I spent the first day of 2023 in Antwerp, a city with one of the largest Chasidic populations in Europe. A famous kosher restaurant, Hoffy’s, was open and we excitedly arrived for lunch. We were told to come back in about an hour when they were ready. We walked around the neighborhood (which abuts the city’s diamond district). The area was empty–besides Hoffy’s and a kosher market and a quick stop into the Portuguese synagogue, nothing was open and few people were out. We returned to Hoffy’s which was filled with strong aromas wafting from the kitchen while staff hurriedly ran around getting the dining area ready, placing small flower vases and candles on tables while waiters quickly wrapped aprons around their waists. Continue reading
Category Archives: Side dish
Sukkot & Simchat Torah: Stuffed eggplants
Just a quick post to share a stuffed eggplant recipe that is great for both Sukkot and Simchat Torah. Sukkot, an agricultural holiday (ie farm-to-table holiday) that is an opportunity to use the produce that is in abundance at the farmers markets right now makes it one of my favorite holidays. Lots of eggplants are in season at my local farmers markets and the basil was plucked straight from my plants. The filled eggplants are also symbolic of “stuffed” foods commonly eaten on Simchat Torah to represent the Torah scrolls. Scroll to the bottom for more of my Sukkot, Simchat Torah and even Shmini Atzeret recipes. Chag sameach! Continue reading
Rosh Hashana: Beet Carpaccio
I love this beet carpaccio recipe! I first enjoyed it at a serene Shabbat dinner at my relative’s house during a glorious pre-Covid spring in Jerusalem. The flavors of the roasted beets are enough alone but topped with a lot of delicious ingredients that delicately balance both tangy and sweet flavors makes the beets the star of a rich, dramatic dish. It’s also a “one pan” dish that is simple to make. It’s perfect as an appetizer or side dish during a Rosh Hashana meal. Also, check the links below the recipe for more of my sweet and savory Rosh Hashana recipes. Shana tova! Continue reading
Spring Foraging for Berries
While last spring was remarkable because the world had shut down, spring this year is remarkable as parts of the world start to slowly re-emerge. It was a collective, tragic, exhausting hibernation the past 16 months. When things dramatically stopped last year, my senses became more acute to the subtle, beautiful things in my life, such as wild flowers sprouting from sidewalk cracks, the remarkable shades of green leaves in the forest behind my home, and the symphony of birds that awoke me early every morning.
The covid winter was challenging in many ways but I was very fortunate to always be in good health. On the food front, I became uninspired in my daily cooking and my diet devolved into mainly smoothies, popcorn, and salads. My sole cooking inspiration was to bake breads and cakes for friends and family and the ingredients that were exciting were the ones that I foraged.
Fall Foraging: Mushrooms
I have had the great opportunity to trample through the woods and fields just outside Rock Creek National Park to forage for edible plants, berries, flowers and mushrooms this fall. Foraging aside, I have spent endless hours during Covid inside Rock Creek park. I joke that it is my second home but it really is: I don’t start any morning now without hiking or biking in it, no matter the weather, and end many days with a quick jaunt on trails. Spending so much time in Rock Creek has made me keenly aware of the subtle changes every day to the spectacular landscape from the multitude of distinct shades of green leaves in early spring to the trails disappearing afoot as they become layered with leaf cover in the fall. And, my connection to the land has deepened as I have learned about the myriad edible plants and mushrooms living in it.Continue reading
Sukkot: Roasted Apples and Yams with Barberries
Like everything else, this is an unusual Sukkot. But due to my COVID routine, I have had the privilege for a deeper physical and sensory connection to the holiday’s harvest themes. It includes more time to tend to edible plants on my balcony and long hikes in woods filled with mushrooms and other edibles. And while the holiday celebrates an agricultural harvest, I like to more broadly think of it as a way to celebrate all of our food sources, whether foraged or grown on a farm. Last weekend, I went on a guided foraging trip just a few miles from my house. In a mere mile long walk, we found more than a dozen edibles, including black walnuts, shiso, sorrel, burr cucumbers, American persimmon, and turkey tail mushrooms. We nibbled little bits of each plant along the way but left everything there for birds and other creatures to enjoy. Continue reading
Roasted Carrots for Rosh Hashana
As we prepare to celebrate Rosh Hashana to mark the birth of the world, it’s hard not to be confused and/or overwhelmed at times by the surreal world we are now living in. From COVID to wildfires to flooding to addressing systemic racism, our physical reality is forever altered.
The past six months have brought to the forefront of our daily lives both the devastating consequences of human actions that are the most un-God-like, but also the incredible, resilient, responses by humans to these crises. When we wish people a healthy, good new year, I cannot think of a time when this has ever meant more than now, for all beings.
Covid19 and Italian Corn Bread
This is a frightening moment. It’s hard to write about recipes and food during this time when I incessantly read the news and my mind is mostly devoid of non-coronavirus thoughts or ideas. I have noticed, though, that when I get especially anxious about what is happening, I am drawn to being in my kitchen. Chopping, cooking, baking all calm my nerves a bit and give me something purposeful to do. My sweet elderly dog patiently sits nearby, his intense eyes gazing at me, wondering if any crumbs might drop by his paws, completely unaware of the global crisis and singularly focused on food scraps.
In this challenging moment, my appreciation and awareness of beautiful, sometimes seemingly mundane things in life has become accentuated.
I have taped to my computer a quote by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “Our goal should be to live in radical amazement. Everything is phenomenal; everything is incredible; never treat life casually. To be spiritual is to be amazed.” Continue reading
I recently spent time exploring the Lower South of the US, delving into the emotionally fraught history and legacy of enslavement and civil rights, overlaid with an exploration of Southern Jewish life. It was a provoking, at times emotionally draining, visceral, and absolutely fascinating trip that challenged me every day to examine and reflect upon the impact of our nation’s history of slavery and to explore the extraordinary and unique life of Jews in the South. Continue reading
Salad at Hummus Yossef
I don’t have the guts to declare one place with the best hummus. I will decidedly write, though, that I eat a lot of hummus, and taste test it the way some do with wines, (albeit a lot cheaper). And, I will argue that Hummus Yossef, from Pardes Hanna Karkur–and now with some locations in Tel Aviv–has some of the best hummus I have ever eaten. It is made fresh for each customer (check out their Cuisinart blenders whirring by the cash register) At its modest first shop—with an outdoor seating area that protected us from the searing sun with intensely blowing fans and a tarp roof –a bowl of Galilee-style hummus was presented to us. It is creamy, very lemony hummus, and heavy enough to seemingly cut it with a knife. Presented in a deep, nearly overflowing bowl, the hummus is immersed in a thorough amount of fruity olive oil, while flecked with whole chickpeas, drizzled with green delightful spicy schug, pillowy drops of tahini, and sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley. The hummus decidedly strong flavors were enhanced by the perfect balance of spicy, mild and fruity liquid toppings. It made a regular “plain” bowl of hummus seem almost bland or naked in comparison. Continue reading