Pulled Pastrami Hamantashen

I’m a sucker for a cute little appetizer. But a themed appetizer? Totally my thing! With Purim coming up, I wanted to make a super cute hamantashen. I got out my prune lekvar and apricot butter and started thinking about dough. Then I realized I MUST merge my appetizer love with a hamantashen!

No joke, this recipe happened because a frozen pastrami fell on my foot. Tiny freezer, #brooklynproblems. And it’s not the first time I’ve had a probably-broken toe from a pastrami. Anyway, I decided to cook the monster. Low and slow is the way to go when it comes to brisket. Even lower and slower with pastrami- the meat steams and stays juicy, while I get a full night’s sleep! Crockpot fan? Plop it in your pastrami, set it and forget it. The only rule here is to shred it while it’s hot!

Pastrami plays nicely with sweet and spicy- just like a good deli sandwich! A hidden burst of spicy brown mustard and tangled up onion jam does just the trick. The pastrami, jam, and honey mustard drizzle can all be made ahead. Don’t like the plan ahead game? Use deli pastrami, just chop it up!

Puff pastry is my go-to, because it just hangs out in the freezer till I’m ready for it! I use the sheets and defrost them in the fridge overnight. Each sheet gets gently rolled out and stamped with ravioli cutters. Fill and bake and devour! (I swear no one will tattle if you inhale some pastrami on its way to its next adventure)

If you’re the plan ahead type, each component can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The shredded pastrami and onion jam can be frozen. The formed hamantashen can be frozen baked or unbaked. If freezing unbaked, bake from frozen, and add a few minutes to baking time.

These super cute two bite appetizers will for sure be at my Purim table! What about yours?

Pulled Pastrami Hamantashen

2lb raw pastrami roast

Water

4 sheets puff pastry

2tb deli mustard

1/4c water

1 egg yolk

Remove all packaging from the pastrami. Place it in a roasting pan. Carefully pour in water so it comes to about 2” up the side of the pan. Cover tightly and bake at 195, for 7-8 hours.

Alternatively, bake at 300 for 3.5-4 hours.

While meat is still hot, remove from the pan and shred using two forks or meat claws.

Mix the 1 c of the shredded meat with the Onion Jam. (Recipe below)

Reserve the rest of the meat for another use.

Roll out each sheet of puff pastry into an approximately 9×13 rectangle. Using a 2” diameter cutter or drinking glass, stamp out circles.

Prick the bottom of each circle with a fork and add a small spoonful of mustard. Add a spoonful of pastrami filling and brush the edges with water. Form into a triangle. Brush pastry with egg yolk. Carefully transfer hamantashen to a parchment lined baking tray.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until golden and puffed.

Drizzle with Honey Mustard sauce right before serving.

Onion Jam:

3 large onions

1/4c olive oil

Pinch of salt

In a small nonstick pan, warm the oil. Peel and thinly slice the onions and add to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and stir, cooking on a low flame, until onions are very dark and golden. This should take about an hour.

(This can be frozen)

Honey Mustard Sauce

2 TB good mayo

2 TB deli mustard

1 TB honey

Stir and drizzle over hamantashen.

Pulled Pastrami Hamantashen

I’m a sucker for a cute little appetizer. But a themed appetizer? Totally my thing! With Purim coming up, I wanted to make a super cute hamantashen. I got out my prune lekvar and apricot butter and started thinking about dough. Then I realized I MUST merge my appetizer love with a hamantashen!

No joke, this recipe happened because a frozen pastrami fell on my foot. Tiny freezer, #brooklynproblems. And it’s not the first time I’ve had a probably-broken toe from a pastrami. Anyway, I decided to cook the monster. Low and slow is the way to go when it comes to brisket. Even lower and slower with pastrami- the meat steams and stays juicy, while I get a full night’s sleep! Crockpot fan? Plop it in your pastrami, set it and forget it. The only rule here is to shred it while it’s hot!

Pastrami plays nicely with sweet and spicy- just like a good deli sandwich! A hidden burst of spicy brown mustard and tangled up onion jam does just the trick. The pastrami, jam, and honey mustard drizzle can all be made ahead. Don’t like the plan ahead game? Use deli pastrami, just chop it up!

