Caramelized Cabbage Matzah Balls & Keftes: Passover Ebook

Caramelized Cabbage Matzah Balls & Keftes: Passover Ebook

I am excited to announce that The Nosher and Jewish Telegraphic Agency have recently included my recipes for Caramelized Cabbage Matzah Ball Soup and Keftes in their ebook: 15 Recipes For a Modern Passover. Please do check it out! Other recipes included are absolutely beautiful.

When Janna Gur first shared Hadassah Kavel’s recipe for Matzo Balls in her Jewish Soul Food cookbook, I knew adding caramelized onion to my own recipe was just the thing that was missing. That is, until I became cabbage-obsessed a few years ago. While I know we have entered a new year, I’d like to think cabbage is still trending. I would recommend adding these to any of your favorite broths or soups for your upcoming holiday table, but I have included a basic chicken soup recipe as well.

Recipe for chicken soup with caramelized cabbage matzah balls on The Nosher.

smashed vegetable pie with cheddar crust and cucumber salad

smashed vegetable pie with cheddar crust and cucumber salad

I crave savory pies more than fruit-filled. There, I said it. And since it’s winter and my landlord doesn’t like to warm up the house the legal way, I find many excuses to turn on our oven. Our salads have even been the roasted sort topped with fresh cucumber – an Ottolenghi recipe that somehow manifested into a pie in my kitchen, using whatever I have.

You’ll want to choose tender-when-cooked vegetables for this one. Here we have eggplant, zucchini, red bell peppers, and cherry tomatoes. While these aren’t in season right now in NY, roasting them this way in colder months brings out better flavor. I order from a farm-to-home delivery service to ensure my veggies are on point, but if you prefer waiting til Summer arrives, save this delicious idea for later!

smashed vegetable pie with cheddar crust and cucumber salad

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Servings 1 pie

Ingredients
  

for the cheddar pie crust

  • 1 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 8 tbsp butter chilled and cubed
  • 4 ounces grated cheddar
  • 1/4 cup iced water

for the roasted veggies

  • 2 med eggplant diced
  • 1 lb cherry or grape tomatoes halved if big
  • 2 red bell peppers diced
  • 1 large zucchini diced
  • 6 sprigs of thyme
  • generous amount of olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

for the cucumber salad

  • 2 Kirby cucumbers diced
  • 1 tbsp vinegar
  • 3 tbsp freshly chopped dill
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

for the pie crust

  • In a medium bowl, combine flour and salt. Toss the chilled pieces of butter into the flour til well coated. With your fingers, begin to break the butter into smaller pieces til they become pea-sized. Toss the grated cheese into the flour, then incorporate the ice water. Fold the dough into itself a few times til a ball forms. Flatten it into a disc and wrap with plastic wrap. Leave it in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes, or up to 2 days.

for the vegetables and pie assembly

  • Preheat oven to 425.
  • Place all diced vegetables onto a large sheet pan layered with parchment paper. Add a generous amount of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss til combined. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, stirring once mid-way.
  • Discard the thyme. Gently smash about half of the vegetables with a fork, leaving some of the cherry tomatoes whole. Allow it to cool down before filling your pie crust.
  • When ready, roll out the dough and place it over a deep pie dish. Fill it with the roasted vegetables. Fold in the edges and crimp the way you prefer. Brush with a little egg wash and bake for 40-45 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, make the cucumber salad and spoon it over the pie once it has cooled down (or serve on the side while the pie is warm.) Enjoy!
Keyword Cheddar crust, Locally Sourced, Pie, Seasonal, Vegetables

sancocho matzo ball soup

sancocho matzo ball soup

The two ultimate comfort soups from both my worlds have come together to hug the heck out of me.

