The Jew And The Carrot

Spiced Honey-Rosemary Roasted Nuts

By Adeena Sussman

Photograph by Liza Schoenfein

These are the perfect accompaniment to a honey-laced New Year’s cocktail.

3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups mixed raw nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a medium bowl, whisk honey with sugar, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add mixed nuts, toss to coat and spread evenly on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Roast until fragrant and golden, 12-13 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool completely and loosen nuts into a serving bowl. Spiced nuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Adeena Sussman is a food writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Epicurious and Gourmet. Her most recent cookbook, co-authored with Lee Schrager, is “Fried and True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Recipes and Sides” (Clarkson Potter, 2014).

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Nu, Where's the Chocolate?

By Rabbi Debbie Prinz

On Rosh Hashanah, we manifest the greeting, Shanah Tovah u’Metukah, “may it be a good and sweet year” through our apples dipped into honey, or the raisins added to our customary round challah, or our honey cake and taiglach (small donuts) we drown in honey. Nu, where’s the chocolate? Chocoholics have to wonder.

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This Beekeeper Means Business

By Alix Wall

Photograph by Liza Schoenfein

Ishai Zeldner was a 20-something college graduate doing an ulpan on Kibbutz Beit HaShita in northern Israel when he was assigned to work with Yusuf Gidron, the kibbutz beekeeper.

“I had no clue about bees,” Zeldner said. “One night I was working with Yosef, moving the bees, and I got stung on the top of my head and I didn’t collapse or run away. He was looking for a strapping young guy to help him, and that’s all it took. It was total serendipity; the rest is history.”

What Zeldner means by “the rest” is the 9,000-square-foot operation he heads today, the Woodland, California-based Z Specialty Foods, which sells many gourmet products, the largest category by far being his impressive array of honeys. Now 67, Zeldner traces his love of honey and bees back to that fateful night in Israel over 40 years ago.

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Healthier Kugel Recipes for the Holidays

By Maurie Backman

There’s nothing like a series of back-to-back Jewish holidays to help you pack on the pounds without even trying. Between my mother’s Rosh Hashanah brisket, my bubbie’s stuffed cabbage for Sukkot, and our elaborate post-Yom Kippur feast that features enough delectable breads, spreads, and pastries to more than make up for 24 hours without eating, it’s a wonder any of our clothing fits by the time October rolls around each year.

Given the deliciousness of the various items that typically grace our holiday table, the assault on my waistline is more than worth it. That said, we’ve made an effort over the past few years to mitigate the damage by swapping some of our old school, traditional kugel recipes for ones that are just as tasty but far more healthy.

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Challah Back, Girl!

By Liza Schoenfein

William Greenberg Desserts’ Challah, Round for Rosh Hashanah. Photograph by Liza Schoenfein

An email landed in my inbox this week from William Greenberg Desserts, a tiny kosher bakery on Madison Avenue — and with it came a flood of memories. My grandparents lived practically around the corner from Greenberg’s (we lived nearby too), and my grandmother would sometimes take me there on Friday afternoons after school to pick up one of the lovely braided challahs flecked with raisins, so eggy and sweet they were more like cake than bread.

We’d walk into the cool white space and I’d be hit with the scent of sweet butter, of cookies and babkas and all manner of delicious treats. As Nana ordered, an aproned woman behind the counter would catch my eye, pull out a bin of cookies, and hand me one with a sly smile. It happened every time. My favorite was a thin, crisp butter cookie topped with slivered almonds, which both my grandmother and my mom would pick up for special occasions. I loved the white cardboard box they arranged the cookies in, and the red bakery string, descending from above, that they tied around it.

William Greenberg’s challah is my quintessential holiday bread, the one I measure all others by.
Owner Carol Becker
(It’s the same way that New Yorker’s seem to measure every slice of pizza by whichever one they grew up eating.) So it’s strange that I hadn’t been in since my childhood—until today.

Inspired by that email and the upcoming holidays, I tromped across the park this morning and paid a long-overdue visit to William Greenberg’s. The shop smelled exactly as it always had, and it has a similar feel, but it’s been renovated by owner Carol Becker, who bought the place seven years ago. It’s cheerful and bustling, and on this beautiful Friday it was packed with customers.

