Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Roasted Parsnip and Mushroom Soup

Baby, it's cold outside! 
While most American's are listening to this Dean Martin song to get into the Yuletime spirit, for us, it is just cold outside!  Nothing warms you up better than a hot, rich soup.

This past Shabbat I was feeling like soup was in order.  I wanted to do something different - I always feel the need to make something unique when I have guests.  This roasted parsnip and mushroom soup was perfect.  It is rich and creamy (without cream - it's parve!).  I happen to love parsnip and I am always looking for new ways to use it; and when it is all blended together, the parsnips create a thick creamy texture to the soup.  I roasted the parsnip first to release all of its sweetness and the mushrooms complement the earthy taste.  My husband, who does not like mushrooms, loved this soup - and went for seconds! 

Roasted Parsnip and Mushroom Soup

4 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into rounds
1 onion
1 package sliced button mushrooms
1 package sliced crimini mushrooms
4 - 5 cups water
3 - 4 tbsp. chicken flavored bouillion
1 - 2 tsp. oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley for serving

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Peel and slice parsnips.  Arrange on baking sheet and roast in oven for about 30 minutes, until soften and sweet smelling.  Meanwhile, chop and sauté onion until translucent, add mushrooms and continue to sauté until browned and the mushrooms reduce in size.  Add roasted parsnip and sauté briefly to blend the flavors.  Add bouillion to boiling water to dissolve and add to the mushroom and parsnip mixture (alternatives are to use prepared chicken broth or vegetable broth.  I find the bouillion to be salty which is why I use more water and less bouillion than recommended on the package).  After vegetables have cooked in the water for a few minutes, turn off heat.  Using an immersion blender, blend soup to a thick puree. 

If you prefer more texture to your soup, remove some of the cooked mushrooms before adding broth.  After pureeing, add the mushrooms back to the pot. 

Top with a generous amount of chopped parsley to serve.  The parsley give the soup a burst of freshness that cuts through the richness of the soup nicely. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013


We've been hearing about this for months now, the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide (we light candles starting Wednesday night).  This hasn't happened since 1888 and won't again for over 70,000 years.  So it is fair to say that this is the only Thanksgivukkah any of us have, or will, see.  And that is something really special!
Blogs, Pinterest boards, clothing and other merchandise have all popped up about Thanksgivukkah.   My favorite aspect of this upcoming holiday is the food.  And I'll be the first to tell you that I am looking forward to having cranberry sauce, instead of apple, on my latkes. 
Since Thanksgivukkah is fast approaching, I started to test a recipe that I want to use for Shabbat, the day after Thanksgivukkah.  I think the recipe will be great with leftover turkey and stuffing without it looking or tasting like you are using leftovers.  I tested this recipe with ground turkey, because I didn't have time to roast a turkey too.
Thanksgiving-stuffed Acorn Squash
1 package of seasoned stuffing mix * can use leftover stuffing
1 lb ground turkey *can use leftover roasted turkey, chopped or shredded
3 acorn squash
1 onion
3-4 stalks of celery
3-4 carrots
1 cup craisins
Chicken broth or water, as needed for stuffing mix
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Microwave acorn squash (1 at a time) for 2-3 minutes.  This makes it a little easier to cut the squash.  With a large knife, cut squash in half, de-seed (save the seeds to toast if you like them).  Place the squash, cut side down, on a large baking sheet.  Bake until tender, but not soft, about 25 - 30 minutes. 
In the meantime, brown turkey (or chop leftover turkey) and prepare stuffing as directed on package.  If the package does not mention, add sautéed onion, carrots and celery.  After turkey is browned and stuffing is made, combine the two and add the craisins. 
Take out acorn squash and flip over.  Fill stuffing mixture into the squash and re-heat for another 10 minutes until squash is soft.  Top with toasted squash seeds (or even a little leftover cranberry sauce). 
This makes 6 over filled squash halves for large portions.  However, if you will be eating this with other dishes, you might want to cut the halves again and serve quarters.   

Monday, January 28, 2013

A Tu b'Shevat Treat - Seven Species Challah

Although Tu b’Shevat, the birthday for the trees, was this past Shabbat, after a Sunday full of Tu b’Shevat themed programs and eating, I am inspired to pass along an amazing recipe for the holiday – or for any Shabbat.

When I think of Tu b’Shevat, I think of the 7 species of Israel.  These are the 7 fruits and grains that the Torah tells us are grown in Israel: wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.  Many people are familiar with the Tu b’Shevat Seder which, modeled after Passover Seder, involves drinking four glasses of wine, but with varying percentages of red and white wine.  The different colors of wine represent the different yearly seasons.   The Seder also involves trying different types of fruits and nuts such as fruits that have an inedible outside and an edible inside (such as pomegranates or pineapple), an edible outside and an inedible inside (such as olives, dates, or apricots), and fruits that have an edible outside and inside (such as grapes, figs or kiwis). 

There are lots of recipes that you can make that would involve a few of the above mentioned species.  However, to find a recipe that includes all 7 is very impressive!  Here is a recipe for 7 species Challah.  Some of the ingredients are unique for Challah – but I promise it is really worth trying!!
Seven Species Challah
2 packages dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup pomegranate juice
1/2 cup honey
1 Tablesppon salt
3/4 cup olive oil
4 eggs
1 cup dried fruit (1/2 cup chopped dates, 1/4 cup raisins, 1/4 cup chopped figs)
1 cup barley flour
7-8 cups bread flour
Dissolve yeast in warm water and pomegranate juice in a large bowl.  Add honey and let stand 2 minutes until yeast foams.
Add salt, oil, eggs and mix well.
Gradually add flour, 2 cups at a time mixing after each addition.  About ½ way through, add dried fruit to mixture.  As mixture gets stiff, use floured hands and begin kneading.  Knead for seven minutes turning dough over often.
Let rise in greased bowl until double in size.  (Approximately one hour.)
Punch dough down.
Divide challah into thirds.  Shape each 3rd as desired (braided for traditional, can also do a round or pull apart challah).   Let rise again until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Brush with glaze. (one beaten egg).  Bake 30-45 mins. Or until brown.  Remove from pans and cool on racks.