For Chanukah (or Christmas)- Variations Simple and Delicious Dishes Two Ways

Recipe/Photo reprinted with permission from
Variations by Daniella Silver
Artscroll/Shaar Press/September 2019

It’s that time of year when you’re likely on the hunt for some wonderful gifts: I’m here to help you out. While the internet is an incredible resource for an unlimited number of recipes, having cookbooks, particularly beautiful ones, is still a must for many.

Up first, is the eye-catching book Variations Simple and Delicious Dishes. Two Ways (Art Scroll Shaar Press) by Daniella Silver, author of the Silver Platter cookbooks. The book is based on the theme of how to create something new out of one recipe – to change it up and end up with a different dish. Each recipe includes a variation of that preparation-a different way to showcase that recipe, whether it be including additional ingredients or simply a variation on the way to serve the dish.

Not only does each recipe include a gorgeous photo but the variations in the photos are also included so you’re not left guessing.

The book is a perfect Chanukah gift as the recipes are all kosher with each being labelled as to whether it contains meat or dairy or is pareve (which means it’s free of either dairy or meat), or if it’s suitable for The Jewish festival of Passover. Recipes are also marked if they are gluten-free. But you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy the food preparations.

The recipes are also simple and fun, yet creative, and won’t keep you in the kitchen for hours.

Here are just a few examples of what’s included: Broccoli Soup with Caramelized Leeks, Black and White Avocado Salad, Hemp Heart Cucumber Salad, Baked Mini-Falafel Ball Salad, Pretty Pomegranate Salmon, Rustic Sheet Pan Chicken, Potato Latke Schnitzel, Brisket Ends, Spicy Roasted Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad, Peanut Butter Sweet Potatoes and a whole range of desserts from healthy to decadent.

I do have to point out one area, that as a dietitian, that I would modify in the recipes. Daniella (full disclosure – she is a relative) uses extra light olive oil in her recipes. For those recipes which call for a tasteless oil, I would substitute canola oil as it’s also a monounsaturated fat but it supplies omega-3 fats, a type we fall short on.  And for those dishes, such as the Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, where a flavourful oil would add both taste and nutrition to the mix, I would substitute a fruity extra virgin olive oil in the recipe.

Here’s a recipe from the book for you to try.

Recipe/Photo reprinted with permission from
Variations by Daniella Silver
Artscroll/Shaar Press/September 2019


Sweet Potato Pear Soup

Pareve I Passover I gluten-free I freezes well I yields 8-10 servings

2 Tbsp extra light olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic
minced (about 1 tsp)
kosher salt
black pepper
4 large sweet potatoes
peeled and chopped
3 Asian or Bosc pears
peeled and chopped
1 tsp sweet paprika
pinch dried thyme
5-6 cups water or vegetable broth

Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onion, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper; sauté for 8-10 minutes, until golden.

Add sweet potatoes, pears, paprika, thyme, and water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat. Simmer, partially covered, for 40-45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; let cool slightly.

Using an immersion blender, process soup until smooth. If soup is too thick, add a little water. Adjust seasonings to taste.

cinnamon sugar pears
Prepare soup as directed. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a cooking rack or pizza tray with nonstick cooking spray. Slice 2 additional pears very thinly (do not peel). Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon on both sides. Bake, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes until golden. Garnish the soup with baked pears or sprinkle soup with thyme leaves.

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Categories: Book Review, Holidays, Recipes

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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