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Macaroni and Meat Bake

Stella Cohen

This appetizing Sephardic version of the Greek meat bake pastitsio, is baked in an earthenware ovenproof dish and brought straight to the table. This dish, known as macaron reynado de karne, makes an excellent meal eaten hot or at room temperature for brunches, mezes, picnics and children’s packed lunches. This bake is delicious with a tasty homemade tomato sauce and a green salad. 

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
6 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
500g (1 pound) minced (ground) beef or veal
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1½ cups hot chicken stock
½ cup chopped canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley (use leaves and tender stems)
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh dill
500g (1lb 2oz) macaroni, tubular pasta or pasta shells
9 eggs, well beaten
  • Brush a 35x25cm (14x10in) and 6.25cm (2½in) deep earthenware ovenproof dish lightly with olive oil.
  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the spring onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the meat and salt and pepper and stir for 5 minutes. Crushing the meat with a fork, stir until it changes to a light brown colour.
  • Add 1 cup hot chicken stock and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced but is still moist. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Toss in the parsley and dill and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and stir frequently as the water returns to a boil. Cook the pasta according to packet instruction until just tender but retaining some bite. Drain well.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and heat the oiled dish in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the meat mixture and pour in the beaten eggs. Mix well.
  • Remove the heated dish from the oven and immediately pour the mixture into it, evenly distributing the meat and pasta. Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden. Switch off the oven. Pour the remaining ½ cup of hot chicken stock over the baked pasta and return to the still warm oven until the stock has been absorbed.
  • Cut into squares and serve hot or at room temperature.

Reprinted with permission from Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish family recipes from the Mediterranean island of Rhodes © 2012 by Stella Cohen, The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection. Photography by Marc Hoberman.

Sephardic cuisine expert, artist, textile designer, and cookery writer, Stella Cohen is a passionate ambassador for the Jewish community, dedicating her life to the celebration, preservation, and education of Sephardic values and traditions. Stella’s heart lies in Southern Africa as well as in the Mediterranean, as she was born and raised in Zimbabwe and has a family tree entrenched in Sephardic history. Her parents originate from Rhodes, Greece, and Marmaris, Turkey and she is the great-granddaughter of Yaacov Capouya, the Rabbi of Rhodes.

Pecan-Crusted Fish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Tina Wasserman

Here is a perfect example of the migration of Jewish cooking. I created this taco to incorporate all the flavors of the Southwest United States while adhering to the tenets of kashrut.

I serve it topped with fresh homemade Pineapple-Mint Salsa and Ancho Chili-Margarita Mayonnaise.

1 pound fish fillets, skin removed (salmon, sea bass, halibut, or black cod), cut into 1-inch strips
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
6 ounces regular (not lite) beer
2 large cloves garlic, finely minced
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
4–6 flour tortillas
  1. Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, beer, and minced garlic in a glass loaf pan or small casserole. Add the fish and marinate for no more than 1 hour.
  2. Combine the chopped pecans, flour, salt, and pepper on a plate. Firmly press all sides of the fish into the pecan mixture to coat well.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  4. Heat a cast-iron skillet over high heat for 20 seconds. Add the olive oil and butter and heat until the butter is melted and bubbling.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium high, and add the fish fillets to the pan. Cook on one side for 1–2 minutes until the nuts are golden brown.
  6. Flip fish over, place the entire frying pan in the oven, and bake for 3–4 minutes more or until the fish is firm but still springy.
  7. Serve on a flour tortilla with  Pineapple-Mint Salsa or Ancho Chili-Margarita Mayonnaise.

Tina Wasserman is the author of Entrée to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of the Jewish Diaspora and Entrée to Judaism for Families and is a visiting lecturer and scholar-in-residence throughout the country. She serves on the boards of ARZA and URJ Camp Newman, and is a member of Temple Emanu-El in Dallas, TX. Her recipes can be found at Cooking and More and throughout, where she serves as food editor. Tina can be reached for congregational and organizational events through her website.

Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Never fry in just butter, because it has a tendency to burn. Use half the amount of butter called for in a recipe, and substitute olive oil for the difference. This will give your food a higher smoking point so it won’t burn and you will still have the flavor of butter.
  • Never use salted butter for frying under any circumstance, as it will burn even faster and the salt will pull moisture out of the environment and cause more splattering.
  • Mexican mint marigold grows in warmer climates but tastes very similar to tarragon, for an easy substitution. Basil could be used as well.

