April 4, 2014

Dinner Club: Theme - Kosher/Israeli

Our lovely and talented host this month was Lisette.  She is the one who chose Kosher/Israeli as the theme, a theme I was not familiar with.  I'm overjoyed with the theme because not only was it something new for us all to try but it tasted amazing.  This is definitely one of my new favorite types of food.  There wasn't one single thing that I tried that I didn't like.  

Thank you Lisette for hosting!  She made two delicious dishes, one was the kebabs you see above. So good. She made both beef and lamb varieties and they were so tasty.  Ton's of flavor, tender and dipped in the cucumber sauce she made was the perfect compliment.  Great job!

Kofta Kebabs
Recipe from AllRecipes

  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pound ground lamb (or beef)
  • 3 Tbsp onion, grated
  • 3 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/4 tsp ground cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 28 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes.
Cooking Directions
  1. Mash the garlic into a paste using a mortar and pestle or the side of a chefs knife.
  2. Mix the garlic in with the ground lamb and add the the spices. 
  3. Form the mixture into 28 balls.  Slide each ball onto a skewer and flatten into a 2" oval. 
  4. Place all the skewers into a baking dish and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 12 hours. 
  5. Heat a grill (indoor or outdoor) to medium heat and lightly oil the grates. 
  6. Cook the skewers until they reach the desired doneness.  About 6 minutes per side for medium. 

Lisette also made this yummy Israeli Salad.  Very refreshing.  The dressing was very light and not over powering and the veggies were crisp and cold.  The couscous added another texture.  Loved this side dish. 
Israeli Salad
Recipe modified slightly from "The Shiksa in the Kitchen"

  • 1 pound cucumbers, diced
  • 1 pound fresh tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1/3 cup onion, minced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup Israeli Couscous, cooked
Cooking Directions
  1. Place all the vegetables, couscous and the parsley in a large bowl.
  2. Use a whisk to mix the olive oil and lemon juice and pour it over the top of the salad, mix well.
  3. Season with salt and serve at room temperature or chill and serve cold.

Lynn T. brought these amazing Knishes.  I'd never had a Knish before and my first experience with them was true love.  You dip them in some deli mustard first and it was A-MAZING. This was dish number 1 that Lynn brought.  

In case you're wondering, a Knish is a dough filled with a potato onion mixture in this case.  You can either fry them or bake them and I can't wait to make them for my family to try. 
Potato Knish

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 to 1 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold tap water
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 1/2 pound Idaho or Russet potato, boiled and mashed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp white vinegar
Cooking Directions

To make the potato filling: boil the peeled potatoes until they are tender.  Remove from the heat and mash them up.  Incorporate the sautéed onion, salt and pepper.  The mixture will be thick but if you feel they are too thick you can add a spoonful or two of water. You will need about 3 cups of mashed potatoes. Let cool.

To make the dough: 
  1. Combine flour, salt and turmeric in a bowl.
  2. In a separate bowl beat eggs with the water, oil and vinegar. 
  3. Make a well in the middle of the flour and pour the egg mixture in it.  Work together until a nice soft dough forms. 
  4. Knead for one minute. 
  5. Wrap the dough in some floured plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour. 
  6. Cut the dough in half and work with one half while the other half stays in the refrigerator. 
  7. Roll the dough out thin on a lightly floured surface. Stretch the dough in your hands being careful to avoid making holes.  It should be nice and elastic. 
  8. Cut the dough into 8 even sized squares. 
  9. Fill each dough square with an even amount of the potato filling and seal the edges.
To Bake: 
Preheat the oven to 350-375º. Place the oven rack in the top portion of your oven. Brush the filled knish's with egg wash (1 beaten egg and 2 Tbsp water). Bake 15-20 minutes or until golden. 

To Fry:
Heat 1/4 to 1/3" oil in a skillet.  When the oil is hot (test my placing the handle of a wooden spoon in the oil, if it bubbles around the wooden handle, then it's ready).  You might need to adjust the temperature so that the oil doesn't get too hot. Place the knish's in the oil two at a time. They take about 1 minute on each side, until golden brown. Place on a paper towel to drain the excess oil.

Wendy S. brought this cold salad, it was apples and cinnamon goodness along with a bunch of other flavors.  You don't see many recipes were you grate an apple but we all really liked the texture and flavors.  Thanks Wendy!
Recipe from Wolfgang Puck

  • 6 cups Granny Smith apples, cored and grated
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup kosher for Passover sweet red wine
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, mix well and serve.

Lynn's second dish was this amazing dessert.  Just look at it, almost too good to eat. Almost. Flavored with orange this was a delicous cake.  The texture was moist with a hint of the olive oil used.  It was another first for me and I loved it! 
Orange Olive Oil Cake
Recipe from Food Network by Melissa d'Arabian

  • Butter, for greasing the pan
  • 1 1/4 cups + more for the pans all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced (3 Tbsp juice, 1 Tbsp zest)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • confectioners' sugar for dusting
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.
  3. Use the bowl of a stand mixer (or a hand mixer) and add the sugar and eggs. Mix until light and smooth. Add the orange juice and zest and mix well.
  4. Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.
  5. Add the flour mixture little by little to the wet ingredients in the mixer bowl. Mix on low, just until incorporated.
  6. Pour the dough into the prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
  7. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes, dust with confectioners' sugar and serve.

