The Jew And The Carrot

Snacks To Help You Survive Passover

By Danielle Ziri

We’re half way through Passover and if you’re anything like me, you’re starting to crave all of those delicious carbs that the Atkin’s diet and the rabbis frown upon this time of year — bread, pastries, cake, pizza, pasta and even beer.

In Israel, food companies and some creative chefs have found ways around the holiday’s restriction coming up with kosher for Passover chocolate wafers, soup croutons and even bagels — yes, bagels. Some of them work better than others, so here’s what to try and what to avoid during the last few days of the holiday.

“Afifiyot” Chocolate Wafers

Wafers are a classic in Israel. During Passover, the brand Elit brings out its “Afifiyot”. By the look, they are exactly the same as the regular chocolate wafer: rectangles indented with little square designs and filled with chocolate. In color, however, they are much less golden and more of a white with a grey undertone.

If you can get past the cardboard texture of the wafer, then you may actually find them better than the regular ones. It’s as if the makers of “Afifiyot” felt bad for not being able to provide us with the actual wafer and so they overcompensated with a rich dark chocolate. No complaints here!

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My White House Seder

By Vered Guttman

White House Photo

(Haaretz) — Cooking for twenty people doesn’t usually faze me, even when it’s for a Passover Seder, but the Seder I helped prepare last night was for Michelle and Barack Obama.

After days of long discussions about menu options and in order to add some interest, it was decided that alongside the Passover classics, such as gefilte fish and matzo ball soup, I will make quinoa in coconut milk with roasted sweet potatoes and Tuscan kale. My friend Susan Barocas, former director of the Jewish Food Experience, who was working with me as well, prepared chicken in pickled lemon and olives.

The tradition of making a Passover Seder at the Obama household started in 2008, while he was running for President. The first seder took place at a hotel basement hall during a campaign stop, and the blessing “next year in Jerusalem” was modified to “next year at the White House.” And so a tradition began. Keeping their seder private and intimate, the Obamas continue to host the same guests every year at the White House ever since.

We arrived at the White House early on Tuesday morning. We arrived at a surprisingly small kitchen, peeking at the beautiful flower arranging room on the way. Cris Comerford, White House executive chef, met us at the kitchen. As top chef, Cris is often in charge of much larger events, including State Dinner, yet she amazed me with the amount of research and the sincere interest she showed in the Jewish traditions for the Passover Seder. From grating her own horseradish for the chrein to the little carrots on her home-made gefilte fish, she really nailed it down.

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Drama and a $2.65M Lawsuit Come to Carnegie Deli

By Anna Goldenberg

wikicommons

Oversized sandwiches for guests and undersized pay for employees seems to have been the guiding philosophy at Carnegie Deli for more than a decade.

On Friday, a Manhattan federal judge gave preliminary approval to a settlement between 25 current and former employees of the deli and its owners, Marian and Sanford Levine. The New York Daily News reported that the workers, who claimed that pay had been held back illegally for over 10 years, will receive a $2.65 million settlement.

According to court documents obtained by the New York Post, working conditions at the famous Midtown pastrami hotspot were rough: Employees claimed that the management paid them hourly salaries below the minimum wage of $7.25, as little as $2.50 to $3. The class action lawsuit, which was brought on in 2012, also accused the owners of not paying the workers overtime, and of keeping them from having their lunch breaks. The payout will happen over the next four years.

This is not the only legal action the owners of the deli are involved in. Marian Levine, who inherited Carnegie Deli from her father Milton Parker, filed a lawsuit against her husband Sanford last October. She claimed that he had passed along trade secrets to Penkae Siricharoen, a Thai waitress with whom he had had an affair since 1998. Siricharoen’s family runs a Carnegie-knock off called ‘New York Cheesecake’ in Thailand. Sanford Levine had not only invited the Thai family to visit Carnegie Deli’s New Jersey Plant, but also allegedly gave his mistress, who lived in the apartment building owned by his wife a highly advantageous deal that froze her rent for 15 years.

And if that’s not enough trouble for one 77-year-old New York City establishment: Two weeks ago, Jose Robles, one of the deli’s managers, was assaulted by a homeless man outside the Port Authority Bus Terminal. Instead of coming to help him, bystanders filmed the attack on their cell phones, Robles, who suffered a broken arm, told the New York Daily News.


