Author Archives: Judy Zeidler

A Twist on Tradition: Enjoy Rosh Hashanah’s Blessings … Vegetarian Style

When I was growing up in Los Angeles, Rosh Hashanah dinner always meant that my mother spent several days shopping and cooking. But with the current popularity of vegetable-centric menus and plenty of local farmers markets, I’m able to prepare … Continue reading

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Packing kid-friendly lunches

When you feel like you are always packing the children’s lunch boxes with the same old boring foods, it is time to branch out with new ideas and ingredients. I am sure that school lunches can be more creative and … Continue reading

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What’s Cookin’, Good Lookin’?

Girls love guys who know their way around the kitchen There is an old saying that men don’t cook at home. Yet it is also said that women always appreciate men who cook. Only one of these is true. Can you … Continue reading

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Cooking with wine: A spirited menu

Frozen Hazelnut Soufflés With Champagne Sauce, photo by Dan Kacvinski The addition of wine to your favorite recipes can impart wonderful flavor, but too much or the wrong style can potentially ruin a delicious dish. Example: Fish is usually better … Continue reading

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Smoked salmon sandwiches, chocolate paninis and more

Bittersweet Chocolate Panini, Photo by Dan Kacvinski Baby boomers have childhood memories of eating all sorts of comfort foods: meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, french toast and tuna sandwiches. Over the years, though, Julia Child and … Continue reading

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Summer flavors, savory pastries and rich cheese tarts

Ricotta Cheese Tart Photo by Dan Kacvinski. Food preparation and styling by Judy Zeidler Let’s have an outdoor summer party! Whether you have a tennis court, a swimming pool or a great lawn for playing croquet, now is the time … Continue reading

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Having a Ball

This summer, gather your friends for outdoor fun and a feast Let’s have an outdoor summer party! Whether you have a tennis court, a swimming pool or a great lawn for playing croquet, now is the time to invite friends … Continue reading

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Breakfast … Israeli Style

Kickstart your morning with an amazing kibbutz-inspired meal Can you imagine sitting down to a breakfast buffet of fresh fruit, yogurt, cheeses, smoked fish and eggs, and an amazing selection of salads, breads and pastries? For tourists, this is a typical … Continue reading

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Cooking with wine for Passover

Chocolate truffle cupcakes. Photo by Dan Kacvinski Wine is an important part of the observance of Passover — at least four cups are poured during the seder service. I’m sure we all have noticed how our wine tastes have changed … Continue reading

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Going Green for Passover

A vegetarian seder can offer special delights The mainstays of a traditional Passover seder, celebrating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, tend to be a carnivore’s dream: gefilte fish, chicken soup with matzah balls, stuffed turkey and … Continue reading

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Celebrate Queen Esther with chocolate

Chocolate poppy-seed hamantaschen and chocolate sorbet. Photos by Dan Kacvinski Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim tale, was quite a woman. Not only did she outwit the evil Haman and save the entire Jewish population of Persia, she did … Continue reading

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A Pizza Party for Purim

The festival of Purim is a fun-filled holiday, where the focus is on Queen Esther, who helped defeat the king’s wicked prime minister, Haman, in ancient Persia. It is a time when the children dress up in costumes, representing the … Continue reading

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Love at First Bite

For Valentine’s Day, share your passion for pasta that’s pretty in pink  We met Suzanne and Don Dunaway on a Valentine’s Day, while sitting at a small table during a reception for Julia Child’s American Institute of Wine & Food. … Continue reading

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Eight chefs’ new Chanukah delights, one for each night

  Bruce Marder’s two-tone potato latkes This year, Chanukah and Thanksgiving coincide: Chanukah is celebrated for eight days by candle-lighting, gift exchanges and eating foods fried in oil, an ancient custom, commemorating a miraculous event at the Temple in Jerusalem, while … Continue reading

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Ciao, Chanukah!