As I chatted with Carol, sharing my childhood recollections and asking about the store, she pulled on a pair of thin rubber gloves, reached into a huge plastic container of almond cookies, put a few into a little white paper bag and handed it to me. It was a gift straight out of the past, happily unchanged.

Not to get all madeleine about it, because that’s so cliché, but I am always struck, particularly at the holidays, by the way foods can trigger memories and connect us to family who are no longer here.

William Greenberg Desserts delivers by messenger throughout Manhattan and by mail anywhere in the U.S.

Liza Schoenfein is the new food editor of the Forward. Contact her at

Park Avenue Eatery Becomes Jerusalem Shuk

By Liza Schoenfein

The scene this week at Barbounia. Photograph courtesy of Barbounia Restaurant.

The Mediterranean restaurant Barbounia has been totally transformed. This week, through Saturday night, executive chef Amitzur Mor is cooking up a dinner menu full of dishes inspired by Mahane Yehuda market, the Jerusalem shuk. Calling it Barbounia Cooks Jerusalem, the Israeli chef says the festival is a salute to that city’s rich culinary and cultural heritage.

“The coolest thing was the challenge of taking the old-school, almost forgotten food that’s mainly done in houses — they sell it down in the shuk, where they keep it on a burner all day — and we actually created those dishes and tried to get all the flavor, but made them restaurant dishes.”

Decorated to look like a replica of the near-century-old market, the restaurant on Manhattan’s Park Avenue South is serving three classic street beverages—fresh almond milk, tamarind juice, and grape juice — from the same big vending machines found in the shuk.

Every meal begins with a Jerusalem-style sesame bagel served with olive oil & zaatar. “Making the Jerusalem bagel, it’s not a joke!” Mor said. “It’s a serious process.”

There’s an Old City Meat Market Lamb Tasting and a Jerusalem fish koufta. Other shuk-centric fare includes a mixed grill of sweetbreads, chicken livers, and duck and chicken hearts, served with homemade pita; roasted baby eggplants with pine nuts, homemade labane, fresh herb salad, and sumac, and Old City Market Crispy Treats featuring falafel, veal cigars, and lamb kibbeh.

“How to roll a kibbeh, we’re pretty much there — but I’m sure some of those old grannies do it better,” Mor said.

For dessert, there are traditional Middle Eastern pastries and other confections—and of course chunks of halva, cut from oversize wheels.

“There was a lot of learning,” Mor said. “The day I learn something new is a good day.”

Liza Schoenfein is the new food editor of the Forward. Contact her at

Ottolenghi Book Solves Holiday Menu Conundrum

By Liza Schoenfein

Holiday menus at my house are a puzzle indeed. My sister and her husband don’t eat red meat or chicken. Our dear family friend Cecile is allergic to fish. Pasta doesn’t feel festive — and anyway, there’s always someone going gluten-free. All this means no brisket, roast chicken, baked salmon or Bolognese for us.

Just as I was beginning to consider my rather knotty Rosh Hashanah menu in earnest, an early copy of Yotam Ottolenghi’s new cookbook landed on my desk. It’s called “Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking From London’s Ottolenghi” (Ten Speed Press). Like so many of us, I was a fan of the original “Plenty” (Chronicle Books, 2010), and of the Israeli-born chef’s “Jerusalem” (Ten Speed Press, 2012), written with Sami Tamimi.

The new book has the riotously colorful, ridiculously tempting images we’ve come to expect — they were shot by Jonathan Lovekin — and the same sorts of exotic, multilayered, if generally uncomplicated, recipes, heady with spices, hearty with interesting grains and legumes, and bright with unexpected combinations of fruits, vegetables and herbs. Sourcing the more esoteric ingredients can be a bit of a challenge, but less these days, with so much available online from specialty shops such as Kalustyan’s.

