Posts Tagged ‘Jewish’


I’ve been spending some time lurking on Pinterest trying to find unique ideas for this years Passover menu.

Of course, I spent some time trying to figure out what my centre pieces are going to look like too. Here’s what I’m thinking. Which one do you prefer?

Idea #1…so simple, yet so pretty

Idea #2….Love this idea

Idea #3…I actually have a chalkboard runner to use as the “seder plate” and love the idea of using empty egg shells as a vase! How cute?

As for the menu, here’s what I’m planning on serving. Warning: this is not a traditional Passover menu at all but I’m ok with that and I hope my guests are to.

-Sweet Potato Rounds with a Beet Puree and topped with a Walnut (totally made this up. Its not from Pinterest (for a change). I made them a few weeks ago and it’s a winner.


Matza Brei Cupcakes stuffed with ??????.  Cant decide – it might be stuffed with mashed potatoes or a mushroom medley. I’m  hoping that this idea works. If I get a chance this week I might test it out!

-Yottam Ottelenghi’s Aubergine & Herb Salad with Garlic Yogurt Dressing

Salmon with an Apricot Basil Salsa

-Yottam Ottolenghi’s Butternut Squash w/Gingered Tomatoes and Lime

-Yottam Ottolenghi’s Tomatoes with Sumac Onion and Pinenuts

Dessert: Matza Smores and Fresh Fruit

I know. I know – the menu is heavy on Yottam Ottolenghi’s recipes but I couldn’t help it. His veggie recipes sound amazing.

I’m excited to head to my storage unit and dig out my grandmother’s china that I always use for the seder. There’s something about using her china that makes this holiday extra special for me.

So excited to share this holiday with family and friends. We are also hosting a couple that we’ve never met as part of an initiative with City Shul that no one is alone on the holidays.

Happy Cooking and Happy Passover and Happy Easter too!!

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I grew up on something called Gribenes.  Here’s the definition of Gribenes according to Wikipedia:

Gribenes or grieven (Yiddish: גריבענעס, [ˈɡrɪbənəs], “scraps”) are crisp chicken or goose skin cracklings with fried onions, a kosher food somewhat similar to pork rinds. Gribenes are a byproduct of schmaltz preparation.

I remember my grandmother serving it on Friday nights and holidays but haven’t had it in decades. (I’m not joking). Needless to say I knew when I saw it on the the menu at Essen that I would be ordering their gribenes.

What I didn’t know is that I could order buckets of the stuff! Essen makes a gribenes that is PERFECT. I’m still talking about it even a week after visiting their restaurant!!

essen - gribenes

Now Essen serves up other dishes that resonate with me seeing as I grew up with this type of food. For example: Their chopped liver is also outstanding.

essen - liver

I also enjoyed their Jewish Ramen which is described as egg noodles, matza balls, soft egg, brisket kreplach and veggies. I would order this dish again in a nano second.

essen - soup

My tummy was also introduced to their braised brisket, duck fat fries, roasted cauliflower and their unique caesar salad.

essen - brisket

I should also mention that Essen serves some wicked cocktails that are beyond creative!

Hope you get a chance to visit this restaurant soon. You won’t be disappointed and I promise you will leave FULL Very. Full. I know that I will be taking my mom here on her next visit to Toronto.

For more information:

Essen, 1282 Dundas St. W, phone:  (416) 534 0407

Twitter: @essen_toronto


Disclosure: My meal was complimentary however all opinions are my own.



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Fact: I haven’t been eating in too many restaurants these days as I’ve morphed into a film junkie!! Thanks to the Toronto Jewish Film Festival, I’ve seen 5 movies in 4 days!

Here’s what I’ve seen.

SHTISEL:  This is an award winning Israeli TV series that follows four generations of an Ultra Orthodox family and their tight knit community in Jerusalem. I liked episodes 1-3 so much that I returned to watch episodes 4-6 a few days later.


This TV series will be showing again this weekend.

Friday May 9th Episodes 1-4 will be playing at 1:00 pm at Empress Walk Theatres

Friday May 11th Episodes 3-6 will be playing at 1 pm at Empress Walk Theatres.

Trust me. You will be drawn into this series!!

RUSSIAN DISCO: This is the Canadian Premiere for this film . What’s it about? Basically it’s a story about three friends who move from Russia to Berlin. I was entertained and enjoyed the dynamics of these three friends.

This film will be playing again on:

Wednesday May 7th at 845 pm at the Bloor Cinema

24 DAYS: This powerful film is based on a true story about the kidnapping of Ilan Halimi in a Paris suburb. It was an intense movie that has left an impact on me…even days later.

IN HIDING: A thriller that is set during the Nazi occupation of Poland. The acting was superb and the story line definitely captured my attention.

TJFF - in hiding

There’s plenty more films that will be showing over the next few days!!

Please take a peek at the their website for a complete list.

TJFF - guide

PS …in the event you can’t make it to the festival, please visit Videoflicks  (1701 Avenue Road) as they have a wide selection of  Israeli films and TV shows.

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Friday night dinner is a big deal in Jewish households. Not all households have this tradition but I grew up where Friday night dinner was important, and this tradition continues.

It’s also a great way to entertain. I realize I could entertain and host a Sunday brunch or have people over on a  Saturday night, but some traditions are hard to break!!

This week, my guests will be served the following:

-Challah (frozen then baked)

-Gazpacho (courtesy of Moosewood Original Cookbook)

-Pissaladiere (courtesy of New Recipes from Moosewood)

-Pebre (courtesy of Sundays at Moosewood)

-Pita Chips (courtesy of watching my mom make them for decades!)

-Brocoli crunch salad (courtesy of 101 Cookbooks)

-Yellow Bean Salad (courtesy of 101 Cookbooks)

-Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp (courtesy of the Toronto Star).

It’s kind of a “Spring” menu – even if it’s not officially Spring yet!

In this blog post, I’m going to share the Pebre recipe which is also known as Salsa de Ciliantro! This is what you need:

pebre - ing


1/2 cup minced onion or scallions

1/2 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

4 medium field tomatoes, chopped

2 tablespoons of Tobasco or another hot sauce

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon vinegar

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 garlic clove, pressed or minced

salt and pepper to taste


Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl and refrigerate.

Final Result:

pebre - final

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Next week is Passover (April 18 -26) so our house will be free of bagels (see last post) and full of matza. I’m not exactly a fan of this holiday but that’s another post in itself.

Here’s a favorite meal that we make throughout the week. It’s simple to make and delicious too.

All you need is three ingredients:

For one portion –  1 egg, 2 pieces of matza and 1/4 cup of milk (you could add more if you wanted). I used skim milk as it’s all I had -but 2% or homo would probably be even better.

three simple ingredients

Step One:

Whisk the milk and the egg. (simple)

Step Two:

Crush the matza and immerse in the milk mixture.

Step Three:

Put the mixture into a heated frying pan (that has been coated with a little oil)

Step Four:

Move the pieces around every once in a while so the matza gets burnt-looking. Does that make sense?

End result with look like this:

Step Five:

Enjoy with sour cream, jam, or cream cheese. (which is why this dish is so yummy).

NOTE: The traditional name for this dish is MATZA BREI (pronounced br-i).

My friend tells me she has never ever used milk. She just wets the matza with water. We laughed as I had never  heard of just using water!!

As for finding matza: it’s in every grocery store from coast to coast.

To all my Jewish Readers…Happy Passover.

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