Developing this recipe was nothing short of WOW. “Wow” was the only sound I heard on the holiday table during Rosh Hashanah when sazón-seasoned matzo balls were ladled into piping hot bowls of sancocho, a hearty soup (sometimes stew) of meat and veggies from the Caribbean. Following my mom’s recipe but needing to cut down on some of the root vegetables to make space for the matzo balls, I’d say this is close enough to hers, which always has had a combination of oxtails and chicken. You can always play around with the proteins and veggies, but if mom doesn’t see yucca, pumpkin, sweet plantain and corn – then Imma get an earful. She has also added, when available, chayote and white yautia roots.

Feel free to use your favorite matzo ball recipe (and hey, add in some sazón and cilantro while you’re at it).

If using sofrito, I have a recipe for it here: mom’s small batch sofrito.

Sancocho Matzo Ball Soup

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Caribbean, Fusion, Jewish, Puerto Rican
Servings 8 or 10 people

Ingredients
  

for the soup

  • 1.5-2 lb oxtails (or beef, short ribs) seasoned with salt
  • 3 tbsp sofrito optional
  • 1/2 of a whole chicken bone-in
  • 1 head of garlic the top cut off to reveal cloves
  • 1/2 of a small Spanish onion
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 2 sprigs of thyme optional
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 12 cup water or beef broth
  • 2 carrots sliced
  • 1 cup squash or pumpkin cut into chunks
  • 1 ear of corn cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 large yucca cut into chunks
  • 1 semi-sweet plantain sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 large potato or yam cut into chunks

for the matzo balls (makes about 12 medium)

  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • 3 tbsp schmaltz or from oxtail
  • 1 cup hot broth (from soup)
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 2 tspn sazón Organic, not Goya
  • 1/4 cup cilantro finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

for the sancocho

  • Brown the oxtails for a few minutes on both sides. Add in the celery, onion, garlic, bay leaf, sofrito if using. Continue to fry for about a minute then add in chicken, and water/broth. Bring to a light simmer, not to a boil.
  • Skim often, then reserve 3 TBSP of the chicken and oxtail's oil that sits on top of the broth. Use this for the matzo meal if you do not have chicken schmaltz.
  • After about an hour and half, discard the onion, celery, garlic, thyme and bay leaf. Set the chicken aside. When cool enough to handle, shred for serving.
  • Add in the yucca and carrots and cook for 30 minutes before adding in the rest of the vegetables. Simmer for about 15 minutes more.

for the matzo balls

  • In a medium bowl, add the matzo meal, schmaltz, hot broth, and seasonings. Mix them together and allow it to cool down slightly before stirring in the eggs and cilantro. Once thoroughly combined, allow it to sit for 30 minutes.
  • With wet hands, gently form the matzo balls and slip them into a pot of boiling water that was generously salted. Cook for about 10 minutes. Serve in a bowl of sancocho.

Notes

Make sure the oxtails you get have less fat on them than meat. You’ll be spooning fat out of the pot for days!
 
Keyword Comfort Food, Hearty Soup, Matzo Balls, Sazon, Sofrito
Sancocho Matzo Ball Soup by @cookonyournerve

Caramelized Cabbage & Herbed Farmer Cheese Galette

Caramelized Cabbage & Herbed Farmer Cheese Galette

I’d say it’s time to create a category here strictly dedicated to caramelized cabbage because it’s all the rage on this blog. This time around, I’m pairing the sweet caramelized bits with a layer of rich herbed farmer cheese that I got from Lifeway, a cheese my mom and I are loving due to it’s probiotic benefits, which is then held all snug by a nice golden pie crust. I give you full permission to use store-bought pie dough for this or any of my galette recipes. I do offer a recipe for one below, just in case.

caramelized cabbage galette with herbed farmers cheese

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Servings 1 galette

Ingredients
  

for the pie crust

  • 1 1/4 cup All Purpose flour
  • salt
  • 1 stick unsalted butter frozen
  • 1/4 cup iced water

for the cabbage

  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 cup green cabbage chopped
  • 1 cup sweet onion diced
  • 1 tbsp Hungarian sweet paprika or any kind you like
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt

for the herbed farmers cheese

  • 3/4 cup farmers cheese
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme chopped
  • pinch of salt

