Jake Cohen’s Shabbat Dinner Series | Ramp It Up

Jake Cohen is a nice Jewish boy who loves food. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America, then worked the line at NYC institutions DANIEL and ABC Kitchen before transitioning out of restaurants and into food media. From recipe testing at Saveur Magazine to becoming Food Editor at TastingTable.com, he’s total Shabbat #goals. And trust us, you’re definitely going to want to follow him on Instagram at @jakecohen.

In this blog series, I’m focusing on 3-course Shabbat meals for 10 people. Follow along on insta at @onetableshabbat for how-tos and tips, then find the full recipes here each week.

ROMAINE AND SNAP PEA SALAD WITH PESTO-PARM VINAIGRETTE

This salad is so Springy and versatile you’re going to be making it all the time. Crunchy romaine, snap peas and sunflower seeds come together with a creamy pesto dressing for the perfect start to your meal. The night before/morning of, you can make your dressing, and slice the lettuce and snap peas. Have all the components ready so you can just toss together before your guests arrive. As for the pesto, I stole from the ramp pesto for the chicken to make my life easier!

For the dressing:
½ cup finely grated Parmesan
¼ cup pesto
¼ cup olive oil
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey
Kosher salt, to taste

For the salad:
5 heads romaine lettuce, sliced 1-inch thick
1 pound snap peas, thinly sliced
¼ cup sunflower seeds
Dressing
Grated Parmesan, for garnish

  1. Make the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk the dressing ingredients until smooth.
  2. Assemble the salad: In a large bowl, toss the romaine with the snap peas, sunflower seeds and dressing. Transfer to a large serving bowl or platter, then garnish with grated Parmesan and serve.

ROASTED CHICKEN WITH RAMP GREEN PESTO AND ROASTED VEGETABLES

You’ve got all your bases covered with this recipe: protein, starch and veg, all together in one easy flow. Roasting the chicken and potatoes in an herb compound butter yields a golden and delicious product, only to make it even better with vegetables roasted in the chicken drippings and a vibrant ramp pesto. You can make the compound butter and ramp pesto the day before, as well as have all your veg cut. This way you can just pop everything in the oven right before your guests arrive to have perfect chicken ready by the time you sit down to eat.

For the herb butter:
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup finely chopped herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sage
2 garlic cloves, finely grated
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the pesto:
1 cup ramp greens
1 cup parsley
¾ cup freshly grated Parmesan
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup olive oil
Kosher salt, to taste

For the chicken & veggies:
Two 4-pound chickens, backbone removed and halved through the breastbone
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
3 pounds sweet potatoes, cut into ½-inch slices
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 pounds Spring vegetables, such as asparagus, fiddlehead ferns and snap peas

  1. Make the compound butter: In a small bowl, mix all the butter components until smooth.
  2. Make the pesto: In a food processor, pulse all the pesto ingredients except for the oil and salt into a paste. With the motor running, stream in the oil until a smooth pesto forms. Season with salt.
  3. Prepare the chicken and vegetables: Preheat the oven to 450° and line 2 sheet tray with foil. On one tray, line up the chicken halves, skin side up. Rub literally with ⅔ of the herb butter, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. On the other tray, toss the sweet potato slices with the olive oil and the remaining butter, then season with salt and pepper. Roast the potatoes and chicken at the same time until both are golden and cooked through, 30 to 35 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer the chicken to a cutting board to rest. Meanwhile, toss the Spring vegetables in the chicken drippings and season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, 10 minutes.
  6. On platters, lay out the roasted sweet potatoes and vegetables, followed by the roasted chicken. Drizzle with the ramp pesto, then serve.

CHEWY CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES

Let’s break down my preferred cookie: the soft and chewy variety. As I’ve tweaked my recipe over the years, it’s become my go-to dessert staple for any occasion, whether it be a Shabbat or a sweet-tooth craving. I dare to say it’s even better than the recipe on the back of the Tollhouse bag. Feel free to go all dark or all milk based on your preference. The best part is the dough gets better after chilling in the fridge for a day or two, so making it in advance works in your favor.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
¾ cup light brown sugar
⅔ cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups milk chocolate chips
One 3-ounce bar dark chocolate, finely chopped

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy, 2 minutes. With the motor running, add the eggs, one at a time and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the vanilla and mix to incorporate.
  3. Add the dry ingredients and mix slowly until a smooth dough forms. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in both chocolates with a spatula. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and preferably overnight.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350° and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Scoop the cookie dough into twenty 1/4-cup balls. Working in 2 batches, bake the cookies, placing 5 cookies on each tray 2 inches apart from each other, until golden brown, about 16 minutes. Let cool slightly, then serve warm.

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Jake Cohen

Jake Cohen is a nice Jewish boy who loves food. He studied at the Culinary Institute of America, then worked the line at NYC institutions DANIEL and ABC Kitchen before transitioning out of restaurants and into food media. From recipe testing at Saveur Magazine to becoming Food Editor at TastingTable.com, he’s total Shabbat #goals. And trust us, you’re definitely going to want to follow him on Instagram at @jakecohen.

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