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Cook It Kosher

I picked up a big bunch of bok choy and an even bigger bunch of kale at the farmer’s market recently. I spent a chunk of time washing and preparing my bounty, and it provided a week’s worth of crunchy, delicious salads. This one was the winner, and the almond-miso dressing is addictive. Expect to see it again in coming weeks, because I’ve also used it as a dipping sauce for rice-paper rolls I’ll be posting soon.


I’ve used kale, bok choy, cucumber, nectarine, purple onion (optional), grilled chicken and cashews, with the aforementioned almond-miso dressing. Here’s a recipe to make your own almond butter. I sometimes make a combined almond-cashew butter (1 cup almonds, 1 cup cashews), which works well for this dressing too.


Just look at those vibrant colors!


Kale Chicken Salad Ingredients

  • 2 cups chopped kale
  • 1 cup chopped bok choy
  • 2 Lebanese cucumbers, finely sliced
  • ½ purple onion, finely sliced
  • 2 nectarines (or peaches), diced
  • ¼ cup cashews, roughly chopped
  • Grilled chicken (see recipe below)

Kale Chicken Salad Directions

  1. Prepare the kale: Remove the center rib from each kale leaf. Discard. Wash and check the rest of the leaves for insects. Cut the kale into bite-size pieces, and soak it in a bowl of water with a generous splash of vinegar and salt. While the kale is soaking, “massage” the leaves (yes, that’s the technical term!). Pick up handfuls of kale, scrunch them in your hands, and repeat with the next handful. Do this repeatedly. The massaging, together with the vinegar soak, helps soften the kale and make it less fibrous and easier to eat. Rinse the kale, drain and dry it. You can do this step for a whole bunch of kale, then store it in a ziptop bag in the fridge for up to a week, taking out as much as you need at a time.
  2. Prepare the bok choy: Separate the leaves and soak them in a bowl of salted water. Bok choy can be sandy and gritty, which you want to get rid of, and it needs to be checked for insects too. Rinse and dry the leaves. Cut into thin ribbons. You can also do this with a bunch of bok choy, and store in the fridge to use as needed.
  3. Prepare the grilled chicken: You can use any chicken you have on hand, or use your go-to grilled chicken recipe. I used 1 chicken breast cut into half-inch chunks. I mixed 1 tsp. garlic powder, 1 tsp. smoked paprika, 1 tsp. chili powder, some salt, and 1 tbsp. olive oil in a small bowl. Pour the spice mixture over the chicken, and mix until all the chicken is coated. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Soak two wooden skewers in cold water for a few minutes each. Thread the chicken onto the skewers and grill for 3–4 minutes on each side, until chicken is cooked through. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes, pull the chunks off the skewers, cut in half and add to the salad. For a simpler version, use thin chicken cutlets, keep them whole, cover with the spice mix and grill whole. Slice and add to the salad.
  4. Assemble the salad: Mix the kale and bok choy together in a medium-sized bowl. Slice the cucumber very thinly, cut the nectarine (or peach) into a medium-large dice, and cut the onions into quarters and then slice very finely. Toss together. Pour 1–2 tbsp. of dressing (recipe below) over the salad, and mix to coat (add more if desired). Right before eating, add the warm grilled chicken and the cashews.

Serves: 2–4

Almond-Miso Dressing Ingredients

  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 1 tbsp. white miso
  • 2 tbsp. maple syrup
  • 1½ tsp. rice vinegar
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 6 tbsp. water
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed or sliced
  • 1½-inch chunk ginger, sliced

Almond-Miso Dressing Directions

  1. Place all the ingredients into a food processor or blender, and blend until smooth.
  2. Refrigerate for up to two weeks in an airtight container. If the dressing thickens too much in the fridge, thin is out with a little water before using.

Note 1: Dressing makes more than is needed for one salad. Keep for future use. Also works well as a dipping sauce for rice-paper rolls, chicken tenders or lettuce wraps.

Note 2: If you’re using an exceptionally high-powered blender, you don’t need to slice the ginger and garlic first. Most blenders aren’t able to deal with them whole, but can successfully incorporate them after they have been sliced/crushed.


Rhubarb season is in full force (in the Northern Hemisphere) and I've been itching to get my hands on some of these luscious ruby-red stalks.


If you're not familiar with rhubarb, it pops up briefly at the end of spring/beginning of summer, and the combination of it's beautiful color and tart, fresh flavor, makes it perfect for compotes, jams, crumbles, and all kinds of desserts.

Here I've made it into a compote, added some strawberries, and used it in a layered yogurt parfait together with another new favorite of mine–toasty, popped quinoa.


I recently discovered that you can pop quinoa much like popcorn, and you'll be seeing it in a number of upcoming recipes. It can be mixed into yogurt like granola, used to garnish soups, and sprinkled over salad for texture and crunch.