Everyone loved this meatball that was brought by Amber.  Amber is actually a new member to dinner club so we loved having an opportunity to catch up with her and found out what an amazing cook she is.  My husband will love this meatball and I plan to make it for him soon.

The Pomegranate glaze was sweet and tangy at the same time.  Perfect!  Thanks Amber and see you at the next event!

Spinach Beef Meatballs with Pomegranate Glaze
Recipe from Kosher in the Kitch

  • 1 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup frozen spinach
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp montreal steak seasoning
  1. Sautee the onion and garlic in olive oil. When soft and cooked through, add the spinach and cook until warmed through. 
  2. In a large mixing bowl add the ground beef and the garlic and onion, mix. 
  3. Add the eggs, bread crumbs and seasonings and mix well. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 400º
  5. Shape the meat mixture into 1" balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. 
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden. 
  7. Serve with rice, or quinoa and the Pomegranate glaze below. 

Pomegranate Glaze

  • 1 cup Pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp water
Cooking Directions
  1. Bring the ingredients to a boil in a small saucepan, then simmer until the glaze has thickened.

It was a night of many first for everyone, but I was particularly intrigued by this cake that Emily brought.  I asked her what was in it and she strolled through several items you would not normally have just sitting around your kitchen so I couldn't wait to sample it.

The thing I liked most about this cake was how the syrup used on top just sort of made a candy like, chewy bite.  The flavor was so amazing, I really don't know how to describe it.  It's something you really have to experience.  I truly loved this one, thanks Emily!


  • 2 1/2 cups coarse semolina
  • 1 cup desiccated coconut
  • 1 cup castor sugar
  • 1/2 cup self-rising flour
  • 200 grams (7/8 cup) thick yogurt
  • 200 grams (7/8 cup) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 25-30 blanched almonds
  • milk if needed
  • 330 grams (1 1/2 cups) sugar
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp rosewater
Cooking Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350º
  2. Mix the first seven ingredients in a mixing bowl. Mixture should be quite stiff but you can add a little milk if needed.
  3. Spread mixture into a buttered 30x25x5 inch baking tray.
  4. Cut into diamond shapes, pressing hard.
  5. Place an almond in the center of each diamond shape.
  6. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
  7. While the cake is baking, make the syrup:  Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stir until the sugar has dissolved. 
  8. Simmer for 5 minutes without stirring. 
  9. Stir in the lemon juice and rosewater and remove from the heat, let cool. 
  10. Pour the syrup over the cake while the cake is still hot.  Let cool before serving. 

Melissa Y. brought this yummy appetizer.  No recipe needed here.  It's just a plain bagel smeared with cream cheese and topped with salmon. I believe that smoked salmon was used in this case, found in the meat department of the grocery store. I am quite a fan of salmon so this was right up my ally. It had me craving bagels and lox for days after….

This recipe was my contribution to the night.  I had never heard of these before but I found a recipe on Pinterest on a board labeled Israeli food.  I was thrilled with how they turned out.  It's a pretty basic recipe of making a dough in the food processor.  Keeping it cold and then rolling it out and filling it with a luscious cheese and egg mixture.

The finished Borreka was delicious.  The crust was buttery and soft, the filling was cheesy and flavorful.  I will make them again for sure, great to bring to a party or just to have at home.  

Cheese Borrekas

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 16 Tbsp (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold, diced
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 2 Tbsp ice cold water
  • 5 ounces cheddar, shredded
  • 6 ounces Feta, crumbled
  • 2 whole eggs, beaten separately
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • sesame seeds
Cooking Directions
  1. Combine the flour, butter and salt in your food processor and pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand.
  2. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg and cold water.  Pour into the flour mixture. Pulse until a dough forms. 
  3. Lightly flatten the dough, wrap in in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 
  4. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350º.
  5. Prepare the filling: In a large bowl, combine the cheddar, feta, 1 beaten egg and salt. Stir to combine. 
  6. When the dough has cooled, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch. 
  7. Use a glass or cookie cutter to cut 3 1/2 inch circles. 
  8. Use about a 1-2 tsp of filling per dough round.  Fold over the dough and make a half moon shape.  Crimp the eyes using your fingers or a fork. (A fork works best).
  9. Brush the tops of the Borrekas with the beaten egg and sprinkle sesame seeds on top.  
  10. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. 
I'd also like to thank Lisa F for coming and bringing Challah bread.  I'd never had Challah bread before either but it's sweet and dense and delicious.  Someone mentioned that it makes great french toast and I cannot wait to try that!  

On another note, we had an assortment of wines available at dinner that night.  Lynn told us that her family mixes half sweet red wine with half cream soda so we all tried it.  It was amazing!  Really, who'd have ever thought those two things would be good together? Just goes to show you that you can learn so much from other nationalities (or just from your neighbors)!  I can't wait to see what the next dinner club brings us! Thanks for participating everyone!

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