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The Whole Foods Kosher kitchen

Rave Reviews

Posted on 2nd of June, 2010 by Lévana


I often receive feedback about my classes or recipes that just makes me kvell. If you have made any of my recipes and have feedback to share with me, I would love to hear from you! You can leave a note in the comments section below. Here is one that really put a smile on my face. It even came with the above photo.

Thank you so much for sharing the tilapia recipe with me.  I made it along with all the other items in the photo.  My guests raved about the fish.  I had extra stuffing so I just put it on top and added a small amount of panko.  This is a definite keeper.  I also have your Lévana Cooks book and must tell you I always keep a bag of chocolate chip cookies in the fridge.  My husband has an ice cream cookie sandwich with vanilla soy ice cream (Trader Joe’s) for his dessert every night.  This is the best chocolate chip cookie recipe!

Shabbat Shalom,

Toby M.

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82 Questions

  1. Lévana, on Said:

    Shuli Nakdimen

    Way to go Shuli!
    Wondering if you drained to extra firm tofu thoroughly for the hazelnut filling.
    Your take on the presentation of my dessert was quite ambitious, and sounds wonderful. Would you please share your picture of the dessert with us? I’ll bet my readers would enjoy your creativity!

  2. Lévana, on Said:

    Shuli Nakdimen

    I doubled this recipe. That yielded 35 mini cakes. I drizzled melted chocolate on the back of one of the meringue discs. I put powdered sugar on the plate and then some chocolate syrup in a squiggle. The presentation was magnificent and the taste even more so.

    I made the meringues and the fillings on Sunday and assembled them on Monday. The consistency of the chocolate filling was better than the consistency of the hazelnut filling, so I froze the minis and defrosted them about 1/2 hour before serving. RAVE REVIEWS! Thank you!

  3. Lévana, on Said:

    Shuli Nakdimen

    Dacquoise looks super yummy!
    1. I am making the meringue today.
    2 . Could the fillings be made a day in advance and kept in the frig?(make it on sunday for monday sheva brochos)
    2. Then could it be assembled the following day? (assemble on monday)
    3. Once assembled should it be refrigerated?
    4. I am trying it as small individual cakes. I will keep you posted!

  4. Lévana, on Said:

    Dear Levana
    I attended your demonstration The French Feast
    It was absolutely fabulous.
    I already used one of your recipes for my Shabbos guests
    I intend to use another one for my next guests in July.
    This Shabbos I am making that fabulous fruit soup in your newest book which I bought at the demonstration.
    I look forward to coming again if you will doing things for the Holidays and for Thanksgiving
    Will you be doing another demo for De Gustibus?
    Thank you
    Sharon Heyden from Highland Park NJ

  5. Sharon R., on Said:

    Went to last night’s cooking class: chocolate night. Beef stew in black currant chocolate sauce sounded like an unlikely amalgam of main dish and dessert but it was a revelation; the meat was fall-apart tender and deeply infused with flavor, and what flavor! Silky dark cocoa-enriched sauce, intense and rich and you could stand there for an hour trying to figure out what was in it if you hadn’t seen it done (currants and red wine and saffron, oh my!). And the zuppa inglese (trifle): Levana, you are nothing short of an alchemist, the way you transform dairy-free and egg-free into outrageously rich chocolate cream. I could make the entire recipe, go into a quiet room and eat the whole thing myself. (And then nothing else for a week, but it would be worth it.) A memorable evening.

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Sharon, thank you so much! I am working as we speak on simplifying the beef recipe even further. But now that you have threatened NOT to share your goodies, is it safe to leave a secret with you? Seriously, go on my blog: I do wonders with all those egg-rich recipes, and minimize and often even eliminate the eggs. Not only because there are some vegans out there who want their cake and eat it too, but just as importantly because we would all want to enjoy less rich desserts whenever possible, especially if the flavor is all there! Just a few examples: My “Zabaglione”, my “hollandaise”, my tiramisu Much much more in my latest book: Check it out! Hope you join us again soon! xoxoxo

  6. leslie morrison, on Said:

    Hi Levana! Do you have a good recipe for gefilte fish baked with a Moroccan sauce? Probably tomato based. I made one once and it was delicious, but the last one I made the fish got too watery from the sauce. Thanks so much!