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with traditional Italian creations Fried Cheese With Fresh Tomato Sauce. Photos by Dan Kacvinski, food preparation and styling by Judy Zeidler We are just back from a three-week vacation in Italy, where I had the … Continue reading

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Moshe Safdie: Culinary Architect

Moshe Safdie, famed designer of L.A.’s Skirball Cultural Center, displays his creativity in the kitchen, too Branzino Baked in Foil. Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food preparation and styling by Judy ZeidlerI first met architect Moshe Safdie about 30 years ago, … Continue reading

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Let them eat (honey) cake

Pomegranate Ice With Frosted Grapes. Photos by Dan Kacvinski Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is considered a High Holy Day, but it’s also a happy holiday, full of hope and optimism. I am always impressed by the fact that … Continue reading

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How Sweet It Is

Honey adds special touch to Jewish New Year Honey Chocolate Fudge Bars. Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food coordinated by Judy Zeidler The use of honey for Rosh Hashanah symbolizes a sweet year and dates back to biblical times, when refined sugar … Continue reading

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Lunch and Learn

Some teachers love to get things cookin’ in the classroom Judy’s Signature Strudel. Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food coordinated by Judy Zeidler. When I think of heroes, I think of schoolteachers. A good teacher can make a big difference in … Continue reading

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Empty nest, full fridge

The kids may be gone, but the kitchen still gets a workout Chiles Rellenos My son Paul and his wife, Amber, were the original baby boomers, graduating from college in the ’80s, getting married and raising four children. They both … Continue reading

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Happy Meals

Cooking up kids’ favorites can be delicious and nutritious Macaroni and Cheese. Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food coordinated by Judy Zeidler Kids can be picky eaters, but there are several dishes that they always seem to enjoy. Among the dishes … Continue reading

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Shavuot inspires dairy recipes

  Hoop Cheese Blintzes. Photo by Dan Kacvinski Shavuot celebrates the receiving of the Ten Commandments and the arrival of the spring harvest. But, for food lovers, it is noted for the array of dairy foods that are served — … Continue reading

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Mother’s Day Eats: Easy Does It

Smoked Salmon and Dill Mini Sandwiches. Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food coordinated by Judy Zeidler Perhaps the most anticipated family event during May is Mother’s Day. If you are cooking for your wife, mom or mother-in-law for the first time, … Continue reading

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Bragging Rights: Who Makes The Best Hummus?

Richard’s Hummus, Lina Style. Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food coordinated by Judy Zeidler Who makes the best hummus? Everyone in Israel is passionate about the taste of genuine hummus, and each individual believes deeply that his or hers is the … Continue reading

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The art of Passover baking

Chocolate Truffle Cupcakes. Photo by Dan Kacvinski Passover, the Festival of Freedom — also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread — is celebrated for eight days. Over the centuries, Jewish cooks have produced a rich array of foods for … Continue reading

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Matzah Madness!

Ground Beef and Matzah “Lasagna” (See page 2) Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food coordinated by Judy Zeidler Families will gather at sundown on March 25 and begin the eight-day observance of Passover, commemorating the centuries-old flight of the Jewish people … Continue reading

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A vegetarian buffet to celebrate Queen Esther

  What makes Purim so special? Maybe it’s the heroic story of Queen Esther. Whatever you decide, it is still one of the happiest of all Jewish holidays. Filled with accounts of bravery, it tells the story of Queen Esther … Continue reading

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Cooking is for Lovers

Romantic dinners for two can be fun — and healthy, too Quinoa With Shiitake Mushrooms and Delicata Squash. Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food coordinated by Judy Zeidler In a wild wedding party last year at the Hollywood Museum, our granddaughter … Continue reading

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Joy of Chanukah

Make kids holiday kitchen helpers with Chanukah cookies   Russian Tea Cakes Photos by Dan Kacvinski   This year at our family Chanukah get-together, we’re having a cookie exchange. Everyone will bring their favorite cookies to enjoy as part of … Continue reading

