Tag Archives: Jewish

Sabich is My New Favorite Breakfast Sandwich!


Who am I trying to kid with that title? Sabich is my new favorite breakfast – lunch AND dinner sandwich – could I be as bold as to say a snack as well? I wouldn’t say I’m addicted, but today I started to feel like I might have a little problem. When searching on Google, I realized, I’m not alone. Words used to describe this sandwich are obsessed, devoted, hooked, can’t live without, and the best sandwich I ever ate! So don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Until a couple of weeks ago I had never heard of it and then I watched the show Brunch at Bobby’s. His show was all about celebrating the breakfast sandwich. In addition to the usual eggs on a biscuit, he made a Sabich. As he listed the ingredients, I couldn’t figure out how this consortium of ingredients could possible go well together. Then I tried it, and after eating it three days in a row, I was sold!

What is it you ask? It’s a Middle Eastern pita sandwich filled with fried eggplant, hard boiled eggs, hummus, Israeli salad, tahini, amba sauce (which is a pickled mango sauce), sometimes potatoes and pickles. If you like eggplant, this is for you. Actually, even if you don’t like eggplant, you’ll love this!
In all the recipes I found, the eggplant is fried, but Bobby roasted it instead and that sounded perfect to me. I think you get the same great taste without all the extra oil. He also used a mango hot sauce; I couldn’t find that or amba sauce with is traditionally used, so I subbed regular hot sauce and it was delicious. Reading that amba is similar to chutney (which is like a spicier savory cousin to jam), I bought Major Grey’s and ultimately ended up making a mock amba sauce which by the way, my husband really liked. If you like mango this is the way to go, if you are allergic like me – skip it!

I know it seems like a lot of ingredients, but if you plan correctly, the whole thing should only take about 30 to 40 minutes (less if make the components ahead of time). Here’s a quick snapshot… first put your eggplant in the oven. While that’s roasting, put the eggs in water to boil. Then while they are both cooking away, make the Israeli salad. To make things a little easier, I purchased ready-made hummus and tahini (total time saver).

I promise it is so worth it. This sandwich is creamy from the eggplant and hummus, it’s crunchy from the Israeli salad, the eggs put it over the top with richness, the amba or hot sauce gives it a little tangy kick, and the warm pita just brings it all together. If you find like me you are in need of a sabich support group, just reach out… I’m here for you! Enjoy!

Ingredients
1 to 2 eggplants, peeled and sliced into ½ inch thick rounds (about 1 ¾ – 2 lbs.)*
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil or olive oil spray (my fav is from Trader Joes)
4 large or extra-large hard-boiled eggs
Israeli salad, recipe follows
1 cup hummus
1 cup finely shredded red cabbage (I used romaine and radicchio)**
Tahini
My recipe for mock amba sauce or hot sauce or (optional)
if you can find true amba, go for it!
4 pita either white or whole wheat, warmed
salt and pepper

Israeli Salad
1 cup finely chopped tomato (approximately 2 tomatoes)
1 cup finely diced English cucumber
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
freshly ground pepper to taste

Mock Amba Sauce
2 tablespoons of Major Grey’s Chutney
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
A few dashes of hot sauce

Preparing the eggplant:
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees f.  Place the eggplant slices on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush or spray the eggplant slices with olive oil and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Roast until golden brown and soft, about 30 minutes, turning after 15 minutes.

Preparing the eggs:
Put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with cold water by an inch. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer for 3 minutes. Turn the heat off, cover the pot and let it sit for 9 minutes. Drain immediately and cover with cold water and ice. Let it sit for a few minutes. Peel and thinly slice the eggs.

Israeli Salad:
Toss the diced tomatoes, cucumber, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Make sure to save the juice from the tomato and add that as well. Mix to combine.

Mock Amba Sauce:
I used 2 tablespoons of Major Grey’s Chutney. I mashed it with a fork to break up the larger mango pieces then added added 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar and a couple dashes of hot sauce (to your personal taste). You could also put it in a mini food processor.

To Assemble the Sabich:
Use the freshest pita you can find, it really makes a difference. Cut an opening at one end of the pita bread to make a pocket. Spread some of the hummus on the bottom of the pita (and the top if you like). Add the ingredients in layers. First, add a few slices of eggplant, then a couple tablespoons of the Israeli salad, on top of that the sliced eggs, some cabbage or lettuce, a few dashes of hot sauce or amba sauce, tahini and then open wide!

