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Kosher in the Kitch’s Nina Safar

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With Rosh Hashanah right around the corner, home chefs may need some inspiration for meals for the holiday.

The post Kosher in the Kitch’s Nina Safar appeared first on Jewish Journal.

With Rosh Hashanah right around the corner, home chefs may need some inspiration for meals for the holiday. The Jewish Journal caught up with Kosher in the Kitch’s Nina Safar, a Pico-Robertson based cookbook author, social media maven with 70,000 followers and single mother who offered up her favorite recipes and tips for cooking for Rosh Hashanah and year round. 

The Jewish Journal (JJ): How long have you been cooking? 

Nina Safar (NS): I learned to cook when I was 17. My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and it was really difficult for my family. I have six younger siblings. We ate a lot of takeout and neighbors brought us food. While it was sweet, it was also depressing because my mom was supermom and making huge meals before this. One night, I said I’d make my mom’s food for Friday night dinner. When I saw my family enjoying my mom’s recipes I’d cooked, it felt like life was normal and things were going to be OK. I realized food was magic. Being able to feed people was such a blessing. 

JJ: What makes your recipes different?

NS: When I recipe test for a cookbook (I have two cookbooks), I first think of how it’s traditionally done. Then I go through the ingredient list and process and say, “What can I shave off?” I take off anything that isn’t truly necessary to get that same taste. I guess if you’re a traditional chef, your recipes are going to be more complicated. I’m just a girl who likes food and a single mom who doesn’t have a lot of time in the kitchen or the budget for lots of ingredients. My recipes are ridiculously easy. They are meant for people who don’t have time but love to serve good food. Anyone with any level of cooking can make a recipe of mine, and it’ll come out good.

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JJ: You’re a single mom of two young boys. How do you balance your career with raising them? 

NS: It’s just one day at a time. It can definitely get difficult, but it’s all about managing my time, especially because I work for myself and everything feels like a priority. What recipe can be created today, and what can wait until tomorrow? When I’m with my kids, I try to have everything done before I get them from school, and then I have an hour or two with them. When they are in bed, I get back to work. 

JJ: What are your favorite dishes for Rosh Hashanah?

NS: My mother’s sweet noodle kugel is always my favorite, especially because you want to have a sweet dish on Rosh Hashanah. I actually started making that in a muffin form because everyone gets their own individual portion. It always reminds me of being home with my mom. Since she’s passed, one of my favorite things to do is cook the recipes I grew up with because it’s like she’s here with me. 

JJ: What tips do you have for people who are cooking for Rosh Hashanah?

When you get stressed out, remember that the guest is already so happy with whatever you offer because they aren’t shopping and cooking and doing the dishes.

NS: When you get stressed out, remember that the guest is already so happy with whatever you offer because they aren’t shopping and cooking and doing the dishes. I always say keep your menu simple. Recycle recipes and maybe to keep it exciting, have one or two new dishes instead of a menu based off of everything new. Do what your family likes and incorporate one or two new dishes. When you have a recipe you’ve made before, it’s just easier. 

JJ: What are you doing for the holidays?

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NS: I’m going to New York to see my dad and make the holiday for him. It involves a ton of cooking. I’m very excited. I’m going to do some of the classics like my mom’s sweet noodle kugel, and a dessert that’s very easy to make, the honey cake served in a jar with dairy-free coconut whipped cream. It’s super easy and looks nice and everyone loves it. The grandkids are coming and they’re going to love it. I try to have it feel like bubbe is still around because she loved baking. I’m also making apple pie stuffed crumb muffins, pomegranate glazed meatballs, honey chicken, fried gefilte fish with onions and a salmon dish with thinly sliced tomatoes, lemon and fresh dill. It looks really impressive in the center of the table.  

JJ: What do you love most about the High Holidays?

NS: Being with my family. My favorite thing is to cook food for the people I love. There is no better time to do it than the holidays. I love siting around the table with family, especially when everyone is busy with work and their gadgets these days. It’s a beautiful time to eat, be with family and have good food.

Rosh Hashanah Recipe: Sweet Noodle Kugel Muffins

PREP TIME: 5 MINUTES | COOK TIME: 20 TO 25 MINUTES

Nonstick cooking spray

 5 eggs
1⁄2 cup oil
1 cup applesauce
1 cup crushed pineapple with juice
3⁄4 cup sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 teaspoon cinnamon
12 ounces wide egg noodles, cooked according to the package directions

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1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, applesauce, crushed pineapple, sugar, salt and cinnamon. Add the cooked noodles to the bowl and mix well.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups.

4. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until the muffins are set and the edges are slightly crusty.

Make-Ahead Tip: This recipe freezes well. You can prep and cook the muffins in advance and store them in the freezer in an airtight container for up to six months.

The post Kosher in the Kitch’s Nina Safar appeared first on Jewish Journal.

Source: Jewish Journal https://jewishjournal.com/culture/food/340239/kosher-in-the-kitchs-nina-safar/

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