Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Dill Potatoes

This is one of my favorite ways to serve new potatoes. It makes a great side-dish during the summer when we grow fresh dill out of our backyard garden. Dill is a great fresh-tasting herb that is also easy to grow and doesn't require much care.

10 small red or white new potatoes, boiled
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley or 1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel potatoes if you like (sometimes I will keep the skins on). Cut potatoes in halves or quarters, depending on the size of the potato or preference. Place potatoes in a shallow roasting dish or aluminum pan.
2. Add dill, parsley, and olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Shake pan to mix or carefully use wooden spoon or silicone spatula.
3. Roast potatoes, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Extra-Moist Carrot Cake

Carrot cake can sometimes get a bad rap, but this version, adapted from a recipe by Norene Gilletz, is super-moist and delicious. I think the apple is the secret ingredient!

3 large carrots, peeled
1 apple, cored (find a nice baking variety, but I've found that all types work well)
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp ground cinammon
2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsps baking soda

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a food processor or blender, puree carrots and apple. Dispose of leftover apple skin and carrot chunks.
3. Using a hand-held mixer, blend carrot, apple and sugar. Add eggs, cinammon, vanilla and almond extract and oil and blend until smooth.
4. Stir in flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Incorporate thoroughly.
5. Pour batter into greased bundt or cake pan. Bake for 30-45 minutes until set. When cake is ready, it will spring up when pressed.

Cool completely. Sprinkle powdered sugar over cake or frost with cream cheese frosting.

Shabbos Meatballs

At our home, these meatballs are served every Friday night for Shabbos. With a nice piece of homemade challah, the sauce is delicious! This is very much a hands-on (literally) recipe, so make sure you wash up properly or use plastic disposable gloves.

1 lb. lean ground beef
1 egg
1/4 fresh parsley, chopped
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 can (15 oz) tomato sauce
2 cups water

1. In medium bowl, mix beef, egg, parsley, garlic, black pepper and paprika with your hands.
2. Add tablespoons of breadcrumbs at a time until mixture is well combined (meat should be able to hold together).
3. Shape meat into tennis-ball sized balls (you can make them smaller or larger if you'd like, but vary cooking times accordingly).
4. Place a large non-stick skillet over medium-low hot. When pan starts to heat up (touch your hand to the pot lightly to feel a slight heat), add olive oil. When olive oil is hot (when a drop of water is dropped into oil, it should sizzle) add meatballs carefully. Brown meatballs on all sides by shaking pan carefully or using a wooden spoon.
5. Add diced onion and red bell pepper.
6. After a minute, add tomato sauce and water to cover top of meatballs. Add additional spices if desired.
7. Cover pot and simmer for approx. 45 minutes until sauce has thickened.

Serve one hot meatball with a spoonful of sauce per person!

These meatballs are also great over spaghetti, and leftovers can be transformed by mashing up the meatballs to make a super meat sauce over other pasta.
1 lb. beef should make 5 medium-sized meatballs; recipe can be doubled accordingly.

Easy Shmeezy Pizza Bagels

I literally began dishing up these pizza bagels when I was a kid. My mother would set up all the ingredients on the kitchen counter and then my little brother and I would get to work creating the ultimate lunch favorite. Topping choices are endless!

1 large bagel, sliced (any variety)
1 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp italian seasoning (a mix of dried oregano, rosemary and other herbs)
1/4 cup shredded cheese (mozzarella or cheddar are great, feta is also quite delicious)
Other toppings of your choice (olives, diced bell peppers, mushrooms, etc)

1. Spoon and spread tomato sauce over bagel slices.
2. Sprinkle garlic powder and italian seasoning evenly on tomato sauce.
4. Top bagels with cheese and any other toppings of your choice.
5. In toaster oven, toast bagel slices until cheese starts to bubble. You can also bake the bagel pizza in a conventional oven at 350.

6. Serve hot straight out of the oven!

It-Can't-Be-Pareve Cherry Cheesecake

No one will guess that this creamy cheesecake is dairy-free! This easy to make dessert is the ultimate Shavuos or Shabbos treat!

2 tubs (8 oz each) Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese, Plain, softened
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract or seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs or 1 cup Tofutti Egg Watchers
1 graham cracker pie crust
1 can (21 oz) cherry pie filling

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a medium mixing, at a low speed, beat cream cheese, sugar, vanilla and lemon juice.
3. Add eggs and continue mixing until combined. Do not over-beat (if you see air bubbles in the mixture, let sit for a couple of minutes until bubbles disappear).
4. Pour mixture into graham pie crust (make sure you have the pie crust on a baking sheet in case of spillage) and bake for 30-40 minutes. Cake will be ready when the top starts to turn a golden brown. Your cheesecake may bubble up in the oven, but will flatten out when cooled.
5. Cool cheesecake completely. Top with cherry pie filling and refrigerate until ready to serve.

You can substitute other pie fillings such as strawberry or blueberry or you can omit the pie filling altogether and serve cheesecake with chocolate or caramel sauce.

Sweet & Sour Red Cabbage Slaw

It took me a while to find the perfect red cabbage coleslaw! My father doesn't like mayonnaise but loves cole slaw so this is a great mayonnaise-free recipe. I've also made this salad using green cabbage instead of red (or purple) cabbage and it turned out equally delicious.

1 small head red or purple cabbage
1 small white onion
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 red bell pepper (optional), julienned (finely sliced)
1 tbsp salt
1 cup white vinegar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Shred cabbage, onion, and carrot using mandolin or food processor. Place in bowl and add red bell pepper and 1 tbsp salt and mix.
2. In a small pot, add vinegar, sugar and oil. Bring to a boil and slowly pour hot dressing over cabbage. Add only as much dressing as necessary to fully coat cabbage. Cabbage will turn a bright fuchsia color. Do not mix.
3. Cool coleslaw and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Russian Potato Salad

As in almost every recipe, ingredients may be added or removed to suit individual taste. This is my favorite version of Russian Potato Salad that my grandmother (from Vinnitsa in Western Ukraine) taught me to make. I like to serve the salad at room temperature, although my mother prefers to serve it after it is refrigerated overnight.


5 white potatoes (Idaho or any other waxy variety), unpeeled and whole
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 large egg, boiled and peeled
2 full sour pickles
1 small onion (Spanish or Vidalia are great) or 2 stalks of fresh green onions
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 yellow bell pepper
1/2 cooked hot dog or 2 oz dry beef salami (optional)
1 can (15 oz) green sweet peas
2 cups Mayonnaise (or Mayonnaise-type dressing)
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp paprika


1. In large pot, add potatoes, 1 tsp salt and enough water to cover potatoes. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are tender (potatoes will be tender when can be pierced with a fork).
2. Pour out water from pot and cool potatoes to room temperature. When cooled, peel and dice potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes and place in large bowl.
2. Dice carrot, egg, carrot, pickles, onion, bell peppers, salami into small cubes and add to potatoes. Add sweet peas, reserving liquid.
3. Add mayonnaise, salt, pepper and paprika to taste and mix salad with spoon. If salad looks dry, add 1 tsp at a time of reserved liquid from sweet peas.

Refrigerate and serve!

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Note: Photos shown are not my own and may not accurately represent the given recipes. I have found photos online which best portray and closely match the appearance of my dishes. Where I have been unable to find a photo which closely resembles a recipe, no photo is shown.