Puff pastry is my go-to, because it just hangs out in the freezer till I’m ready for it! I use the sheets and defrost them in the fridge overnight. Each sheet gets gently rolled out and stamped with ravioli cutters. Fill and bake and devour! (I swear no one will tattle if you inhale some pastrami on its way to its next adventure)

If you’re the plan ahead type, each component can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. The shredded pastrami and onion jam can be frozen. The formed hamantashen can be frozen baked or unbaked. If freezing unbaked, bake from frozen, and add a few minutes to baking time.

These super cute two bite appetizers will for sure be at my Purim table! What about yours?

Pulled Pastrami Hamantashen

2lb raw pastrami roast

Water

4 sheets puff pastry

2tb deli mustard

1/4c water

1 egg yolk

Remove all packaging from the pastrami. Place it in a roasting pan. Carefully pour in water so it comes to about 2” up the side of the pan. Cover tightly and bake at 195, for 7-8 hours.

Alternatively, bake at 300 for 3.5-4 hours.

While meat is still hot, remove from the pan and shred using two forks or meat claws.

Mix the 1 c of the shredded meat with the Onion Jam. (Recipe below)

Reserve the rest of the meat for another use.

Roll out each sheet of puff pastry into an approximately 9×13 rectangle. Using a 2” diameter cutter or drinking glass, stamp out circles.

Prick the bottom of each circle with a fork and add a small spoonful of mustard. Add a spoonful of the pastrami filling and brush the edges with water. Form into a triangle and pinch tightly. Brush pastry with egg yolk. Carefully transfer hamantashen to a parchment lined baking tray.

Bake at 425 for 15 minutes or until golden and puffed.

Drizzle with Honey Mustard sauce before serving.

Onion Jam:

3 large onions

1/4c olive oil

Pinch of salt

In a small nonstick pan, warm the oil. Peel and thinly slice the onions and add to the pan. Sprinkle with salt and stir, cooking on a low flame, until onions are very dark and golden. This should take about an hour.

(This can be frozen)

Honey Mustard Sauce

2 TB good mayo

2 TB deli mustard

1 TB honey

Stir and drizzle over hamantashen.

Creamy/Dreamy Baked Ziti

I’m a huge baked ziti fan. Mainly because it’s delicious, but also because it’s super simple. Side note, I love it because almost everyone in the family will eat it. (We have one who dips her portion in ketchup, but I can ignore her)

There’s something about a crispy lid of cheese that covers a dish of cheesy noodles. Something great. Even greater when your fork hits a gooey pocket of ricotta. But the greatest? One pot, one baking dish and dinner is done.

And which president said ketchup is a vegetable? He’s totally right here, because if ketchup counts, so does marinara sauce! I like a good quality sauce with little to no added sugar. Trader Joe’s makes a great one- my favorite is the roasted garlic marinara. Look for a sauce that has sugar wayyyy down on the ingredient list. Higher up on the list means more of it, and this is dinner, not dessert.

Pasta shape is important here. The classic ziti or rigatoni is one way to go- the tube shape holds sauce beautifully. My personal favorite is a twisty, craggy shape. These beauties grab on to sauce and cheese beautifully. As a bonus, they make for great crispy edges. Just make sure to drain your pasta 2-3 minutes before it hits al dente. The pasta will finish cooking in the oven and absorb the sauce.

I layer my ziti, almost like a lasagna. I’m all for ensuring cheesy goodness in every bite! Ricotta cheese is a star here, adding a light fluffy creaminess. Not a fan? Use whipped cottage cheese instead.

The dish can be assembled and tightly covered and refrigerated or frozen. It can also be baked and then frozen. Just make sure to wrap it tightly in several layers of foil for the freezer, because freezer burn is not your friend!

Creamy/Dreamy Baked Ziti

Cooking spray

16 oz pasta

2 TB salt

1 jar marinara sauce (26oz)

2 c shredded mozzarella

2 c ricotta cheese

Red pepper flakes (optional)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add salt and pasta. Cook for 3 minutes less than the al dente instructions. Drain and mix with marinara sauce. Pour half the pasta and sauce mixture into a greased 9×13 baking dish. Mix in 1 cup of the shredded mozzarella. Dollop 1 cup of ricotta on top of the pasta. Pour the rest of the pasta mixture on top. Sprinkle with the remaining cup of mozzarella. Dollop with the remaining cup of ricotta. Add red pepper flakes if using.