    • Lévana, on Said:

      We are entering the grey area of “gimmicky” dishes. Call me a purist, but when I want fish in tomato sauce, I don’t take Gefilte fish. I take…. fish!

  7. rochel leah, on Said:

    i am in love with levana’s cookbooks and recipes! whatever recipe i try i love and so does the crowd. soups dressings ..all of it! i just cant wait to try everything. i love the gluten free options. one recipe so many versions and they all taste soooo good. now isn’t that the whole idea?! nourishing for body and spirit. thank you levana for sharing your talent and expertise!!

  8. David B, on Said:


    You did it again! The Thanksgiving dinner demo class was incredible! In less than an hour we cooked a TG meal for 20 with all the trimmings. I didn’t need 3 healpings to be completely and pleasantly satisfied. I thank you and my tastebuds thank you!

    Looking forward to another class when I’m in town again.

    All the best!

    David B
    San Francisco, CA

    • Lévana, on Said:

      David it was so nice to see you! Anyone wants to shorten the time and the craziness of Thanksgiving preps just come to my office! I will NEVER understand the frenzy that sets in when TG rolls around! I look forward to our dinner date! Lots of love, Levana

  9. Susan, on Said:

    I attended the turkey night spectacular. What great recipes and “Levana-isms” I adored the apples with the root vegetables with the turkey. It was an unexpected surprise that the tomato corn chowder was so fabulous, Genious combination of flavors. I ab solutely can’t wait to make the frozen crunch cake. Can that nice guy who helped serve come over and help me? Can’t wait till the next adventure. Thanks Levana.

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Susan it was so nice having you! I got lots of feedback about how great dinner was, and the best part was, it didn’t have that element of commotion that Thanksgiving dinner preps so often come with.
      I’m making that soup for my kids this shabbos, they said they heard too much about it!
      Looking forward to having you soon at another demo. All the best

  10. Faye S, on Said:

    Hi Levana,

    I love your previous cookbook and the new cookbook and have made many recipes, with great success. I especially love the dressings and rubs from the new cookbook, and having them ready in the refrigerator makes preparing wonderful meals so easy.

    Today I decided to make the chocolate peanut butter cookies for my son who is a peanut butter lover. They did not come out right. The consistency of the cookie batter/dough was crumbly and did not hold together. I carefully went over the recipe and I think I followed the recipe exactly.

    Please let me know,

    • Lévana, on Said:

      hi Faye,

      Uh-oh! This is strange. THe recipe is tried and true tough, I have made it several times. I must go over it one more time and see what might not have worked. give me just a couple days to go over it. Until then, please try this: Melt the peanut butter, coffee, chocolate, and 1/4 cup water. the difference will be in the added water. And proceed as instructed. It’s just possible that the batter needs more moisture. I am pretty sure this will do the trick. I’ll be sure to include this correction in my reprint! Thank you and everyone else for pointing out the minor mishaps that might have occurred occasionally: AS you see there are hundreds of recipes, all carefully developed and tested, and still there are times we need corrections: Don’t you find authors having a website fantastic? How easy could it get to communicate?

  11. Vicki Williams, on Said:

    Sorry for the silly question about Morocco, I’m just so excited to go there and eat, and buy fabrics!
    Thanks for your reply about the butter.
    Also, for the Chinese cookies, what is Tapioca flour? Do I just grind up Tapioca in my Cuisinart? Can’t wait to try this recipe :)

  12. Vicki Williams, on Said:

    Just attended your class for our JCC group from NJ last Thursday. Wonderful class! I’ve already made the chicken, the root veggies, and the mushroom soup. Delicious!
    We are going to spend a day in Morocco while on a cruise. Are there restaurants you recommend for lunch and dinner?
    Also, on your Chinese cookies, can I use real butter instead of the margarine spread? If so, should I still use 2 cups?

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Vicki your question made me chuckle. What restaurant can I recommend in Morocco? Since 1966 that I left Morocco, they must have opened a couple good restaurants. Seriously: If you put your question online, Im sure you’ll get some really meaningful responses. Lucky you, going on a cruise! It’s too bad you are only spending one day in Morocco. It’s beautiful!
      No problem using butter for the cookies. Equal amounts :-)

  13. Lévana, on Said:

    Oh my gosh Joe I thought I responded, and just realized my email to you remained in draft mode: Sound familiar?

