Category Archives: Guest Post

Mo-Rockin In Your Kitchen

Guest Blog Post by Elisheva Avital
I am a fairly skilled home cook, but baking has never been my thing.  I tend to do much better when I can wing a recipe.  This year, for the first time, I made a small Mimouna after Pesach.  This is an old Moroccan tradition to throw a typically loud, fun, open-house party on the night Pesach ends.  The main food served at this party is called Moufletta, which is a cross between a crepe and a flat-bread.  My poor, deprived husband has been telling me about this for years, and he hasn’t had this taste of home since he emigrated to America at 16.  The stories always made it seem like a burden to do this right after cleaning up from Pesach, but we had so much fun doing it!  
This is the Avital family method: (we halved this recipe.)
 Moufletta
6.5-7 C. Flour

3 C. Warm Water

1/4 C. Oil

pinch of salt

Mix all ingredients.  Let dough sit for 20 minutes.  Preheat a skillet on a medium-high flame. 

On an oiled countertop, divide the dough into small balls, then open and flatten each leaf by hand until it is very thin.  

Cook one leaf on the skillet until it is golden on each side, and then place one raw leaf on top of the cooked one, and flip the stack.  It  can be tricky to pick up the thin leaves without them tearing- this can take some practice.  Repeat adding raw leaves and flipping the stack until you have about 10 leaves, and repeat until all the dough is cooked.  You will end with something that looks like a stack of large pancakes.  Serve warm, spread butter and honey/confectioners sugar, and roll up like a crepe.

It was such a pleasure to be able to give my husband a little taste of his childhood. After seeing how easy it was to make Moufletta, I was inspired to try making my own pita!

I concocted my own recipe based on combining a few others: 
Pita
1 Package (about 2 Tbs) Yeast

1 C. Warm Water (add a little extra if using whole wheat)

 2.5-3 C. Flour (I did 1 C. whole wheat, 1.5 C. white)

2 tsp. salt

2 TBS. Oil

1 tsp. honey

Mix yeast and water and let sit for 5 minutes or until it is totally dissolved.  Add in the rest of the ingredients and combine well, then knead for about 7 minutes.  Place in an oiled bowl, and cover with saran wrap or towel and let rise in a 100 degree oven for 1-2 hours, until the dough doubles in size. 

 Once it has risen, place the dough on a floured surface and cut into 8-12 pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball- the  more perfect the ball, the rounder your pita will be.  Flatten them by hand into a disc, and let rest in darkness (under a towel) for 10-20 minutes.  Preaheat an oven to 475, or a skillet on a high flame.  I used a skillet, because we like our pita to be a little blackened.  For more even color, do it in an oven on a preheated baking stone or preheated sheet. 

With a rolling pin, roll each pita to your desired thickness.  The more thick and bready you like your pita, the thicker it should be.  I rolled mine pretty thin.  Since I am a novice baker, I didn’t even have a rolling pin, and a wine bottle did the trick.

If doing in an oven, bake on 475 for about 3 minutes or until the pita puffs up.

If using a skillet:

Test the pan to see if a droplet of water will sizzle away immediately.  If so, it’s ready.  Place a pita in the pan, wait about 20 seconds until small bubbles begin to form, and then flip.  When large bubbles begin to form (usually about 1 minute), flip again, and the pita should begin to puff up like a pillow.  If your pita is not puffing, there are two possible solutions: Your pan may not be hot enough, so raise the flame.  If your pita is not moist enough, this can be fixed by spritzing some water on the dough before you put it in the skillet.  It’s a neat little trick so that you don’t need to re-knead all your dough with more water.  If you still can’t get them to puff, they can be passed off as flatbread (-:.



Voila!  Making home made pita was so simple and delicious that I think I will start to do it regularly, and you can too!

Kosher By Design Cooking Coach Review

Guest Blogger: Talia Rona

Some people get excited about meeting politicians. There are those whose hearts flutter when they spot a celebrity. There are even guys who stalk highly esteemed rabbis (my friend’s brother. I’m not lying.) And then there is me—I get excited to meet someone who cooks Kosher food. Can I be any more of a typical Jewish girl?! 

So, when my good friend Alison Barnett, a.k.a. Chef Ali of AliBabka.com, invited me to attend a press-only event for the release of Susie Fishbein’s new cookbook, Kosher by Design: Cooking Coach, I was ecstatic! My first cookbook ever was actually Susie’s second, Kosher by Design Entertains, and I read it word for word and cover to cover probably around 37 times. Since then, I have bought 5 other Kosher by Design cookbooks and basically memorized them. I even modeled an application for a fellowship I applied to after my first cookbook and called it “Fellow by Design Impresses.”