*When choosing eggplants, look for firm, smooth and uniform in color. If there are any brown or soft spots, you don’t want it! I like to buy thinner eggplants that are light in weight. The lighter the weight, the less seeds and the seeds are what makes them bitter.
** Bobby added cabbage which doesn’t really like me very much, I used romaine and radicchio instead. While they are not interchangeable, it gave the sandwich a beautiful color contrast and peppery bite to it. I thought it was a perfect substitution. Feel free to use shredded cabbage.

Dear Marcy Goldman, Thank you for the most Delicious Majestic and Moist Honey Cake Recipe! xoxo Sherri


Dear Marcy Goldman, Thank you for the most Delicious Moist and Majestic Honey Cake! Thank you for sharing your recipe with us. I have always loved your cookbooks and any recipes I have tried.  xoxo, Sherri

Have you ever had a honey cake that was anything but dry and heavy? They are usually like hockey pucks. Not this one, it’s exactly what the name says it is and more. You’ll have to take my word on this, because I never liked honey cake, hated it actually. Last week I found myself somewhat like Elaine in the Seinfeld episode where she ate the $29,000 piece of cake and was dancing around as she ate it. If there was surveillance video of me in my kitchen last week, it would have showed the same. Of course she was missing her sugar fix in the afternoon, I was tasting a little of it every day, to see how long it could actually stay moist. I figured at some point, it had to get dry and heavy, but it never did. Maybe I’ll have to video tape myself and share that with you. If I get enough people requesting it, I just might! To put a number on it, if 25 people subscribe to my blog and comment on this post, I’ll do it!

So let’s rewind… why did I even make a honey cake when I don’t like it? Short answer, It’s Rosh Hashanah, it’s tradition, you can’t buy them in Columbus, Ohio and my husband loves them!

Long Sherri answer… I love family traditions especially around the holidays. Since moving to Columbus one of my favorite family traditions has been at Rosh Hashanah. I always set the holiday table with my sons’ shofars which they made as young children, beautiful flowers, my mother’s candle sticks, apples and mini honey jars. Even my wine bottle gets a little outfit! The excitement of the holiday prompts me to set the table well in advance just so I could have a few extra days to marvel at the table setting. It always makes me so happy. It’s also the time of year when my in-laws would visit for the holiday and stay for a few days.

My in-laws always arrived the day of Erev Rosh Hashanah right after lunchtime. As my father-in-law walked into the house, he would give me a big bear hug and comment how he could smell my cooking in the street as they pulled up. Year after year it was the same scene in my kitchen. The chicken soup was simmering away on the stove, the counter was filled with challahs fresh out of the oven, apple cake and mandel bread (my mother’s delicious recipe). Everything lined up like little soldiers.

The initial excitement of their arrival is one I looked forward to every year. It was even more special because I was the only one home to receive them and had them all to myself for a couple of hours. They came with suitcases and bags of gifts, but more importantly, the honey cakes! I seem to remember one year when my mother-in-law Joan brought five or six of them! I wish I could remember why she said she brought so many, but assume it was because her son loved them so much. Our first holiday without her, I still expected to see her walk through the door arms filled with honey cakes saying “I brought you some honey cakes, it didn’t come out too dry this year!”

It was something I never made (probably because I don’t like them) but more importantly it was her specialty. I’m a good daughter-in-law and would never have stepped on her toes. Last year, I decided to make my husband a honey cake – he does love them afterall. I didn’t have her recipe so what is a girl to do? Look through every Jewish cookbook and Google until she finds one that looks good. When a recipe has the words moist and majestic in it, especially for a honey cake, you look no further.

So thank you Marcy Goldman for bringing us all this most delicious cake! Just for the record, I made it last year as is but this year tweaked it just a little to accommodate my taste. I can now say I’m a honey cake lover, hence my Elaine dance in the kitchen! Remember, if you want to see my honey cake happy dance, make a comment on this post!

The tradition and excitement of years past fills my heart. My mother’s mandel bread fills my soul, alongside it sits this majestic and moist honey cake which I think my mother-in-law would have just loved. Shana Tova… Enjoy!
Majestic and Moist Honey Cake
adapted from Marcy Goldman’s Treasure of Jewish Holiday Baking. Here is what I changed… I omitted the cloves (I don’t like them), I used pineapple juice instead of orange juice because I always have cans of pineapple juice on hand, and never have orange juice! I cut down the sugar to see if I would miss it – I didn’t! Finally, I don’t care for the taste of whiskey and even in the cake it was a bit strong. My friend Susie and I baked honey cakes together last week and she suggested I try brandy. She uses it in a sweet potato dish she makes and said it adds a nice flavor. She was right; the brandy was a perfect choice, not as strong as the whiskey and when you eat the cake you wonder, what is that. FYI… I think my brandy is a little bit majestic as well. I started with ¼ of a bottle, have made 14 honey cakes this year and haven’t run out of brandy yet!

