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Adapted from Simply Southern: With a Dash of Southern Soul by the Margolin Hebrew Academy.

Cheese straws have been the old Southern standby cocktail snack as far back as anyone can remember. These should not be confused with breadsticks. There was not a lot of cheese available in the South in the 1800's and baking them on pastry was a way to preserve them. Since then, Southerners love to serve cheese straws to their guest and not just for cocktails, but to accompany a meal.


2 sheets puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
Spicy seasoning, pepper Jack cheese, pesto sauce, cayenne pepper, sesame seeds, or dried Italian dressing (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Roll out pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 18 x 12-inch rectangle.

Beat together egg and water. Brush one pastry sheet with egg wash. Combine Parmesan cheese and Cheddar cheese. Sprinkle evenly over pastry. Sprinkle with flavoring of choice.

Firmly press second pastry sheet on top. Roll with rolling pin to press together.

Trim edges until even. Cut pastry sheet into 1/3 to 1/2-inch wide strips. Twist each strip three times to form a spiral. Place on lightly greased baking sheet.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden browned. Transfer to a serving platter. Serve hot or room temperature.


Yield: 6 servings

Recipes: Appetizers, Cheese Straws, Dairy, Kosher

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Adapted from Bagel Spice

Hummus is one of the world’s oldest known prepared foods. The following gourmet hummus recipe can be doubled or cut in half.


3 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
2 15-ounce cans of cooked chick peas
8-ounces Tahini
8-ounces water
Juice of 1 or 2 lemons
3 tablespoons Bagel Spice seasoning blend


Using a food processor blend garlic and salt. Add chick peas; blend. Add tahini and water: blend.
Add lemon juice and blend until smooth.

If mixture is too thick add more water and blend.

Place in dish and top with Bagel Spice gourmet seasoning.


Hummus is best when eaten with pita bread either as an appetizer or a sandwich. To make a hummus sandwich split the pita bread in two and spread the hummus on the bread. Add lettuce, tomato, and onions, roll it up and you’ve got lunch! Hummus is also great on bagels, especially an everything or sesame bagel.

Recipes: Appetizers, Hummus, Vegetarian, Parve, Kosher

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caponata 012

from The New Food Processor Bible: 30th Anniversary Edition
by Norene Gilletz

My mother changed my recipe and boosted the flavor! Make this in minutes using your processor. Sprinkle with toasted pine nuts and chopped parsley. Serve chilled as an appetizer or hot over rice or pasta.


4 cloves garlic
2 medium onions, cut in chunks
2 stalks celery, cut in chunks
1 Tbsp olive oil
4 medium bell peppers (2 red, 1 green, 1 yellow)
1 jalapeño pepper
2 Japanese eggplants, unpeeled (1 lb/500 g)
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 can (28 oz/796 mL) tomatoes (salt-free or regular), drained (reserve liquid)
1/2  cup sultana raisins
1 Tbsp sugar
1/4  tsp red pepper flakes
1/2  tsp each ground cumin and dried basil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/4  cup capers, rinsed and drained
1 cup pitted black and/or green olives


STEEL BLADE: Drop garlic through feed tube while machine is running; process until minced. Add onions and celery; process with quick on/off pulses, until coarsely chopped.

Heat oil in large pot. Sauté garlic, onions and celery on medium heat for 5 minutes, until soft.

SLICER: Cut bell and jalapeño peppers and eggplants in half; remove core and seeds from peppers. Slice peppers and eggplants, using medium pressure. Add to onion mixture and cook 10 minutes longer, stirring occasionally.

Add balsamic vinegar, drained tomatoes, raisins, sugar, pepper flakes, cumin, basil, salt and pepper. Cover partially and simmer 20 minutes longer, stirring occasionally. Add reserved tomato liquid as needed to prevent the mixture from becoming dry. Mixture should be thick, not watery. Stir in capers and olives at the end of cooking. Adjust seasonings to taste.


Yield: 8 to 10 servings (about 8 cups).

This keeps about 10 days in the refrigerator or freezes well.

164 calories per serving, 28.1 g carbohydrates, 4.3 g fiber, 3 g protein, 5.5 g fat (0.3 g saturated fat), 0 mg cholesterol, 364 mg sodium, 546 mg potassium, 2 mg iron, 64 mg calcium, 66 mg phosphorus

Recipes: Appetizer, Vegetarian, Parve , Kosher

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Adapted from


This recipe for 3-Layer Tex-Mex Dip is addictive! We love the combination of black beans, avocados, Greek yogurt, cumin, cilantro, salsa and the added spice of jalapeño pepper.


1 15-1/2 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 tsp salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tsp lime juice
1 Tbsp plus 1 cup Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt*
2 medium avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp chopped cilantro
1 tsp finely chopped jalapeño
Salt to taste
1 to 1 1/2 cups salsa


Put beans in a bowl and mash with fork until chunky-smooth.  Stir in salt, 1 tablespoon garlic, 2 teaspoons lime juice, and 1 tablespoon Chobani.  Evenly spread mixture in serving bowl – we use a small trifle bowl or other glass server.  Set aside.

With fork, mash avocado until desired consistency - chunky or smooth consistency. Stir in 1 cup Chobani, remaining lime juice, cumin, cilantro, jalapeño, and remaining garlic. Add salt to taste.

Evenly spread guacamole mixture on top of black beans and then top with salsa.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for 2 hours. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Serve alongside raw vegetable crudités or tortilla chips.


Yield: Serves 8

*For a parve version, substitute parve sour cream.

Recipes: Appetizers, Dips, Mexican, Dairy, Kosher

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A  savory cheesecake that makes a stunning presentation.


2 large tomatoes, sliced
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
1/4 cup Italian–seasoned bread crumbs
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
15–ounce carton ricotta cheese
8–ounce package feta cheese, crumbled
3 large eggs
4 cups loosely packed shredded fresh spinach
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons all–purpose flour
1 tablespoons chopped fresh dill


Sprinkle tomato slices with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drain on paper towels 10 minutes.

Process pine nuts in a food processor until ground. Stir together pine nuts, bread crumbs and melted butter. Press into bottom of a 9–inch springform pan. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Beat cream cheese at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy; add ricotta cheese, feta cheese and eggs, beating until blended.

Stir in spinach, garlic, flour and dill, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper.

Pour into prepared crust. Bake at 325 degrees for 15 minutes.

Top with tomato slices, and bake 30 more minutes or until set. Turn oven off; leave cheesecake in oven 20 minutes.

Cool on a wire rack 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around edge of cheesecake, and carefully remove sides of pan; cool 10 more minutes. Serve warm or cold.


Yields: Makes 12 appetizer or 8 main-dish servings.

Recipes: Appetizers, Dairy, Kosher

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