Everything Holiday Prep With Cindy’s Corners

It’s three weeks before four weeks of food, fashion, family, friends, folklore, and yes a fast.

Luckily, I have learned to make all the shopping, the tears from pounds of chopping onions, the dry cleaning and even the occasional over cooked roast fun, memorable and cost effective. Over the next few weeks, with the help of loyal followers, sponsors of giveaways and great storytellers, I will be sharing Everything Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot Simchat Torah and everything in between!!!!

What To Do Now

Lists

Check religious items
Guest invitations for overnight stays and meals–Do you have enough linens? Towels? Toiletries? Airbeds? Shabbos lights?
Table Decor — Make an inspiration board
Plan your budget for food, decor, vacation activities, even charities, as every organization is asking this time of year
Cleaners — Many establishments clean Tallis and bags at a discounted rate

Some Things To Purchase Now

Wines and Spirits
Nonperishable drinks and foods
Orders for flowers, fresh meats and fish, fruit platters and any specialty shop accepting early orders
Appliances

Pereg Natural and Royal Wines

I have been asked to join Pereg Natural and Royal Wines to share ideas, menus, stories and some giveaways featured through my social media.

With the rise of foodie culture, people’s palates are more adventurous than ever. And our generation is way more health-minded than they were back in the day. While most enjoy recipes handed down from generations, many cooks today like to change things up a bit.

Pereg shared one of my easiest and tastiest ideas that are perfect for last minute meals, vegan or vegetarian guests and even unexpected menu changes. Here is part of what they shared:

Pereg understands that today’s cook wants to respect old traditions and while sparking new ones. A world of all-natural products – from gluten-free flour and pasta swaps to exciting spice blends and ancient grains – makes it all possible.

As one of the world’s most respected companies in grains and spices for over a century, Pereg has inspired cooks for generations. So whether you give favorite dishes a makeover or adhere faithfully to old family recipes, let Pereg inspire timeless memories all year long.

Stuffed Mini Peppers

Radio host and food and lifestyle writer Cindy Grosz aka @cindyscorners shares this tip for a quick, healthy appetizer. Try it with cucumbers, zucchini, or any firm vegetable. (Visit @cindyscorners for New Year product Give-away promotion.)

· Mini peppers
· 1 package of your favorite Pereg grain mix (Freekeh with Vegetables, Quinoa with Spinach, Couscous with Cranberries, Basmati Rice Lemon & Herbs, etc.)
· Add-ins of your choice (Chopped apples, dried fruits, sautéed leeks, mini cubes of grilled butternut squash)
· Pereg Natural Mint OR Dill seasoning

Prepare the grain mixture according to package directions. Stir in add-in(s) of your choice.
Slice off the top of each mini pepper, scoop out the seeds, and fill with your stuffing. Garnish with mint or dill to taste.

Covenant Wines also publishes cookbooks which I use because they always pair the perfect foods and wines, perfect for the hosts that don’t drink kosher wines often. Here is a traditional holiday flanked with a wine to compliment the flavors.

Flanken Pot Au Feu
The Covenant Kitchen; Food and Wine for the New Jewish Table (Schocken Books 2015)
By Jeff and Jodie Morgan
In Eastern Europe, the short-cut short ribs known as flanken were traditionally boiled and served with horseradish. However, we don’t boil flanken. Instead, we slowly braise it like a French pot au feu until the meat is so tender it literally falls off the bone. The bones give the broth extra flavor, and on a cold winter night, this dish will warm the heart. But forget the horseradish. Its spicy, sharpness will ruin your wine!
Lush, full-bodied red wines are exactly what this dish calls for. So take your pick: Cabernet, Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Syrah, for example. All would pair nicely.

4 pounds flanken
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
8 whole cloves
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
8 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground pepper
1 onion, cut in eighths
4 large red potatoes, quartered
4 large carrots, cut into 1-inch-long sections
2 leeks, white part only, cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 turnips, peeled and cut in eighths
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Rinse and pat the flanken dry. Set aside.

Make a bouquet garni by combining the bay leaf, thyme, rosemary, cloves, and peppercorns in a 4-inch-square piece of cheesecloth. Tie it closed with a piece of butcher string. Trim the ends of the string and any excess cheese cloth. Set aside.
Place the flanken in a Dutch oven or other large oven-proof pot. Add the water and the bouquet garni. Bring the water to a boil over high heat, cover, and reduce the heat to medium-low. Using a large spoon, skim the surface of the water to remove any foam that may develop. You may need to do this a few times shortly after the water begins to boil. Cover and let simmer for 3 more hours.
Remove the pot from the heat and discard the bouquet garni. Using a fat/broth separator, remove and discard any fat from the broth. (If you don’t have one of these simple, handy devices, use a spoon or meat baster to skim whatever fat you can off the top of the broth.) The meat should be very tender, and it may have broken into large pieces. This is OK.
Return the pot to the stove over high heat and add the 2 teaspoons salt and the pepper to taste. Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, leeks, and turnips. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for one more hour.
To serve, place a piece of the flanken and a portion of the vegetables in a wide shallow bowl for each diner. Ladle a generous serving of broth over the meat. Garnish with parsley and pepper to taste.
Serves 6
Copyright 2015 by Jeff Morgan and Jodie Morgan

Send any holiday ideas and recipes to cindyscorners@gmail.com and you could win some great gifts if your story is published.

About the Author
Cindy Grosz is an accomplished activist for pro-Israel and Jewish interests. She writes about “Everything Jewish” and has appeared in multiple media outlets. She is a Contributor on The Jersey Joe Radio Show on WOR710AM, syndicated through iHeartRadio. Grosz is the author of Rubber Room Romance, Everything You Need to Know and Ask About the Education System. She can be reached at cindyscorners@gmail.com.
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