Ingredients
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves (I omitted this)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 cup extra light olive oil
1 cup honey
1 granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 extra large eggs at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup warm coffee
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/4 cup brandy
1/2 cup slivered or sliced almonds (optional)

Directions
I made mine in a variety of ways. My favorite, was the mini loaf pans (5 ¾ x 3 ¼) which yielded 8 and are great to give as gifts. I have also made this recipe in three 8 x 4 ½” loaf pans. The 9” or 10” angel food pan makes for a very pretty presentation and Marcy Goldman’s favorite choice. Finally you can use a 9×13” sheet pan. This is pretty versatile if you ask me.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously grease pan(s) with non-stick cooking spray. For tube or angel food pans, line the bottom with lightly greased parchment paper, cut to fit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and allspice. In a separate bowl, mix the warm coffee with the brown sugar. This helps the clumps you can sometimes get. Then add all of the wet ingredients plus the sugar and mix together. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the wet ingredients. (If you measure your oil before the honey, it will be easier to get all of the honey out.)

Using a strong wire whisk or in an electric mixer on slow speed, stir together well to make a thick, well-blended batter, making sure that no ingredients are stuck to the bottom.

Spoon the batter into prepared pan(s). Sprinkle top of cake(s) evenly with almonds, if using. Place cake pan(s) on two baking sheets, stacked together (this will ensure the cakes bake properly with the bottom baking faster than the cake interior and top). Hmmm… I somehow missed this step, but they came out perfectly when I baked them on one cookie sheet, or directly on the oven rack.

Bake until cake tests done, that is, it springs back when you gently touch the cake center. For angel and tube cake pans, this will take 60 to 75 minutes, loaf cakes, about 45 to 55 minutes. For sheet style cakes, baking time is 40 to 45 minutes. The minis only took 30 minutes. If you are using throw away aluminum tins, the bake time will be a little less for all of the above.

Let cake stand fifteen minutes before removing from pan and enjoy!

 

How about an Everything Bagel Salad to get you through the week?


For days when you are missing your weekend bagel, how about an everything bagel salad to get you through the week? It’s getting close to the weekend and you’re craving an everything bagel with cream cheese. What’s a girl to do? Turn it into a salad of course! Why an everything bagel salad? There are a few reasons: I love everything bagels, I love salads filled with everything but the kitchen sink, it gets me ready for the weekend without all the guilt of a bagel on a weekday and I happen to have a jar of everything bagel seasoning in my house impatiently waiting to be sprinkled on EVERYTHING!

Here is how it all started… I was in Trader Joe’s a couple of weeks ago scanning their new food section for a great new find. If you are a Trader Joe’s junkie like me, you totally get this. There on the shelf was a jar of Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend (try to say that 5 times fast!). First of all, the label was adorable and really caught my eye. Second, I don’t know why I got so excited, but I did; ideas were flooding through my head on what to use it on. I bought 2 jars and posted a photo on Instagram immediately proclaiming my excitement for this new and wonderful treasure I found. Since then, I have topped challah rolls with it, used it on salmon before grilling, sprinkled it on green beans and of course my husband added it as a booster to his already everything bagel with lox and cream cheese! Ooh, I just thought of how great it would be on avocado toast – I’m so going to have to try that!


Not familiar with the everything bagel (click here to find out more)? The only thing you need to know about an everything bagel is it is the quintessential NY bagel. Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, minced onion, minced garlic and coarse kosher salt – that’s it. Five simple ingredients become a game changer to the average bagel; in this case the average salad. There must be a lot of fans out there for type of bagel since it has its own jar of seasoning mix on the shelf. I found it at Trader Joe’s, but King Arthur also has a great mix you can buy online. I’ll also share my recipe at the end so you can make your own at home. Every now and then you will come across an everything bagel with caraway seeds – I’m not a fan and think it should stay in rye bread where it belongs!

Here’s my favorite way to eat a bagel… Unless it’s fresh and hot out of the oven (which only happens in NY) I lightly toast it and then scoop it so there is less bread and you can add more toppings. Then of course there is the cream cheese, but not just any kind of cream cheese, for me it has to be vegetable cream cheese (follow this link for my recipe). Lox is a perfect addition and a couple of thick slices of a crisp tomato. Is your mouth watering yet?


Now for the salad… I love a really good salad and I’m hooked on making salads fun and interesting. For me, a salad is at its best when there are a lot of goodies in them other than an overwhelming amount of lettuce. I like to think of the lettuce as the bread or bagel in this case, which holds a sandwich together. The lettuce will be the anchor here.

