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)

Roasted Bone Marrow Sheet Pan Dinner

During Passover time, it’s super hard to make meat and potatoes look fancy. I forgot to post this bone marrow sheet pan meal I made using very basic ingredients. It takes no time to make and is delish! It presents well too 🥂

Package of beef marrow bones (look for ones that have lots of marrow)

1 whole garlic, peeled and cap off

1 medium onion cut into inch pieces

1 large sweet potato cut into inch pieces

2 baking potatoes cut into inch pieces

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 salt

Blend spices and canola oil well in a large bowl. Reserve some oil/spice mixture for garlic and bone marrow prices. Place all veggies (except whole garlic) into boil and combine until the veggies are well covered. Remove veggies from bowl and lay onto baking tray covered in parchment paper. Pour 1 tablespoons of oil and spice mixture into garlic top and onto each piece of bone marrow. Lay everything on a baking tray and bake 45 minutes to 1 hour at 375F (if you want a softer garlic then feel free to wrap it in foil before laying it onto the pan. Carefully open it after roasting due to steam)

This goes great with French bread. Scoop out the roasted garlic and marrow and shmear it over. The veggies plated on the side.

Yummy Cauliflower-Broccoli Cream Soup

The weather has been so strange in Toronto. Today there is a heat warning and it’s October! I actually found a bee in my house the other day, so I guess everyone is confused about what season we are in.

Last night, even though I was sitting with the air conditioning on, I was craving a veggie cream soup. Going through products I had in the freezer, I came upon my Pardes Winter Blend vegetables. It comes in a 12oz bag, which is enough for a recipe without any leftovers getting freezer burn in my freezer. Really easy to make too. I didn’t have a hand blender (so mine turned a bit chunky with my potato masher alone), but it still was awesome

Ingredients:

1 small onion diced

2 baking potatoes diced

2 cloves garlic

1 bag Winter Blend Pardes veggies (12oz cauliflower broccoli blend)

2 tbsp flour

3-4 tbsp canola oil

6 cups parve vegetable stock

Salt and pepper to taste

Add canola oil to bottom of stock pot and add veggies with garlic. Turn heat on medium high and sauté everything for 7-10 minutes (basically until the frozen veggies look done). Sprinkle two tbsp of flour over veggie mix and stir until completely incorporated. Add 6 cups of soup stock and cover on medium heat for 45 minutes-hour. Take immersion blender and mix completely. Serve with croutons.

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.

How I Stepped Out of my Comfort Zone: Becoming a Personal Chef

I am a social person but I am really apprehensive when it comes to preparing my food for strangers. Family and people that I know is fine, but strangers…ummm…no. I don’t know why I had a mental block when it came to cooking for strangers but I did. I froze or something happened to my brain that just shut it off. Then I realized I was being ridiculous. Cooking is what I love and has always been what I love to do. I’ve been cooking for over 25 years. I have made anniversary dinners, birthday events, made Shabbos meals for friends I knew and even cooked for large events with friends. I just wanted that opportunity to be able to share my cooking with others and if I could get paid for it, well then, that’s a bonus.

So I finally did it…I launched myself as a personal chef. I started telling friends and those friends of friends. Some people said there was just no money in food so what was I thinking. I kept on being discouraged. Self doubt started to kick in. Then I realized who cares. The worst thing that could happen would be people would give me a bad review. I had to get over the fact that there would always be the doubters and the critics. I had to face my fears and just get out there and do this.

So today was my first official day of launching myself as a personal chef. It took years of mental prep to get me to this point but here I am.

Have any of you wanted to start making money from cooking? If so, what ideas have you thought of? Have you tried it out? Let me know.

Chaya.