Jewish Recipes: Shaking Things Up

Each month I like to try at least one new recipe. However, time does not always allot for hours of searching for a recipe that fits my family’s dietary needs and the ingredients that I can afford or find. Because of this, I have started to experiment with my old recipes. This experimentation has led to several tasty discoveries.

Vegetable Substitutions

The winter season is a great time to experiment with root vegetables. They are plentiful and they are inexpensive. Most people are familiar with root vegetables like potatoes, carrots and onions, and they use these vegetables for soups, stews and other winter dishes. To shake things up try using more exotic or less popular vegetables.

One alternative for diced carrots is diced and peeled sweet potatoes. This will provide your dish with a sweet flavor and a very hearty texture that I find is more satisfying than the taste and texture provided by stewed carrots. Onion alternatives can range from simply experimenting with different types of onions to using onion alternatives found in the onion family. Potato alternatives can include sweet potatoes, yams, rice and other starchy vegetables.

Meat Substitutions

Experimenting with different types of meat is another way that you can shake up your traditional Jewish recipes. Try lamb, bison, ostrich or wild game meat. You can find some of these meats at local butchers, however, for the more exotic meats you will most likely need to go to a specialty store or shop online from an exotic meat company.

If you are trying to eat healthy, then try to replace meat with vegetarian ingredients. Eggplant, tofu, mushrooms, nuts and gluten, can all be used as a meat alternative. However, when experimenting with these ingredients, make sure you select an ingredient that you are not allergic to or sensitive to. Generally, these meat substitutes absorb the flavors that they are cooked with, however, some have their own unique flavor and texture.

Herb Experimentation

In addition to trying out new vegetables and meats, you can also spice up your traditional dishes by experimenting with new herbs and spices. Try using traditional herbs that you haven’t cooked with before, or try herbs and spices that are used for cuisines from a culture that is different than yours. Finally, try new herb combinations to create new dishes and tastes.

The best way to experiment with new herbs is to find a listing of herbs and what they are traditionally used for. Herb books are great to keep in your kitchen. They can help you find alternatives to herbs that you have run out of, or to find a new herb that will compliment the flavors in your favorite dishes.

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