Cabbage Pancakes (for Passover!)

Cabbage Pancakes

Lately, I’ve been a little preoccupied, with the move just a few weeks ago and setting up our new condo. Things are definitely in good shape here, but since Passover is HERE, I had to bring you all at least 1 new recipe – and this one came out of sheer necessity to clean our our fridge. I had a bag of coleslaw mix that I didn’t know what to do with. Sure, I could make the standard mayo or vinegar-based coleslaw, but I was bored of that. I needed something new and exciting. And then, BOOM. My Pizza Latke recipe uses sauerkraut as the base (because cabbage gets crunchy when you fry it)! So off I went, transforming the humble bag of coleslaw mix into crunchy, savory cabbage pancakes. The perfect pre-seder (or anytime) snack for Passover!

These savory pancakes are my spin on Japanese street food called okonomiyaki – made with flour, eggs, cabbage and a protein. This recipe is great for using up leftovers in your fridge. Although I didn’t use protein in my version, go ahead and add some canned tuna or salmon, ground beef or maybe cubed salami! It’s a perfect base for a savory pancake.

If you’re not planning on making this for Passover, feel free to garnish with sesame seeds (unless you eat Kitniyot) or add in coconut aminos or soy sauce. And play around with the spice level too! Maybe you have some gochujang in your fridge (okay, well that’s Korean, but hey, I did say this was my spin), or pickled jalapenos. You can even add in shredded cheese (similar to my pizza latkes) with an Asian twist.

There ya have it.

Even though I’m still trying to figure out where I put most of my kitchen stuff, I managed to give ya’ll a new recipe.

Happy Passover – Chag Kasher V’Sameach!

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Cabbage Pancakes
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Rachel Katzman
  • 1 Eggs
  • 1/4 cup Water
  • 1 bag Coleslaw mix I mean, you CAN shred your own cabbage and carrot, but why not go for a shortcut and make your life easier?
  • 1 tbsp. Avocado oil
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. Kosher-for-Passover soy sauce or Teriyaki sauce
  • 1 cup Almond Flour
  • 2 tbsp. Olive or Avocado oil, for frying
  • 1 tbsp. Gochujang (Korean hot pepper paste) Optional
  • 1/4 cup Mayo
  • 2 tbsp. Sriracha
  • 2 Green onions, sliced I didn't have any when I made this, so I topped mine with a drizzle of sriracha (I skipped the mayo), dried parsley and chives!
  1. Mix all ingredients (except the extra 2 tbsp. of oil) in a large bowl and mix well until all ingredients are combined

  2. Heat the oven in a large skillet or cast iron pan

  3. Once the oil is hot, add a spoonful of the pancake batter, making a 4-6" circle and about 1/2 in thick

  4. If you have a lid handy, this is the time to use it - it will help cook the cabbage instead of just crisping up the outside of the pancake. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until golden brown then flip and cook on the other side

  5. Add the cooked pancakes to a plate and cover (to keep warm) with foil until ready to eat.

  6. Garnish the pancakes with mayo, sriracha mayo, sliced green onions, sesame seeds (kitniyot), or any other dried or fresh herbs you might have lying around!

Tornado Potatoes with Spicy Basil Oil

It’s a BASIL challenge!

It’s been a hot (potato) minute since Daniel and I decided to do an ingredient challenge, since we’ve both been dabbling in the herb and veggie growing scene since the start of the pandemic. Truthfully, the basil challenge was my husband’s idea, since we’re both growing several types of basil, it just made sense for us to highlight this sweet, licorice-scented herb! So thanks Ellie!

In my outdoor patio garden, I’m growing sweet basil, purple basil and lemon basil so clearly I had enough to work with, though my plants are not as abundant as Mr. Peikes’, but he was kind enough to let me snag some of his sweet basil that was growing like crazy!

A Dish is Born

Any of you out there like me, that scour through cookbooks just to get inspired for my next dish? I could spend HOURS just reading 1 cookbook, thinking how I can re-invent this dish, or make it kosher, or spruce it up with different herbs or spices. And that’s exactly what I found with these Tornado Potatoes with Spicy Basil Oil.