The press event was held in Pomegranate, which is an experience in and of itself. (For those of you who are unaware, it’s kind of like an all Kosher Whole Foods located in Brooklyn on the corner of Avenue L and Coney Island Avenue.) It felt pretty cool to be part of this exclusive event where there were chairs set up for only around 40-50 people.  There were reporters from all the big Jewish newspapers and magazines and it was fun to network with and put faces to the names I always read on these publications.
Susie did a demonstration where she made one recipe and then used the leftovers to make 2 very different dishes, which I thought was genius. And of course, we each got to taste all 3 of the dishes in our own servings. Susie did not disappoint—it was delicious! After the demo, anyone who wished to could line up and take a picture with Susie and get her autograph.

As awesome as it was to meet her, my favorite part of the evening was receiving a gift bag with Susie’s latest cookbook, Kosher by Design: Cooking Coach so I could put the skills I just learned into practice. This cookbook is super helpful because not only is it chock full of recipes, but it also includes tips and techniques on how to improve your cooking skills. I already tried out a bunch of them, but my favorite is the Mushroom Arabiatta Over Spaghetti Squash. Spaghetti squash is so easy to make (you literally just put it in the oven and that’s IT); it’s really healthy and low calorie, and it’s also huge so you are guaranteed leftovers that last for a while.

Thank you, Chef Ali, for letting me be your +1 for the evening!
Mushroom Arabiatta Over Spaghetti Squash
1 whole medium spaghetti squash, about 3 pounds
extra-virgin olive oil
fine sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons canola oil
½ small green pepper, seeded, cut in half horizontally and then into very thin strips
½ medium Spanish onion, peeled, thinly sliced
12 ounces button mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
12 ounces cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1. Preheat oven to 350˚F.
2. Place the whole spaghetti squash onto a cookie sheet or directly on the grate of the oven.  Bake for about 1 hour, until slightly darker in color and a little soft when you squeeze the sides. The time may vary based on the size and weight of the squash; it may need an extra few minutes, but don’t overcook the squash or it will come out mushy.  Remove from oven and allow to cool until it is easy enough to handle.  Once the squash is cool, cut it in half lengthwise.  Scoop out and discard the seeds.  Use a fork to scrape the flesh into spaghetti-like strands and place them into a large mixing bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil, then season with salt and pepper to taste.

3. Meanwhile, heat the canola oil in a large (12- 14-inch) skillet over medium-high heat until almost smoking.  Add the green pepper and onion.  Sauté for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms, sauté for 4-5 minutes until liquid is released from the mushrooms and starts to cook off.  The mushrooms should start to caramelize.  Sprinkle in the red pepper flakes and ¾ teaspoon salt.  Cook for 2 minutes.  Add in the tomato sauce.  Stir well.  Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil and ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.

4. Transfer the squash strands to a serving dish; top with the mushrooms.  Serve hot.

Be Picky!

Fruit picking is a great summer pastime.   In an article I wrote for KosherEye, I give ideas of what you can do with the fruit once it’s in your basket. 
Here’s the article – Summer Fruit Desserts
Let me know what you do with your freshly picked fruit!  
Plum Upside Down Cake
Strawberry Shortcake
Raspberry Sorbet
Frozen Lemon Meringue

Potato….Patato

I’m not a potato salad kind of gal. Well at least I wasn’t until I discovered an oil based (not mayo) potato salad. It can be served warm or cold and doesn’t leave you with that heavy feeling. The basil and chives really brighten the dish and make it flavorful and fresh! Reminiscent of a potato salad I made in my non-kosher culinary school, you can throw some crispy smoked beef “bacon” in this salad and really amp up the flavor and add a great crunch! 
*My original recipe appeared in JoyofKosher 

Red Potatoes with Basil and Chives 

2 Lbs of Red potatoes (don’t peel!)
Kosher salt and pepper
1/2 C. Soymilk
½ C. Oil, Canola or Olive
3 T. Fresh Chives, chopped
2 ½ T. Fresh Basil, Chopped
Handful of Beef Bacon, cooked, broken into 1 inch pieces (optional)

Boil potatoes in salt water for 25 minutes or until soft.  Drain potatoes and return to pan.  Add soymilk and oil and warm over low heat.  Add chives and Basil and mash coarsely.  Season with salt and pepper.