It's not hard to make, takes less than 10 minutes, and uses no other ingredients. Look at the difference in color between the raw and popped/toasted quinoa:


It also releases a lovely, warming, nutty fragrance as it toasts, and is fun to eat plain, fresh as it pops.


Together, the lightly sweet yogurt, tart fruity rhubarb compote, and toasty, savory, crunchy quinoa, create a harmonious breakfast parfait or snack bowl.

Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks rhubarb (approx 150 grams)
  • 6-8 strawberries, quartered
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup water
  • ginger powder
  • salt
  • vanilla yogurt
  • ¼ cup raw quinoa

Directions:

  1. Cut the rhubarb into 1-inch pieces. Place the rhubarb into a small pot with the sugar, water, ginger and salt. Simmer on low until rhubarb is soft, approximately 10-15 minutes. Add the strawberries, raise to medium heat and cook another 5-10 minutes. Chill.
  2. Rinse the quinoa 2-3 times. Drain. Heat a non-stick pan over medium heat and add the quinoa. Mix gently with a wooden spoon, shaking the pan occasionally (as you would with popcorn). First the quinoa will dry off. Then it will start to jump and pop, (much like popcorn). As the quinoa pops it will begin to smell fragrant and toasty, and will darken in color. Stand over the pan, moving the quinoa around the pan with the wooden spoon, to ensure it doesn't burn. When most of the quinoa is golden in color, transfer to a cold bowl.
  3. To assemble the parfaits, create layers of the rhubarb compote, your favorite plain or vanilla yogurt (Greek or not, either works), and the toasted quinoa. Serve immediately.

The aromas that will waft through your house while cooking this Turkish Spiced Beef dish are sublime.


Just look at this beautiful spices and you'll understand why:


You'll also use some sweet dried apricots and rich, salty pistachios.


This Turkish Spiced Beef dish is also quick and easy to prepare, despite the slightly long ingredient list (mostly spices). And it freezes very well, with no noticeable difference in taste or texture after defrosting.

Serve it warm over hummus, with some tahini and Israeli salad on the side, and fresh pita or laffa of course.


Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp. light olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • ½ tsp. ground coriander
  • 5 dried apricots, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. pistachios, chopped
  • salt
  • fresh parsley

Directions

  1. Fry the diced onion in the olive oil until golden.
  2. Add the lamb, in small amounts, browning well. When the lamb is cooked through, add the spices, and cook another couple of minutes. Mix through the sliced apricots, and salt to taste.
  3. Serve over hummus, with warm pita or laffa, and techina to drizzle over. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios and a few leaves fresh parsley just before serving.

Yields: 6 servings


Chili-lime cheesecake may sound a little on the strange side, but I actually won a cheesecake contest last year with this recipe, so swallow your skepticism and give it a try.

The base of the cheesecake incorporates coconut; the actual cheesecake is lime-flavored; and once it has baked and cooled, the cheesecake is drizzled with a chili syrup—a dreamy marriage of a few key Thai flavors.


The holiday of Shavuot is almost upon us, when we celebrate the giving of the Torah by hearing the Ten Commandments being read in the synagogue. Some of the customs specific to this holiday include decorating our homes with greenery and eating dairy foods.





Prepare the pan:

  • You will need a 9-inch springform pan for this recipe. If you don’t have a springform pan, you can use a regular pan, but the cake will be difficult to remove. You may need to cut it while it’s still in the pan.
  • This cheesecake cooks best in a water bath, so you’ll need a larger pan that the springform pan can sit in.
  • Wrap the outside of the springform pan in 2–3 layers of foil. This helps keep the water from seeping through the crack around the base.

Crust Ingredients:

  • 4 oz. (120 grams) tea biscuits, crushed
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • 8 tbsp. butter, melted
  • Pinch of salt

Crust Directions:

  1. Optional: toast the coconut first. To toast, spread the coconut out on a pan and bake at 350F for 3-5 minutes until golden. Keep a close eye on it because it can quickly over-toast, ie. burn.
  2. Crush the tea biscuits to a fine crumb, and mix with the coconut, sugar, salt and melted butter.
  3. Press the mixture down firmly into the base of the springform pan. Use the back of a spoon to help compress the mixture.
  4. Bake at 350° F (180° C) for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool.

Cheesecake Ingredients:

  • 24 oz. (680 grams) cream cheese
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • Zest of 4 limes
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1¼ cups heavy cream

Cheesecake Directions:

  1. Let the cream cheese come to room temperature.
  2. Using an electric mixer (stand or handheld), beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, and mix until fully incorporated.
  3. Add the eggs one a time. Wait until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  4. Pour in the lime juice, lime zest and salt. Mix. Slowly pour in the heavy cream, and mix until smooth.
  5. Pour the cheese mixture over the base.
  6. Place the springform pan into the larger pan, and add 1 inch of water to the larger pan.
  7. Bake at 350° F for approximately 60–75 minutes. In order not to overcook the cake, turn off the oven when the center is still jiggly (but not completely wet). Leave the cheesecake to cool in the oven for an hour. Then remove and let it cool completely.
  8. Refrigerate cake until cold. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, then gently release the springform.