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A Brentwood Country Club Chanukah

Chef Brett Swartzman is a chef with passion. The Chicago native started working in his parents’ Jewish bakery when he was 10 years old, making bagels, muffins, cookies, challah and sandwiches. Chanukah was always a big celebration at his grandparents’ … Continue reading

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Saluting side dishes

Thanksgiving is a holiday when American-Jewish families can enjoy the best of both heritages — hearty American food and an occasion to give thanks for their blessings. Food has always been the center of the holiday celebration, and I like … Continue reading

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A Cornucopia of Sweets

Add a bountiful dessert table to your Thanksgiving feast Pumpkin Date Nut Bread. Photos by Dan Kacvinski Thanksgiving dinner calls to mind roast turkey with stuffing and gravy, sweet potatoes, rolls and cranberries. But the holiday meal wouldn’t be the … Continue reading

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A Touch of Purple for Sukkot

Eggplant Marmalade. Photos by Dan KacvinskiThe eggplant has an important place in my kitchen and is one of my favorite vegetables to serve during Sukkot, the seven-day harvest festival that begins this year at sundown Sept. 30. The beautiful, glossy … Continue reading

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Feasting after fasting

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a holiday for serious fasting — no food or drink for 25 hours. At the end of the day, our thoughts inevitably turn to what we want to eat at sundown to break the … Continue reading

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All you knead for a bounty of challah

Dipping freshly baked challah in honey is a tradition observed during the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This act combines the Shabbat bread with hopes for a sweet New Year. The custom is to serve a round … Continue reading

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Rosh Hashanah: Old and new favorites

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins this year on Sept. 16 at sundown. In planning the holiday menu, I like to include some of the traditional recipes that many of us learned in our mothers’ and grandmothers’ kitchens, but … Continue reading

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Entertain With Ease

We love entertaining friends. The process is easy: We check our calendar, pick a date and discuss whom to invite, usually eight to 10 guests. It is fun to mix couples who have the same interests but have never met. … Continue reading

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BBQ Cook-Off

Recently we had guests over for dinner and the conversation turned to how to achieve the best backyard barbecue. Fortunately, several of the people were serious home chefs who love to cook. Two of our foodie friends, Lou and Stephen, … Continue reading

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Especially for Mom

We all have memories of how Mom made us feel special and loved beyond compare. This month, it’s time to return the favor. If your mom, or the mother in your life, likes breakfast in bed, then by all means … Continue reading

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Position yourself for Passover’s traditions

After many years of reciting the Passover story around our dining room table, we made a major change. My family decided to re-create the seders held long ago. According to the haggadah, when people live in freedom, they can eat … Continue reading

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Passover’s Just Desserts

Baking desserts during Passover is a challenge. No leavened foods may be used — nor any leavening ingredients, such as flour, grains, cornstarch, baking powder or baking soda. The baker must substitute matzah meal, potato starch and egg whites to … Continue reading

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Poppy seed pleasures

It all began with Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, who became a vegan when she married King Ahasuerus and moved into the palace. She favored fruits, beans and grains in her diet, and legend has it that … Continue reading

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Hats Off to Haman(tashen)!

How can you not love a holiday that tells you to dress up in costume, make loud noises with a grogger, forget your troubles, enjoy delicious food and drink lots of wine? Of course, it is Purim — often called … Continue reading

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Soup’s On

The only soups I remember from my childhood are chicken soup and cabbage borscht. But that changed when I got married. My husband, Marvin, loves making soup. When I hear him rattling the pots and pans and using the blender, … Continue reading

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Chanukah fare with international flair

Around this time of year, I think of my grandmother and the stories she told me about making beef brisket and potato latkes for her first Chanukah dinner in America. She loved to cook, and sharing her recipes from Russia … Continue reading

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Delizioso: Chanukah with an Italian flair