For a gooey baked ziti, keep the baking dish covered with foil. For a crispy lid, uncover the dish.

Bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes, or until browned.

Winter Citrus Salad

Salad lovers, unite. Anyone else a big salad fan? Soft lettuces, sturdy greens or even no greens, I’m a huge fan. Whether composed on a plate or chopped in a bowl, there’s always a salad on my dinner table.

Spring and summer are my favorite seasons. There is no limit to the farm fresh greens, fruits and vegetables available. If you’ve never dug lettuce out of the dirt and eaten it the same day…. I highly recommend it! But winter…. that’s where I get stuck. Living in New York, everything is readily available. But is it good? Not always. Those $9 strawberries may look beautiful, but they sure don’t taste like fresh local berries.

I’ve taken it upon myself to stick to seasonal fruits and vegetables when I can. Citrus plays a huge role here, and winter is absolutely the best time to buy citrus fruits. Oranges, Meyer lemons, limes, blood oranges… they’re all hitting the markets now and their colors are outrageous.

To be honest, citrus was never really my “thing.” I only started enjoying oranges and grapefruits when I tapped into their savory side. A bracing garlicky parsley sauce offsets some of the sweetness of the fruit. Broiling a few slices of fruit adds a slight bitterness and textural contrast. Avocado, besides for making me happy, lends a hint of buttery luxury.

When choosing your citrus, look for firm, heavy fruit with no blemishes. Oranges shouldn’t have “air pockets”- those seemingly empty spaces mean the fruit is old and starting to dry up. I use a mixture of small grapefruits, navel oranges, cara cara oranges, and Meyer lemons. Anything goes really, just use a variety of sizes and colors for visual interest.

Meyer lemons are a super sweet, fragrant cross between a lemon and a tangerine. When they’re broiled, they’re sweet enough to eat! I highly suggest seeking them out!

Enjoy your citrus salad and remember to let me know how you liked it!

Winter Citrus Salad

1 Meyer lemon

4 oranges/ grapefruits

1 ripe avocado

Red pepper flakes

Sea salt

Parsley sauce

1 garlic clove

1/2 c fresh parsley leaves (lightly packed)

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

Salt

Make the sauce:

In a mini food processor, combine the parsley and garlic and process until finely chopped. Drizzle in the olive oil and pulse until combined. Stir in salt.

Prepare the salad:

On a cutting board, slice the top and bottom ends off each citrus fruit. Using a sharp paring knife, carefully slice off the skin and the pith, leaving only the flesh of the fruit. Turn the citrus on its side and cut into 1/4” thick slices.

Take about 1/3 of the fruit slices and arrange on a sheet tray lined with foil. Set the broiler to high. Broil for 2-3 minutes or until tops start to brown.

Slice the avocado and remove the skin and pit. Thinly slice.

Arrange the fresh fruit, broiled fruit, and avocado on a platter. Sprinkle with salt and red pepper flakes. Drizzle with parsley sauce.

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

I’ve been seeing a ton of “sheet pan” recipes all over the place lately. I fell in love with the idea after I made my Chanukah latkes in a sheet pan. Hot pan, lots of stuff, toss it in the oven, and boom… full meal! I’ve done some with fish and with steak, but I wanted something quick and healthy and simple. Chicken is my go-to quick dinner. It’s like a blank canvas for any flavor!

I love serving tacos or fajitas for dinner. It’s super simple and everyone makes there own, so the whining is limited. Don’t like peppers? Don’t eat em. Low carb? Use a lettuce cup instead of the tortilla. Not a guac person? Skip it. (Surely you don’t live in my house if you don’t like guac. We basically keep the avocado industry rolling)

The key here is some advance prep. Make the spice mixture in advance and save it in a mason jar. It’s perfect as a rub for steaks, salmon, or grilled chicken. I sometimes add a pinch to scrambled tofu or sautéed vegetables. My favorite part about this? It’s not spicy, so we can all load up on hot sauce. Total crowd pleaser.

I love a quick prep meal and this totally checks off that box. Toss the chicken strips, peppers, onions and seasoning in a bowl and then pour it out onto the tray. Limited pre dinner prep time? Combine it all in a zip top bag and stash it in the fridge for tomorrow. All you have to do is spread the chicken on a tray and bake.