Instructions
 

for the crust

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together your flour and salt.
  • Using the larger holes of a box grater, grate your stick of frozen butter and gently toss it into the flour until every bit of it is coated in flour.
  • Add in water and mix with your hands just enough til a dough forms. Wrap it in plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge as you work on the cabbage.

for the farmers cheese and cabbage

  • In a small bowl, mix the farmers cheese, thyme, and salt together. Return it to the fridge til ready to use.
  • In a deep sauté pan, heat the vegetable oil on low and add in the cabbage, onion, paprika and salt. Stir occasionally, every 10 minutes or so, for about 50 minutes. You'll want the cabbage and onion to brown up but not too much because it will continue to caramelize in the oven.
  • Allow it to come to room temp before using. To quicken the process just pop it in the fridge for about 10 minutes.

for the galette

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll out your pie crust on parchment paper for an easy transfer to a large sheet pan. It doesn't have to be rolled out perfectly, that is the ultimate joy of the galette.
  • Add a layer of farmers cheese at the center of the crust, leaving an inch of the edges naked.
  • Add a layer of the caramelized cabbage. Fold in the edges of the crust and brush them with egg wash. Feel free to press thyme onto the crust. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until golden brown all over!
Keyword Baked, Cabbage, caramelized, Farmers Cheese, Galette, Pie, Thyme

For other Lifeway recipes by me, head on over to my Instagram. A couple of weeks ago I turned my grilled spicy corn chowder into a DIP using their organic whole milk kefir and you are going to love it! Corn season is still going strong.

Ham and Cheese Muffins

Ham and Cheese Muffins

These savory, cheesy muffins are my go-to for picnics, brunch, hikes, getaways, but sometimes I make a batch just for Danny who can’t get enough of ’em. Have them fresh out of the oven or up to 2-3 days later. Slather some of my strawberry-fig jam on ’em and be smacked with savory-sweet bite.

This Ham and Cheese Muffin recipe is adapted from Lee Bailey’s Portable Food book. I’ve toyed with it a bit and encourage you to do the same once you’ve nailed down the basics. While he uses only cheddar, I love a bit of the smokier cheeses as well. I’ve always made a batch with smoked gouda but tried smoked gruyère the other day and it was just as lovely. Adding fresh herbs and chives is my favorite way to make them, though it is optional. I was growing lots of thyme and rosemary during the summer and decided to toss them into the flour. Best. Decision. Ever. Cracked pepper adds the spice I always prefer in a savory thing, add as much as you want! I haven’t omitted the ham in this recipe, but if you do, let me know how it comes out. Add a bit more cheese and I’m sure they’ll be perfect.

Ham and Cheese Muffins

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer, Breakfast, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 12 muffins

Ingredients
  

  • 2 c AP Flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c chives chopped
  • 1 tbsp fresh woody herbs minced, optional
  • 1 large egg room temp
  • 1 c buttermilk room temp
  • 1/4 c oil
  • 7 oz smoked ham steak diced
  • 1 c cheddar grated
  • 1/4 c smoked cheese grated

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, stir flour, salt, pepper, and herbs til combined. Add grated cheese and toss into the flour til evenly distributed.
  • In a smaller bowl, whisk in the egg, buttermilk, and oil. Stir in ham. Stir egg mixture into dry ingredients and try not to over mix. Spoon fully into greased muffin pan. Bake for about 20 minutes, til they've reached their golden-ness.
Keyword hike-friendly, kid-friendly, savory muffin

caramelized cabbage soup with flanken and golden beets

caramelized cabbage soup with flanken and golden beets

This soup is a cross between a meaty borscht and my modern-day obsession with caramelized cabbage. Both flanken and cabbage lend a hand in it’s richness, sweetness, and color. Brown food is beautiful.