While enjoying my favorite foods on a recent trip to Italy, I began to think about Chanukah, even though it was only October. This was a natural association, because the Italians love to prepare foods with olive oil, and the … Continue reading

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Giving thanks deliciously

Whether you call it Thanksgiving or Turkey Day, the holiday is a festive time for American Jewish families to enjoy the best of both heritages — hearty American food and an occasion to give thanks for blessings. When it comes … Continue reading

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How sweet it is

Apples, honey and a freshly baked round challah are traditionally served at the beginning of our Rosh Hashanah dinner. The shape of the challah represents unending happiness, and foods sweetened with honey symbolize a sweet and happy new year ahead. … Continue reading

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Break the fast with a buffet

As the sound of the shofar officially closes the long day of Yom Kippur prayer, people head home a little weary but spiritually uplifted. It has been a tradition for our family to gather upon returning from synagogue for a … Continue reading

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A honeyed new year

Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a holiday full of hope and optimism as well as apples, honey and round challahs. Many of the traditional dishes that are served feature honey and apples to assure “a sweet new year.” … Continue reading

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Summertime picnic

Summer is a perfect time to share a picnic meal with friends. There is something exciting about eating outdoors, even if you are only heading to the local park. We have had season tickets for the Hollywood Bowl for as … Continue reading

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Say Cheese: Recipes for Shavuot

During Shavuot, it’s a custom to serve dairy foods, such as cheese blintzes, cheese noodle kugels, cheesecake and even ice cream. But have you wondered where this tradition comes from? There are many explanations, but I like the theory that, … Continue reading

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Italian cheeses inspire a unique holiday menu

It all started with Signora Grazia, an elderly cheese maker in Panzano, Italy. While vacationing in this Tuscan village, just 30 minutes south of Florence, we walked by her farm early one morning and saw the sign that read “Pecorino … Continue reading

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Flavors of Israel

My fascination with Israeli food started the first time I tasted a falafel laced with tahini at a little sidewalk cafe in Westwood, near UCLA. Inspired by this simple Israeli dish, I began developing a list of Middle Eastern recipes … Continue reading

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More cluck for your passover buck

I have always enjoyed researching and developing new dishes to serve during Passover, but have you ever heard of Mock Gefilte Fish? Because everyone loves chicken, I am constantly looking for new and different chicken dishes to prepare, and I … Continue reading

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Passover Argentina Style

In Argentina, although Passover comes in the fall, the celebration is much like that observed by Jews in the United States, and the food is similar to Eastern European dishes, but with a South American flair. Argentina has a Jewish … Continue reading

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Market fresh soups

Fresh ingredients for a soup are a chef’s dream, and the best place to find them is at your local farmers market — fresh fennel, squash, mushrooms, ripe tomatoes of all shapes as well as root vegetables. Our first experience … Continue reading

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Appetizing oscar night

It will be a night of glitz and glamour, surprises and speeches. From red carpet hits and misses to backstage interviews with the winners, the Academy Awards is Hollywood’s biggest night. Celebrate the 83rd Oscars on Feb. 27 with an … Continue reading

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O, Chanukah! Looking beyond latkes

When I was growing up in Los Angeles, the highlights of our Chanukah celebration included visiting with extended family — uncles, aunts and cousins — lighting the Chanukah candles and eagerly awaiting the platters of fried potato latkes. In our … Continue reading

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Chanukah’s the time for lots of latkes

There is something special about Chanukah, a time when all of our children and grandchildren gather from across the country to celebrate the holiday, which begins this year at sundown on Dec. 1. Lighting the candles, followed by family meals, … Continue reading

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Thanksgiving: Let the next generation take over

After 55 years of celebrating Thanksgiving in our home with family and friends, our son Zeke and son-in-law Jay announced that they wanted to take over the responsibility for Thanksgiving dinner. Our first reaction was to say no, but we … Continue reading

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Celebrate with Simchat Torah favorites