    We go way way back, from Lincoln Square Synagogue where I started out with you as my assistant to my house, almost thirty years later. A lot of hard work goes into it, and lots of fun too! I can even document this precious friendship with a culinary amulet hanging around my neck to help me exhort the crowds to eat nothing but the real thing: A gorgeous life-size odorless sterling silver garlic head: I’m wearing it on my homepage picture!

    I just love to see that I end up getting even the most recalcitrant cooks in that kitchen, working less, spending less, and having more fun than constantly resorting to those drab take-out offerings.

    Have a wonderful week in London, and think Asian Feast with Levana when you enjoy your fish’n’chips!

    Shabbat Shalom, Levana

  14. Joseph Blank, on Said:

    Your recipes and books have always been wonderful. But attending the cooking demos are sheer theater at its best. At the recent overflow French class, there were people from New Jersey, Monsey, Brooklyn, Queens, Eastside/Westside and even visitors from Virginia and Pennsylvania. They included the frum, not so frum and not yet frum; young, not so young; a father with his daughter and a mother with her grandson. Not only was there an incredible cross-section of the Jewish community, but everyone got along so well (the anticipation of the delectable food helped). In no small part, you are bringing achdut to the community – and in a most delicious and healthy way!
    Kol Tuv,

  15. Lévana, on Said:

    Susan it was so nice meeting you last night! I found a piece of Ricki’s birthday cake in my refrigerator, and I enjoyed it! We do have celebration dates quite often, and it’s lots of fun.
    You have a Semi-Moroccan son in law: I can help you! We have Moroccan demos all the time, as it seems to be a huge favorite.
    Did you get a copy of my last cookbook? It’s chock-full of Moroccan dishes among other goodies.
    Many more happy returns for you and all yours.

  16. Lévana, on Said:

    hi levana, i once again would like to express my gratitude and appreciation for the opportunity to meet you and spend the most enjoyable evening that you presented last night. not only was the food scrumptious (and of course so natural and easy looking to produce) you entertained us with such a sense of fun and sincerity, that it made us walk away feeling that we cant wait to be guests at your table again some day soon. thanks also for making ricki feel so special and typically of an 18 year old so shy that it made her blush, when celebrating her 18th birthday with you. she is leaving to israel for a year in seminary, and already said that she is planning on coming back with her friends and peers to enjoy another evening with you when she returns iy”h. wishing you much continued success, and we will hopefully see you again shortly.
    by the way, my daughter (shira samet/sebbag) who was with me last night is married to the son of a morrocan – and i would love to watch one of your morrocan style demos ( he is a very particular eater and i would like to try to make something from his past especially for him) . suzie samet (and the gang)

  17. Lévana, on Said:

    Leah it was so nice meeting you. I believe the demo you came to was the Nine-Days-Meatless Feast Demo, and it was gluten-free to boot, as are several of my demos. So interesting: I made that pasta for shabbos, and my daughter made the crab cakes. My soup do not require any stock just because my choice of veggies is so full of flavor. You will see I always devote a nice long intro to my soup chapters in my cookbooks, in a great desire to have people make soup more often, the natural way!
    Looking forward to meeting your guests at the demos. All the best, easy fast, Levana

  18. Lévana, on Said:

    I was at your gluten free class with my mom and my sister and it was fabulous!
    My sister told me she had company for shabbos last week and made the crab cakes, the pasta with the cauliflower, and the iced tea. She made a soup from your book for tonight’s meal. She told me I love that Levana’s soup recipes do not require “stock”! My mom made the crab cakes last week and made a soup from your cookbook for tonight.