As for baking trays, real metal is the way to go. These pans retain heat for evenly cooked food. Not going to happen? Double up on disposable trays, they’re sturdier that way. (Goal: try to avoid chicken spilling all over the oven)

Today’s supermarket cheats are a total game changer. Many butchers offer chicken cutlets sliced into thin “stir fry” strips. Supermarkets have ready to go sliced peppers and onions. Take advantage! If a little bit extra money spent on pre-prepped produce helps you get a fresh meal on the table… it’s worth it!

This meal is super adaptable. Use any color bell peppers, and any color onions. White meat chicken or dark meat chicken both turn out beautifully. I like to serve this with tortillas, pico de gallo, rice and beans and guacamole. But really… when it comes to tacos.. the sky is the limit!

Sheet Pan Chicken Fajitas

1.5lb chicken cutlets

3 bell peppers

1 onion

1 jalapeño (optional)

4 cloves garlic

2 limes

2 TB olive oil

1 TB smoked paprika

1 TB coriander

1 TB chili powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp oregano

1 tsp paprika

Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes (to taste)

Method:

Cut the chicken, onion, and peppers into strips and add to a large mixing bowl. Mince the garlic and jalapeño (optional) and add to the bowl. Drizzle oil and lime juice over the chicken and toss with clean hands. Sprinkle the spice mix over the chicken mixture and toss to coat.

Line a baking sheet with foil and parchment. Spread the chicken mixture evenly on the tray.

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes. (25-30 minutes for dark cutlets)

If desired, broil for 1-2 minutes.

Sheet- Pan Latkes + Caramelized Onion Dip

I love a good latke, just like anyone else. What I don’t love? Standing over a frying pan, frying for a crowd. First, the grease burns. Second, the mess. Third, I end up smelling like a fry-o-later for a week. I’ve tried baked latkes a bunch of times, but they’ve never lived up to the hype.

I wanted a baked latke that was short on time but big on flavor. A little bit of greasy crunch never hurt anyone! There’s only about a half cup of oil in this recipe, which embraces the holiday, but doesn’t go overboard. The key is carefully heating up some of the oil in the baking pan, and also drizzling a bit over the potatoes. Top to bottom crunch- no frying pan needed. A real metal baking sheet is the trick here. It retains heat and transfers it perfectly, so beautiful crisp latke insanity. Craggy top, crisp bottom, creamy center- perfection!

(Don’t try and use a foil pan. It won’t hold the batter)

For this recipe, I use shredded refrigerated hash browns. (They’re near the eggs and dairy.) These guys are a huge timesaver- literally open the bag and go. No shredding or grating and no cleanup! These are gently treated, so they won’t turn brown when they hit the bowl. Horseradish is optional, but adds an incredible “hmmm” flavor.

All great latkes having a dipping sauce, and keeping with the Chanukah theme, I’m going with a dairy dip. Sour cream is super traditional, but it’s not something I typically buy. 2% Greek yogurt is a perfect sub! I mix mine with horseradish, dill, and caramelized onion for incredible flavor. The dip keeps well, so make it ahead of time!

(Need a parve option? Parve sour cream!)

Huge thank you to my photographer friend Sara Adina for the photo help and editing. She’s mainly a portrait photographer and she’s @portraitsbysaraadina!

Sheet – Pan Latkes

Ingredients:

1/2c + 4TB extra virgin olive oil

1 onion

2 bags (20oz each) refrigerated shredded hash brown potatoes

4 eggs

2 TB prepared grated horseradish

Salt & pepper

Equipment:

Grater

Metal sheet pan

Parchment paper

Large mixing bowl

Fork

Method:

Preheat the oven to 425. Line the sheet pan with parchment and drizzle over 2TB of the olive oil. When the oven is hot, place the oiled pan to preheat for 3-4 minutes.

Peel the onion and grate directly into the mixing bowl. Don’t drain off any liquid.

Break the eggs into the mixing bowl. Add 1/2c olive oil, horseradish, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Add in the shredded potatoes and stir until coated in egg mixture.

Carefully remove the hot pan from the oven. Slowly pour the potato mixture onto the pan, being careful not to splash oil. Spread into an even layer and smooth with a fork. Drizzle the remaining 2TB olive oil over the top.

Bake at 425 for 40-45 minutes, raise the temperature to 450 and continue baking for 15 minutes, until golden on top.

Cool slightly before serving.