Oven Fish Chowder

Barbara Matorin

This easy recipe yields a hearty chowder with virtually no fuss. 

2 pounds chowder fish or haddock fillets
3 potatoes, peeled and sliced
handful of fresh celery leaves, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 whole cloves
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
3 onions, sliced
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/4 teaspoon dried dill seed
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth
2 cups boiling water
2 cups light cream
  1. Put all ingredients except the light cream into a large casserole dish. 
  2. Cover and bake at 375°F for one hour.
  3. Heat cream to scalding and add to chowder.  Stir to break up fish.

Serves 8 to 10.

Note: if doubling the recipe, double the amount of fish, but only add one and one-half times the amount of onions and potatoes. The remaining ingredients should be doubled.

​Reprinted with permission from Palate Pleasers by the former Women's Auxiliary of Hebrew SeniorLife (then Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for Aged in Boston). 

Latkes with Gravlax

Michael Solomonov

Chef Michael Solomonov was a featured speaker at the Union for Reform Judaism's 2017 Biennial in Boston, December 2017.

It seems weird to admit that I had to work at a northern Italian restaurant to learn how to make great latkes (sorry, Mom). The trick is to use pure potato. There is more than enough starch in the potatoes to bind the latkes without using egg or flour (which make them less crispy and more dense). Potatoes can handle much more salt than seems reasonable, so make sure to taste your mixture (or fry off a small test latke) before you cook up a bland batch. Starchy things like to stick to the pan, so let the latkes cook undisturbed for a few minutes and the crust will set up and release on its own. A cast iron pan is ideal; but if you’re scared, a nonstick skillet is foolproof. I make one big latke here, but you can make many small ones, too.

Pairing cured salmon with latkes is almost a cliché, but for good reason. Gravlax is elegant and super simple to make. The hardest part is actually slicing it into thin ribbons. I’ve found that freezing it for just 15 minutes makes the slicing much easier. Use a long sharp knife held at a very shallow angle to the surface of the gravlax and draw the knife through it from heel to tip. Placing the flat open palm of your other hand on the surface of the fish will ensure a thin, even slice.

¼ cup kosher salt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 cup chopped fresh dill
1 pound center-cut salmon fillet, skin and pin bones removed
2 russet potatoes, peeled and shredded (about 3½ cups)
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
Canola oil, for frying
Sour cream, for serving
Minced fresh chives, for serving

For the Gravlax

  1. Combine the salt, sugar, and dill in a small bowl.
  2. Lay a large sheet of plastic wrap in a baking dish and sprinkle half the salt-sugar mixture down the center.
  3. Put the salmon on top of the salt sugar mixture and cover with the rest of the salt-sugar mixture. Wrap the salmon tightly in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for 48 hours to cure, turning the fish over a few times.
  4. Rinse the excess salt-sugar mixture off the salmon and thinly slice to serve. Refrigerated, gravlax will keep for a week. 

For the Latke

  1. Toss the potatoes with the salt and wring them out in a clean towel to remove excess water.
  2. Put ¼ inch oil in a large skillet. Spoon the potatoes into the cold oil in the pan in a single layer and flatten with the back of a spatula. Turn the heat to medium and cook the latke undisturbed until a deep golden crust forms on the bottom, about 15 minutes, pressing occasionally with the spatula.
  3. Flip the latke onto a plate and add more oil to the skillet. Slide the latke back into the hot skillet, uncooked side down. Cook on the second side until deep golden brown, about 8 more minutes. 
  • Slice the latke into wedges, top with gravlax slices, sour cream, and chives, and serve.

    Excerpted with permission from ZAHAV by Michael Solomonov. Copyright © 2015 by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. Photography © 2015 by Mike Persico. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

    Chef Michael Solomonov was born in Israel and grew up in Pittsburgh. He and Steven Cook are the co-owners of CookNSolo Restaurants, home to some of Philadelphia's most distinctive culinary concepts, including Zahav, Federal Donuts, Abe Fisher, Dizengoff, Rooster Soup Co., and Goldie. They are a combined four-time James Beard Award Winners, including the 2016 "Best International Cookbook" and "Book of the Year" awards for their first cookbook, Zahav, and a 2011 "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" win for Solomonov and who in May, was named the 2017 JBF's "Outstanding Chef".