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Recipe: Brussels Sprout Risotto

By Yotam Ottolenghi

Photograph by Jonathan Lovekin © 2014

Serves 4

2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, finely chopped (1 1/3 cup)
2 large cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
2 lemons, rind shaved in long strips from one, finely grated zest from the other
1½ cups Arborio or another risotto rice
18 ounces trimmed Brussels sprouts (7 ounces shredded and 11 ounces quartered) lengthwise
Scant 2 cups dry white wine
Scant 4 cups hot vegetable stock
About 1 2/3 cups sunflower oil
1½ cups Parmesan, coarsely grated
2 ounces Dolcelatte, broken into ¾-inch chunks (The Forward substituted gorgonzola dolce)
1/3 cup tarragon leaves, chopped
2 teaspoons lemon juice
Salt and black pepper

1) Place the butter and olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly caramelized. Add the garlic, thyme and lemon rind strips, and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the rice and shredded sprouts and cook for another minute, stirring frequently. Pour in the wine and let it simmer for a minute before you start adding the stock, 1 teaspoon salt and a good grind of pepper. Turn down the heat to medium, and carry on adding the stock in ladlefuls, stirring often, until the rice is cooked but still retains a bite and all the stock is used up.

2) While the rice is cooking, pour the sunflower oil into a separate large saucepan; it should rise ¾ inch up the sides. Place over high heat and, once the oil is very hot, use a slotted spoon to add a handful of the quartered sprouts. (Take care that they are completely dry before you add them; they will still splatter, so be careful.) Fry the sprouts for less than 1 minute, until golden and crispy, then transfer them to a plate lined with paper towels. Keep them somewhere warm while you fry the remaining sprouts.

3) Add the Parmesan, Dolcelatte (or Gorgonzola Dolce), tarragon and half the fried sprouts to the cooked risotto and stir gently. Serve at once with the remaining sprouts spooned on top, followed by the grated lemon zest and the lemon juice.

Reprinted with permission from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

“Plenty More” is available for purchase through online booksellers such as and

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Recipe: Honey-Roasted Carrots with Tahini Yogurt

By Yotam Ottolenghi

Photograph by Jonathan Lovekin © 2014

Serves 4

Scant 3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1½ teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
3 thyme sprigs
12 large carrots, peeled and each cut crosswise into two 2½-inch batons (3 pounds)
1½ tablespoon cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped
Salt and black pepper

Tahini yogurt sauce

Scant 3 tablespoons tahini paste
2/3 cup Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic, crushed

1) Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

2) Place all the ingredients for the tahini sauce in a bowl with a pinch of salt. Whisk together and set aside.

3) Place the honey, oil, coriander and cumin seeds, and thyme in a large bowl with 1 teaspoon salt and a good grind of black pepper. Add the carrots, and mix well until coated, then spread them out on a large baking sheet and roast in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring gently once or twice, until cooked through and glazed.

4) Transfer the carrots to a large serving platter or individual plates. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a spoonful of sauce on top, scattered with the cilantro.

Reprinted with permission from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

“Plenty More” is available for purchase through online booksellers such as and

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Recipe: Ottolenghi's Fig Salad With Radicchio and Hazelnuts

By Yotam Ottolenghi

Photograph by Jonathan Lovekin © 2014

Serves 4 as a starter

2 small red onions (7 ounces)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup hazelnuts, with skin
2 ounces radicchio leaves, roughly torn
1 1/3 cups basil leaves
1 1/3 cups watercress leaves
6 large ripe figs (10½ ounces)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

2) Peel the onions, halve lengthwise and cut each half into wedges 1¼ inches wide. Mix together the wedges with 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some black pepper, and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking, until the onion is soft and golden and turning crispy in parts. Remove and set aside to cool before pulling the onions apart with your hands into bite-size chunks.

3) Turn down the oven temperature to 325 F. Scatter the hazelnuts in a small roasting pan, and toast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, roughly crush with the flat side of a large knife. Assemble the salad on 4 individual plates. Mix the radicchio, basil and watercress together and place a few on the bottom of each plate. Cut the figs lengthwise into 4 or 6 pieces. Place a few fig pieces and some roasted onion on the leaves. Top with more leaves and continue with the remaining fig and onion. You want to build up the salad into a small pyramid.