Simchat Torah translates as “rejoicing with/of the Torah,” and it is one of the most joyful of all the holidays. Congregants sing and dance in synagogues as the Torah is carried around the bimah seven times, and children are encouraged … Continue reading

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Dip into honey for new year inspiration

By Judy Zeidler Photo by Dan Kacvinski Rosh Hashanah, literally translated as head of the year, begins this year at sundown on Sept. 8, ushering in a 10-day period for reflection on the past year and making resolutions for the … Continue reading

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Easy cooking for the holidays

 By Judy Zeidler (Photo by Dan Kacvinski) If you are in a dilemma about what to serve your family for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, expand your menu options to include dishes that can be served in both the … Continue reading

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The Joys of Summer Fruit

BY JUDY ZEIDLER Whether you are taking a picnic to the beach, a local park or the Hollywood Bowl, desserts made from fresh fruits — peaches, apricots, plums, cherries and all kinds of berries — are a refreshing complement to … Continue reading

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Topanga Days

In the early 1960s, we bought a 45-acre ranch with a big, sprawling house in Topanga Canyon, not far from Pacific Coast Highway. The lush panorama seemed to stretch for miles into Malibu. Our rambling ranch house was a dream … Continue reading

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Celebrate Shavuot with the Flavors of Spring

Shavuot marks an important religious event — the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai. In ancient times, Shavuot was also celebrated as a spring harvest holiday, featuring foods gathered from the fields. Today, the traditional dishes we serve … Continue reading

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From Israel with love Itzik Hagadol celebrates its first anniversary in Encino

Arriving at the crowded restaurant Itzik Hagadol Grill in Encino is like entering the hustle and bustle of Israel. Large groups of happy, noisy people talk at once while consuming platters of wonderful salad dishes and grilled meats that overflow … Continue reading

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Passover Prep, Unbound

Food plays an important role during Passover — from the six symbolic items on the seder plate to those foods avoided during the eight-day holiday, like chametz (leavened grains) and kitniyot (legumes). But the dinner that follows the seder on … Continue reading

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It’s a Wrap Sweet and savory folded dishes draw on international inspiration

While growing up in Jewish Los Angeles, I was exposed to many traditional Ashkenazic dishes — kreplach, cheese blintzes and strudel, to name a few. But it wasn’t until I developed an interest in cooking that I realized most other … Continue reading

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Channukah in Tuscany Chef Jeff Thickman blends Russian and Italian cuisines for a holiday menu

When we were invited for a Tuscan Chanukah dinner at the home of our friends chef Jeff Thickman and musician Igor Polesitsky, who live in a wonderful villa in the wooded hills of Roveta, just outside Florence, the menu included … Continue reading

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Sukkot Sweets, with Etrog’s Cousin

Sukkot, one of the happiest of all Jewish festivals, is a home-centered holiday that actually takes place outside of the home. The festival’s main symbol is the decorated sukkah, a temporary outdoor booth or hut, where Jewish law requires Jews … Continue reading

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Rosh Hashanah – pg 1

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Rosh Hashanah – pg 2

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Rosh Hashanah – pg 3

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Rosh Hashanah – pg 4

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Judy & Julia

The movie “Julie and Julia” brought back great memories of how I met Julia Child in 1978 and how it resulted in adapting her bouillabaisse recipe for a kosher kitchen. I had just finished writing my first group of paperback … Continue reading

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Thinking Outside the Lunchbox

Coming up with lunch ideas can be more challenging today than in years past. Some schools may elect to forbid peanut butter on campus if a student has a peanut allergy, which removes the old standby of peanut butter and … Continue reading

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Shavuot – pg 1

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Shavuot – pg 2

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One-Pot Passover Dinner: Just the Recipe to Cut Costs

During these difficult times, whether you are trying to make Passover a little less costly this year or looking for a way to spend less time in the kitchen, there’s a simple solution: a one-pot Passover dinner. All the traditional … Continue reading

