Key Lime Bars for Shavuot

  

By Mari Levine

I like to call Shavuot the “No meat? No problem!” holiday. When brainstorming a recipe for this post, I learned a lot about the history of this holiday, particularly why we focus on dairy dishes instead of meat. Or, more to the point: What’s with all the blintzes?

What I learned is that Jews are resourceful when they’re hungry. So when we were given the Torah on that fateful Shabbat atop Mount Sinai and instructed to start eating kosher, we didn’t wait until we were allowed to “kasher” our meat and cooking utensils. Instead, we decided to make our first kosher meal a dairy one, using the milk we’d set aside for the animals.

I’m always looking for more opportunities to eat dairy desserts like cheesecake and ice cream, and acknowledging the origin of our religion’s dietary laws is as good a reason as any. Key lime bars are one of my favorite dairy desserts because of their bracing, bright flavor and smooth filling, layered to make a tidy, portable cheesecake. These little squares are so good you’ll want to shout it from the rooftop—or mountaintop, as the case may be.

Key Lime Bars

Makes about 16

Ingredients:

CRUST

  • 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp. finely ground graham crackers
  • 5 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • â…“ cup sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt

 

FILLING

  • 2 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp. grated lime zest
  • Pinch table salt
  • 1 (14-ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup fresh lime juice

 

Directions:

1. FOR THE CRUST: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray generously with cooking spray.

2. Combine graham crackers, butter, sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine until graham cracker crumbs are evenly moistened. Transfer to prepared baking pan and press firmly into bottom of pan. Bake until deeper in color and dry, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to wire rack and let cool completely.

3. FOR THE FILLING: In large bowl, combine cream cheese, zest, condensed milk, and yolk. Whisk vigorously until smooth. Add lime juice and stir until well combined.

4. Pour filling into crust and use spatula to spread into even layer that reaches to corners of pan. Bake until filling is just set, rotating pan halfway through, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature on wire rack, then cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate at least 4 hours.

5. Remove from pan, cut into squares, and serve.

Reprinted with permission from JewishBoston.com. 

Mari Levine is a freelance food writer and an editor for America’s Test Kitchen, where she combines her journalism and culinary degrees from Brandeis University and Johnson & Wales, respectively, with her restaurant and lifelong eating experience. When she’s not working hoisin sauce into everything she eats or binging on anything sandwiched between two slices of bread, she can be found on her bike, engrossed in a documentary, or playing sports that involve throwing and/or catching a ball (the latest: flag football).

Za’atar White Bean Salad on Malawach

  

Mother's Day recipe

I love Mother’s Day. I know this might seem like a given but I’ve honestly always loved Mother’s Day. There were definitely a few years there (mainly in my 20s) where it was not on my radar but now that I’m a mother of two, let’s be honest… it’s basically a second birthday and if you know me at all then you KNOW how much I love my birthday.

My husband and I created a little ritual for Mother’s Day (since it’s actually only three short weeks after my birthday) where we don’t get gifts (same goes for Father’s Day) but instead, the parent who is celebrating the day gets to sleep in and choose what we do all day. In addition, instead of paying for an expensive gift, we make a donation to a charity that supports parents and/or children (this is called tzedakah in Hebrew—charitable giving). Because honestly, I don’t really need another pair of earrings or a fancy pair of shoes but I do need to sleep and eat breakfast in bed.

white bean salad

Speaking of breakfast in bed, I recently fell in love with malawach all over again. If you haven’t had this Yemenite delight, now is the time to try it. You can find it in any kosher grocery store and in some major grocery store chains (depending on where you live) in the freezer section. It’s essentially just a delicious, buttery flaky bread that does well when paired with just about anything. And since I LOVE Middle Eastern flavors, I paired it with za’atar, an herby spice blend ubiquitous in Israeli cooking.

If the person you’re honoring on Mother’s Day doesn’t like bread for some strange reason, you can also put this white bean salad on a mixture of fresh leafy greens or even a perfectly roasted sweet potato. I hope you enjoy this recipe and if you do choose to make this Middle Eastern breakfast for the amazing woman helping to raise a kiddo with Judaism in their life, don’t forget to bring her some strong coffee and a flower (or succulents!). Presentation is everything. Happy Mother’s Day!

IngredientsIngredients:

  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. white wine vinegar
  • ½ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • â…“  cup plus 3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 1 15-ounce can Cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 1 ½ tsp. za’atar spice
  • ½ tsp. coarse kosher salt
  • â…“ cup feta cheese (I prefer goat’s milk feta)
  • 2 sheets of frozen malawach (or crusty bread of choice – toasted)

 

Directions:

1.  Combine shallot and vinegar in a small bowl and let sit 5 minutes.

2.  Meanwhile, mix cilantro and ⅓ of the oil in a large bowl to coat herbs. Add beans, cheese and za’atar and toss to combine. Season generously with salt.