  19. Lévana, on Said:
    Dear Leah,

    I always hear with great pleasure how often my CCC are baked all over this wild world: What Nachas! Please let me know what cookbook they will be included in, what organization are you doing this for. I’ll say yes. Let’s work out the logistics. Meanwhile, I am including the link to story about them I recently wrote for the Jewish Book Council, and which was very well received:
    You might want to include the story, with the recipe, just as it appears in the story. Let’s decide on a bio and a byline.
    Talk to you soon, easy fast,

  20. Lévana, on Said:

    Dear Levana,
    I am an old fan who used to love eating at your restaurant and enjoy your cookbooks very much. I am currently working on a cookbook as a fundraiser that will be distributed worldwide. We would love and be honored if we could include your recipe for CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES (with oil not margarine.) Please let me know if that would be a possibility. We hope to be out in the stores a little bit before Chanuka. The cookbook has many original recipes but it does include contributions from all different people. (Only recipes which were approved got included.) If you would give us permission to use your recipe; we would be happy to include on the page of your recipe a list of what you have published or a byline etc…. We would not make any changes to your recipe and would word it exactly as you worded it in your cookbook. Please let me know if this is something you would consider. Thank you for your time!
    Leah Gluck

  21. Lévana, on Said:

    hi Leah, thank you so much! I am used to hearing my recipes are tried and true and delicious, and I always hear it with pleasure.

    Oy, another one with fish allergies. Unfortunately, I am very familiar…. I do have room for you, but you must make that decision. I can only assure you I will be very careful with the fish. Please let me know if you decide to come. All the best, Levana

  22. Lévana, on Said:

    Hi Levana,

    I want to tell you that I received your cookbooks (from the raffle ) and cooked a Shabbos meal from them & it was the best ever! I am looking forward to making many more things from your books and to your new cookbook coming out.

    I am also looking forward to the classes (won 3 from the raffle) – the one this evening interests me very much because it is gluten free. the thing is that I am very allergic to fish & wouldn’t be able to handle or eat the fish. could I skip the fish dish and still come to the class (if you have room) or would you suggest I select an evening when there’s no fish dish at all.
    very best
    Fraidel Leah Kletter

  23. Tobi Kern, on Said:

    Hi Levana,

    I love receiving your online recipes. My grandchildren adore your chocolate chip cookies and I am happy that it contains some whole wheat flour, not just white. I am looking forward to receiving your new cookbook, but still enjoy. “Levana Cooks Dairy Free.” I never used plaintains before I read your fish recipe. Now it’s one of my favorites. It’s so great that the recipes are both kosher and pareve, no figuring out the substitutes for myself.
    Thanks so much. You’re an inspiration.

  24. gavriel, on Said:

    the tuna burgers were incredible!!!!!! (so was everything else)…….
    keep em coming!!!

    thanks again,
    g and a

  25. Lévana, on Said:

    Hi Debbie,

    I would say without hesitation Cuisinart is my favorite, not only because it is so powerful, but also because it is equipped with a small opening (where you can process small items such as radishes, thin cucumbers, carrots, etc.) and a much larger opening, meaning: you can throw in a whole onion, a whole apple, a whole beet etc…. The large opening is one feature where Cuisinart is one up on all other brands. Spend just a little more and get the larger one (14 cups, as opposed to the 7cup or the 11cup), then you can whip up a cake, a batch of cookies etc. Haven’t seen the latest model yet, I heard raves about it (I believe it makes bread dough!)

  26. Lévana, on Said:

    Hi Dianna, way to go! My daughter always makes that cabbage soup. Which chicken did you make: Do you mean the spice rub? Remember you get enough mixture to make quite a few batches, and it’s the best. You can’t even tell the brownies are adjusted for Passover.
    You will love the book! Great gift, no? I have many friends who told me they ordered a whole bunch to give away as presents!
    Coming to NYC anytime soon? xoxoxo

  27. Lévana, on Said:


    I would like to offer my experience on the Passover recipes I prepared. I realize it is long past but I am now free to share my feedback.

    The Cabbage Cranberry Soup was fabulous. The quantity I prepared fed two additional neighbors and my Passover guests. When preparing it seemed to expand therefore enough to serve a soup kitchen.
    I also enjoyed the brownies. Probably the best ones I have ever served for the holiday (light & fluffy). The last entree was the Moroccan chicken. I found the spice and marinade lengthly but valuable. It had a great taste.

