Good morning and happy Monday to you. I hope you had a great weekend. I’m gonna spare the boring details of my weekend (summary: hubby outta town, lots of begging Siona to nap on Shabbat and me staying up way too late watching reruns of Friday Night Lights) and get right to the point. My ladies over at 4 Bloggers Dish and I had an idea when we launched our Passover cookbook that we should do something for someone else. We felt it was our obligation to give back. So, when we launched the book 2 weeks ago, we linked up with Mazon to give them 50% of our profits from the first 5 days of selling. It felt amazing to support an organization I’ve admired for years and it felt even better giving Mazon a plug just in case folks out there didn’t know about them. Working with Mazon and raising awareness for their organization while also talking about delicious food was an amazing way to connect both of my passions, social work and cooking. It also gave me an idea. I have a little audience here thanks to this blog. Granted, it’s not the biggest audience in the world but it’s an audience no less and therefore, I feel like I have a responsibility to use this gift of an audience for some good. Thus, Mitzvah Monday was born.
The idea is as follows: Every Monday I’ll post a recipe. Aside from a delicious and mouth-watering recipe, I’ll also be posting about an organization, person, and/or idea that needs a shout-out or recognition and a little boast of awareness. My goal, or hope rather, is that you’ll not only share this recipe but also the message of whatever organization, person or idea that is featured on that Monday’s Mitzvah Monday post. I hope that you’ll join me in helping educate, raise awareness and/or money on behalf of somebody who’s working their tushy off to fulfill their dreams.
For the first Mitzvah Monday feature, I want to share the story of Zak the Baker. Zak the Baker is my friend, Zak Stern. We met while we were both working at a Jewish camp in Georgia. I was fresh from a year in Israel and he was stopping in while in between world travels. He tended the camp garden, which meant he had to deal with me hanging out in his garden space and reading at every free moment I could get. Anyway, long story short, we both found our way back to Miami where we’ve reconnected as friends and foodies. Currently, Zak is raising money via a Kickstarter fund to open his very own bakery in the ever beautiful and trendy Wynwood neighborhood in Miami. To read a little more about Zak, you can read my interview with him and his wife, Batsheva, HERE. You can also read a short bio below: Zak The Baker, born and bred in Miami, bowled at Don Carter’s, played t-ball at Red Barry’s, and banned from Bet Shira. Left to study science, traveled a bit afterwards, learned how to bake bread along the way, ran out of money traveling and returned home to shower. Put an oven in Sandy’s garage, got some goats, moved to Ken’s commissary, got hitched, and now opening in Wynwood! Let me just say this, Zak is living his dream. He sacrifices everything for his dream. It’s truly been a pleasure and a blessing to witness him get that much closer to fulfilling his dream. You can be a part of it by donating whatever you can to his Kickstarter campaign by clicking HERE.
I hope you will join me every Monday and check-in not only for the recipe but also the feature of the day. I also hope you share organizations/people you think should be featured on a Mitzvah Monday. So please, email me, send me a Tweet, comment on this post and/or send me a message through the Facebook Jewhungry pages to let me know of someone or some place that needs a Mitzvah Monday shout-out.
- 1/2 Box of whole wheat corkscrew pasta
- 2 Cups of soy crumbles, cooked
- 1/4 Cup of green onions, diced
- 1/2 Cup canned yellow corn
- 1/2 Cup of tomatoes, diced
- 1 Bunch of cilantro, diced
- 4 tbsp Unsalted butter
- 1/3 Cup all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 Cups milk, heavy cream, or half-and-half
- 6 oz Shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
- 8 oz Extra shredded sharp white Vermont cheddar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard (adjust according to your tastes)
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
- While the pasta cooks, melt the butter in a 4-quart sauce pan over medium heat. When the butter has melted and has started to bubble, whisk in the flour; cook for 1 1/2 minutes whisking constantly.
- Gradually whisk in the milk until no lumps remain.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook milk mixture, whisking frequently, until it thickens and bubbles, about 8 minutes.
- Remove saucepan from the heat and by the handful, stir in the cheeses allowing all of the cheese to melt into the sauce before adding more.
- Stir in the mustard, salt, pepper.
- Once sauce is complete, pour the sauce over the pasta. Be sure to stir up the sauce from the bottom of the sauce pan and thoroughly coat all of the pasta with sauce.
- Stir in all the veggies and soy crumbles to the pasta and cheese mixture.
- Serve in bowls and garnish with a little more cilantro.