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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.
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!
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!
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.
Watch a video on how to make this recipe!
1. Wash your hands. Ask a grown up to turn the oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
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.
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.You 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.
…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:
We all know so many ways to use up Thanksgiving leftovers, but the recipes are few and far between when it comes to Passover leftovers. Here is a tasty way to use up what’s left after your seder. You can make this recipe from scratch, but it’s better with leftovers. If you want meat, you can keep it kosher by skipping the cheese. Add in some of the seder horseradish to give it some spice. You can make your stacks as high or low as you like. I like to have four layers. Whether you stack them high or low, they will be delicious!
1. Slice your chilled kugel evenly. The amount of kugel you have left over will determine how many stacks you can make.
2. In a pan, heat the vegetable oil. Once the oil begins to shimmer, add the slices of kugel and cook until golden brown on both sides. Set the slices aside on a plate while you prepare the other ingredients.
3. Finely chop the shallot. If needed, add a little extra vegetable oil to the pan that you cooked the kugel in. Sauté the shallots over medium-low heat.
4. Toss the mushrooms in with the shallots and turn the heat to medium-high. Once the liquid begins to cook off of the mushrooms and they begin to brown, add a pinch of salt. This is your mushroom duxelles. If you prefer, you can use the leftover brisket instead and skip the mozzarella on top.
5. Turn the broiler on and make sure your rack is low enough that the stack has room to sit under the broiler. On a baking pan lined with foil, place one slice of kugel. Top that with a row of sliced asparagus or green beans. Top that with another piece of kugel and a spoonful of mushroom duxelles (or a piece of brisket). Top with another slice of kugel and add a spoonful of tsimmes or a slice of sweet potato. Top with a final piece of potato kugel and add a slice of mozzarella. Leave the cheese off if you are using brisket. If you need a toothpick or skewer to stabilize the stack, you can push one into the kugel stack being careful that it is not right under the broiler.
6. Place the stack under the broiler until the cheese begins to bubble and brown. Enjoy!
There’s one dish that will always and forever have a place in my heart (probably literally and figuratively at this point!)—macaroni and cheese. To give you a clue as to just how much I love mac and cheese, for my 30th birthday my husband took me out to a well-known restaurant in Ann Arbor, MI, where I was in graduate school at the time, and ordered a flight of four different kinds of made-to-order mac and cheese. Six years later, I still remember it as one of my most favorite meals.
So when it comes to hosting a vegetarian friend for a Shabbat meal, I see it as an opportunity to embrace my mac and cheese side. I like to get creative and go bananas with mac and cheese. For Sukkot one year, I had some friends over for a mac and cheese bar that included every kind of vegetarian-friendly topping you can think of, and about four different kinds of hot sauces. It was awesome! But when I want to bring out a showstopper, the recipe below is the one I go for. The balsamic vinegar pairs perfectly with the cheeses that have been kissed with a hint of mustard. Plus you can never go wrong with a beautiful, colorful topping like tomatoes, basil and Parmesan. And if your kids don’t like greens or vegetables of any color touching their mac and cheese, you can give them the “untouched” pasta on the side. Everyone wins!
Bruschetta Mac and Cheese Recipe
Mac and Cheese
1. In a small skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and stir, lightly frying for about a minute, removing before the garlic gets too brown (it can be golden). Pour into a mixing bowl and allow to cool slightly.
2. Add tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, basil and salt and pepper to the bowl. Toss to combine, then taste and add more basil and salt, if needed. Cover and set aside.
Mac and Cheese
1. In a large stockpot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well.
2. While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1 ½ minutes, whisking constantly. Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.
3. Remove saucepan from the heat, and by the handful stir in the cheeses, allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more. Stir in the mustard and salt. Return the saucepan to the heat and stir in the pasta. Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-low heat until heated through.
4. Once complete, either spoon all of your mac and cheese into a serving dish and serve with artfully placed bruschetta topping (this is what I recommend for the wow factor!) or spoon into individual bowls and add toppings.
My first introduction to Shakshuka was several years ago when my local and new favorite café, Sofra, a Turkish coffee shop started serving it. If you want to make or try their traditional version, you can find their recipe here. This Shakshuka takes this popular mishmash of an Israeli breakfast and throws in some flavors of the American South. If you have time, I recommend making it with collard greens. However, this version has spinach as the greens to save on time. The addition of yams to the tomato sauce gives it a slight Southern sweetness and richness that is perfect for the colder fall and winter mornings. The remoulade drizzle also adds a taste of the South and you can make it as mild or as spicy as you like.
