Cant get to Spain Kosher paella will have you saying ol

The travel bug bit me when I was 16, and I’ve loved to visit new places ever since. I started out as an exchange student in Germany during my junior year of high school, which was followed by living for several years in France. After Europe, I explored South America, landing in Colombia for half a year. And now my 16-year-old daughter has been bitten as well. She’ll be spending her junior year of high school in Spain.

Traditional Spanish cuisine involves a variety of traif, including rabbit, snails, clams, shrimp, mussels and lots and lots of pork. Borrowing from the traditional cuisine, I’ve created a fabulous, kosher Spanish meal.

My kosher paella is a saffron-infused rice dish that features chicken, chicken sausage, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and green beans. Paella is named for the beautiful large pan it is cooked and served in. I’ve had great luck preparing this on our round barbecue, placing the lid on for the last 10 minutes of cooking time to infuse the dish with a smoky flavor.

The olives are a yummy and easy first course, perfect for noshing on while the paella cooks.

Finally, it’s a dairy-free dessert, my most popular request. This aromatic cake is very easy to make using a heavy-duty stand mixer. We love to serve it with fresh strawberries.

Enjoy a relaxed Shabbat dinner outdoors, soaking up the cuisine of the sun, all kosher!

Aceitunas con Limon y Ajo (Marinated Olives)

Serves 8-12 as an appetizer

2 lbs. large green olives

3 garlic cloves, chopped lemon and orange strips

4 sprigs fresh oregano

4 Tbs. olive oil

1/4 cup white table wine

Combine olives, garlic, oil, and wine in a baking dish. Cover and bake in a preheated 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until the olives plump up. Serve warm directly from the baking dish, garnished with thick slices of crusty bread.


Serves 8-10

1/4 cup olive oil

4 smoked chicken sausages, sliced

3-lb. chicken, cut into serving pieces

2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely

2 tomatoes, chopped

6 cups chicken stock (or more)

1 tsp. chopped rosemary

1/4 gram saffron threads, ground into a powder

1 tsp. sweet paprika

3 cups paella rice (arborio or short grained)

1 box frozen artichoke hearts

1/2 lb. mushrooms, quartered

1/2 lb. green beans, cut into 2-inch lengths

Heat the olive oil in a large paella pan or sauté pan. Brown the sliced sausages and the chicken pieces on all sides, and set aside. In the juices remaining, sauté the garlic and tomatoes for a few minutes. Return the chicken to the pan and add the chicken stock. Reduce the heat, add the rosemary, saffron and paprika, and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Add in the rice, sausage, artichoke hearts, mushrooms and green beans. Cook for several minutes over high heat, then reduce the heat and cook gently until the rice is tender, but still firm. Allow to stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Tarta de Naranja (Orange Tart)

Serves 10

1/2 cup flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

2 cups finely ground toasted walnuts

6 eggs, separated

1 1/2 cups sugar

2 tsp. vanilla


2 Tbs. orange zest

2 cups orange juice

1/2 cup sugar

powdered sugar for dusting over the finished cake

Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and walnuts, and set aside. Whisk the egg yolks with half of the sugar until pale and creamy, then stir into the walnut mixture. Add the vanilla and stir.

Whisk the egg whites until thick and foamy, then add the remaining sugar a little at a time, whisking constantly, until the egg whites form soft peaks. Fold the egg whites into the walnut mixture.

Pour into a 10-inch springform pan, and bake 45 to 50 minutes in a 350-degree oven, or until lightly browned and firm. Unmold and cool.

Make the syrup by combining the orange zest, orange juice and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer about 10 minutes, until the syrup is thickened. Brush the syrup over the cake, until all the syrup is absorbed. When cool, dust with powdered sugar.

Rebecca Ets-Hokin is a certified culinary professional. Visit her Web site at She can be reached at [email protected].