Mimouna’s Moroccan Roots & Harissa Chicken

17 April 2017

This post may include affiliate links.  Please see our complete disclosure here.

In the divisive politics of today, it’s easy to allocate all conflict to black or white conditions. This was unfortunately the attitude many–even ourselves–were conditioned with when we prepared ourselves for our Marrakesh honeymoon.  We had even planned to stay hush about our religion so as to not stir up trouble for ourselves.  When you watch the news on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, you would think it would be dangerous to be Jewish in a country with a Muslim majority.

It turns out, as most things are, it isn’t quite as simple as all of that.

Ben Youssef Madrassa | Marrakesh, Morocco

Morocco’s Jewish Affection

We were happy to find that the people of Marrakesh were very proud of their history, including their Jewish history.  A few vendors selling in the square flaunted their elaborate Hanukkiahs with intricate Hebrew carving for purchase.  Even some stopped my husband to inspect a tattoo of his that features Hebraic script only to tell us a story of how they had a Jewish friend or neighbor years ago ending with a fond: “what a great guy!”

This didn’t mean we were eager to announce our religious affiliation in a country so foreign to us.  And, as seen by graffiti in the Mellah, anti-Judaism sentiment did exist.

Judaica found in a shop | Marrakesh, Morocco

Humans are rarely simple and–oftentimes–there is a lot more than what meets the eye.

Morocco once was home to a large population of Jewish people.  Their remnants remain everywhere, not just in the Jewish quarters.  Many estate sales in the square were full of antique Judaica.


Most of the Moroccan Jews have relocated to Israel or Canada, where they’ve spread their own unique flavor of Judaism.  One Moroccan-Jewish custom which is gaining popularity even among Ashkenazim is the celebration of Mimouna.  A three-day post-Passover tradition with disputed origin, many American Jews are adding significance by inviting Muslim community members over for a feast.

If you choose to celebrate Mimouna, we think this Morocco-Inspired Harissa Chicken is perfect!

Mimouna Continue Reading…

Passover Recipe Ideas to Get your Pesach On

5 April 2017
passover recipe ideas
Passover is upon us and, for observant Jews, that means a week of worrying what’s Chametz or Kitniyot, and depending on your views, that could mean a whole lot of things are not accepted.  By now, most of us have already planned our Seders out and know what we are serving.  However, perhaps you still need a dish or two to round out your meal.  Or, maybe, a few of us haven’t planned our Passover recipes out at all.  No judgement here! I’ve put together some Passover recipe ideas for something a little different for you and your family this year.

Check them out and let me know if you try any!

Almost Kosher’s Passover Recipe Ideas

For the kiddos:

Consider a matzo meal chicken nugget meal for the picky eaters in your life.  Of course, you could always do the tried-and-true matzo pizza, too.  Sweet potato gnocchi goes over well with our pickiest eaters: toddlers.  And, if your kids can’t go a morning without a cereal, try homemade matzo granola. Continue Reading…

Brown Butter Salmon & Time Management Tips

2 April 2017

This post may include affiliate links.  Please see our complete disclosure here.

If I could go back in time, right now I’d choose to go back to when I registered for classes for this semester.  I would have shaken myself and asked me if I was crazy, and why did I think it was OK to register for a 13 credit load.  Particularly, one which includes Constitutional Law and College Algebra (I am not a math person).  However, as popular culture has educated us, messing with the past is tricky business–if I had done that, I wouldn’t have learned how easy brown butter salmon is.

Brown Butter Salmon

Time Management Tips for Adult Students

The truth is, going to college as an adult with a full-time job, home ownership (including HOA) duties, and all the other things on our plates is hard.  But it’s do-able.  Here are my tips for how I succeed in school, get everything turned in on time, and still work full-time at the law firm and here on the blog: Continue Reading…

Zero Food Waste by Guest Contributor Caroline of Att vara Vass

31 March 2017
Today we’re featuring guest blogger,  Caroline of Att vara Vass, who strives for “zero food waste“.  Almost Kosher has been privileged to have worked with Caroline on a few of the recipe round ups we’ve shared recently.  She’s going to share with us her recipes that help with accomplishing her zero food waste ethics.

Some measurements (such as deciliter) are not commonly used in the US – you can convert them here.

My name is Caroline and I run a family lifestyle blog, that is very focused on food. I’m trying to be a conscious consumer, especially when it comes to plastic waste and food waste. I live with my two boys, four and eleven years old. Every other week, it’s just the three of us. Then the other week it’s just me.

I think it’s very difficult to use up everything I buy for our weekly meals. And a lot of times I have to throw away food that’s been sitting in the back of the fridge. The week I’m on my own I’m now raiding the fridge. Today I want to share a few leftover recipes with you and also what you do with food that is about to go bad. I think we all have a few foods in our fridge and cupboard that more commonly get old than others. The first recipe I want to share is a Swedish dish called pytt i panna. And really anything can go into this dish.