Reading through one of BuzzFeed’s Tasty cookbooks, I found a recipe for tornado potatoes and thought “what a fun spin on curly fries!” But their recipe called for melted butter and different spices. And then it hit me. Instead of drizzling melted butter, why not slather on some garlicky-basil oil?! It’s such a great way to get inspiration for a recipe but switch it up and make it your own! humble potato – an oh-so-perfect vessel to highlight basil.  Oh and I ended up using a mix of all of my different basil types, but featured the sweet basil more prominently.

Also, I learned something new today! Tornado potatoes, or “twist potatoes” or “tornado fries” are a common street food in South Korea. And I mean, talk about the perfect street food eaten on a stick. Crispy potatoes – check. Basil oil (or butter) – check. Fresh grated Parmesan cheese – check!

Recipe Notes

As always, here are my notes for this recipe.

  1. You can use either Yukon gold or russet potatoes (see the notes in the recipe block below for details)
  2. I had to practice the “tornado” spiral a few times to get it (even remotely) looking right. I suggest looking up some YouTube videos of how to get the right technique. The trick is to go slow so you get hopefully even layers. Mine aren’t perfect, but that’s okay – they came out great anyway!
  3. And if you don’t really want to both with this fancy-looking technique, use a spiralizer instead and you’ll end up with curly fries! Definitely nothing wrong with that.

Want to kick up this basil challenge even more? Try these Tornado Potatoes with Spicy Basil Oil served alongside my Basil Garlic Dressing to dip! Just a word of caution, your significant other might ban you since you’ll stink of garlic, but it might just be worth it. 😛

Don’t forget to check out Daniel’s basil post: Spicy Thai Basil Chicken Tacos

0 from 0 votes
Tornado Potatoes with Spicy Basil Oil
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
31 mins
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 2 potatoes
Author: Rachel Katzman
Tornado Potatoes
  • 2 Medium-sized Yukon Gold Potatoes You can use russet potatoes either peeled or unpeeled, just be aware they will take longer to cook
  • 1 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese I prefer to buy a block of Parm and keep it in the freezer, instead of buying expensive pre-shredded. Then I just shred it over a microplane when a recipe calls for it!
  • 1 handful Chopped Basil leaves, for garnishing I take my basil leaves and roll them up into a little cigar and slice into ribbons, or "chiffonade", which makes a beautiful presentation. You can also use chopped parsley if you prefer, or don't have enough basil for garnishing
Spicy Basil Oil
  • 1/4 cup Packed, fresh basil leaves, stemmed and washed
  • 1/8 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tbsp Water
  • 1 Clove of Garlic
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/8 tsp Crushed Red Pepper flakes Feel free to omit but it really does bring a nice heat to the basil oil and works great with the potatoes. You can always add more if you're feeling like you need a spice kick!
  • 1/4 tsp Smoked Paprika I happened to have smoked paprika on hand, but use what you got! Any type would work - Hungarian sweet, Spanish hot, or just your regular 'ole paprika!
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 325F

  2. Add the potatoes to a microwave-safe bowl and nuke for 1 - 1 1/2 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes to cool. If using russet potatoes, cook for 2 min in the microwave

  3. While the potatoes are cooking in the microwave, make the basil oil

  4. Add the basil, garlic, water, salt, red pepper flakes and paprika to the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times

  5. Add the olive oil and blend until a smooth saucy basil oil comes together

  6. Once the potatoes are cool enough to handle, insert a wooden skewer into the bottom of each potato and gently push all the way through to the top

  7. Using a spiral motion, hold a sharp knife at an angle, turn the potato the opposite direction of cutting and cut all the way to the skewer. Make sure to go slow and cut thin, even layers all the way down

  8. Carefully fan out the potato slices until you have even spacing throughout the "tornado" and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper

  9. Drizzle the basil oil all over the potatoes

  10. Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese all over the oiled potatoes - make sure the potatoes are covered evenly with the basil oil and cheese

  11. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are golden brown. If using russet potatoes, bake in 425F oven for 30-40 minutes until golden brown

  12. Garnish with additional basil oil and cheese and chopped fresh basil or parsley and sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.