    I appreciate your generosity in sharing various Passover selections. There was plenty to choose from. I look forward to your receiving your newest cookbook in order to share with friends. (I have purchased 2)

    Dianna Gittelman, San Diego

  28. Lévana, on Said:

    Hi Rachel,

    So nice to hear from you! The bakery you are mentioning is “the Natural Choice” in Machaneh Yehudah. Let’s just separate the bread from the cookies, so it doesn’t sound like you are using all restrictions all at once. My new cookbook is coming out VERY soon: We are working on distribution in Israel: Not only is it beautiful, it is also very inexpensive and includes, beside a general and a Passover index, a Gluten-free index: You and many more people will be happy! I use spelt flour extensively, and natural sweeteners, and many of my baked goods are gluten-free adaptable! I have some delicious GF bread rolls, muffins and cookies there!
    I must say I can’t picture using apple juice concentrate across the board as a substitute for sugar and other sweeteners. As I said, I never recommend using absolutely all restrictions all at once. So in some cake recipes, give yourself a break and use unrefined sugar, maple sugar, sucanat, date sugar etc…. All the best xoxoxo

  29. Lévana, on Said:

    Dear Levana, hope all is really good by you.

    I happened to start avoiding wheat flour for now and drop suger and the likes…, and was recommended to use spelt (I think it’s called Kusmin here) for challa and cookies.
    I also have to drop yeast, and so happened to buy at Ha’Bchira Ha’Tiveet at Nachlaaot some delicious rolls made of yeastless dough (what they call here ‘seor;)… and then I was wondering if I could make them myself.

    Would it be possible to ask for your advise for any recipe for challa [rolls] like that: ingredients, volumes and process…

    Also, at the “Habchira Ha’Tiveet” they make delicious spelt cookies with the following ingredients:
    spelt flour, olive oil, baking soda, apple juice concentrate, nuts and sesame seeds. I was wondering if I could get help from you to figure out what volumes of each ingredient I need in order to make them soft and VERY mildly sweet so I can make my own sugarless, wheat less delicious spelt cookies. Any advice would be greatly appreciated! :)

    All the very best for Yom Ha’Atzmaut, luv, Rachel

  30. Hope Tafet, on Said:

    He brought me two kinds..fresh dates vacuum packed and pitted, and also loose fresh ones. I think I posted the question on the wrong blog on the website! Sorry.

  31. Hope Tafet, on Said:

    Hello Levana,
    It was so nice to see you yesterday and thank you again for your generous donation of goods and services to our annual event to benefit Mikvah Chana in Livingston.
    Here’s my question. My son returned home from Israel and brought me delicious dates. We want to know if you have any interesting recipes to use them in…perhaps a great chicken dish? I have already prepared your matbucha and taboulleh for him, and your cookbook is his new favorite too!
    All the best, Hope

    • Lévana, on Said:

      My pleasure! and it was great seeing you in your revised and recolored new do: you looked beautiful KAO!
      Please tell me: are the dates FRESH? after you respond, I will know what to do. xoxo

  32. Beth Bross, on Said:

    I would like to make your Zucchini Walnut Bread but in smaller quantities. How can I reduce the recipe? I would appreciate an answer from you sent to my e-mail address, I am a new reader of your web site & would like to compliment you on your most enjoyable web site.

    Thank you.
    Beth Bross

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Hi Beth,
      Should first tell you it freezes perfectly, so you might want to make the recipe and gave plenty on hand. Still if you want to divide it, no problem: divide everything by half!

  33. Lévana, on Said:

    Oyoyoy Jan! We will miss you! Ken Yirbu! I’ll send you the file! Have great fun, and let’s try to talk before Pessach.
    Love you, Levana

  34. Lévana, on Said:

    Shalom Levana,

    Last night was absolutely fabulous!

    I know I should be used to your extraordinary talent by now, but each demo reinforces my awe of the ease with which you effortlessly prepare luscious dishes.

    You can imagine my mixed feelings when I was told today by a neighbor that I am expected at his daughter’s wedding this Monday night (April 4)!! I’m thrilled to join in a simcha & devastated that I’m missing your demo.

    Baruch H-shem that my reasons for absence from your demos are positive ones !!