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Sipping Wine in a 150-Year-Old Templer Cave

By Dafna Arad

Shani and Ovad Zetuni in the new Jajo bar. Photo by Ilya Melnikov

(Haaretz) — Two years ago, when I met Ovad and Shani Zetuni for the first time, they convinced me they had something interesting on their hands. Together we hopped over cesspits, rolled in the sand, got some fresh air and climbed down to find a damp cave with high, empty vaulted ceiling.

Our conversation echoed and there was a dripping noise in the background. Workers were busy reinforcing the walls, peeling off old material and plastering them anew, and the ceiling was festooned with ladders. Climbing down a shaky army walkway we had to find our footing between bags of cement.

That dungeon was in reality a 150-year-old Templer winery. Now with the renovations complete it’s about to open as Tel Aviv’s newest wine bar. The food and drink menus were finalized and printed about two months ago and the kitchen is already filled with fresh ingredients. Jajo Wine Bar will be part of the new Sarona complex which is situated on the ruins of the fourth colony established by the German Knights Templers here in the second half of 19th century.

Even before any improvements were made, Ovad could envision exactly how the place would look when the work was done. The plan sketched out by architect Dan Troim dictated where the bar would be, what color the walls would be painted (mocha), which kind of chairs would be used (rattan chairs hand-made by a basket-weaver in Italy) and where the wall of wines would be. But back then, during my visit, when a large lamp shone, it illuminated only the darkness, the workers and Ovad himself, in a stained shirt and with his ubiquitous cigarette, as he supervised the work and found himself schleping things, bending over and working on the molding.

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Roman Holiday: Pizzarelle Con Miele

By Alyssa Shelasky

Pizzarelle Con Miele are a classic Roman Jewish Passover cookie. Read about how Alyssa Shelasky learned to make the recipe while living in Rome here.

Inspired by Edith Arbib Anav

Yield: 8 servings

8 sheets of matzo
4 eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup sugar
½ cup of kosher for Passover cocoa
powder, highest quality
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup raisins
2 cups peanut oil for frying
4 tablespoons of honey
2 teaspoons of lemon juice

1) Soak the matzo in a bowl of cold water for 15 minutes, until very soggy. Remove from water, squeezing out as much moisture as you can from the matzo.

2) Put the matzo in a large bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients, lighting mashing everything together until all the ingredients are evenly combined.

3) Heat the oil on the stovetop to approximately 325ºF to 350ºF. With a big spoon, form large madeleine-shaped spoonfuls of the mixture. Carefully insert them into the oil, one by one.

4) Fry the cookies for about 5 minutes, flipping half way through.

5) Place the cookies on paper towels to drain the excess oil.

6) Meanwhile, heat the honey, with the lemon juice and a few teaspoons of water in a saucepan over medium heat for approximately 5 minutes. The honey should bubble but not burn.

7) Once the cookies have been drained of oil, individually dunk them in and out of the honey pot. Let set. Serve at room temperature.


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4 Cocktails for the 4 Sons

By Pamela Wiznitzer

While the story of Passover may be the reason for having the seder, the real stars of the event are the food and drinks served throughout the evening. Carefully planned, perfected all day for all to enjoy while listening to the hours long story of Moses and the exodus.

Like most kids growing up, the reading of the “4 sons” was a significant part of the evening. But what if those sons were a bit older (lets say over the age of 21) and could order a drink alongside their question. What would these guys imbibe based upon their personalities?
Pamela Wiznitzer

The Wise Son: Aperitif Cocktail

The wise son knows that the key to enjoying the seder and making it to the end is by pacing. With one glass of wine already consumed and three more to go, there is no way he will survive the night unless it sticks with something a bit more low proof. And it never hurts to start the evening with an aperitif style drink. This refreshing and slightly citrusy sipper is the perfect way to ease into the nighttime festivities.

• 1.5 oz fresh grapefruit juice
• .5 oz fresh lemon juice
• 1 oz Bartenura Etrog Liqueur
• 3 oz Bartenura Moscato d’asti
• Combine ingredients into a glass, stir lightly and garnish with the oils of a lemon peel.

The Wicked Son: Tequila Shot

The wicked son is always up to no good and is not one to stick to the conventional methods of drinking. Known for making the night a bit more crazy and perhaps putting some people over the edge, the Wicked son opts to drink a shot of straight tequila (no chaser) to awaken his inner mischievous self.