Caramelized Onion Dip

Ingredients:

1.5c plain Greek yogurt

1 large onion

2 TB olive oil

1/4c water

Salt & pepper

2 TB chopped fresh dill

1 tsp prepared horseradish

Equipment:

Small pot or skillet

Fork

Small mixing bowl

Measuring cup

Measuring spoon

Mixing spoon

Method:

Thinly slice the onion and add to a small pot or skillet with water, oil, salt and pepper. Cook on a flow flame, stirring frequently, until onions are very dark brown. This will take about 45-60 minutes. Let onions cool slightly.

Combine onions with yogurt, salt, pepper, horseradish and dill.

Avocado Toast 101

There’s something about avocado toast. It’s healthy, it’s beautiful, it’s simple, and it’s portable, but the sum is so much more than it’s parts. A handful of simple ingredients is transformed into a luxurious meal. The best part? There’s no real recipe. Go sweet, go savory, pick simple or fancy, as long as you’ve got good bread and a perfect avocado, it’s golden.

The question I get most is “how do I choose a good avocado?”

I’ve bought hundreds of avikados (as B spells them) all in the name of research. The most common (and delicious!) variety is the Hass, with pebbled skin and a classic pear shape. You want to buy your avocados bright green, and rock hard. Look for the stem, just like a good etrog, if it’s attached, you’re ok. Avocados sold without the stem attached have been picked too early. They’ll go from green to mush.

Let these beauties ripen naturally on your counter. Good things take time! In a rush? Pop your avocados into a brown paper bag with an apple or banana and leave it in a warm spot. This’ll shave a day off ripening.

There’s no real “recipe” to making a good toast. You need bread (good bread! Not white bread!) and a perfectly ripe avocado. I typically aim for 1/3 of a large avocado OR 1/2 of a small avocado per slice of toast.

The only “requirement” is to salt and pepper each layer. After spreading the avocado, season with salt and pepper. Season your toppings too!

Toppings are endless. Here are my top 5- but the varieties are never ending. What’s your favorite?

The Brooklyn

1 slice of toast

Avocado

2 slices of lox or smoked salmon

Cooking spray

1 egg

1 tsp

1 tsp “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning

Salt & pepper

Spray a small skillet with cooking spray and set on a medium flame. Crack in one egg and DO NOT TOUCH IT! When the egg has a soft yolk and crisp edges, turn off the flame. Mash the avocado onto the toast, season, add smoked salmon and egg. Sprinkle with EBTB seasoning.

The Hipster

1 slice of toast

Avocado

2 TB crumbled feta

1 TB pomegranate seeds

1 tsp truffle oil

Salt & pepper

Mash avocado onto toast and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with feta and pomegranate. Drizzle with truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper.

The Philosopher

1 slice of toast

Avocado

2 TB plain Greek yogurt

1 small Persian cucumber

1 tsp Zaatar

Salt & pepper

Spread the avocado onto the toast and season with salt and pepper. Arrange cucumber and spread yogurt onto toast. Sprinkle with Zaatar and salt and pepper.

The Bruschetta

1 slice of toast

Avocado

1/4 c grape tomatoes

1 frozen basil cube

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

Salt & pepper

Halve the tomatoes and combine in a small bowl with basil, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Allow to sit while preparing toast. Spread avocado on toast, stir tomato mixture and add to toast. (Extra vinegar mixture can be drizzled on toast!)

The Sesame Ginger

1 slice of toast

Avocado

1/4 c shredded, spiralized, or cooked/cubed beets

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

Salt & pepper

Sesame seeds

In a small bowl, combine beets, ginger, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper. Spread avocado on toast. Arrange beet mixture over avocado and sprinkle with sesame seeds, salt and pepper

Avocado Toast 101

There’s something about avocado toast. It’s healthy, it’s beautiful, it’s simple, and it’s portable, but the sum is so much more than it’s parts. A handful of simple ingredients is transformed into a luxurious meal. The best part? There’s no real recipe. Go sweet, go savory, pick simple or fancy, as long as you’ve got good bread and a perfect avocado, it’s golden.

The question I get most is “how do I choose a good avocado?”