Some notes: If you choose to make this vegetarian, I would add dried mushrooms to create an umami broth. To make it heartier, add more of the vegetables listed here. Barley would be a nice addition, too. If you can’t find golden beets, any beet would do. I just love the goldeness it creates in the broth.

One thing you should refrain from is cutting time spent on cooking the cabbage. The longer you cook them, the better. I like to go the extra step of patting them down with a paper towel just to take away some excess oil. I also like to spoon some of the fat out of the pot as the flanken simmers. You might find it easier to do that once the soup cools down, though. Up to you!

Caramelized Cabbage Soup with Flanken and Golden Beets

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course, Soup
Cuisine Russian
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

for the cabbage

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 lb green cabbage chopped
  • 1/2 cup leek, sliced – or other onion, diced
  • 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
  • 2 tspn sugar optional

for the broth

  • vegetable oil to coat pot
  • 1-1 1/12 lb flanken cut into pieces between the bones
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 head of garlic halved crosswise
  • 1 onion
  • fresh herbs of your choosing
  • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 10 cup water

for the soup

  • 2 1/2 cup beets peeled and diced
  • 2 carrots peeled and sliced
  • caramelized cabbage and onion
  • flanken and it's broth
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • dill or cilantro to taste

Instructions
 

for the cabbage

  • Set a deep, large pan over medium-high heat. Add your oil.
  • When it’s hot you’ll add the cabbage, leeks, salt, and sugar. Immediately turn the heat down to low and slow cook the cabbage, being careful to not interrupt the browning process by moving the cabbage around a lot. You’ll stir it once every 8-10 minutes til they have deeply browned, about 45 minutes or more. If at any point the pan looks too dry, you may gradually add a bit more olive oil. Set aside in a bowl lined with a paper towel as you work on the broth.

for the broth and soup

  • In a large pot set over high heat, brown the flanken in batches. Return them to the pot when the last batch is done.
  • Add the vegetables, herbs, salt, and water. Bring it to a boil, cover with a lid, and turn it down to a simmer. For the first 15 minutes, check on it to remove any foamy crud that rises to the top.
  • After 1.5 hours, discard the vegetables and herbs and add the beets, carrots, caramelized cabbage. Continue to cook for another 30 minutes, or til tender. Add salt and pepper to taste, and fresh herbs if you’d like.
Keyword beets, Cabbage, caramelized, flanken, soup

Originally featured on The Nosher.

stewed pigeon peas (gandules guisados) with fried mushrooms

stewed pigeon peas (gandules guisados) with fried mushrooms

A recipe developed for Loisa using their organic spices. These stewed pigeon peas (gandules guisados) have butternut squash, and mushrooms that were first browned in a cast iron, spiced with sazón. I am pretty much addicted to these mushrooms and would not be mad atcha if you chose to just make them alone. Something tells […]

asparagus manicotti

asparagus manicotti

Asparagus Manicotti with whole garlic cloves smothered in a parmesan béchamel. Because why not.

casarecce and mini meatballs in roasted cherry tomato sauce

So I *think* this beautiful meal was meant to serve at least six people, but, friends? Three made it disappear. WE NEEDED THE LOVE. I’m thinking you might need some, too. How are you?

I’ve always swooned over a roasted cherry tomato sauce for my pasta…and now having small meatballs coated in that sweet, sweet sauce kinda took me the hell over the edge. Let’s do this.

Preheat oven to 400

for the meatballs

-1 lb ground beef
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4 cup breadcrumbs
-1/4 cup finely grated parmesan
-1/2 tsp oregano (fresh or dried, or any other herb you like)
-1 egg
-salt and pepper

Mix all ingredients together, but be careful not to over mix. With wet hands, form mini meatballs and shallow fry them. You’ll want to brown them but not overcook them. Set aside til sauce is ready.

for the sauce

-glug of olive oil
-2 sprigs of oregano or rosemary or bay leaves
-few garlic cloves, sliced
-14 oz fresh cherry tomatoes, colorful variety if available
-14 oz can cherry tomatoes with juice (mutti) OR just double up on fresh cherry tomatoes
-1/2 pound pasta/8 oz, cooked separately in salted water
-1/2 cup grated parm

In a roasting pan, toss cherry tomatoes, garlic, and sprigs in a generous amount of olive. Season with a little salt and red pepper. Roast til bursting, about 35-40 minutes.

