Plan Ahead for the Holidays

I drive around and see all the gold and red leaves, wake up in the morning to cold temperatures, and hear someone on the news announce Christmas is  about 70  days away with Thanksgiving and Chanukah coming even sooner. I realize time is short for trying new holiday recipes.

Start preparing for the holidays today by trying these great new recipes. They’re sure to please family and friends.

Shrimp with Fig Jam and Preserved Lemons

The slightly salty and tart preserved lemon is a fabulous counterbalance to the sweetness of the fig jam, and this recipe is so easy and delicious. This is from my friend Sandy Axelrod’s beautiful new book “Affairs to Remember.”  Sandy was a famous West Palm Beach caterer for many years, and her book shares some inside scoops (gossip and Triple Cheese Torte), and some spicy anecdotes (with Ginger Lime Dipping Sauce).  With beautiful photos, lots of tips, checklists, resources, and crowd-pleasing recipes, “Affairs to Remember” will have you pleasing your guests and their palates.

1/4 cup fruity olive oil

8 garlic cloves, minced

2 lbs. large shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail left on
kosher salt

freshly ground pepper

1/2 cup fig jam from a jar

4 preserved lemons, seeded and diced, peel and all

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.  Season the shrimp generously on both sides with salt and pepper.  Add the shrimp and sauté in batches until opaque, about 2 minutes per side. Reduce heat to medium. Add the fig jam and preserved lemon and cook until the jam is melted.  To serve, transfer to a large bowl or platter and serve piping hot. Serves 8.

Tiramisu Cookies

Who doesn’t love something sweet, especially around the holidays.  Food blogger Miriam Pascal believes we all do, which is why she wrote “Something Sweet,” her first cookbook in which she shares her passion for delectable desserts. The book is filled with user-friendly features such as detailed “plan ahead” and freezer instructions, helpful variations and substitutions, and a comprehensive holiday guide. The author also thoughtfully incorporated reader requests, such as dairy-free recipes, health- and allergy-conscious recipes, recipes using easy-to-find ingredients, and recipes that are quick and easy to create. Miriam Pascal is also the founder of, one of the world’s leading destinations for kosher recipes that has hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors.

Traditional tiramisu is a coffee-flavored dessert, noted for its ladyfingers soaked in espresso. Miriam Pascal reinterpreted this fabulous dessert into cakey cookies, packed with coffee flavor and rolled in coffee-soaked ladyfinger crumbs. These cookies freeze well in an airtight container or bag. They’re on the soft side, so handle with care when packing them. Defrost fully before serving.

With Thanksgiving and Chanukah just around the corner, “Something Sweet” has something for every occasion and every craving. Plan ahead. Dairy or Pareve; yields about 3½ dozen.


1 cup coarse ladyfinger crumbs

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon brewed coffee (or ½ teaspoon instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water)

Cookie Dough

3/4 cup oil

4 ounces cream cheese or soy cream cheese

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup espresso or strong coffee (see note below)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.

Prepare the crumbs: Combine ladyfinger crumbs, brown sugar, and coffee in a small bowl. Stir until combined. Mixture should have the texture of damp sand. Set aside.

Prepare the cookie dough: In the bowl of an electric mixer, on medium speed, beat together oil, cream cheese, and sugars until smooth.  Add espresso, egg, baking soda, salt, and vanilla. Beat until smooth and creamy.

Reduce mixer speed to low; add flour, one cup at a time, beating after each addition, until combined.

Use a medium cookie scoop (or a heaping tablespoon) to portion out dough. Roll into balls; then roll in prepared ladyfinger crumbs until fully coated. Place onto prepared baking sheets.

Bake for 10-11 minutes, until cookies are set.

Note: You can use 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules dissolved in ¼ cup hot water instead of espresso.

Editor’s note: For more edible delights by Sheilah Kaufman, go to