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I was invited to a Chanukah luncheon in early December. The hostess prefaced the invite with, “We are serving latkes, bagels, lox, deli, bread, sandwiches. A total carb fest, nothing healthy.”

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Clementines, those darling little oranges, have become wildly popular in recent years — and with good reason.

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I recently hosted a casual weeknight dinner for six neighbors who wanted to discuss the political climate and how to change it. Overnight, it mushroomed into a dinner for 20, which was good news in terms of the level of engagement we were generating, but challenging news for the cook.

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October is the shoulder season — the High Holidays are over and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. This is when you want easy snacks, quick lunches and no-fuss appetizers for unexpected guests. You want them to be delicious and filling, but you also want them come together quickly with…

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After the indulgences of summer (ice cream! barbecues! cocktails!) and the High Holidays (matzah ball soup! challah! honey cake!), many of us feel the need to reduce.

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As fall arrives and life gets busy, weeknight dinners can be a challenge.

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Bagels and lox are wildly popular and easily assembled at the last minute for any event, but several years ago, I began adding Sephardi dishes to our buffets. Not only healthy and colorful, this cuisine pairs well with bagels and lox.

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Everyone looks forward to breaking the fast, except for maybe the chef, who likely has plenty of other things to do in the days ahead. So with Yom Kippur just a few days away, here in advance are some quick and easy ways to break the fast in style.

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A diet rich in a variety of fruits and vegetables is generally recommended for optimal health, but that can be a challenge in our region during the dead of winter. The good news is that with some effort, we can find locally grown and stored produce at area markets.

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Zesty and delicious, Mexican appetizers are so versatile. Sautéed or roasted vegetables, cilantro, scallions, salsa, avocado, corn kernels and refried beans can be easily added or substituted for a recipe’s suggested ingredients. Because Mexican appetizers are often finger foods, they set an…

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R emember the “Curb Your Enthusiasm” episode where Larry David is obsessed with chicken from a Palestinian restaurant, but is wracked by guilt for supporting the establishment? “I know, I know, but this chicken, you can’t believe how good it is!”

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There is nothing better than biting into a ripe peach, even when the juice rolls down to my chin. With their sweet flavor tinged with a touch of tartness, peaches are my favorite fruit — not just for their taste but for their versatility, too.

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As a fan of sandwiches in general, I never gave much thought to the Reuben — that traditional deli concoction of corned beef, sauerkraut, Russian dressing and Swiss cheese grilled on rye bread.

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I began with the best of intentions. For years, I made rich meals for Shabbat dinners all year-round, but in the summer, even with air conditioning, I became overheated preparing hearty food, which my family and friends didn’t feel like eating on sweltering days.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture defines food insecurity as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”

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I had the good fortune to spend a week in Italy recently. I also had the good fortune to tour Il Ghetto, as it is still called.

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Harissa, the North African spice paste that blends dried chilis, garlic, paprika and some other aromatic spices, is becoming my newest kitchen workhorse.

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I am serious about chocolate: dark, semisweet or bittersweet chocolate with at least 72 percent cocoa. None of that milk or, God forbid, white chocolate for me.

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“Which kind of kale is better?” I asked the produce manager of the food store where I shop. I was holding curly kale (the most common variety) and lacinato kale (also called Tuscan or dinosaur kale).

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By the time you get around to “the meal” after the matzah and charoses and egg and gefilte fish and chopped liver and the chicken soup, seriously, who wants more food?

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We hosted a dinner guest last week who was on a complicated and restricted diet. He was undergoing a 30-day allergy testing period due to a variety of health issues and was unable to eat dairy, grain, acidic foods, eggs, sugar, most animal fats, fruit, alcohol, chilis or anything highly spiced.

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I’ve been playing around with whole grains lately and, prompted by an impulse buy at the farmers market when I saw a new merchant shivering in the rainy cold, I became the dubious owner of a bag of organic groats.

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My book group prioritizes literature, food and wine more or less equally when we plan our monthly meetings. This month, we read the new Arundhati Roy book, “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness,” which is set in India.

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Sadly I’ve gone to several funerals lately. Fortunately, I didn’t lose a close relative or friend, but this gave me the chance to see the food, much of it homemade, people bring to shiva calls.

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Like football fans the world over, we provisioned generously for Super Bowl Sunday. As a result, we have a surplus of things that we normally do not overstock, including a glut of beer, several slabs of cheddar cheese and a large jar of mustard.

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While toast might be the most commonly prepared food, it can be tricky.

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As the January doldrums arrive, we crave hearty, warming meals. Soups roasts and stews abound, but these heavy dishes can make us feel sluggish and want to hibernate even more. I’m all for warming from within, but don’t forget the veggies.

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There is nothing cozier than inviting friends for afternoon tea. It’s a stylish way to host book clubs, bridal showers and people who like chatting. Admittedly, tea rituals are more popular with women than with men.

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Chili is a true one-dish meal. It contains protein, vegetables, fiber and loads of flavor. But even the most Spartan of us likes a little variety on the table. With that in mind, I offer the following suggested accompaniments to a steaming bowl of chili:

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As Old Man Winter moves in for the next few months, I’ll be on the lookout for simple ways to stay warm. Chili in most any form does the trick.

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As the baking season is upon us, I am attempting to streamline my recipes and techniques. This year, I have discovered the bar cookie.

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By the middle of Chanukah’s eight days, I’ve made traditional potato latkes at least twice, so I’m looking to stretch my imagination and the latke’s potential.

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I’ve been playing around a lot with ginger these days. This spicy root gives an energetic kick to food and has many health-giving properties besides.

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I recently found myself holding a surplus of ricotta cheese in the fridge. My daughter had come home for fall break and requested a laundry list of local and homemade foods that she had been missing over the last six weeks.

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