    Kol Tov,

  35. Lévana, on Said:

    Leslie, I wouldn’t serve an intensely flavored side dish with an equally intensely flavored fish, hives or no hives: that would bectoo much going on at once. Have you thought of an interesting plain rice (wild, rice mix etc) Aline or with mushrooms? If it must be noodles, simply toss them in a good olive oil!

  36. Leslie Morrison, on Said:

    One more question— would the cold sesame noodle sauce recipe work with the salmon served warm? Can i sub tehini for peanut butter? Bride will break out in hives if I serve her peanut butter! I can’t do that to her on her Wedding night! Is sauce too rich with salmon? Wedding is tonight if you can answer quickly!

  37. Lévana, on Said:

    Leslie, Sounds delicious. While there’s no need to make a typically Asian salad, there are wonderful Asian Salad ingredients that would make your salad different and interesting: Nappa and bok choy cabbage, watercress, the addition of roasted peanuts, scallions, cilantro, sprouts, etc…. And an Asian style dressing is very easily whipped up: Green tea, toasted sesame oil, brown rice vinegar, soy sayce, ginger. So: Have fun mixing and matching! xoxoxo

  38. Leslie Morrison, on Said:

    Hi Levana! I am preparing food for a small Wedding (45 guests) and the main course the bride wants Asian flavors. We are doing a glazed salmon and some type of pasta — udon, soba,… For the salad, to be served family style, should that also have Asian flavors? The soup is not Asian neither is the artisan breads and fresh butter. Your thoughts??

  39. Lévana, on Said:

    Way to go Batya! Look out in my newsletter today, chock-full of good info! I’m posting a fabulous chocolate dessert recipe: Quick and super-healthy, true to form!
    On another note, please describe the spare apt you have across from yours: I would like to know if this is the answer to my apt hunting when we are in Israel: We could simply rent this one. Never more than two-three weeks. /WE love coming around Christmas-new year, as that period is a cruise-control time for everyone. Love to all, Levana

  40. Batya Lowenstein, on Said:

    Hi Levana,

    I want to let you know how much pleasure we are getting from your recipes.

    The Chocolate Chip Cookies and Blackened Fish from Levana’s Table have been favorites in our family for years. A few weeks ago I discovered the Oriental Eggplant recipes on you website; now we have acquired one more favorite.

    I look forward to surprising my family with more of you delicious recipes! (Lately, we have tried a new one every Shabbos, so my repertoire is growing, thanks to you.)

    Thank you for sharing your creativity.

    Best regards from Jerusalem,

  41. Lévana, on Said:

    Larisa, part two: the comical practical- joke type mishaps that kept playing out before your party were like the Murphy law trying to outdo itself: now that the party is over, that the food was fabulous, that your group of friends was wonderful, I can mention, without any fear of sounding like I’m wagging a finger at you: as you know my very first cookbook starts with a very comprehensive chapter titled “the hostess’s survival guide” I wanted to share with my readers countless easy and very useful guidelines that make entertaining easy and enjoyable, without the hosts having to run themselves ragged; that chapter has appeared in several publications, and always proves extremely valuable. Y’all look out for it: I’ll post it in the next day or so!

    The menu was great too: I will say a word about the menu, and comment on what me choose that particular menu.

    Have a great shabbos! PS: you have severely understated how beautiful your new home is: May it fill with joy, more children, friends, food, flowers! Love to all, Levana

  42. Lévana, on Said:

    Oyoyoy Larisa, you are making me blush, and that’s hard to do. Of course you are not even once mentioning all that you do for me: without you and Gene coming to my rescue each time my PC misbehaves and stomps me, I would be, technologically speaking, living in a virtually vegetative state. And even that doesn’t even begin to explain why we feel the way we do about each other, and each other’s family. You should know that fervent wishes are never made in a vacuum, and when I used to tell you all these anguished years of waiting for beautiful Chasya that I will cook up a storm for your simcha, I absolutely meant it: If Gd grants me the strength and the privilege, I will cook up a storm for the anniversary of the miracle of her birth right until her wedding, bli neder, and when I come out of the kitchen for a breather, I will knit up a storm for her!

