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Potato Salad with Ashkenazi Flavors

Potato Salad with Ashkenazi Flavors

(The Nosher via JTA) – If I am being honest, I have struggled in the past with making a good potato salad.

It seems simple enough — boiled potatoes, mayo, some spices. But there is a bit of an art and science to making potato salad to ensure it isn’t too mushy or soggy, or drenched or bland. And since potato salad is such a classic side dish for summer cookouts and parties, I felt determined to master this seemingly simple dish.

So after a few years of making mediocre potato salad, here are some of the things I have learned:

Rainbow Falafel

Courtesy Aly Miller

Rainbow Falafel

(The Nosher via JTA) – The rainbow bagel trend, admittedly, isn’t my favorite. Neon just isn’t that appetizing to me, and I’ve always been suspicious of too much food coloring. I do love colorful foods, though, as long as those vibrant hues come from things like spices, herbs, flowers (like these fuchsia hibiscus donuts!), fruits and vegetables.

Food With Layers Of Meaning

Tisha b’Av, the day we mourn the destruction of the First and Second Temples, seems especially sad this year as we witness worldwide violence and political upheaval. It also falls on July 31, which coincides with the official expulsion of Jews from Spain in 1492. 

This somber mood reaches all the way into the kitchen. Although we Jews usually celebrate our holidays with festive foods and big meals, Tisha b’Av is a fast day. Dinner the evening before is meat-free and simple, and beyond that, out of respect, for Nine Days before the fast, we eat fish or vegetarian meals. 

Israeli-Inspired Avocado Toast, 3 Ways

Credit: Shannon Sarna

Israeli-Inspired Avocado Toast, 3 Ways

(The Nosher via JTA) – Avocado toast has been “trendy” for several years throughout the U.S. In fact, avocados have been so trendy, an entire avocado restaurant opened earlier this year in Brooklyn. And people are putting avocados in everything lately: brownies, salad dressing, even ice cream. After all, avocados are healthy, full of good fat, delicious and satisfying.

Fresh Jicama Slaw

Jicama Slaw. Flickr CC

Fresh Jicama Slaw

Veggie burgers

Veggie burger/ divinemisscopa

Veggie burgers

Pickled Jalapenos

Pickled Jalapenos

Charred Vidalia Onion Salad

Vidalia onion salad. Wikimedia commons

Charred Vidalia Onion Salad

BBQ Sauce

BBQ Sauce/ jules

BBQ Sauce

Fried Eggplant in Tomato Sauce

Credit: Clare Winfield

Fried Eggplant in Tomato Sauce

I was fortunate enough to inherit this recipe from a friend of mine, Julian.

Over dinner one night, he spoke at length about life growing up on a kibbutz in Israel and how big family banquets using the locally grown ingredients were the mainstay of his childhood. While he discussed all the different dishes his father used to make with great passion, it was this eggplant recipe that clearly ignited the most fire in this voice.