• 1 oz 99 Agave Blanco

The Simple Son: Tom Collins

Sometimes the best cocktails are the least fussy, and this classic from the father of cocktails, Jerry Thomas, will fit the bill for the Simple son. Herbaceous notes from the gin, the bright citrus from the lemon a sweetness of the syrup combine together beautifully in this cocktail. And this guy knows that limes are too overpriced to use this year for the seder, so sticking with lemon juice will alleviate the burden of the holiday tab.

• 2 oz Distillery 209 Gin
• .75 oz fresh lemon Juice
• .75 oz simple syrup (**1 cup water and 1 cup sugar dissolved)
Pamela Wiznitzer

• Soda Water
• Combine gin, lelom and sugar into a highball glass with ice. Stir and top with soda water. Garnish with a lemon wedge. For a fun alternative, use Dr. Brown’s Celery Soda in place of soda water for a fun twist on this classic.

The One who does not know how to ask: Vodka Soda
It worked in college….you can barely taste it….and it’s safe.

• 2 oz Vodka (we recommend Distillery 209 vodka or L’chaim Vodka)
• Soda water
• Combine in a highball glass over ice. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge.


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When Michael Jackson Loved Matzo Ball Soup

By Devra Ferst

Musicians’s food cravings are legendary. Elvis famously flew from Graceland to Denver for his favorite sandwich: An entire loaf of bread stuffed with a jar of peanut butter, another of jelly and a pound of bacon.

Michael Jackson never hopped on a plane for his cravings. He had his personal chef Akasha Richmond to whip up his favorites: Spicy enchiladas, fresh tortillas and matzo ball soup.

In the mid-90’s MJ was living in the penthouse of the Manhattan Trump tower, sharing a floor with Donald Trump. He was in town finishing up his epic HIStory album.

Richmond was living a few blocks south at what was then the glamorous Helmsley Palace (now the New York Palace), often picking up bagels on her short walk up to Jackson’s apartment.

Courtesy of Akasha Richmond
MJ with Akasha Richmond and her daughter.

“One day Michael asked for lox and bagel for breakfast,” Richmond told me. She was a bit surprised by the request but went with it. A few days later, he asked her to make matzo ball soup.

“What do you know from matzo ball soup?” Richmond recalls retorting.

“I grew up with a Jewish nanny. I love matzo ball soup,” Jackson replied.

Richmond met Jackson back in the 1980’s when she was cooking at The Golden Temple, one of L.A.’s first vegetarian spots known for playing host to celebrities like Bob Dylan and Demi Moore. “He used to come there everyday. He was really sweet and I used to take care of him,” Richmond recalls.

Soon she and another chef from The Golden Temple started cooking at Jackson’s house. “He would have these epic dinner parties. He loved old Hollywood so Elizabeth Taylor, Gregory Peck and Sophia Loren might be there. You never knew who would come over,” she says.

Over the next 14 years Richmond traveled with Jackson on his private plane to 30 countries, cooking for him on his HIStory and Bad tours. The crew built her a six foot portable pantry stocked with his favorites — ingredients for Mexican food and matzo meal. “I think for him [matzo ball soup] was comfort food,” she explained.

Richmond never had a family matzo ball recipe so “I would make chicken stock and then follow the recipe on the package…and add a good pinch of cayenne pepper or minced jalapeño — he loved spicy food,” she said.

“I used to joke that I was Michael’s Jewish mother. I was supposed to keep him healthy. When your on those tours it’s really grueling. I did whatever it took: matzo ball soup, green juice, chai tea.”

A decade or so later, Richmond left the tour life to spend more time with her daughter, but on the weekends she would trek out to Neverland Ranch to cook for Jackson. “My daughter had her bat mitzvah party on the ranch…It was about the best bat mitzvah you could have.”

Richmond went on to work as a personal chef for Barbra Streisand — cooking meals from the vegetables grown in the Funny Girl’s backyard. And she continued to experiment with Jewish food.

In 2008 Richmond opened Akasha, a new American restaurant in the Culver City neighborhood of Los Angeles shortly before Passover. She closed the restaurant for the night of Seder and invited friends, family and investors for dinner, serving the same matzo ball soup — replacing the cayenne for a dash of nutmeg. In September, she tried out the idea of hosting a Rosh Hashanah dinner for her customers. It was a hit. “We had 200 covers ever night. We were slammed,” she says. Jewish holidays at Akasha have become a tradition. “There are so many levels of being Jewish. For a lot of people it comes down to the food — that’s what they remember,” says Richmond.