When I first set out to make the salad I thought of all the components from toppings to the base.  I knew the calories and carbs would be a fraction of what you get from a bagel, plus I wanted to keep all of the satisfaction. The fun of it is you can customize it to what you like on your bagel i.e. salad! If you love whitefish, buy smoked whitefish or smoked trout and top your salad with that. If you like capers, hard-boiled eggs, and onions, throw them in too.


For this salad, I deconstructed the vegetable cream cheese and made the ingredients the toppings: radishes, carrots, and scallions. Of course, I had to include salmon in some way but didn’t think lox was the way to go, but if you try it, let me know how it is. I’m more of a baked smoked salmon girl anyway, which is difficult to find in Columbus. I decided on a piece of fresh salmon. I topped it with everything seasoning then seared it in a pan. Hard-boiled eggs also make an appearance in my salad for a few reasons: I love them, they are perfect on a bagel, and they go great in a salad!

It’s a very quick salad to put together as well. As the salmon was cooking, I assembled the other ingredients. I shredded some romaine lettuce, crushed up some everything bagel chips, added some goat cheese for that cream cheese texture and really good flavor. It was all coming together and I couldn’t be happier.

There you have it, a salad to get you ready for the weekend and for you diehards, a salad you can bring to work on Monday. Enjoy!

Ingredients for one salad
1 ½ cups shredded romaine lettuce
8 cherry tomatoes cut in half
1 carrot grated (½ cup)
1 to 2 perfect hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters
2 to 3 radishes sliced very thin
2 scallions sliced into thin rounds
1 ounce goat cheese
8 everything bagel chips broken into pieces
Dill (optional)
4 ounce salmon filet
everything bagel seasoning

Lowfat ranch dressing of your choice

Directions
In a medium bowl, combine the shredded romaine and next 8 ingredients. Arrange it nicely in the bowl by layering it, or placing the vegetables together.

For the salmon, rub it with about a teaspoon of olive oil, sprinkle the everything seasoning on both side then place it in a hot pan on medium heat. Cook about 4 to 5 minutes per side or until your desired doneness. Then add the cooked salmon on top of the salad.

For the salad dressing, I used a package of Concord Foods Ranch dip (which I find in the produce area of my grocery) mixed with a container of Breakstone’s reduced fat sour cream (nonfat plain Greek yogurt would work as well) plus one tablespoon of Hellman’s mayonnaise. Then I add water until is pour-able but not too thin. I am always on the lookout for a good ranch dressing in a bottle, but they all have msg in them. I like this brand because it does not contain monosodium glutamate (msg) and I can use a very low fat base. And yes, I do know this is a lot of dressing for one salad, but I think you’ll be making it again and again, so you might as well have dressing on hand! Of course, you can buy any kind of creamy dressing you like for this. Pour dressing over the salad and serve immediately.

How to make your own everything bagel seasoning (feel free to play around with this ratio)
1 tablespoon white sesame seeds
1 tablespoon black sesame seeds*
2 tablespoon poppy seeds
1 tablespoon minced dried onion
1 tablespoon minced dried garlic
1 to 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt (this is optional if you don’t like salt, omit)

Mix it all together and store in a small jar until you are ready to use it.

*Use 2 tablespoons of white sesame seeds   if you can’t find, or don’t want to use the black.

 

 

 

Scenes from a Holiday Table

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Autumn brings the beginning of a new school year, cooler weather, apple picking, and foliage rich in beautiful hues of red, orange and yellow as the leaves begin to change color. It’s my favorite season and the one I missed most when growing up in Florida. The season also brings a new year for the Jewish people filled with traditional food, and hopes for a sweet new year. The past couple of weeks have been filled with holidays, family, friends and a lot of food! There was what seemed to be endless cooking going on in my kitchen, and a lot of eating around the table. I had a checklist of all that needed to be accomplished. Plan menu – check! Purchase groceries – check! Bake apple cake – check! Braid the challah – check! Make holiday boxes for college students – check!

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I put together holiday boxes which were mailed to college kids in the middle of September. They included mini apple cakes, challah rolls, small honey bears, candy and apples. It’s a little taste of home for the holidays. I started making them last year for my son and niece and this year was a little late in advertising, but still managed to sell a few making an even dozen to be sent off as far away as Arizona, New York, Texas, Virginia, Indiana, and here in Ohio. For upcoming holidays I’m working on adding a link to the side of my website for ordering.