Mash them.

Add your meatballs and stir til well coated with the sauce, then bake in the oven another 15 minutes. Toss in the pasta and add plenty of parmesan.

And by all means, be comforted by 1-4 bowls of this.

Citrus Braised Beans, Ramps, Tomatoes, and Olives

Citrus Braised Beans, Ramps, Tomatoes, and Olives

You wouldn’t believe me if I told you someone else ate the whole pot of beans before I could even fully enjoy a bowl of them. Well, they did. The day that I was recipe developing, I took photographs of the wildly Spring contents, then ran out to Brooklyn to spend some time with Danny, thinking there’d be enough for me to try when I return. (It serves 4 people, people!) How wrong was I. I received a text: “they were delicious! I finished them off with a baguette.” Ha! There’s a serving suggestion for you, am I right?

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And so I made it again the next day, each spoonful creating a sigh, hiding in my room with the pot til I was ready to share.

The heirloom beans are called Jacob’s Cattle Beans. And I love them.

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I eyed their small and spotted bodies at a farmstand at Union Square, where I also bought everything else that wound up in this recipe. Ramps. Tomatoes. Olives. Garlic. Dill. As usual, I had no idea they’d be coming together. Every time I make beans, I “beanstorm” (as Dan calls it) the day before, but shrug off everything I stormed on about. So to get things moving along in the morning, I simmer them in a pot til I remember that, yes, I have ramps, tomatoes, olives, garlic, and dill. How would this taste if they all got together? Perhaps a little too good. Perhaps good enough to eat…a whole pot’s worth? With a baguette. Don’t forget the baguette.

 

For this recipe, any variety of beans will do, just make sure they are mostly similar in size if using more than one variety. The bigger one will always take a tad longer to cook. And if you have an Instagram or TikTok, find me on there! I am about to post a video of me making  these beans using what I have!

citrus braised beans, tomatoes, and olives

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

for the beans after it's overnight soak

  • 1 cup dried beans any variety but similar in size if using more than 1
  • 1 carrot halved (optional)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1/2 a head of garlic tips cut off to reveal cloves
  • 3 sprigs fresh herbs (thyme, oregano, rosemary, tarragon) OR
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • water enough to cover the beans

for braising

  • 1-2 parmesan rinds
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes halved if big
  • 8-10 castelvetrano or grilled olives
  • 1/2 head of garlic from previous step OR
  • 1 small bunch ramps when in season
  • 2 long strips of orange zest
  • 1 long strip of lemon zest
  • 1-1 1/2 cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • drizzle of olive oil

Instructions
 

for the beans after their soak

  • Put everything listed in an ovenproof pot and simmer for about 20 minutes. Longer if using a bigger variety of beans. You want them slightly tender as they will continue cooking in the oven later.
  • Discard the onion, carrot, and herbs.

for braising

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Most of the water from the previous step would have evaporated. Once you've added the rest of the ingredients listed, cover the beans with broth, bring to a boil, then cover the pot with it's lid and give it some time in the oven, for about an hour. During the last 15 minutes, take off the lid so that the surface can caramelize. Feel free to add more broth if you'd like.
Keyword Comfort Food, Heirloom beans, Simple

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As for the garlic? They should be buttery at this point. Squeeze a clove out of it’s peel and spread it, like butter, on a piece of bread. I promise they are in there for a reason (not just to create a beautiful broth).

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This is what the latest batch looked like. As you can see, ramps aren’t here yet but I do think they will appear any day now! I used 3 variety of beans and grilled olives. Served it with homemade sourdough focaccia.