Most of Richmond’s kitchen staff isn’t Jewish, so when she makes matzo ball soup “I tell my chefs — this is the food of my grandmother. Don’t fuck with it.”

Personally, she prefers hers matzo ball soup flavored with Thai ingredients like lemongrass, turmeric and ginger. But for her restaurant’s annual Seders she sticks with tradition — and prays. “I say a prayer over the matzo balls. I…ask the god of matzo balls to make them light and fluffy. They make me so nervous.”

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Five Ways to Add Italian Flavor to Passover

By Marcia Friedman

When it comes to Passover, the same treasured foods grace tables every year. Matzah ball soup. Gefilte fish. Brisket. Roast chicken. Growing up, my husband’s family table was no different. I, however, grew up Italian and later converted to Judaism. Our Passover meals now not only include the customary Jewish dishes, but also some of my Italian flavoring as well.

Passover traditions limit how Italian we can go, of course. But beyond the Italian penchant for homemade bread and pasta, there are other foods often universally beloved that add some Italian flair. Here are my top five.

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Tanoreen's Brussels Sprouts With Panko

By Rawia Bishara

Brussels sprouts were not part of the Palestinian kitchen when I was growing up. I discovered them here in the States and very eagerly tried to push them on my children. To that end, I did what any good mother would do—I pumped up their flavor by adding a little tahini sauce and sweet pomegranate molasses. It worked!

In fact these Brussels sprouts were so delicious that they made it onto the original Tanoreen menu and I’ve never taken them off.

Makes 6 to 8 servings

Corn oil for frying
4 pounds Brussels sprouts, outer leaves
removed, cut in half
1 cup Thick Tahini Sauce (recipe below)
1 cup low-fat plain yogurt
2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
1 cup panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
Pinch sea salt

Pour 1/4 to 1/2 inch corn oil in a large skillet and place over a high heat until hot. To test the temperature, slip half a Brussels sprout into the pan; if it makes a popping sound, the oil is hot enough. Working in batches, fry the Brussels sprouts, turning occasionally, until they are browned all over, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sprouts to a paper towel–lined plate to drain.

Meanwhile, whisk together the Thick Tahini Sauce, yogurt and pomegranate molasses in a medium bowl. Set aside.

In a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high until hot. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the panko and stir constantly until the crumbs are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Stir in the salt and remove the breadcrumbs from the heat. Transfer to a paper towel–lined plate to cool.

Place the Brussels sprouts in a serving dish, drizzle with the sauce and top with the panko crumbs. Serve immediately.

Thick Tahini Sauce

Tahini sauce, a smooth blend of toasted sesame paste, lemon juice, garlic and olive oil, is ubiquitous in Middle Eastern kitchens. It is the condiment. There is hardly a dish that isn’t enhanced by it.

Makes 2 1/2 cups

1 1/2 cups tahini (sesame paste)
3 to 4 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice of 5 lemons or to taste (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon sea salt
Chopped parsley for garnish

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the tahini, garlic, lemon juice and salt and process on low speed for 2 minutes or until thoroughly incorporated. Turn the speed to high and blend until the tahini mixture begins to whiten. Gradually add up to 1/2 cup water until the mixture reaches the desired consistency.

Transfer the sauce to a serving bowl and garnish with the parsley. Leftover tahini sauce can be stored, tightly covered in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks.

Photo courtesy of “Olives, Lemons & Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking.”


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Tanoreen's Lentil Noodle Soup with Greens

By Rawia Bishara

This hearty Palestinian soup known as rushtay is more commonly prepared by West Bank cooks than by those in Galilee; I learned how to make it from friends I met in Jerusalem. It is a meal in itself and a favorite among vegetarian patrons of Tanoreen. If you don’t have one of the greens on hand, just substitute more of the others. Don’t skip the squeeze of lemon near the end—it transforms the soup. Serve it with a few olives.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

3 cups brown lentils
1 tablespoon plus 1 pinch sea salt
1 cup olive oil
3 medium red or yellow onions or 5 large shallots, diced
1 poblano or other chile pepper, seeded and diced (optional)
6 cloves garlic, finely chopped
41/2 teaspoons ground cumin
41/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
4 stalks celery, diced
2 large carrots, peeled and diced
1 packed cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 packed cups chopped fresh spinach
2 packed cups chopped kale
2 green or plum tomatoes, diced (optional)
8 ounces fettuccini, broken in half
Juice of 2 lemons (1/4 to 1/2 cup)