4) In a small cup, whisk together the remaining 2½ tablespoons olive oil, the vinegar and cinnamon with a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Drizzle this over the salad, finish with the hazelnuts and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

“Plenty More” is available for purchase through online booksellers such as and

Rose Levy Beranbaum Is Back With a New 'Bible'

By Liza Schoenfein

Rose Levy Beranbaum. Photograph by Ben Fink.

The first time I met the magnificent baker and cookbook author Rose Levy Beranbaum, she brought me a baggie of bread. It wasn’t long after 9/11, and Beranbaum was baking like mad, developing recipes for “The Bread Bible,” which would be published in the fall of 2003. I remember sitting together in a rather formal Midtown Manhattan restaurant, both of us rattled by recent events, and how immediately warm and funny Beranbaum was, opening the plastic bag and handing me slices to taste. I interviewed her at length for the article I was writing, and by the end of our meal I felt like we were old friends. I imagine most people come away feeling that way when they meet her.

Beranbaum’s books are a different story. They’re utterly exacting, relentlessly precise. Her recipes work because she leaves nothing to the reader’s imagination. And this has been a recipe for success. This fall, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt is publishing Beranbaum’s 10th cookbook, “The Baking Bible.” The author already won the International Association of Culinary Professionals Cookbook of the Year awards for both “The Cake Bible” and “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes,” and a James Beard Foundation Award for “Rose’s Christmas Cookies” — which, by the way, includes a fabulous rugelach recipe. “The Bread Bible” was a Publishers Weekly top ten book of the year.

Liza Schoenfein: We first met during a dark period in history, and you were madly baking bread. It’s so good to talk to you a lucky 13 years later, almost to the day.

Rose Levy Beranbaum: “The Bread Bible” was born on the date 9/11, in 2003, and it made me feel better about that horrible number. I was in the process of working on it when we met for lunch. I remember I had a lot of flour and I went through all of it, because baking was the only thing that made me feel better. And baking bread masked the horrible smell. We lived near the Twin Towers site. I remember there was no flour in the stores.

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Recipe: Honey Cake for a Sweet New Year

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Photograph by Ben Fink

My fellow writer, talented friend and poet from Montreal, Marcy Goldman, is the authority on Jewish baking in Canada. She has developed the first honey cake I have ever loved, in good part because it is moist, flavorful and not too sweet.

Special Equipment: Two stacked baking sheets and one 9- to 10-inch (12 to 16 cups) one-piece metal tube pan, preferably nonstick, encircled from the bottom with 2 cake strips, bottom coated with shortening and topped with a parchment ring, then lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Baking time: 70 to 80 minutes
Serves: 12–16

4 large eggs, at room temperature (3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons/187 ml; 7 oz./200g)
1 cup canola or safflower oil, at room temperature (237 ml; 7.6 oz./215 g)
1 cup strong black coffee, at room temperature (237 ml; 8.4 oz./237 g)
½ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained (about 2 large oranges) (118 ml; 4.3 oz/121 g)
¼ cup whiskey or rye* (59 ml; 1.9 oz./55 g)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (20 ml)
1 ¼ cups superfine sugar (8.8 oz./250 g
½ cup light brown Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar, firmly packed (3.8 oz./108 g)
3½ cups all-purpose flour, preferably bleached, sifted into the cup and leveled off (14.1 oz./400 g)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder (0.6 oz. 18 g)
¾ teaspoon baking soda (4.1 g)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt (3 g)
1 tablespoon unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder (5 g)
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (8.8 g)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup honey (237 ml; 11.8 oz./336 g

1) Preheat the oven 20 minutes or longer before baking; set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.

2) In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, coffee, orange juice, whiskey and vanilla until lightly combined. Add the superfine sugar and brown sugar, and whisk until dissolved into the liquid mixture.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, cinnamon, ginger and cloves on low speed for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl and whisk beater. Add the liquid ingredients and sugars, and stir with the whisk beater until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the honey. Place the bowl back on the stand and reattach the whisk beater. Start on low speed, then gradually raise the speed to medium and beat for about 1½ minutes. The batter will have the consistency of a thick soup. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and set it on the stacked baking sheets.