Roast Turkey with Vegetables

Tina Wasserman

This is not your usual turkey recipe. Instead of worrying about a dry turkey or lumpy gravy, this recipe makes an extremely moist bird. Plus, roasting the turkey o­n a bed of vegetables yields not o­nly the best tasting clear gravy, but a vegetable side for your meal. 

1 turkey, 12-18 pounds
5 carrots, coarsely chopped
3-4 large o­nions, diced
3 stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
1/2 pound raw chicken livers, chopped
One 28-ounce can crushed peeled tomatoes
Salt, pepper, and paprika to taste
2-3 cloves garlic, finely chopped, or garlic powder
1 tablespoon chicken fat or butter
  1. Rinse the turkey. Rub a little salt o­n the inside of the turkey cavity.
  2. Place the carrots, o­nions, celery, mushrooms, livers, and tomatoes in the bottom of a large roasting pan. Season to taste with the seasonings and the garlic; be light-handed with the salt.
  3. Place the turkey breast side up o­n top of the vegetables. Season the turkey lightly with the salt, pepper, and paprika. In addition, garlic powder can be sprinkled o­n as well.
  4. Rub the tablespoon of fat all over the turkey skin. Cover with a tent of aluminum foil being sure that the shiny side is facing out.
  5. Roast the turkey at 325°F for 15-18 minutes per pound or until the internal temperature of the meat is about 180°F. Baste often with the juices in the pan. If necessary, you can add some boiling water to the bottom of the pan. Remove from oven and set aside for 15 minutes before carving.
  6. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables to a microwave-proof casserole and pour the remaining liquid into a container. If refrigerated for a while, the fat will be easy to skim off the top.
  7. Slice the turkey. Reheat the vegetables and the gravy if necessary. Serve.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • The most important direction to this recipe is tenting the bird with foil. Always place the shiny side out so that the heat is reflected away from the breast meat. That’s the trick to avoiding dry white meat o­n roasted poultry.
  • The sliced turkey will freeze well if you freeze the meat in airtight freezer bags and freeze the gravy separately.

Pumpkin Ravioli from Mantua

Tina Wasserman

During the Renaissance the Jews lived very well in Mantua under the Gonzaga duchy. They were very familiar with pumpkin because of New World exploration and the Portuguese and Converso connections throughout the world. Although this dish is very popular in restaurants throughout the world right now, the recipe is 500 years old. This recipe was adapted from Joyce Goldstein’s cookbook, Cucina Ebraica.

2 pounds fresh pie pumpkin or butternut squash, or 1 pound canned pumpkin puree
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup Italian amaretti cookies (about 2 ounces), crushed
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup finely chopped raisins (soaked in hot water for 15 minutes if too dry and hard)
Sugar to taste
1 egg
2 tablespoons dried plain bread crumbs
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tablespoons water for sealing dough
1 stick butter melted, until light brown
1/4 cup chiffonade of fresh mint or fresh thyme
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons ice water
2 cups bread flour


  1. To prepare the pumpkin or squash, roast in a 400°F oven for 50 minutes or until soft. Cool, cut in half, and remove all seeds and stringy fibers. Scoop the meat of the squash into a bowl and mash with a fork until smooth.
  2. If puree is watery, spread the puree on a rimmed baking sheet, and bake at 300°F for 10 minutes or until it appears dry. Let cool before using, or use 1 pound of canned pumpkin.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin with the next 7 ingredients and set aside while you make the dough.


  1. Place the eggs, oil, and water in the food processor work bowl, and mix by turning the processor on and off twice.
  2. Add 1 cup of the bread flour, and turn the processor on for 5 seconds. Scrape the sides of the bowl. Add the other cup of flour and process for 10 seconds longer. The dough will be crumbly. Pinch a little bit of dough; if it holds together, it is ready to be rolled.
  3. Remove the dough and divide in half. Place on a lightly floured surface, cover, and allow to rest for 10 minutes or longer if you are rolling the dough by hand.
  4. Make pasta according to machine directions. If rolling pasta by hand, divide dough into fourths and then roll out each portion as thin as possible. Cut dough into 3-inch rounds, or use a ravioli form.
  5. Place 1 tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle or each template on the ravioli form. Brush a little of the egg yolk mixture on the edges of the dough, and cover with another circle of dough (or sheet if using the ravioli plate). Press dough firmly from the filling outward to remove any air trapped in the middle and seal the dough.
  6. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add 1 tablespoon of oil. Cook pasta until al dente. Drain and place in a large serving bowl.
  7. Drizzle brown butter on top of ravioli, and sprinkle with the fresh mint or thyme chiffonade.