Combine the lentils and a pinch of salt in a pot and cover with water by 1 inch. Cover with the lid and boil over high heat for 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Toss in the onions or shallots, and chile pepper, if using, and saute until golden brown, 7 to 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle in the cumin, coriander and black pepper and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Toss in the celery, carrots and cilantro, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add the spinach, kale, tomatoes, if using, 15 cups of water and remaining 1 tablespoon salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

Pour in the lentils, return the broth to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes more. Add the fettuccini and cook until al dente. Stir in the lemon juice followed by the teklai, if using. Serve hot.

Variation: For a gluten-free version, cut six 8-inch corn tortillas into 1/2-inch strips and use in place of the fettuccini or use gluten-free pasta.

Photo courtesy of “Olives, Lemons & Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking”.


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Cooking the Book: 'Olives, Lemons and Za’atar'

By Naomi Zeveloff

Three years ago, I spent a month living in Ramallah while reporting a story on the Palestinian economy. Yet somehow, save for trips to the corner falafel joint in between frenzied interviews, I managed to barely sample Palestinian food.

When I returned to New York, my regret lifted the moment I walked into Tanoreen, a Palestinian restaurant in Brooklyn’s Bay Ridge. Chef and owner Rawia Bishara’s menu is inspired by her hometown of Nazareth, yet many of her dishes share DNA with the West Bank cuisine I missed out on.

Every time I go to Tanoreen, my vegetarianism flies out the window. My favorite item on the menu is the lamb-stuffed baby squash. The dish is elaborately flavored — the yogurt is sour, the spices sweet, the lamb gamy and the squash earthy.

This interplay of flavors is found throughout Bishara’s menu, and also in her new cookbook, “Olives, Lemons & Za’atar,” published this spring. The tome is as colorful as the cuisine it depicts, with photos of the Nazareth hillsides, family picnics and open-air markets. Under the heading, “The Pantry,” is a list of ingredients — pomegranate molasses, bulgur, mastic sumac and many others — essential for concocting the dozens of breakfast dishes, mezzes, salads, soups, stews, mains, pickles, sauces and desserts found inside the book.

The recipes range from traditional fare like maftoul, or Palestinian couscous, (also featured in the “The Gaza Kitchen”) to experimental dishes such as brussel sprouts with panko. There are several simple recipes in the book, but some are more complex than meet the eye. The brussel sprouts, for instance, calls not for tahini but for tahini sauce (made by mixing tahini with garlic and lemon juice)— directions for which are found later in the book.

For my foray into “Olives, Lemons & Za’atar,” I decided to take the easy road. Instead of replicating my beloved baby squash — the book doesn’t have that exact recipe, but instead several that seem similar, like vegetarian stuffed vegetables or stuffed artichokes with meat and pine nuts — I opted for two simple dishes with ingredients I had at home.

The first was shorabit addas majroosh, the pureed lentil soup that is a mainstay in many parts of the Arab world. One of the great pleasures in making pureed soups is that they enable the otherwise fastidious home chef to be a bit lazy. Instead of fretting over how beautiful the carrots and onions would look in the final dish, I chopped them roughly, sautéed them with oil, coriander and cumin in a soup pot, added the red lentils, and let it all simmer. I then pulsed the mixture in a blender, and served it with lemon wedges, salt and pepper. The resulting soup was plain, but comfortingly so — perfect for the late winter Monday that I made it. Bishara’s recipe is meant to serve six to eight; I ate shorabit addas majroosh all week long.

My next try was salatet zahra, or cauliflower salad. The chopped cauliflower should be briefly boiled before it is roasted or grilled, leaving it with a soft interior and an almost crunchy exterior. After roasting, I tossed the cauliflower with tahini (though it called for tahini sauce) and pomegranate molasses and sprinkled it with chopped cilantro. (The recipe calls for parsley, but I had none on hand.)

Perhaps because I used a very nutty tahini, or maybe it was the crunch of the cauliflower, the dish reminded me a little of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. My dining partner, on the other hand — much more an aficionado of Arab food than I am — declared it a success: an example “nouveau Levantine” cuisine.