Shakshuka with a Southern Drawl
1. Bake your biscuits as directed on the package or make some quick and easy Southern biscuits from scratch.
2. The Southern drizzle is a remoulade sauce made with sour cream and mayonnaise. In a blender, add 1/4 of a small yellow onion roughly chopped, 1/8 of your green pepper, 1/2 Tbsp. of ketchup, 1/2 Tbsp. of yellow mustard, 1 clove of garlic, a few dashes of Tabasco sauce, 2 tsp. of pickle juice and a 1/2 cup each of mayonnaise and sour cream. Blend until smooth and put in the refrigerator to chill.
3. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Then, cut a yam in half and slice four thin slices off the middle of the yam, about 1/8 inch thick, and pat them dry. Heat 3 Tbsp. of vegetable oil in a small sauté or saucepan. Thinly slice and cube your four yam slices to make mini croutons. Once the oil is hot enough that it starts to ripple, toss in the cubed yams and cook until golden over medium high heat. Remove the crispy yams and place on a paper towel to drain. Pour out half the oil from the pan. Dice and sauté the rest of the onion and green pepper over medium low heat just until the onion becomes slightly transparent. Remove the onions and green peppers with a slotted spoon and place into an oven safe pan or dish. You can use a small cast iron pan or a baking dish.
4. Without cleaning the pan, toss in your 8-12 cups of washed and trimmed spinach and cook until wilted. Remove and sprinkle with smoked salt. You can use regular salt here if you like, but the smokey flavor adds a little extra Southern flare. If you have time to prepare collard greens instead of spinach, just replace the sour cream above with all mayonnaise.
5. Grate the rest of your yams and add them to the pan. Pour in the 4 cups of tomato purée. Bring to a boil and then cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking for another 10-15 minutes until the sauce thickens a little. Once the grated yams are very soft, pour the mixture over your onions and peppers.
6. Crack all four eggs into your dish, or spoon the tomato and vegetable mixture into individual dishes and crack one egg in each dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes until the egg is just set. Ideally, you want the yolk runny.
7. Remove the dish from the oven. Sprinkle each slice of fresh tomato lightly with salt and pepper. Split your biscuits and slide a slice of tomato in the middle of each one. Add the spinach to the dish next to your eggs and toss the yam croutons over the dish. Drizzle the Southern sauce over the eggs and spinach, add a few extra dashes of Tabasco and serve.
My last salad took us all the way to Israel, but this summer salad with a twist takes us to the American Midwest and the birthplace of ranch salad dressing. Nebraska is where America’s favorite dressing made its début. Meanwhile in the Northeast, this time of year, Maine is overflowing with blueberries. This salad features blueberries as a sweet burst in the salad mix itself and a purée of blueberries in the ranch dressing.
Summer Blueberry Salad with Blueberry Ranch
Blueberry Ranch Dressing
Summer Blueberry Salad
1. Wash your pint of blueberries. In a small pot add 1/4 cup of blueberries. Put the lid on the pot and cook on low until the juices begin to bubble a little. Squash the blueberries with a fork as they are cooking. Let the blueberries cook for 5-10 minutes over low heat. Put the purée into a small bowl and let it cool. Chill in the refrigerator while you continue preparing the salad.
2. Wash the greens and add them to a serving bowl.
3. In a dry pan over medium heat, toast 1 1/4 cups of walnuts. Once the walnuts become fragrant you will need to watch them closely so they do not burn. Shake the pan to move and turn the walnuts a little. Set the nuts aside to cool.
4. Peel and thinly slice 1/4 of the red onion.
5. Add about 1/2 pint of the fresh blueberries to the greens.
6. Once the blueberry purée has cooled, you can continue making the blueberry ranch dressing.
7. Wash and dry 10 chives and about 1/2 a bunch of parsley. Mince the chives and parsley. You should have about 1/4 cup of minced parsley.
8. In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup of mayonnaise and 1/4 cup of sour cream. Add in 1 clove of minced garlic. Season with salt and pepper: 1/2 tsp of each or to taste. Mix together until smooth and uniform.
9. Add in the chives, the dried dill and minced parsley. Then, stir in the chilled puréed blueberries.
10. Stir in up to 1/4 cup of milk until you have the desired consistency. One quarter cup will make a fairly thin ranch dressing. If you like a thicker dressing, add less.
11. In the serving bowl, add 1/2 pint of the fresh blueberries, the sliced red onion and the cooled toasted walnuts. Drizzle with the blueberry ranch salad dressing and serve.