I’ve bought hundreds of avikados (as B spells them) all in the name of research. The most common (and delicious!) variety is the Hass, with pebbled skin and a classic pear shape. You want to buy your avocados bright green, and rock hard. Look for the stem, just like a good etrog, if it’s attached, you’re ok. Avocados sold without the stem attached have been picked too early. They’ll go from green to mush.

Let these beauties ripen naturally on your counter. Good things take time! In a rush? Pop your avocados into a brown paper bag with an apple or banana and leave it in a warm spot. This’ll shave a day off ripening.

There’s no real “recipe” to making a good toast. You need bread (good bread! Not white bread!) and a perfectly ripe avocado. I typically aim for 1/3 of a large avocado OR 1/2 of a small avocado per slice of toast.

The only “requirement” is to salt and pepper each layer. After spreading the avocado, season with salt and pepper. Season your toppings too!

Toppings are endless. Here are my top 5- but the varieties are never ending. What’s your favorite?

The Brooklyn

1 slice of toast

Avocado

2 slices of lox or smoked salmon

Cooking spray

1 egg

1 tsp

1 tsp “Everything But the Bagel” seasoning

Salt & pepper

Spray a small skillet with cooking spray and set on a medium flame. Crack in one egg and DO NOT TOUCH IT! When the egg has a soft yolk and crisp edges, turn off the flame. Mash the avocado onto the toast, season, add smoked salmon and egg. Sprinkle with EBTB seasoning.

The Hipster

1 slice of toast

Avocado

2 TB crumbled feta

1 TB pomegranate seeds

1 tsp truffle oil

Salt & pepper

Mash avocado onto toast and season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with feta and pomegranate. Drizzle with truffle oil. Season with salt and pepper.

The Philosopher

1 slice of toast

Avocado

2 TB plain Greek yogurt

1 small Persian cucumber

1 tsp Zaatar

Salt & pepper

Spread the avocado onto the toast and season with salt and pepper. Arrange cucumber and spread yogurt onto toast. Sprinkle with Zaatar and salt and pepper.

The Bruschetta

1 slice of toast

Avocado

1/4 c grape tomatoes

1 frozen basil cube

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 tsp olive oil

Salt & pepper

Halve the tomatoes and combine in a small bowl with basil, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. Allow to sit while preparing toast. Spread avocado on toast, stir tomato mixture and add to toast. (Extra vinegar mixture can be drizzled on toast!)

The Sesame Ginger

1 slice of toast

Avocado

1/4 c shredded, spiralized, or cooked/cubed beets

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp rice vinegar

Salt & pepper

Sesame seeds

In a small bowl, combine beets, ginger, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper. Spread avocado on toast. Arrange beet mixture over avocado and sprinkle with sesame seeds, salt and pepper

Sweet Potato & Cranberry Strudel 

Thanksgiving is coming! There’s turkey and stuffing and mashed potatoes and green beans… and oh, @&$!, you forgot the appetizer. 
Well.. I didn’t! My goal was to come up with something simple and seasonal that would please (almost) everyone. Deli rolls and mini meatballs are heavy. Franks in blankets are boring. No one wants to fry right before guests arrive. And don’t forget the vegetarian! Tall order, right?
Even taller, if you want to prep and freeze ahead of time. I decided to make sweet potato wonton cups but I gave up after scooping sweet potatoes into wontons. Too much patchke, and who really wants to deal with making a zillion wonton cups?
I had this giant vat of leftover sweet potato and some cranberry sauce. (I make my own sauce throughout the winter and use it on toast and in yogurt) Of course, there was a package of puff pastry in my freezer. (Because, Jewish gals and puff pastry are BFF) 
I decided to combine the three with some herbs to make a savory strudel. Silky sweet potatoes, tart cranberry sauce, and flaky dough? Heaven on earth. Or a great appetizer that you set down and forget about, since, you know, that turkey might be burning!
The best part about this? It’s an amazing vehicle for leftovers. Add some leftover cubes of turkey to the strudel, pop it in the freezer and take it out for a Shabbat appetizer in the future. They’ll think you slaved all day!
I make my own cranberry sauce, and I’m sharing the recipe below. Feel free to use the canned stuff. Time is money, yo!
Steaming the sweet potatoes locks in their bright color and nutrients. I use a pot with a steamer insert. Don’t have one? Use a colander over a regular pot and cover with any lid. 
The recipe below makes two strudels. Bake one now and hide one in the freezer for later! 
Sweet Potato & Cranberry Strudel 
1 recipe cranberry sauce (below)