I would make either dish again, but not before I scour the rest of the book. After my culinary oversight in Ramallah, I feel I have a lot to make up for.

Tanoreen’s Lentil Noodle Soup with Greens

Tanoreen’s Brussels Sprouts With Panko

Photo courtesy of “Olives, Lemons & Za’atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking.”


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Food for Thought: Debating Kosher Ethics

By Marc N. Kramer

RAVSAK

Most Jewish holidays have food as a central component of the celebration-from latkes on Hanukkah to misloach manot on Purim and blintzes on Shavuot. Yet, Passover, through the Seder and the full-scale flip from “chametz” to “matza” (from eating leavened foods to eating foods devoid of all leaven), makes food and eating an essential focus of preparation and observance. For at least this week, what we eat and with whom we eat defines us as Jews.

RAVSAK’s Moot Beit Din, an annual competition for high school students in Jewish day schools, made food the focus of our 2014/5774 program. We challenged students from across North America to consider whether a Jewish summer camp that prides itself on being environmentally conscious has an obligation to consider tzaar baalei hayim (mistreatment of animals) and thus serve locally raised kosher meat even if it raises the tuition costs at camp significantly enough to make it less affordable to many families. The case touched on such current issues as industrial farming, the morality of eating meat and the role of economics in halakhic decision making. Students were asked to calculate a cost/benefit analysis of switching to an organic diet at Jewish institutions — an ostensibly desirable undertaking — in light of the real financial issues that might exacerbate the modern plague of the high cost of Jewish living. Like the Seder, Moot Beit Din used powerful questions, ancient texts, wise voices and great debate to elevate mundane conversations about food to a heightened and holy level.

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Passover Sweets — The Best Recipes on the Web

By Devra Ferst

Food52/James Ransom

Making a delectable Passover dessert is a challenge worthy of appearing on Iron Chef — no leavening, no flour, and if your Seder has meat, no butter. Fortunately, our favorite food sites and cookbook authors have suggestions and recipes for sorbets, toffees and an irresistible sweet matzo brei that can double as dessert. What’s your favorite Passover dessert? Share it with us in the comments.

To get you started, here are 10, incredible recipes for pareve Passover desserts like chocolate balsamic macaroons, pear vanilla sorbet and roasted strawberries with rhubarb. [Food 52]

And several more like matzo toffee with candied ginger, chocolate caramel macarons and hazelnut citrus torte from cookbook author Melissa Clark. [New York Times]

Food52/James Ransom

Matzo brei will never be the same. Introducing: Cinnamon sugar matzo brei with roasted apple charoset. [Tasting Table]

Chocolate-covered matzo is one of the true pleasures of Passover. Here’s an easy way to make it at home. [Food 52]

Imagine this: a macaroon filled with molten chocolate. It’s a reality. [Fork in the Road]

Chocolate. Caramel. Matzo. Brittle. ‘Nuff said. [The Kitchn]

And if you still need ideas, the New York Times has an entire Pinterest board dedicated to Passover recipes [Pinterest]


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Cook the Book: Let My Children Cook

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Don’t worry if you are too tired to cook again after the Seders this Passover. Thanks to a new cookbook by Tamar Ansh, you can let the kids take over the kitchen for the rest of the weeklong holiday. They won’t necessarily prepare fancy dishes made with organic and locally sourced ingredients, but with the guidance of “Let My Children Cook!,” they’ll be able to put together some substantial meals that they — and maybe you too — will want to eat.

“As a mother, I know what kids like to eat,” Ansh, cooking instructor and author of several cookbooks, including “A Taste of Challah,” told the Jew and the Carrot from her home in Jerusalem. “It doesn’t have to be a full-blown recipe. Chicken cacciatore braised in wine sauce is not for kids.” Although she had never written a cookbook for kids before, she knew she had to keep the recipes clear and short, with as few ingredients and steps as possible.

Officially, “Let My Children Cook!” (Judaica Press, 2014) is for children 8-years-old and up, but kids even younger can easily tackle these recipes with the help of a parent or older sibling.

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Fair Trade Chocolate Charoset

By Ilana Schatz

Philip Gelb

SHEHECHIYANU! We can finally eat chocolate on Passover that’s been certified not to have been made with trafficked child labor! Why is this so important?