“Bacon” Ranch Crack Dip

Superbowl Snacking

I know what you’re thinking. Bacon and Crack? Did Rachel fall off the deep end? Not so fast, ya’ll! Since the Superbowl is this Sunday, it seemed only fitting to make a party dip that was so addicting, it was like crack!  Seriously, look up “crack dip“, it’s a thing!

So let’s dive head-first into this (meatless) Bacon Ranch Crack Dip. Obviously we’re not talking about real bacon here. The “bacon” comes from the salty, earthy, umami flavors of… MUSHROOMS! It’s a great way to sneak some veggies into a dish for your kids (or in my case, my husband, who isn’t a big veggie eater, but sadly, he despises these delicious fungi – shhh, don’t tell him there are mushrooms in this dip)!

Easy as…mushroom bacon

This recipe is so easy to whip up for your Superbowl party or any time of year. Yes it’s a lot of fat (and very Keto-friendly), but it’s a fun spin on a typical onion dip. And maybe you get a little tired of guacamole at every party, so this is a great alternative to introduce to your party guests.

Of course if you’re not into mushrooms, you can omit them. You won’t get as much of that umami flavor bomb, but you could always add in some fake bacon bits instead. And for the record, the mushroom bacon came out insanely delicious – crispy, smoky (the shiitakes are known for their smoky flavor), and a little salty – the PERFECT addition to this creamy, cheesy dip!

I like how versatile this dip is (well, aren’t all of my recipes pretty versatile?). You can add in some caramelized onions, to add a hint of sweetness to balance out the earthy mushroom flavors. But how can you go wrong when you mix cream cheese, sour cream, cheddar cheese and ranch dressing? I mean, now you can understand the meaning behind “crack” dip, right?

True, the traditional recipes call for real bacon but I put my own twist on it! Adding the meatless mushroom “bacon”, and some freshly squeezed lemon juice for a bright pop of acidity to round out all the flavors. And for this recipe, I used Walden Farm’s Bacon Ranch Dressing. Most of the time I have my own homemade salad dressings in the fridge, but I wanted an extra kick of that salty bacon flavor so I went with it for this go-around. But if you want to add in some homemade ranch – go for it!

So whoever you’re rooting for (Go CHIEFS!!!!) and wherever you’ll be during the Superbowl this year (or not even watching it because you’ll forget about it, or just don’t care, ha), go ahead and whip up a batch of this super creamy, salty, sweet and undeniably addicting Bacon Ranch Crack Dip!

And after you made it, feel free to comment below with your thoughts! What did you add to make it more fun? Maybe a squeeze of sriracha or hot sauce? We’d love to know how you liked it!

Enjoy – and Happy Superbowl Snacking!

0 from 0 votes
Meatless "Bacon" Ranch Crack Dip
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 15 servings (1/4 cup per serving)
Author: Rachel Katzman
  • 1/2 cup Shiitake Mushrooms Caps only - use the stems for making veggie stock! Also, shiitakes specifically have kind of a smoky flavor compared to other types of mushrooms, so they work best in this recipe
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Bacon Seasoning, optional I love the brand, Flavor God, the "bacon lover's seasoning" - their spices mixes are awesome, AND Kosher!
  • 8 oz Cream Cheese 8 oz = 1 cup
  • 3/4 cup Ranch Dressing I used the Bacon Ranch dressing from Walden Farms, but use whatever you like - store bought, or homemade!
  • 1/3 cup Sour Cream
  • 1 cup Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/3 cup Green Onions, chopped
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 Lemon, halved and juiced
  1. Make the mushroom bacon: Pre-heat the oven to 375F and line with parchment paper

  2. Remove the mushroom stems and slice the mushroom caps into thin slices

  3. Add the sliced mushrooms to the baking sheet, and drizzle the olive oil, salt and bacon seasoning (if using). Make sure the mushrooms are coated evenly, then arrange in a single layer, making sure they don't overlap