Tina's Tidbits: 
  • Although fresh pie pumpkin has a more distinct flavor, canned pumpkin will work if you are short on time.
  • Never use salt in the pasta dough. It will make the dough tough and hard to roll.

BBQ Tempeh Kebabs

Mark Reinfeld

Rabbi Eric Yoffie, then president of the Union for Reform Judaism, once declared, "We need to think about how the food we eat advances the values we hold as Reform Jews.” In keeping with Rabbi Yoffie’s longstanding initiative urging Reform Jews to consider the ethical, environmental, and health aspects of what they eat, here’s a great vegan recipe.

1/4 cup barley malt syrup
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons safflower oil
2 teaspoons raw apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vegetarian Worcestershire sauce
1 teasoon stone-ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
Pinch of cayenne pepper, or to taste
6-8 kebab skewers
8 ounces tempeh, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
1 medium bell pepper, 1 inch dice
1/2 medium red onion, quartered
6-8 medium cherry tomatoes
1 large portobello mushroom, 1 inch cubes
  1. Place the tempeh and vegetables in the BBQ Sauce bowl, mix well, and allow to marinate for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Decoratively arrange the tempeh and vegetables on the skewers, finishing each with a cherry tomato.
  3. Grill until char marks appear and the tempeh and vegetables are cooked through, approximately 15 minutes.
  4. Baste with some of the BBQ Sauce while grilling and top with the remaining BBQ sauce before serving.

Mark Reinfeld is a multi-award winning chef and author of seven books, including the best selling 30 Minute Vegan series and his latest book, Healing the Vegan Way. Mark has over 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, and Bon Appetit Management. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted "Best Restaurant on Kaua'i."

Vegan Mediterranean Grilled Tofu

Mark Reinfeld

This dish combines both cooked and raw vegan items, including some of the most flavorful ingredients in the Mediterranean cuisine. Be sure to use extra-firm tofu as it will hold up better on the grill. If a grill is not available, you can roast the tofu cutlets in the casserole dish, along with the marinade, in a 375°F oven for 20 minutes. 

7 teaspoons tamari
4 teaspoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
4 teaspoons water
1 ⅓ (14-ounce) packages extra-firm tofu, well drained
4 (canned) artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 cup seeded, drained and chopped tomatoes
1 cup chopped raw spinach or arugula
12 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
2 tablespoon diced red onion
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoon basil, in chiffonade*
1 tablespoon fresh minced oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
1 teaspoon fresh thyme or ½ teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 medium clove garlic, pressed or minced
¼ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
¼ cup shelled pistachio nuts
  1. Preheat grill to high.
  2. Make the marinade: place the tamari, 4 teaspoons of lemon juice, 4 teaspoons of olive oil and water in a 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish and stir well. Slice one brick of the tofu lengthwise to form 3 cutlets. Slice off a similar-size piece from the second brick; reserve the remaining tofu for another use. Place the cutlets in the casserole dish for 10 minutes, flipping occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping: put the artichokes, tomatoes, spinach, olives, onion, capers, basil, oregano and thyme in a mixing bowl and mix gently but well.
  4. Make the dressing: in a small bowl, whisk 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, vinegar, garlic, salt and black pepper. Add to the topping and mix gently but well.
  5. Grill the tofu, gently flipping a few times to make sure that char marks appear on both sides, about 4 minutes per side, depending upon the temperature of the grill.
  6. Return the cutlets to the casserole dish or serving platter. Top each cutlet with half a cup of the topping and garnish with pistachio nuts.

* To chiffonade is to cut into long thin strips. Stack the basil leaves, roll them tightly, and then slice into thin strips with a sharp knife.


  • Follow the basic recipe, but replace the tofu with two 8-ounce packages of tempeh. Tempeh, a fermented soy product, is available in either the refrigerated or frozen section of all natural foods stores and many larger supermarkets.
  • Follow the basic recipe, but replace the tofu with four large portobello mushrooms (stems removed).