Every Passover we gather as family and community, to celebrate our people’s freedom. We are obligated to tell the story of the Exodus, our journey from slavery to liberation. As we celebrate this freedom during Passover, we are compelled to reflect on how freedom continues to be elusive for other people. Our history of slavery awakens us to the plight of the stranger, and to the alarming occurrence of modern day trafficking and slavery. For how can we celebrate our freedom, without recognizing that so many individuals still have not obtained theirs?

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Red Velvet Macaroon Cake Is for Lovers

By Molly Yeh

There is a sad truth about Passover: Its dessert always falls short. Hanukkah has donuts, Purim has hamantaschen and Rosh Hashanah has honey cake. Poor Passover has no signature sweet.

Perhaps you’ve put in the extra effort to make a kosher for Passover cake for your Seders past, but if you’re like me, you’ve never found one you love enough to sacrifice sweet brisket-braising time to make it each year. But as Julia Child said, “A party without cake is just a meeting.” So, this spring I set out to create a kosher for Passover cake that wouldn’t compromise even a crumb’s worth of quality.

I pulled my copy of Dan Cohen’s cookbook, “The Macaroon Bible,” down from my shelf and got started. Cohen’s recipes call for small batches that produce rich and chewy macaroons that come in flavors like rice pudding and salted caramel. Each recipe highlights the thick coconut shreds and sweet condensed milk that make up its base. His recipes have made macaroons a year-round treat in my home — passing the test of something that’s conveniently kosher for Passover but not designed for it.

This cake batter borrows from Cohen’s recipe and enhances the celebratory qualities of a macaroon. It takes a traditional Passover dessert and morphs it into a beautiful, festive and delicious centerpiece. It’s a Passover cake for all seasons.

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Mitchell Davis's Master Matzo Ball Soup Recipe

By Mitchell Davis

James Beard Foundation

This recipe is reprinted with permission from “The Mensch Chef: Or Why Delicious Jewish Food Isn’t an Oxymoron.

This is an approximation of the matzo ball recipe my mother always used. It is based on the one on the matzo meal box, but with a few important modifications to account for my mother’s heavy hand with the schmaltz and her inexact measuring technique. When it comes to making fluffy floaters instead of sodden sinkers, I’ve tried all of the tricks: seltzer, baking soda, and others. But the only thing that seems to make a difference in the finished texture is how you handle them. For floaters, it’s best not to let the mixture sit in the refrigerator more than 30 minutes before shaping. Whatever you do, don’t work too hard to the mixture into balls — rolling the matzo balls around for too long in the palm of your hands compacts and toughens them up. Instead, coax them into a spherical shape, and don’t be too OCD about it. Also, be sure to have the chicken soup simmering when the matzo balls are ready, so you can put them straight into the hot soup. That way they retain their texture after cooling.

Mitchell’s Chicken Soup

Makes 4 quarts, enough for 10 to 12 servings
1, 4 1/2 pound stewing hen or soup chicken, or 5 pounds chicken bones
3 chicken feet, claws removed (optional)
2 pounds yellow onions, about 4, roughly chopped
Top half of a bunch of celery, with leaves
5 large carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
1 small turnip, peeled and cut into chunks
1 large parsnip, peeled and cut into chunks
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 point of star anise
1 whole clove
2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 sprigs fresh dill, plus extra for garnish

In a 12-quart stockpot, place the chicken, chicken feet, if using, onions, celery, carrots, parsley, turnip, parsnip, peppercorns, star anise, clove, and salt. Add 5 quarts cold water. Place over high heat, bring to a boil, skim off any scum that floats to the top. Set the cover ajar, turn down the heat to low so the liquid simmers, and cook about 2 hours, skimming occasionally, as necessary. Add the dill, if using, and simmer an additional 45 minutes or so. Turn off the heat and let cool.

Stain the soup through a fine mesh strainer into a clean pot. Remove the cooked chicken meat and reserve for a chicken salad or something. Discard the other solids. Chill the soup and then remove any fat that coagulates on the surface. You can also freeze the soup. If you’d like, you can freeze the soup at this point. To serve, reheat until boiling and add some chopped fresh dill, if you’d like. If you want to add vegetables for garnish, cook carrots, parsnips, turnips and other vegetables separately in a little bit of the soup, and pour it all back into the pot before serving.