  4. Bake at 375F for 20 minutes, then flip each slice over. Return to the oven for 7 more minutes, until the mushroom caps are browned, but not burnt. They'll get crispy around the edges but even if the centers are soft, don't worry, they'll crisp up as they cool

  5. Cool the mushroom bacon for at least 15 minutes. Remove any excess oil with a towel and chop into small pieces, to use for the dip later

  6. And now, make the dip! Pre-heat the oven again but this time at 350F

  7. Heat the cream cheese slowly in the microwave until it's warmed (NOT hot) and stirs easily. I popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds, stirred, the 30 more seconds until warm and melty

  8. Pour the ranch dressing into the cream cheese, and mix until smooth, then add in the sour cream. Once mixed thoroughly, add in the cheddar, mushroom bacon, cayenne pepper, and lemon juice (but NOT the green onions)

  9. Add the dip into a 1/2 quart baking dish (or similar size) and bake for about 15-20 minutes or until hot and bubbly

  10. Garnish with the green onions and serve hot or warm with cut up veggies, tortilla chips or low carb chips or crackers!

Smoked Salmon and Avocado Stacks

Smoked Salmon and Avocado StacksSmoked Salmon and Avocado Stacks

Appetizers are my favorite. If I could eat a meal that consisted only of apps, just a few bits of different salads, dips and finger foods, that would be a perfect meal.  So here is an ode to a fabulous appetizer that is so easy to put together – no cooking required!  Just a few chopping here, and some simple, but fancy assembling required and you’ll definitely be impressing your guests.

When I first moved to Chicago (14 years ago this month!!), I was all about having people over for Shabbat meals.  It was a great way to meet young college kids my age and this way I was able to show off my cooking skills!  One of my specialties was a tortilla soup (more of a black bean soup with lots of spices, aromatics and topped with crunchy tortilla chips).  It was always a crowd-pleaser.  And then, there was this app that I served often. The inspiration is from one of Sandra Lee’s recipes from her “Semi-Homemade Cooking” show on Food Network, way back in the day.  She added some croutons for a crunchy textural element, so if that’s your jam, go for it!  I just keep this super simple, and that way it’s gluten-free, keto-friendly, pescatarian and just delicious all-around.

The Updated Version

For this go-around, I decided to add a cucumber, sun-dried tomato, caper relish.  As pretty as the smoked salmon (or lox, whatever you want to use) and avocado stack is on its own, this accompaniment gives it a nice tang and acidity and brightens up the salmon and avocado.  Or, this would be delicious with a lemon caper dressing drizzled over the top as well. Served with crackers or fresh, warm challah and you have a tasty, modern twist on a gefilte fish starter! Oh, and a squeeze of lemon over the top of the plate never hurts. 🙂

Try making this at your next Shabbat meal or maybe for your New Years’ Eve fancy shmancy dinner party!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy and safe New Year – catch ya’ll in 2019!

(oh…and in case you’re wondering…yes, there is a penguin pattern on the plate.  Isn’t it just so cute and whimsical?) 🙂

Recipe: Smoked Salmon and Avocado Stacks

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Smoked Salmon & Avocado Stacks
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
Servings: 4 people
Author: Rachel Katzman
  • 6 oz. smoked salmon
  • 2 avocados, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp capers, drained
  • 2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 small handful of fresh dill, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, cut into wedges
To make the tapenade:
  1. Mix the diced cucumbers, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, fresh dill and sliced scallions in a bowl.

  2. Add the rice wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Mix well, set to the side.

To make the stacks:
  1. Mix the avocado cubes in a small bowl with salt and pepper. 

  2. Take the lid of a mason jar and spoon some avocado mixture in the bottom, about 1/2 an avocado per person.

  3. Take the smoked salmon and roughly chop and place it on top of the avocado. 

  4. Spoon some of the tapenade on the side, or on top.  Garnish with sliced green onions and serve with a lemon wedge to squirt over the top of the tapenade and the smoked salmon stacks. 

Check out some of our other appetizers:

Deviled Eggs

Fried Pickles

Barbecue Chicken Hamantaschen