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The holidays also bring my in-laws to town. It’s great having them join us every year. We really look forward to their visit and spending time with them. After the holiday is celebrated, we then carry out our traditional apple picking excursion, yes – I went apple picking again! This time we picked golden delicious and Jonathan apples. Both fantastic and extremely  different from one another, yet both perfect for dipping into honey! Of course I can’t leave the farm without apple salsa, which gets opened immediately when we get home! As for my mother-in-law, her visit isn’t complete until she goes home with a wagon filled with butternut squash, which she will turn into a delicious and creamy golden soup!

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During the holiday, it is customary to have raisin challah that is round, which symbolizes the circle of life and changing seasons. I thought I would try adding chopped apples instead of raisins this time, and it was the best challah I have ever made! It tasted like cake but, hey, it’s the holiday so what’s a little cake with your meal? Plus, it’s customary to have a sweet challah on the holiday. Okay, now that I justified it, we can move on!

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Bread and apples are dipped into delicious golden honey, to insure a sweet year ahead. This year I found beautifully packaged honey at a local farmer’s market. The honey is from a local beekeeper named Brad from Brad’s Bees which graced our table in a beautiful vintage jar and the taste was amazing! I purchased their summer wildflower honey which is a premium light honey derived from various wildflowers here in Columbus. Wildflower honey will vary in taste from year to year. This must be an exceptionally good year as it was sweet and mild with a beautiful amber color. What a great way to start off the holiday!

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Finally apple cake finished off our meal, which is a good thing since I must have 50 pounds of apples in my house! All-in-all, it was a wonderfully delicious holiday! The next few weeks will be filled with more holiday food adventures I look forward to sharing with you! L’Shana Tova… wishing you a good year!

How to Caramelize Onions

Caramelized onions (also called smothered or fried onions) are a favorite in our family. My nephew loves them on a turkey burger (as do I) and my son Ethan loves them on anything – even pizza! They are great to top a burger or fish, the base for so many recipes, and the type of onions you need for a LEO (lox, eggs, and onions) or my mothers famous potatoes, eggs and onions! If you have never tried them, you must. When the onions cook down they release all of their natural sugars and become soft, silky and sweet.

I found this recipe in the Arthur Schwartz cookbook Jewish Home Cooking a few years ago and have been using it ever since. It makes it very simple and works well every time. I modified it a little as per how I make them according to his recipe. Caramelized onions are a part of so many of my recipes that it’s a must to include in my blog. This is a guide on how to make them so adjust the amounts according to each individual recipe. Enjoy!

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This is what they look like when they get into their olive oil bath getting ready for a shvitz*!

First either chop or slice the onions according to the recipe instructions that call for caramelized onions. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a covered skillet or sauté pan. You can use any oil you like, just make sure it has a high smoke point such as: olive, canola, safflower, sunflower, grape-seed, or vegetable. There is a new oil out on the market I’m in love with… avocado oil, but it’s too expensive to fry onions in! I always use olive oil, choosing it for heart health and the taste.

Use a pan large enough to comfortably hold the onions. A 10-inch pan will hold up to 2 pounds of onions or 6 cups (that’s about 3 to 4 really large onions) and will require about 3 tablespoons of oil. Heat the oil over medium high heat.

Add the onions and toss in the hot oil; cover the pan, decrease the heat to medium and let the onions sweat for 10 minutes, tossing them every 5 minutes. After about 10 to 15 minutes, you can add in 3 cloves of minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Original smothered onions do not have garlic added, I just like the taste but you can omit if you’d prefer. Stir and cover for 5 minutes. Uncover the pan and stir the onions, they will have begun to brown.

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Here they are right before I add in the minced garlic. The onions have decreased in volume by half.

Increase the heat to medium-high and continue to fry the onions uncovered for at least 20 minutes more for browned onions. Continue to stir the onions every 5 minutes as they cook, scraping up the bits on the bottom of the pan. (It’s good to use a straight-edged wooden spoon or spatula for this.) The onions may need more frequent stirring as they brown. If you like them darker cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. At this point you can add a pinch of black pepper and a pinch of salt. They can be stored in the refrigerator, tightly covered for a couple of weeks.

It may seem like a lot of work, but it’s not really. Like with anything you’re cooking on the stove top, you have to keep an eye on it and stir occasionally. Total cooking time is about 35 – 40 minutes but they can be cooking while you are doing other things, or made ahead.

Here they are getting all sweet and golden brown. They are great now but can brown a little longer.

Now they are about 1/4 of the volume you started with. They are sweet and golden brown. Depending on the recipe, you can stop here or cook them a little longer if you want them to brown more.

*What is a shvitz you ask? It is the Yiddish word meaning to sweat. It is used interchangeably with how you feel when you’re hot, or if you want to take a steam bath! Right now it’s so hot in my house I’m going to turn the thermostat down before I shvitz to death!