 Zero Food Waste

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Seattle & Instant Pot Salmon Chowder

29 March 2017

This post may contain affiliate links.  See full disclosure here.

Seattle is Portland’s older sibling: in Portland, it’s a burn-out smoking a joint on a park bench; in Seattle, he’s smoking a joint on a park bench and wearing a suit.  Walking in Seattle, it doesn’t take long before you notice in a line of hipsters smoking a cigarette that one of those cigarettes contains something special.  A little something extra.  Is that a skunk?

Seattle SkylineI have a love-hate relationship with Seattle.  When it’s sunny and warm, I relish in the fresh seafood and easy access to a body of water.  In the winter, the biting cold and wetness drive me inside.  It doesn’t help that nine times out of ten, I’m in Seattle for business.  But there’s no denying that Seattle is the place for fresh seafood and, with easy access to Vancouver, BC and its aforementioned sibling to the south, it’s well situated for an extended Pacific Northwest visit.

Pike Place Seattle

This stall at Pike Place is decidedly not Kosher.

Every time my job has sent me out to Seattle my boss out there takes a few of my colleagues and I out for lunch–my choice.  Without fail, I request seafood.  I live in a landlocked state these days and all I ever want is good, fresh seafood.  A few of my favorites for seafood within a short walk from my office downtown are Capital Grille and Blueacre.

Seattle Eats

Capital Grille

At Capital Grille, my boss and colleagues rave about the Maine Lobster Roll ($24) and the Lobster and Dungenous Crab Burger ($25).  Although I don’t keep strictly kosher, I do however abstain from pork, meat+dairy, and shellfish, so I have to take their word on it for those.  However, their Sushi-Grade Ahi Tuna with Gingered Rice ($35) and Seared Salmon with Avocado, Mango, and Tomato Salad with Champagne Vinaigrette ($21) ensure I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

Blueacre Seafood

My personal favorite for lunch, however, is Blueacre Seafood.  True, their menu is nearly all the furthest from kosher-style, their Grilled Alaskan Salmon ($26) with almonds, brown butter, and port cherries in insanely good.  I haven’t had it, but one colleague ordered their Duck & Andouille Gumbo ($9 cup/ $12 bowl) which I decided was perfectly kosher for me to smell the aromas; she said it tasted as delicious as it smelled.  I sampled my boss’s Tim’s Cascade Potato Chip Crusted Fish & Chips ($20) and report that my bite was divine.

If I lived in Seattle, I’d weigh at least 50 lbs more.

Seattle-Inspired Instant Pot Salmon Chowder

One thing I know I’m missing out on is the chowder found in Seattle.  Between Pike Place Chowder and the variety of chowders at restaurants, there’s still few options for kosher-style.  Pike Place Chowder has a smoked salmon chowder, I recently learned, but aside from that I’m not sure what other options I may have.  On a recent rainy day, I found myself craving a little Seattle and found comfort in an Instant Pot Salmon Chowder I modified for my family.

Continue Reading…

Sous Vide Herb-Infused Olive Oil & Infinity Jars Review

26 March 2017

This post may contain affiliate links.  See full disclosure here.

I‘m excited to share in this post a recipe for making your own herb-infused olive oil using sous vide.  We used ours — a rosemary-infused concoction — as a popcorn topping, but it would work great as a finisher for steaks, a salad dressing, or anywhere else you like to use olive oil.  Sous vide herb-infused olive oil is quicker than your traditional herb-infused olive oil, but the principles I mention will apply even to traditionally infused oil.

Sous Vide Rosemary-Infused OIive Oil

Infinity Jars – Black Glass Jars for Better Preservation

I’m also excited to share with you a discovery — Infinity Jars’ Airtight, UV-filtering glass jars.  They make jars for many purposes, including the glass oil jars and glass slow pour bottles I chose, as well as glass cosmetic bottles for those of you who make your own lotions, lip balms, etc. Continue Reading…

11 Poultry Recipes for National Poultry Day

19 March 2017
National Poultry Day
National Poultry Day is today and chances are that a good majority of meat-eaters out there are already eating some kind of poultry today even if they’re not aware of the designated day.  Poultry is one of the most popular meats — versatile, cheap, and even your picky kids will eat it.

We’ve teamed up with 10 food bloggers to give you 11 new poultry recipes to add to your weekly mix.  Check out the recipes from our talented colleagues and let us know which ones you plan to try out in the comments below!

| 11 Recipes for National Poultry Day |

Thai Peanut Chicken with Coconut Rice (Paleo) by Our Food Fix

This Thai peanut chicken comes with a high likelihood that you may be caught licking your plate before you put it in the dishwasher.  An extra bonus: this comes with a paleo version.  Dieters rejoice!