3.  Add shallot mixture to bean mixture and toss gently to combine. Set aside.

4.  Add the remaining oil to a large frying pan set over medium-high heat. Add frozen malawach to the frying pan and immediately reduce the heat to medium, cooking until the bottom is golden brown with large bubbles forming underneath the dough, 2½ to 3 minutes. Flip and cook another 2 to 3 minutes until golden brown all over. Transfer to a plate and cover with a kitchen towel while baking the remaining dough sheet.

5.  Once both of your malawach sheets are done, top with marinated salad and enjoy!

white bean salad on malawach

white bean salad

Frittata Flowers for Mother’s Day

  

On Mother’s Day we celebrate mom and/or any other women in your life who have helped to nourish and care for you. Whether it’s the Italian mom who loves Sunday Supper but your red sauce is ordered in or the Jewish woman who spends Sunday in the kitchen all day cooking and no one is allowed in to your sacred space, on Mother’s Day we want her to sit back and put her feet up for a little while. Let the kids into the kitchen with a parent, caretaker, grandparent, babysitter or friend and let them make brunch.

These Frittatas are easy to make with adult supervision (only needed for a few steps), even if it is just the woman of honor and the kids. She can sit with her feet up in the kitchen and let them take care of most of the steps while she relaxes. Try it. She’ll love it.

Mini Brunch Frittatas

Ask a grown up to help you get these ingredients for your recipe. If you have only the first six ingredients you can still make this recipe. The rest is optional.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red pepper, green pepper, orange pepper OR yellow pepper
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of whole milk, heavy cream or non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Vegetable oil or vegetable oil spray
  • 3 Tbsp. of freshly grated Parmesan
  • 3 Tbsp. of grated cheese of your choice: Gruyere, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey Jack, Gouda, Feta (crumbled instead of grated is OK)
  • 1 small bunch of herbs. Let the kids choose what they like the smell of: basil, parsley, thyme, chives, oregano (they can choose more than one type)
  • Baby spinach

Watch a video on how to make this recipe!

Directions:

1.  Wash your hands. Ask a grown up to turn the oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

2.  Find a big bowl, a cutting board a whisk or a fork, scissors, a 2 cup glass measuring cup with a spout, and a muffin tin.

3. Put the muffin tin into a clean sink and spray each cup with cooking oil or pour a little oil into a cup and brush the inside of each muffin cup with oil on the bottom and up all the sides with a pastry brush.

4.  Tap the egg on the counter near the glass measuring cup. Then over the cup, carefully try to pull the egg apart with your thumbs near the cracked shell. Pull the shell apart and let the egg fall into the measuring cup. If any shell falls in, scoop it out with the egg shell in your hands. Then pour the egg into the big bowl. Do this for all 8 eggs. Pour the 1/2 cup of milk into the big bowl with the eggs. Mix the milk and eggs together with the whisk or fork until the whole mixture is smooth and light yellow.

5.  Grate the Parmesan cheese until you have enough to fill one regular muffin cup. Then grate the same amount of the other cheese. You can measure it right into the muffin tin but then scoop it out and set it aside on a corner of your cutting board.eggs for frittatas

6.  Add the pepper and salt to the egg mixture and stir it all up. Over the sink, pour the egg mixture into your measuring cup. Carefully pour the egg mixture halfway up each muffin cup.

7.  Wash a handful of each herb and a handful of the spinach under cold running water. Then dry the herbs and spinach on a kitchen towel. Herbs with little leaves can just be picked off the stem and put in a pile on your cutting board. The herbs with big leaves can be cut into little strips with your scissors.Cut spinachYou can use your children’s scissors instead of sharp kitchen scissors just make sure they are washed with dish soap and water first. 

8.  Sprinkle the herbs and cheese into the muffin cups on top of the egg mixture. You can leave some plain if you like or make some just with cheese or just with herbs. You make what your family likes. Then, wash the green, yellow, red or orange pepper.

Cut your peppers

…This is the grown up part.

Grown ups: Put the muffin tin in the oven and to set a timer for 10-12 minutes. Ask your little chef for the pepper. Trim the top and take out the core, then slice the pepper into rings. Take the muffin tin out when the timer goes off. The frittatas will look slightly under-cooked in the middle but are just right. If the frittatas are still wet in the middle after a minute out of the oven, put them back in for two more minutes. Using a rubber spatula remove the frittatas from the muffin tin and place them on a plate.

Kids: You get to finish this off. Put some of the rest of the spinach on a large plate or platter. Place the frittatas on top of the spinach and put a pepper ring around each frittata to make them look like flowers. Then it is time to eat and celebrate!

Tips for nervous adults:

Grate your cheese

  • For the cheese, put a fork into a wedge of cheese and the children can hold the fork to grate the cheese, keeping their fingers away from the sharp grater.
  • Put a damp paper towel or kitchen towel under the mixing bowl so it doesn’t slide around while the children are trying to whisk the eggs.
  • Use a larger than usual bowl to help kids avoid splashes over the edges as they mix.
  • Let there be a little mess and trust the kids. If you let them know how to use kitchen tools carefully they will surprise you with their skills.

Frittata flowers!

Mother's Day frittatas