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Manischewitz: Now Brought to You by Bain Capital

By Haaretz

Matzot on a cooling conveyor Manischewitz factory in Newark, New Jersey. Photo by Bloomberg via Haaretz

Kosher food giant Manischewitz, whose matzot are known to generations of Jews in the United States and elsewhere, is expected to announce on Tuesday that it has been purchased by Sankaty Advisors, an arm of the private equity giant Bain Capital.

The deal, which comes just a few days before Passover, is expected to help the 126-year-old company expand beyond the kosher aisle, the New York Times reported.

Under its new owner, a firm with expertise in revamping corporate strategy, the company is expected to promote “kosher” as a quality-control designation, rather than a simply religious one.

Though private equity tends to conjure images of stripping companies, Sankaty plans to act as “stewards of the brand,” said a person briefed on the deal who was not authorized to speak publicly about it before the announcement.

“It’s a pretty powerful certification to be kosher, because it means you are holding your product to a very high standard,” said Mark Weinsten, the newly appointed interim chief executive of Manischewitz, who is also a senior managing director at FTI Consulting. “Why is that not applicable to people who don’t keep kosher?”

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The Oldest Matzo Maker in France

By Toni L. Kamins

wikicommons

(JTA) — For most Jews, matzah season comes once a year. But for Jean-Claude Neymann, matzah, or “pain azyme” in French, is a defining family tradition.

Neymann runs the oldest matzah bakery in France, located in the town of Wasselonne near the German border. The family company, Etablissements Rene Neymann, traces its matzah-making tradition to 1850.

“I’m the fifth generation of my family to bake matzah here in Wasselonne,” Neymann said.

Walking along the steep, cobblestoned streets of Wasselonne, a city of nearly 6,000 people at the foot of the Vosges Mountains in northeastern France, is like stepping into a Grimm’s fairy tale. Timbered facades look more German than French, a reminder that Alsace and Lorraine have been shunted back and forth between two countries that regularly warred with each other in the not-so- distant past.

Salomon Neymann, a peddler and the father of this unleavened-bread dynasty, set up his first bakery in nearby Odratzheim, where he began to bake Passover matzah for his family and the local Jewish community. His matzah became popular, and by 1870 he and his son Benoit moved the factory to larger quarters in Wasselonne, a market city with an industrial district that also had the advantage of being the site of a flour mill.

Between 1870 and 1919 the Neymann family manufactured regular and shmura matzah in their factory, but Benoit Neymann’s youngest son, Rene, had bigger ideas for the company. In 1919 he industrialized production, changed the company name to Etablissements Rene Neymann and in 1930 began to market the wonders of unleavened bread to the non-Jewish public. It was a hit and sales grew.

After France fell to the Nazis in 1940, the bakery was shuttered and the Neymann family was forced into exile in southern France. Liberation came in November 1944 with the army of Gen. Phillipe Leclerc, and in 1948 Rene Neymann restarted the business.

The decades following World War II saw many changes in how people ate and shopped all over the world.

“Supermarkets started to replace traditional food markets, and eating a low-fat diet became fashionable,” Jean-Claude Neymann noted.

Robert Neymann, Rene’s son, seized the opportunities – he modernized and automated production, expanded the product lines and secured new distribution outlets.

With Robert Neymann at the helm, Etablissements Rene Neymann continued to extend its products and brands by manufacturing other types of matzah for different tastes and appetites: matzah made from rye and whole-wheat flours; bran matzah; spelt matzah; certified organic matzah. Even Neymann’s kosher for Passover matzah, under the supervision of the chief rabbi of Strasbourg, is made from an array of flours.

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Katz's Wins in a Battle of the 'Reuben Orgasm'

By Michael Kaplan

Katz’s Deli is the one and only Katz’s in town — and don’t you forget it.

The 125-year-old deli recently won a legal battle against a food truck called “Katz & Dogz,” arguing that the moniker was an attempt to co-opt the famed-restaurant’s name.

“It has taken over a century of dedication, hard work and consistent customer satisfaction for Katz’s Deli to become famous,” the trademark-infringement suit said. The $1 million lawsuit argued that appropriating the iconic name would ultimately lead customers to confuse the truck with Katz’s Deli and lead people to believe they were associated.

The truck also had to drop its motto, “Are you ready for the Reuben Orgasm?” which the lawsuit asserted was a reference to a famous scene shot at the deli in the movie “When Harry Met Sally.”

The truck is now going by the decidedly less exciting name, “Deli & Dogs.”


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