Jewish Shabbos Cholent

If you are lucky enough to live in a high rise when you first get married, as you walk up the stairs after going to shul (synagogue) you will invariably smell cholent on each floor. The thing I noted was no two cholents smelled the same. One smelled sweet, one smelled spicy, one smelled of beans, one of barley. As Jews we all shared in the afternoon meal yet no two cholents were ever alike. It seems it’s a lot like us as a people. We all share the same experience yet each of us brings something different to our “table”.

The above picture was taken of my cholent before Shabbos (because on Shabbos I refrain from all work including turning on my phone). The end product is a warm brown colour with soft beans and perfect flavour.

Ingredients:

Package of beef marrow bones

Two strips flanken (fattier the better)

2/3 cup pearl Barley washed and checked

1/2 cup Cholent beans washed and checked (use kidney, pinto and navy beans if you can’t find the mix)

Two large potatoes cut in quarters

One medium whole onion

Half of a sweet potato layered in slices

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garlic

3 tbsp ketchup

2 tbsp brown sugar

1/4 tsp pepper

Salt to taste (kosher meat is pretty salty)

Directions:

Add some canola oil to the bottom of your slow cooker recipe sauce pan. Add marrow bones and flanken. Add spices and ketchup directly to meat. Top with beans/barley and finish with potatoes and slices of sweet potato. Fill pot until water JUST covers everything.

If using a slow cooker, turn on high for three hours and reduce heat until Shabbos lunch. For stove top method, bring to boil and then simmer until Erev Shabbos. Before Shabbos place a “blech” (metal separation) between the heat source and pot and leave on the blech on a very low burner until Shabbos lunch. For my oven, the burner is set to 2 ( where 1 on my burner is the lowest) for the blech to have a slow heat.

You can alter the ingredients depending upon the amount of guests you have. More guests, add more potatoes or more barley. It doesn’t have to be expensive. People come for your company, not your meat. Before Shabbos if you find your water has gone down, add more and give it a stir. The water should be sitting at the top of the mixture before Shabbos so it doesn’t dry out.

Note: this is NOT for Pesach (Passover)

Bubby’s Old Fashioned Chicken Soup

Chicken soup was a staple in our house. My grandmother could make a batch in no time and the smell was amazing. It was one of those things I took for granted until one day my mother was sick and couldn’t make the soup and it was left to me. I was terrified it wouldn’t turn out, but honestly it’s such an easy thing to make. After you get through all the cleaning and chopping, it just looks after itself until dinner time. I guess what I’m saying is don’t be afraid to try new things. You don’t have to use chemicals to get that old fashioned taste in your food when there are so many healthy ingredients out there.

2 carrots, peeled and washed

1 celery

1 parsnip

1 cooking onion

2 inches piece of sweet potato (can be omitted but we like this for flavour)

1 small potato

1 large RAW chicken breast

Package of chicken bones

1 tsp dill weed

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

12 cups water

Peel and wash all vegetables well and cut tips off. ( for people who want vegetables served with their soup, dice vegetables into small pieces. I leave mine whole and serve the broth) Place info large soup pot. Wash chicken breast and bones under water. Wrap chicken bones in cheese cloth, tie the end securely and place chicken into pot. Add spices, salt and pepper. Add water. Turn pot into high and bring to boil. Let boil for 15 minutes and turn to simmer. Leave pot partially covered and let simmer for 6-8 hours. It’s not a fast process if you want the good taste. When done, remove cheese cloth. Serve chicken soup broth with some parsley for garnish.

(The above soup is pictured with “kreplach” which is a meat filled dumpling)

Sheet Pan Lunches – מגש

So many people right now are making “sheet pan dinners” because they are easy and healthy. I decided to add to this with what seems to be big in Israel right now: sheet pan lunches or “מגש״” (magash meaning tray). There’s a well known cafe in Tel Aviv where everyone seems to go to that is especially known for this style. I’m not certain of whether they are kashrut certified, but their food sure looks great. I tried to copy their style at home. This is great for a healthy lunch or Shalosh Seudah or if you want to have a meal outside on these in between temperature days.

Ingredients for my sheet pan lunch:

1 can tuna salad

1/2 cp Hummus with schug

Garden Salad with Israeli Salad garnish

2 Hard boiled eggs cut in half

4 medium Pickles (one was eaten before this shot 🙈)

1/2 cucumber sliced lengthwise

1/2 medium red onion sliced

Take a tray and line with parchment paper. Places salads around tray, displaying each one separately. Add condiments around salads. You can have personal trays as well, but this platter would serve 4

( note: You can add whatever you like to this tray. Serve with crackers or wholesome wheat breads)

Pan Roasted Potatoes

It’s Thanksgiving Monday in Canada, meaning it’s a legal holiday for many. I’ve a long month of stuffing myself due to the Jewish holidays, I’ve been trying to keep the calories down. The problem with me is I LOVE carbs. These pan fried potatoes don’t make me feel totally guilty as they are not deep fried and I use canola oil. They are rich in flavour and have a great crisp.