    The mid

  43. Asi Ralia, on Said:

    Dearest Levana,

    My dearest, kindest, generous, most talented friend – I can not choose the right words to express to you how amazing you made our simha. You are an incredible professional and made our simha beyond our wildest dreams. I can not relay to you what you made our party.

    I want to explain – my husband and I did not have children for 9 years. After unexplainable heartache, a number of fertility treatments we were blessed with a miracle. We were celebrating the 2nd birthday of our ‘miracle’. I invited the closest, family and our dearest friends who supported us and held us together when we were going through hell. Even though we invited only the dearest friends we were expecting over 45 adults and 20 children at our simha.

    My guests still are calling me 3 days later and are gushing over how scrumptious and wonderful the food was. Again – I owe the success of our party to YOU. The menu that you came up with was out of this world. The way it was laid out on our tables – was so spectacular and stunning. It was breath taking. None of our guests with the exception of the Rebbetzin and her daughter Chanie was the wiser of what transpired 1.5 hours before the party started.

    I want to share and hopefully someone will learn from the disaster that was avoided.

    Over the few weeks as we were preparing for the party – my family were raising what if scenarios that were giving me stress and driving m insane – “Where are you going to hang the jackets for over 60 guests?” “Do you have enough hangers?” “What if the kids run up and down the stairs and they fall?” ‘How are 60 people going to get to the baffet table?” “Do you have enough chairs for everyone?”and others even more far fetched. However – no one could have thought about the events that happened.

    In the wee hours of the day of our party – I set our oven on self clean – it finished cleaning at 6 am. Just before your arrival at (10:45 am) I set the oven to preheat. However, I am not sure what happened – but the oven locked and began to self clean again. In panic I unplugged it in hopes that it would reset. It did not. I was shacking. Within minutes – I saw your bright cheery smile as you walked up the stairs into our kitchen to learn that my assistant did not come nor is she reachable and that our oven was not functional.

    I started to fall apart. I was crying (w/o tears). I was trying to follow your advice and keep my composure. It has been a few months since we moved and we had not unpacked all the boxes nor put away all of our things. I started running around looking for my small parve convection oven. You had cooked the food earlier with the exception of the salmon, the rest of the food was cooked it just needed to be warmed up. Miraculously I found the convection oven quickly. Locating the platters served to be a bigger problem.

    I don’t know why on the day of the party I was focusing on the balloons, on the children’s toy area to be set up for the children. Not on getting all the serving platters in one area. Not putting water in the dispenser for guests to have coffee/tea.

    A few years ago I read your cookbook intro about being a gracious hostess in your first book ‘Levana cooks’. I remember laughing. On the day of my party I was not laughing, I was that miserable hostess. We were saved when my dear mother/daughter team arrived (Sara & Chanie). They jumped in and with your directions and their cool heads you pulled it off.

    Levana you handled yourself with the outmost composure, class and miracle worker. I was so surprised that you did not start asking me the questions – why aren’t you prepared, what did you focus your morning on. You did not ask or mad me feel foolish and unprepared. Thank you so much.

    I am recommending you to all our family and friends – you are the ONLY choice and are the best.

    With our love the Gelfman family

  44. Batya Lowenstein, on Said:

    Hi Levana,
    Just want to tell you how much I am enjoying your blog.
    Thanks so much for including me!
    It is great fun trying out your recipes. They always draw rave reviews and requests for seconds (and thirds).
    Best wishes,

    • Lévana, on Said:

      I always hear it with pleasure! I dare say seconds and even thirds are safe with my food as I always make sure it is so sensible and lean. As I told you I make a pilaf with barley and lentils vrey much like the delicious one you served us a couple Shabbasim ago. Mine has added diced kabocha and shredded kale. Oyoyoy, my upcoming cookbook is chock-full of all these super healthy super simple super delicious dishes, and beleive it or not same goes for desserts!

  45. elisheva marshall, on Said:

    Hi Levana I have made the brownie recipe from Ami magazine January 5 issue two times. I sent some to Shul for
    a yortzeit. People are calling to ask for the recipe.They are the best brownies I have ever made. I use only the best chocolate chips and the best ingredients as you instruct.
    Thanks so much, I would like to buy your cookbook as
    soon as possible. Elisheva Marshall

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Hi Elisheva, way to go: you probably noticed that in my brownie recipe (also available on my site!) I include all possible variations! My new book is chock full if fabulous dishes, both sweet and savory: ready in June IYH!

