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Dairy, Different, and Oh-So-Delicious 

BY: Sara Liberow

Oh, how I love all things dairy! When it comes to cooking, Shavuos is absolutely my favorite holiday. With the recipes below, I hope to inspire you to branch out from the usual lasagna, eggplant parmesan, and Greek salad. Use this chag as an excuse to experiment with some fun new dishes!


Beet and Leek Gratin with Goat Cheese and Crunch


This one is inspired by the famous beet and goat cheese salad that Basil, a restaurant in Crown Heights, used to serve a while ago. I just love the combination of the sweet and colorful beets, tangy and warm goat cheese, and a little crunch to take it over the top. While the traditional gratin is made with potatoes, I lightened it up by replacing it with beets, but feel free to swap that out for the root vegetable of your choice.




For the Panko Crunch Topping

1 tbsp. butter

5 thyme sprigs, stems removed

1 cup panko crumbs

Salt and pepper, to taste


For the Cream

3/4 stick butter

3 leeks, sliced (light green and white parts)

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 tbsp. flour

1.5 cups milk

½ tbsp. onion powder

1/2 tbsp salt


For the Gratin

1 tbsp. butter

About 8-10 small beets, sliced thinly

Olive oil, to drizzle 

Salt, to taste 

Cream (recipe above)

4 oz. goat cheese 

Panko crunch topping




Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Prepare the crunch topping:

In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add the thyme to infuse the butter. Stir in the panko crumbs and brown for 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.


Prepare the cream:

In a medium saucepan (or use the skillet from the panko topping), melt ¾ stick butter, then add leeks, crushed garlic and thyme sprigs until the leeks are translucent. Add salt, onion powder, and coriander. Whisk in 4 tablespoons of flour until it is slightly browned. Whisk in 1 ½ cups milk, and stir for about 5 minutes, until the mixture has thickened.


Assemble the gratin:

You may want to microwave or steam the beets for 15 minutes to soften and make them easier to slice. Peel and slice the beets, preferably using a mandolin, and place them in a mixing bowl. Pour the cream mixture on the beets and toss to coat. Butter a gratin dish. Layer with rows of beet slices, plus any of the cream that was left in the bowl. Add dollops of goat cheese. Top with panko crunch topping.


Cover the gratin tightly with foil and bake for an hour. Carefully remove the foil; continue baking until the top is golden brown for 25–30 minutes. 


Slow-Roasted Tomato Ravioli


This dish was born from being scrappy, as I was trying to use up a leftover dip for a weeknight dinner. I make this slow-roasted tomato as a dip almost every week, and I threw it over some ravioli I pulled out of the freezer one day for a mind-blowing weeknight dinner, so good I swore I’d make it for an actual special occasion.




16 oz. baby tomatoes (tricolored add a beautiful touch), halved

2 heads crushed garlic  

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

½ cup olive oil 

Kosher salt

1 package frozen ravioli

2 tbsp. butter 

⅓ cup parmesan cheese for sprinkling




In a baking dish combine tomatoes, garlic, parsley, olive oil, and salt. Bake for 2 hours on 375, tossing about halfway through.


Cook frozen ravioli according to package instructions, minus 2 minutes of cooking.


Right before you are ready to serve, heat butter in a pan, add ravioli, brown for 1 minute.


Pour the roasted tomato confit over the ravioli, stir, and cook for an additional minute.


Top with parmesan and fresh parsley. 


Note: I love making this parve as well, by swapping the ravioli for pappardelle pasta, skipping the butter, and using vegan feta cheese. 

Blackberry Crostini


Individually assembled apps like this, that are both gorgeous and pack a delicious combination of flavors, are such a fun way to bring a little fancy “hors d’oeuvres” energy to your Yom Tov meal. These just scream fancy dairy brunch.




1 large baguette, sliced into ¼-inch rounds

Olive oil spray

12 oz. ricotta cheese, strained

2 cups blackberries, lightly smashed

Handful fresh mint, chopped thinly

Toasted almonds or pistachios, lightly crushed

High-quality honey



Preheat oven to 350.


Spray the baguette rounds with olive oil spray on both sides and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake, flipping them about 10 minutes in (until lightly golden on both sides), for about 15 minutes.


Let them cool.


Spread ricotta on the crostini, spoon the smashed blackberries over the ricotta, sprinkle the mint and crushed almonds or pistachios, and drizzle with high-quality honey. 


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