Ingredients:

1 small onion diced

2 baking potatoes

3 cups of water for boiling

Canola oil for frying 3-4 tblsp

1/2 tsp Lawry’s Seasoning salt

Pinch of basil

Drizzle enough canola oil to cover 11″ saucepan and add diced onions. Sauté onions until golden (10 minutes). Set aside. Peel and dice potatoes into inch chunks (see picture). Place into pot with 3 cups of water and boil until firm but not soft. Completely drain potatoes then transfer to saucepan with onions and sprinkle seasoning salt and basil. Fry on medium heat until outside of potatoes are lightly brown.

I also serve this during Pesach as one of our go-to meals with scrambled eggs. You can change the basil to oregano.

Shakshuka Hack – Healthy Breakfast Meal

Mornings aren’t always easy. Sometimes I want more than a smoothie or a fruit to get me through my day but don’t feel like overdoing the carbs. In Israel, a dish called “shakshuka” is a big thing. It’s basically tomato sauce with eggs poached directly in the sauce and cumin is usually the spice of choice. This morning I had fresh produce and was inspired to do something with them. That’s how I came up with this shakshuka hack. It took me one minute to wash and dice the veggies and then 5 minutes to cook everything in a pan. This recipe is for one but just add for each person. So simple.

Ingredients:

1 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp oregano

1 diced scallion

I diced small roma tomato

1 egg

Sprinkle of parmigiana cheese

Add all veggies and oregano to oiled pan. Sauté on burner on medium heat for two minutes. Break egg on top of sautéed veggies and cover pan with lid. Leave lid on for four minutes without removing and continue to cook on medium heat. The lid will keep the steam from the veggies contained and cook the top of your egg without having to flip it. It won’t be rubbery and the result will be a perfect egg. Sprinkle with fresh parmigiana cheese 🧀 Makes one serving.

Puff Pastry Schnitzel

I haven’t been feeling well. 2 weeks ago I was bitten by some insect and had a bad reaction. I ended up in hospital for a week and this is Canada…we don’t keep people in hospital ever…unless it’s bad.

So I’ve been having trouble making the meals. I can’t stand for long periods of time etc. This week for Shabbos I came up with this recipe for phyllo schnitzel. I used to make this by cutting up the schnitzel into bite sized strips and then covering each strip with a piece of puff pastry (like wieners in a blanket) but today I just couldn’t. If you want something that presents well that you can serve on a tray, do it that way. This way worked well for me right now and took only 35 minutes to bake. Hope you enjoy it. The result looks awesome.

Ingredients:

4 pieces of boneless, skinless chicken

Honey mustard

Puff pastry dough squares

Garlic powder

Pepper

Take the chicken pieces and sprinkle with garlic and pepper

Place two squares together and roll out to make a rectangle.

Place one piece of chicken chicken on one side of the pastry dough and on the other half smear with a thin layer of mustard

Seal the pastry dough and tuck the ends under so it looks like a pocket.

Repeat with the other three piece until you have four pastry pockets.

Place on an oiled 9×11 pan. Cover with egg wash and sesame seeds

Bake for 35 minutes at 375F or until pastry is golden. Serve warm.

If you have any questions about this one, just ask.

Chaya

Easy Couscous Salad

Couscous is an amazing pasta. It was developed in Israel back in 1950s when they couldn’t get rice. The roasted semolina wheat gives it a sort of nutty flavour. I love it. It’s so adaptable to so many dishes. It can be served hot or cold…as a dairy or meat side…and it’s super easy to prepare.

Ingredients:

1 cup roasted pearl couscous

2 cups boiling water.

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 pint cherry tomatoes

1/2 red diced red pepper

1/2 red onion

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tbsp Kedem Red Wine Vinegar

Lawry’s Seasoned Salt to taste

Instructions:

Place couscous in heated pan with 2 tbsp of canola oil and fry until couscous is coated and a bit translucent. Add boiling water to pan. Cover pan and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Stir every so often so it doesn’t clump. Take off heat and let sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

Empty couscous into a serving bowl. Dice onion, red onion, pepper and slice cherry tomatoes in half. Add to couscous. Add oil, vinegar and salt to taste. Serves 4.

Any questions…just give me a shout

Chaya

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