Archive


The Italians were onto something with sformato, a creamy egg and vegetable dish that is elegant and yet homey, plus irresistible in flavor and texture. Most traditionally, sformato (pronounced sfohr-MAH-toh, coming from the Latin word for “form”) is a vegetable flan prepared in large ring mold or individual molds. But this dish doesn’t have to […]


Rice laced with spinach and cheese and fried—spinach arancini bring home a delightful taste of Sicily. That’s where I first tried this version of deep fried risotto balls a couple of years ago when we visited to explore some of my Sicilian roots. The treat—shaped as big as oranges, ovals, or pears in the case […]


These hamantaschen are a love letter to Sicily, starring two iconic Sicilian ingredients—pine nuts and marzipan.  The pine nuts particularly evoke the Jews of Sicily who called the island home going back more than 2000 years. When Arab conquerors introduced pine nuts—especially in combination with currants or raisins—Jews welcomed the ingredients into their repertoire, such […]


A comforting and earthy classic, this soup emerged hundreds of years ago as an essential for Eastern European Jews. Although porcini mushrooms seem like an exotic item today (and are pricey to boot), Jews in places like Poland, Lithuania, and Ukraine had ready access to this type of mushroom, which grew profusely in the forests […]


Almond Kifli are delightful crescent-shaped sweets from Ashkenazi Jewish traditions, particularly in Hungary and Austria. They might remind you of recipes like snow balls or Mexican wedding cookies with their wonderfully crumbly and light texture and inviting white coat of confectioners’ sugar. This style of cookie has become popular across many traditions worldwide, and it’s […]


At once crispy and creamy, fried mashed potato balls take you right from Thanksgiving’s leftover mashed potatoes to a Hanukkah fried delight. And actually, even if I don’t have leftovers, I will make this recipe (don’t worry, latkes, we will be making you, too) because it is uniquely fun and a texture and flavor sensation […]


You might not normally think of cannoli for Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. But they are perfect, especially for this year’s confluence of these two beloved holidays. For Hanukkah, this classic Sicilian dessert neatly captures both the frying and dairy traditions in one package. For Thanksgiving, the filling takes beautifully to a spike of warm holiday flavor […]


Cranberry sauce moves from roast turkey side relish to pastry superstar in this rugelach recipe celebrating the delicious intersection of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.  I can’t think of a better use for that leftover cranberry sauce than to become a filling and glaze for rugelach. And although these make a beloved sweet for the festival of […]


Stuffed cabbage earned its place as a beloved comfort food long, long ago—and this slightly updated version offers tender texture and more flavor without sacrificing the qualities that made this dish treasured among communities across a large part of the world.  Now, I know there are plenty of stuffed cabbage skeptics out there. Confession: It […]


When apple season begins but it still feels like summer, a creamy sundae with sweet apples, caramel sauce, and my special cinnamon crunch brings it all together. This sweet concoction is out of the park with homemade caramel sauce and whipped cream BUT offers shortcuts so you can enjoy it in a snap. In a […]


The best package for summer’s luscious peaches might just be in the rustic Italian crostata. At peak peach season, there are many ways to turn the stone fruit into a dessert. But I’ve long thought the Italian idea—the free-form tart—topped them all. It satisfies my longing for pie and a bit of crumble topping without […]


Although the most famous Jewish-Italian artichoke dish might be the deep-fried Carciofi alla Giudia (Artichokes Jewish-style), Italian Jews enjoyed artichokes many ways. It helps that they got a head start on other Italians by warmly embracing the petal-packed thistle buds after the vegetable was likely introduced to Sicily by Arab conquerors. One of the ways […]


With a name inspired by the song “Strawberry Fields Forever,” this drink might seem to be a Beatles homage. It is, but mostly it isn’t. More than anything, it’s a tribute to people and things I love in an exquisitely flavored and festive new cocktail. The name’s take on the Fab Four’s song comes courtesy […]


The belle of the balls might very well be the matzah ball. Humble as they look, they reign as one of the most iconic foods of Jewish Ashkenazi traditions. And for good reason. Immersed in hot nourishing chicken soup, the dumplings are comfortingly filling and substantial. Whenever I make the soup, my husband says it […]


A seasoned meat stew, Goulash (a recipe I included in The Essential Jewish Cookbook), comes by its amazing flavor with a winning combination of beef, paprika, lots of onions and a long braise. At first it might seem puzzling as part of a Jewish repertoire, but Hungarian Jews were just as charmed by the famous […]