Chili Syrup Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup sugar
  • Juice of 2 limes
  • 2 red chilis, de-seeded

Chili Syrup Directions

  1. Cut the chili peppers lengthwise and remove the seeds. Dice very finely.
  2. Place the sugar, lime juice and diced chili into a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 5–10 minutes. Refrigerate.
  3. If serving the entire cheesecake at once, drizzle syrup over the cake and serve. Otherwise, cut the cheesecake and drizzle syrup over the individual pieces you are serving.

When I chanced upon a rhubarb-wrapped mousse cake recipe a couple of years ago, I knew I needed to try and replicate the technique on a cheesecake. Fortunately, rhubarb season coincides with Shavuot season, and this beautiful cake came to be.


The rhubarb is a decorating technique, so you can use any cheesecake recipe for the base. I used my classic cheesecake recipe, but if you have family favorite you prefer, go ahead and use it.

The only change I made was to divide the recipe into two smaller pans (4.5 inches in diameter), to make it easier to wrap the rhubarb strips around the cake, without too much overlap.


The basic technique involves peeling off thin strips of rhubarb, cooking them very briefly in a sugar syrup, and wrapping them around the cake. You then retain the syrup to brush over the rhubarb and serve drizzled over the cheesecake, adding delicate notes of flavor.





Rhubarb idea and method inspired by SprinkleBakes
Rhubarb idea and method inspired by SprinkleBakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cheesecake recipe (use my classic cheesecake recipe or your own)
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 6 long stalks of rhubarb (you want to look for rhubarb that has a strong red/pink color)

Directions

  1. Bake cheesecake and refrigerate overnight. Keep in the refrigerator until ready to cover with the rhubarb. Note: You may find it easier to bake the cheesecake in 2-3 smaller pans (I used 2 4.5 inch pans), rather than one large cake. It can be hard to find rhubarb long enough to cover a full size cake.
  2. Use a peeler to peel thin strips of rhubarb.
  3. Pour the water and sugar into a small pot. Cook over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a gentle simmer.
  4. Place 3-4 strips of rhubarb into the syrup at a time. Leave them in to cook for 30-40 seconds, remove and transfer to a plate or baking sheet lined with paper towels. Repeat until all strips have been cooked.
  5. Strain the remaining syrup and set aside for later.
  6. Now you're ready to decorate the cheesecake. Gently lay the strips of rhubarb across the top of the cake. When the entire top is covered, trim the edges with scissors, so they only drape over the cake for half an inch or so. If the strips have dried too much or start to peel away, brush them with some of the reserved cooking syrup.
  7. Wrap more strips of rhubarb around the sides of the cake, until the cake is fully covered. Brush the entire cake with the sugar syrup and refrigerate until ready to serve. Also refrigerate the remaining syrup.
  8. When you're ready to cut the cake, use a very sharp knife to neatly cut through the rhubarb. Serve each piece with a drizzle of the rhubarb syrup.

Lemon is my all-time favorite ingredient, and lately I've been on a bit of a parsley kick. Since lemon and parsley marry so well, these chicken kebab skewers are fragrant, herbaceous, fresh, and flavorful.

For best flavor, it's important to use fresh lemon, fresh parsley, and fresh garlic. Bottled lemon juice won't cut it.

You can cook these on an outdoor grill, indoor grill pan, or even just in the oven. I've given directions for all.

Ingredients

  • 2 lb. chicken breast, cubed
  • 2½ cups flat-leaf parsley (approximately 25 grams)
  • ⅓ cup fresh lemon juice
  • 6 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 large garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt

Directions

  1. Cut the chicken into cubes and place in a bowl or container.
  2. Blitz the rest of the ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Pour over the chicken. Mix so that the marinade reaches all the chicken.
  3. Marinate the chicken for a few hours, or overnight.
  4. Thread the chicken onto wooden skewers. Optional: intersperse the chicken with chunks of onion or other vegetables. I used onion.
  5. Cook skewers on the barbecue until chicken is cooked through but tender.
  6. To cook indoors, pre-heat the oven to 500°F. Heat a grill pan over high heat for 4-5 minutes. Place the chicken skewers on the pan and grill for 2-3 minutes, then flip and grill for another 2 minutes. Transfer pan to the oven and cook for another 5 minutes. If you don't have a grill pan, you can still make these. Place the chicken skewers on a real baking sheet and bake at 500°F for 10-12 minutes.

Yields: 10 kebabs

Cook It Kosher features recipes from Chabad.org food blogger Miriam Szokovski, as well as guest bloggers and cookbook authors. Let us know if you’d like to contribute!
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