National Poultry Day

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Spinach Pesto by Guest Contributor Heather Grebler of The Messy Little Kitchen

12 March 2017
Spinach Pesto

Today Almost Kosher introduces food blogger Heather Grebler & The Messy Little Kitchen bringing us our next guest post, a Spinach Pesto!  Easy for families to prepare together, Heather’s recipe uses up your leftover spinach, ensuring that no spinach goes to waste.

This post may contain affiliate links.  See full disclosure here.


The Messy Little Kitchen blog was created to document the learning, organizing, and change happening within our home as we moved from being a double income couple, to a single income family on a budget with a taste for delicious food and a desire for organized living.

Having grown up on a farm, and then pursued education in both nutrition and teaching, I wanted to put my ideas to work on how to help hungry, busy families who want to create easy and delicious meals for their families, while also teaching their kids how to cook.

The Messy Little Kitchen is a blog for you if you want fast, family-friendly recipes that includes the whole family in the kitchen. You will get access to meal planning tips and resources, as well as tips and tricks in the kitchen for fast & easy meals and how to engage your kids at the counter.


This post is for anyone who needs some inspiration on using up extra produce in the fridge. And if you are a fan of prepared pesto sauce, you won’t believe how easy and affordable it can be to make your own at any time of the year – even in the winter! The best pre-made pesto sauce doesn’t have to be made from basil . In fact, there are a number of different greens which are currently being used for pesto recipes that make it taste just as delicious, and even more nutritious, as the original variety!

Spinach Pesto

Growing up, I lived on a farm, and we didn’t go to the grocery store very regularly.  We had a cold cellar, we made preserves each growing season from our family garden, and we had a pantry stocked with essentials on hand. Fast forward to today – while I live in a well populated suburb, I still choose not to frequent the grocery store beyond weekly errands and use many of the preserving and pantry skills in my daily meal planning and preparation. Continue Reading…

Slow Cooker Roasted Cornish Game Hen

9 March 2017
Slow Cooker Cornish Game Hen


National Poultry Day is March 19, 2017! Okay, let’s be honest.  Poultry is my #1 crutch when it comes to cooking.  It’s cheap, easy, and goes well with a variety of flavors.  That’s why I’m excited for National Poultry Day this year–it’s MY holiday!  Plus, lately it’s a miracle that I have time to cook a home cooked meal these days but luckily I have a few easy ones, like this Roasted Cornish Game Hen.  Psst–did I mention, it’s roasted in the slow cooker?!

Roasting Chicken in Your Slow Cooker + Roasted Cornish Game Hen

Slow Cooker Cornish Game Hen

Did you know that you can use your slow cooker to roast a chicken?  Neither did I, until one day I stared down a thawed whole chicken in my fridge which mocked me. It knew I had a full day ahead and wouldn’t feel like trussing and oven roasting that chicken come time that my work and school day was over.  That day I learned that you could not only roast a whole chicken in a slow cooker but that you want to.  What’s even better, then, than a slow cooker roasted chicken?  A slow cooker roasted Cornish game hen, of course!

I love game hens for two reasons: 1) they are unbelievably cheap.  You can find them often on sale for 2 for $5; 2) tell me you don’t feel like a total BOSS with a whole (mini) chicken on your plate.  Throw in the addition of the convenient slow cooker and you’ve got a healthy, easy meal for the entire family.

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Brie, Bacon, & Apricot Grilled Cheese by Guest Contributor Laurence Makano

8 March 2017

Almost Kosher is excited to introduce food blogger Laurence Makano bringing us our next guest post, a Brie, Bacon, and Apricot Grilled Cheese!  Her recipe contribution is not kosher, but if you were to substitute the bacon with pastrami, duck bacon, or beef bacon, and pair it with a vegan camembert (add about 15% coconut oil for melt-ability!) or daiya cheese it could be enjoyed without treif.

When I first came across Yammie’s recipe – I thought, oh em gee. Am I pregnant? Who doesn’t like a grilled cheese? With bacon? Okay, with brie cheese? Now, how about with apricots? Yes, you read right, apricots! Don’t worry, if your mouth is watering over this Brie, Bacon + Apricot Grilled Cheese, it doesn’t mean you’re pregnant, it just means your palette is developing.

I highly recommend trying this recipe with the balsamic reduction, it adds an extra je-ne-sais-quoi to it. I decided not to do it, but please give it a try.

During this cold weather, all I have been craving is pure comfort food. The stick to your ribs kind and the not-so-good-for-you kind. It’s the cold weather, I’m tellin’ ya!

Continue Reading…