Butternut Squash Soup

October 25, 2011

For the past month, everywhere I’d look I was reminded that it’s October. The stores had their mannequins styled in heavy knitted scarves, empty lots had been transformed into pumpkin patches, and food blogs galore had been posting concoctions made with apples, cinnamon, maple, and pumpkin.

It all looked so yummy, yet I had no desire to recreate the delicious recipes, since living in LA doesn’t exactly make you feel like it’s fall. The sun shines brightly, the trees are still green, and my heavy knitted scarves are still tucked away in their drawer since last year, begging to make their debut. Though I don’t subscribe to that trend, there are nevertheless many who are wearing Uggs and scarves in 80-degree weather, fashioning the autumn look way before it’s actually necessary. Arguably, the excitement for seasonal changes, though short-lived, is indeed quite exciting.

Yet all that changed today. The skies were overcast; the weather gloomy and the air cool with a slight, distinctive crisp.

It finally feels like fall.

Obviously I had a craving for my favorite Butternut Squash Soup. I love the natural sweetness that comes from the squash coupled with the infusion of cinnamon and nutmeg. This soup tastes delicious, but best of all its aroma will waft through your home and give you that comforting, cozy feeling.

Mediterranean Tilapia fillet with Olives and Tomatoes

October 18, 2011

The monumental task of cooking for a 3 day Yom Tov is exciting, yet daunting. Actually, most would suffice to say that it's simply daunting. Six meals, countless challah rolls, a variety of desserts, lots of salads; they all have to get done, somehow.

The first night usually starts off filled with anticipation. The end of the preparations lead into the commencement of lovely dinner celebrations filled with delicious food and (hopefully) great company. We start off inspired and happy, using our best serving dishes and china, oblivious to the mountain of dishes waiting at the end of the night.

Sometime the next day, we recreate the same scene with a slight downgrade. You omit the salad plate (who says you need two plates?), you swap the fancy serving spoons with their disposable counterpart, and you might prefer serving each guest individually, pacing back and forth from the sukkah to the hot plate. It’s a better exercise than soaping and rinsing those serving pieces already stowed away for next yom tov.

By the third meal, you are surely contemplating making aliyah and probably counting the amount of miles you’d need to run on the treadmill in order to balance out the overabundance of food you’ve consumed. By this meal, you’ve surely given into your husband’s nagging and simply stationed your pots in the center of the table (gasp) and let each person serve themselves (double gasp!).

The next few meals pass in a daze, with more broken promises that this meal I’ll really only eat just a few bites and absolutely NO dessert. Oh, you weak willpower.

But thankfully, Hashem made it a mitzvah to eat and savor each dish, each morsel of bread, and each lick of frosting. Best of all, He has eternalized each minute and moment of laborious preparation for us to bank into our spiritual account and reap its benefits long after that multi-layered chocolate cream cake has been devoured.

I leave you here with a quick, light recipe you can throw together. The tender meat of the tilapia infused with the myriad of flavors and spices, make this a succulent dish that will surely leave you enough room for another piece of that multi-layered chocolate cream cake.

Happy Simchat Torah! May you renew and enlighten your relationship to Torah.  

Enjoy the second set of yom tov and all the delicious food. I'm also starting my diet next Monday. 

Asparagus Pâte feuilletée with Scallions and Goat’s Feta Cheese

October 11, 2011

Asparagus is effortlessly elegant. No matter how you cook it or serve it, this legume has a refined quality that transforms your dish into instant gourmet status. Just like a Chanel bag makes you look instantly chic.

Put together this appetizer at your next gathering for a sophisticated touch or better yet, treat yourself to healthy, light lunch you can relish in. Thankfully, a luxurious dish doesn't have to cost as much as a Chanel purse.

Asparagus Pâte feuilletée with Scallions and Goat’s Feta Cheese


1 sheet of puff pastry
1 bunch of asparagus (about 1lb), bottoms removed*
1 bunch of scallions, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, thinly sliced
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
1 tsp of herbes de provence
3 tb goat’s feta cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Roll out puff pastry on floured surface into an 8 x 12 inch rectangle.  Trim uneven edges and lightly fold over sides to make a 1-inch border. Lightly press the middle in with your fingers. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes.
  2. In a bowl, mix the asparagus, scallions, olive oil, and spices.
  3. Heat a grill pan on medium heat with a drizzle of olive oil. Sautee the garlic until it browns slightly, and add the asparagus mixture. Let it cook through, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Remove pastry from oven and lay asparagus spears crosswise, alternating sides into the hollow middle. Bake another 5-10 mins.
  5. Coarsely sprinkle feta cheese on top while still hot. Garnish with thinly sliced lemon strips.

* Asparagus must be checked for bugs. Some people remove the tips.

 (You easily make this parve, by omitting the cheese.)

I actually had a chance to develop this recipe myself for a cookbook Rofeh Cholim Cancer Society is compiling

I'll keep you posted about the publishing of my two recipes (another one will be posted soon) and more about this amazing organization that helps countless families financially.


Happy Succot.

{Don't forget to join the site (if you haven't already), and leave a comment to let me know what you think! And feel free to share with others.}

Whole Wheat Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

October 6, 2011

I have pockets of time in my day that are unbearably hectic. This blessing comes in the form of two kids that are 2 and under who seem to communicate through some foreign language and coordinate when to cry at the same time. Really loudly.

So I have 3 options:

1. Count to 3 and find a quick distraction for the tired, cranky, bored toddler, which lowers 80% of the decibel level. But by 4:30, I've usually run out of the 52 ideas I had already tried. Twice.

2. Cry with them. A very viable option that I might have used once or twice. Or more.

3. Press the mute button and delight in the silence while I regain my last inkling of patience for the day.

Oh, how I wish these little creatures came with a remote control where I nonchalantly press: EAT. SLEEP. And mostly, MUTE. Aaahh, that means no more ear-breaking tantrums or long-winded pleas. How exciting!

Since I clearly don't recall getting this remote at the hospital and since they do say necessity is the mother of invention, I did attempt to create my own mute button. You might want to double up the recipe, it'll be a looong Yom Kippur.

Underneath are Whole Wheat Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies.

The whole wheat and oatmeal are to counteract the cups of sugar and sticks of margarine, but mostly to alleviate the guilt of feeding your children sugar laden treats that will nurture their sweet tooth.

Recipe adapted from Allrecipes.com


  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, brown sugar, and white sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the creamed mixture until just blended. Mix in the quick oats, walnuts, and chocolate chips. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto ungreased baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. 
Be sure not to overmix your batter so the cookies come out fluffy 
Make sure to leave some space around each cookie, so they don't stick to one another.

And if you want to up the sugar factor...decorate.

Have an easy, meaningful, peaceful fast. (Save the eye roll on the peaceful part)
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