2lb sweet potatoes 

2 TB olive oil 

Salt & pepper 

1 tsp dried thyme (optional)

2 sheets puff pastry 

1 egg yolk 

1 tsp dried thyme 
Prepare the potato mixture: 

Peel and cube the sweet potatoes. Place cubes in a steamer insert or colander. Put the insert in a pot with 3-4″ of water ann cover. Turn flame on to medium and steam 20-30 minutes. Potatoes should be very tender. 
Transfer potatoes to a bowl and mash with oil, thyme,salt, and pepper. Allow to cool before forming strudel 
Defrost puff pastry and lay out flat. Place dollops of potato filling down the center of the pastry, leaving about 2″ of plain pastry overhang on both sides. Smooth potato filling.Place spoonfuls of cranberry sauce down the center of the potato mixture. 
Using a very sharp knife, cut slits in the pastry. Fold the thin strips of pastry over the filling, overlapping to form a braid. 
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk. Brush onto strudel. Sprinkle with dried thyme.’
Freeze immediately or bake at 425 for 20 minutes, or until golden. Serve warm or at room temp. 

Cranberry Sauce: 

2 c fresh cranberries 

Zest of one orange 

1/4 c orange juice 

1/4 c maple syrup 

1/4 c water 

Pinch of salt 
Combine all in a small saucepan. Cook over a low flame, stirring occasionally until most of the cranberries have popped. The sauce will have thickened, but will be a bit runny. It will thicken as it cools. 

Savory Onion Rugalech

Ages ago, I was talking to my friend Devorah about appetizers. I needed a prep ahead, vegetarian appetizer, without mushrooms. Tall order, but she came to the rescue! She suggested (in a British accent!) onion rugalech. Her recipe: cook onions, wrap in dough. 
So, for the past year, I’ve been frying onions, wrapping in dough, and serving these beauties to guests. They were always snapped up and the recipe was always requested. But.. “cook onions, wrap in dough” didn’t go over too well (even if I said it in a British accent) 

How many onions? What kind of dough? Do I reaalllllly need to fry the onions? 
I decided to pull out my measuring cups (yes, I do own them, because once in a blue moon, I bake!) and write up an actual recipe for these lovelies. (Use your British accent here, kids) 
For this recipe, I use malawach dough. It’s an Israeli disk of ultra crispy, flaky and delicious dough. It’s typically served pan fried with a dip of grated or puréed tomatoes. I defrost the disks and use a pizza cutter to make wedges. 
Fried onions are a staple in my house. There’s always a mason jar in the fridge and a ziplock in the freezer. It’s the topping to the classic Thursday night mujudrah (rice and lentils), but I’ve found so many other creative uses! These take time to make, but mostly unattended. Feel free to double or triple or make 10lb of onions! 

(Pro- tip: wear a shower cap while frying. Then you won’t have random people asking if you fried onions) 
Want to prep ahead? Line up your unbaked rugalech on a cookie sheet. Freeze until solid and then transfer to a ziplock bag. Hide them in the freezer. No need to defrost before baking- just add a few minutes to the baking time. 
Savory Onion Rugalech 
1 package malawach dough (6 disks)

2 TB oil 

1/4c water (optional)

2-3 onions (to equal 4c)

6 cloves garlic 

Salt and pepper 

1 egg 

Sesame seeds (optional) 
Make the onion mixture: 

Warm the oil in a small nonstick saucepan or skillet. Mince the garlic and thinly slice the onions into half moons. Add carefully to the oil and season with salt and pepper. Cook on a low flame, stirring occasionally, until onions are very dark brown, almost burnt looking. Cool the mixture before filling the Rugalech. This can be made in advance!
Open the package of malawach disks, and allow to defrost. Keep each disk wrapped in plastic until ready to use. The disks should be pliable, but not mushy.
Unwrap one disk and place on a flat surface, like a cutting board. Using a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut each disk into 8 equal wedges. 
Using a small fork or spoon, fill the wider side of each triangle with onion mixture. Roll up, tucking the tip of the dough under the Rugalech. Arrange on a baking tray, making sure the filled Rugalech don’t touch each other. 
In a small bowl, beat the egg. Brush each Rugalech with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. 
Freeze for later, or bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes. Rugalech should be crisp and golden!