date cookies if you want to follow the tradition of eating stuffed foods. I am pretty well ready for Sukkot as, luckily, or oddly, I have built-in Sukkah on my deck due to the fact that my European chain-smoking next door neighbors,  have put up a bamboo mats to help protect me from the second-hand smoke. I suppose in order to be in keeping with the requirement that it be a temporary structure I could ask them to rotate the mats.

Trying new or interesting fruit actually something that Dafna, (a co-heathen) and I used to do occasionally when we worked together. I used to bring in interesting fruits and we would sit at my desk and decide whether to add them to our regular fruit repertoire. Baby kiwi and honey crisp apples were two of our favs. I headed over to 99 Ranch and Berkeley Bowl to see what I could find. Upon entering 99 Ranch the first thing I came upon was a durian. Now Dafna will get a bit of a chuckle out of that as we once won the Bay Cities trivia contest by correctly answering durian.  Lucky for me I remember that the hint was that tribal people used to rub it near their sleeping places because the disgusting smell would keep away predators, so I kept on walking. What I eventually settled on were starfruit, dragon fruit, fresh dates, golden kiwi, and passion fruit. (I threw a pomegranate in there for a little holiday festiveness)


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Filed under Breakfast, Dessert, Fruit and Vegtables, Holidays, Sukkot

Grilled Chicken Liver and Figs

Grilled Liver and Figs

So I’m still slightly obsessed with figs and was attempting to come up with some creative uses for them. As you may have noticed in previous posts that Gordon and I really like chicken liver. (The rest of the Heathens seem to have escaped this particular affliction)  While chopped chicken liver is the more traditional Ashkenazi dish, I felt that the Jerusalem mixed grill gave me a bit of leeway  on creating an appetizer that might just be the perfect bit to stave off the hunger pangs of Yom Kippur fasting while awaiting the main break-fast meal. Additionally, this could be a great way to get yourself out in your Sukkah and on the grill while the weather is still nice.  I also got a really awesome new infrared gas grill this summer, that I look for any excuse to use. BTW – If anyone has an idea how to put a Jewish twist on pizza, let me know, because this grill converts to an amazing pizza oven.

I started very simply with green California figs as I felt they provided a nice contrast to the dark color of the liver.  And while this is a very Mediterranean thing to do I made a simple balsamic vinegar reduction to accompany the figs and liver. I prefer just straight balsamic vinegar but some people like to add a sprig of rosemary or other seasoning. Additionally I used bamboo skewers for the grill but if you are feeling particularly fancy, twigs from a rosemary bush can add a nice bit of flavor. All told this is a sweet, creamy, umami-licous appetizer.

recipe after the jump

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Filed under Fruit and Vegtables, Holidays, Israeli, Meat, Snout to Tail, Sukkot, Yom Kippur