  46. Lévana, on Said:

    Hi Leslie, It is the question I find rather confusing: Calamata or pitted? It’s the “or” I don’t understand. THe answer is: use any good quality olives (calamata, oil-cured, nicoise, etc….) and buy it already pitted: Kosher clientele NOT used to it? Why not? Try them! In my experience, they are always quite grateful for any good quality offering. You would be amazed how many fabulous varieties of excellent quality pitted olives you can find online! Shabbat Shalom xoxoxo

  47. Leslie Morrison, on Said:

    I’m back again! When you make Greek Salad, do you use kalamata olives or black olives? I prefer kalamata, but I’m not sure kosher clientele will be used to them. The black ones are easier because they already come pitted. I like authentic taste, but I also want it to present well. If I pit the kalamata olives, it won’t look as good. What do you recommend?

  48. Samantha Verrone, on Said:

    Hi Levana –
    Happy Chanukah! I wanted to tell you that for the first time ever I made latkes (YOUR latkes) and they were very good. The next night Jonathan made them and they were even better – excellent, in fact. He said it had to do with his grating technique! Then we spent some time “punning” on the word grating ; ).
    Hope Chanukah’s been festive for you –
    lots of love,

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Everyone made my latkas, that’s what it looked like! When you grate with a food processor, you don’t get a chance to pun or let them oxidate: Chopchop, that’s the secret!
      When can we have a playdate?

  49. Leslie Morrison, on Said:

    Hi Levana – It was great to see you at KosherFest!! Loved all your spelt baked goods!! I’m making 2 types of quiche for a brunch for 30-40 people this Sunday. Is it better to present them in the round pans or in a 9 x 13 1/2 sheet pan? There will be sternos to keep them warm. Thanks for your advice!!

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Same here Leslie, so nice seeing you!
      As a rule, when working with a home oven, I never multiply the size of a pie or cake pan when multiplying the recipe, the reason being, the sides will cook much longer than they have to, while the center (which is the furthest point from the source of heat will cook last and incompletely: this is why we so often see large cakes with dried out sides and raw batter in the center: yikes! It is best to use as many pie plates as you have recipes, and come away with perfect pies and cakes each time!

    • Lévana, on Said:

      I see I may not have answered in full. Round or rectangular? That’s a matter of personal taste, you will do well either way, just as long as you don’t use an extra large container when you multiply the recipe!

  50. sheila, on Said:

    i just made your chocolate chip cookies from ‘levana’s table’. hands down, these are the some of the best cookies i have ever, ever had. thank you

    • Lévana, on Said:

      YAY! I always hear this with pleasure! I’m beginning to think they are the most baked most eaten most enjoyed CCC int he whole wide world: It sure sounds that way to me, if all the fan mail I receive about them is any indication!

  51. aliza, on Said:

    i made the cabbage potato soup for fifty people.
    i got compliments from everyone!
    it was very unique.
    and i got requests for the recipe.
    i told them where it was from. and sent the link.

    thanks, aliza

    • Lévana, on Said:

      Thank you so much Aliza! I make it quite often: beside the fact that it is delicious, it’s nice to know you can get such rich flavors from such plebeian – and lean -ingredients!

  52. Joseph Blank, on Said:

    I came by your booth twice at KosherFest just to get another Apricot Oat bar. There were many vendors offering pastry, but yours were by far THE BEST!

    • Lévana, on Said:

      thanks Joe! If I may say so myself, loads of people agreed with you! I just need to secure the perfect plant who will produce my line!

  53. Helen, on Said:

    Hi Levana – After eating your delicious spelt walnut streusel in class last week I couldn’t wait to make it for Shabbos. Everyone raved about it, even before they tasted it because it looked so impressive. Of course, I gave credit where credit is due. Thanks for another great pareve recipe.

  54. Lévana, on Said:

    Oh gosh I was away for a couple weeks with very limited access, so this is the first chance I get: I live using leaves and stems from parsley and dill, but always discard the stems from cilantro, basil and mint