Mark Reinfeld is a multi-award winning chef and author of seven books, including the best selling 30 Minute Vegan series and his latest book, Healing the Vegan Way. Mark has over 20 years of experience preparing creative vegan and raw cuisine. Since 2012, he has served as the Executive Chef for the North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest. He has offered consulting services for clients such as Google, Whole Foods, and Bon Appetit Management. Mark was the founding chef of The Blossoming Lotus Restaurant, voted "Best Restaurant on Kaua'i."

Israeli Fish Kebabs with Yellow Tahini Yogurt Sauce

Orly Ziv

Packed with fresh herbs, these fish kebabs are bursting with flavor. Since there are no binding ingredients, like eggs, the secret is to knead the mixture like dough to break down the proteins. The kebabs are good on their own, but even better with the creamy yellow tahini sauce.

I recommend that you use this recipe, and all of my recipes as inspiration, as  jumping-off points to make them your own. Change the ingredients or spices to create your own flavors, because there's no such thing as failure in the kitchen, only learning experiences.

2.2 pounds (1 kg) fish filet, finely chopped (tilapia, sea bass, mullet, red drum)
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
1/2 bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped
1/2 bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
Lemon zest
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons oil
1/2 tablespoon ground tumeric
1/2 cup tahini paste
1 cup thick goat's milk yogurt or buttermilk (preferably drinking yogurt)
Juice of 1/2 lemon, or more to taste
1 clove garlic, minced

Fish Kebabs

  1. Mix together all the kebab ingredients in a large bowl and knead until you obtain a uniform mixture.
  2. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  3. Shape into small round or oblong patties. Working in batches, cook on a hot grill or skillet for 3 to 4 minutes per side until cooked through and golden.
  4. Transfer to a plate or put in a pita and serve with  generous spoonful of the tahini yogurt sauce.

Yellow Tahini Yogurt Sauce

  1. Heat the oil and turmeric in a pan until just before boiling, or heat for 30 seconds in microwave. Strain and allow to cool fully before proceeding.
  2. Mix together the turmeric oil with the remiaing sauce ingredients until smooth and pale hyellow in color.

Reprinted with permission from Cook in Israel: Home Cooking Inspiration by Orly Ziv. 

Salmon with Pink Peppercorn Citrus Sauce

Tina Wasserman

Lots of ingredients, easy to make and a perfect example of the positive attributes of citrus fruit! I love serving this sauce with a side of salmon, poached or grilled. Everything can be made in advance. Just mix the fruits with the sauce at the last minute and you will wow your guests.

2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons pink peppercorns
2 teaspoons finely julienned ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon celery seed
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
4 salmon fillets, 5-6 oz. each
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons chiffonade of cilantro
1/2 medium lemon, sectioned and cut into medium dice
1/2 medium lime, sectioned and cut into medium dice
1 medium orange, sectioned and cut into medium dice
1 medium Texas ruby red grapefruit, sectioned and cut into medium dice
  1. To make the vinaigrette, mix the first 8 ingredients in a glass bowl. Whisk in 1/4 cup oil in a slow, steady stream. Set aside, reserving 2 Tablespoons.
  2. Sprinkle the salmon fillets with salt and pepper and brush with the reserved vinaigrette. Grill over hot coals until done (10 minutes per inch thickness).
  3. Stir the remaining 5 ingredients for the vinaigrette into the already combined mixture and spoon over each fillet. Serve immediately.
Tina's Tidbits: 
  • To chiffonade an herb, lay the leaves on top of each other, roll then up tight like a cigarette and then slice very thin slices through the roll.The result will be thin wisps of herbs that float through the air like chiffon.
  • To section a citrus fruit, cut off the top and bottom peel so you can see the fruit inside. Cut one section of the peel completely off from top to bottom. There should be no white pith adhering to the fruit. Using that first cut as a guide continue to remove the remaining peel in five or six more vertical cuts down the side of the fruit. Now, place your knife parallel to the section membrane and cut to the center. Do the same thing on the other side of that section. It will remove easily. Repeat on the left and right side of each section until all the fruit is removed.

This technique works perfectly with all citrus fruit although it is somewhat easier with oranges and grapefruit because of their larger size.


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