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Passover Class

March 17, 2009 Wednesday, 10am-1pm Passover Class Tips on prepping for your Seder and mastering your grocery list.  Recipes will include new and traditional Seder dishes, and ideas on what to serve during the eight days of Passover AND the … Continue reading

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Poppy Seed Desserts – pg 1

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Poppy Seed Desserts (continued) – pg 2

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Masks and Costumes and Groggers

February 17, 2009 Wednesday, 10am-1pm Masks and Costumes and Groggers – Oh My! A Family Purim Party with recipes from Judy’s fall 2009 Italian holiday.  Poppy seeds will be the theme with recipes for Farro Soup, Homemade Pasta with Two … Continue reading

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Judy & Julia

January 13, 2009 Wednesday, 10am-1pm Judy & Julia The movie Julie & Julia brought back great memories of how I met Julia Child in 1978 and how it resulted in adapting her bouillabaisse recipe for a kosher kitchen. I had … Continue reading

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Latkes and farinata: something familiar, something new

These days, my family has spread out, but as always, we will all be coming together for Chanukah, because no one wants to miss the Chanukah reunion dinner, our favorite family get-together. It is a time to catch up on … Continue reading

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Italy Too

ITALY TRIP – JUDY & MARVINO ZEIDLER – FRIDAY – OCTOBER 10, 2008 International Airpor LAX – Lufthansa – Friday – arrived 3pm – checked in – business lounge on 5th floor 3:30pm.  Boarded plane at 4:10pm & left at 4:30pm.  … Continue reading

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Potato Latkes

Join me as I show you how to make delicious Potato Latkes

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A Tuscan Feast – pg 1

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A Tuscan Feast (continued) – pg 2

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Thomas Keller

Thomas Keller shows us how to make: Savory Coronets with Tuna Tartar Warm Smoked Salmon with Potato Gnocchi

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Yujean Kang

Yujean Kang shows us how to make: Julienned Halibut with Kumquat & Passionfruit Sauce Chicken with Pungent Garlic Eggplant with Garlic & Cilantro ‘Picture in the Snow’ Soup

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Philippe Jeanty

Philippe Jeanty shows us how to make: Caramelized Onion Tarte Tatin with Feta Cheese Roasted Salmon with Vinaigrette Polenta Pudding soaked in Summer Berries

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Chef Akasha adds fresh twist to holiday traditions

Akasha Richmond is a self-trained chef and artisan-style baker who has been catering events in the Los Angeles area for the past 20 years. A tall woman with dark hair and blue eyes, she bears a striking resemblance to Barbra … Continue reading

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Top Tastes of Purim Wrapped up Together

The theme for our family Purim dinner this year will be blintzes, but the preparation will be a little different and will include ingredients that are symbolic for the holiday. The inspiration for the menu began when my daughter, Susan, … Continue reading

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Chanukah Menu Dishing Up a Travelogue of Treats

Just back from Italy, I was inspired by the foods served at our favorite restaurants. My Chanukah menu this year is a travelogue of those culinary experiences. We devote Chanukah to our children and grandchildren, and many of the dishes … Continue reading

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A Sweet Gefilte Fish Like His Polish Grandma Used to Make

I’ve bought meat from the same kosher butcher shop on Pico Boulevard in West Los Angeles for many years. But it wasn’t until recently that I asked G&K Kosher Meat owner Herschel Berengut, 58, about the Passover dishes he prepares … Continue reading

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Avoid Shower Cliche with Salad Buffet

A bridal shower is one of the most joyous parties you can possibly give, and the occasion calls for light, delicious festive foods.  This menu offers four of my personal favorite chicken salad recipes.  (For a smaller shower, you could … Continue reading

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A Bar Mitzvah Learns to Bake Challah

January 10, 2005 For the past fifty years I have given cooking classes that include recipes for contemporary and traditional dishes, as well as menus for all the Jewish holidays.   It is always very rewarding when I receive calls from … Continue reading

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