4) Bake for 45 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway around. Lower the temperature to 325 F and bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted between the tube and the sides comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven. During baking, if using the 12-cup pan, the center will rise to a little above the top of the pan, but on cooling it will be almost level with it.

5) Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. To loosen the sides of the cake from the pan, use a rigid sharp knife or stiff metal spatula, preferably with a squared-off end, scraping firmly against the pan’s sides and slowly and carefully circling the pan. (If using a nonstick pan, use a plastic knife or spatula.) In order to ensure that you are scraping against the sides of the pan and removing the crust from the sides, leaving it on the cake, begin by angling the knife or spatula about 20 degrees away from the cake and toward the pan, pushing the cake inward a bit. It is best to use a knife blade that is at least 4 inches long and no wider than 1 inch.

6) Dislodge the cake from the center tube with a wire tester or wooden skewer. Invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the bottom and center tube, and peel off the parchment. Re-invert the cake onto a serving plate or cake carrier.

7) Let the cake cool for 2 to 3 hours, or until cool. (The cake can be served warm, but the pieces will be fragile. Slice with a sharp serrated knife, and lean the cut-side piece against a pancake turner to move it for plating.)

Store airtight: room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 7 days; frozen, 2 months.

Notes: If using a two-piece tube pan, encircle from the bottom with 2 cake strips; coat the bottom of the pan with shortening, and cut a 10-inch parchment round. Cut a circle from the center of the round to fit over the center tube. Slide the parchment ring down the center tube and press it onto the bottom. Press the outer part of the parchment against the sides of the pan, pleating as necessary to create a seal where the bottom part of the pan meets on the pan’s sides. Lightly coat the inside of the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the stacked baking sheets to catch any leaking batter.

*Orange juice, coffee or water can be substituted for the whiskey or rye.

Reprinted with permission from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt from The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Photography by Ben Fink. Copyright 2014.

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Bread and Bakers Rising Together

By Michael Kaminer

Baker on the Rise: Most employees graduate to jobs at other bakeries. Courtesy of Hot Bread Kitchen Staff.

The week before Rosh Hashanah, inside a low-slung East Harlem building under elevated rail tracks, a crew of women will quietly mix, knead, shape and bake challahs in an immaculate kitchen.

Their dough will yield thousands of challahs — traditional, dark whole-wheat and sweet honey-raisin — along with a holiday loaf infused with caraway and anise and swirled into an elegant turban.

There’s another delicious twist: All of the women are immigrants. Almost none of them had professional baking experience before joining the bakery. And every loaf they produce will fund their own English-language instruction, tutoring in business skills — and economic security.

Welcome to Hot Bread Kitchen, the only bakery in New York where the workers rise along with the dough.

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Recipe: Hot Bread Kitchen's Sephardic Challah

By Jessamyn Rodriguez and Hot Bread Kitchen

Hot Bread Kitchen’s Sephardic Challah. Courtesy of Hot Bread Kitchen Staff.

Active time: 25 minutes
Total time: 3 hours 45 minutes, plus cooling
Yields: 2 round loaves

3 tablespoons sesame seeds
1½ tablespoons caraway seeds
1½ tablespoons anise seeds
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
5 cups bread flour
2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon kosher salt
Cornmeal for dusting
2 large egg yolks

1) In a skillet, toast the sesame, caraway and anise seeds over moderate heat until fragment, 2 minutes; transfer to a plate and let cool. In a small bowl, combine the yeast with 2 tablespoons of water and let stand until thoroughly moistened, about 5 minutes.

2) In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour with olive oil, the honey and the remaining water and mix at low speed until a very soft dough forms. Add the kosher salt, yeast mixture and all but 1 tablespoon of the seeds and mix at medium-low speed until the dough is supple and smooth, 10 minutes. Using oiled hands, transfer the dough to a large oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let stand in a draft-free spot until the dough is risen, 1 hour.

3) Lightly oil two small cookie sheets and dust them with cornmeal. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and press to deflate. Roll each piece into an 18-inch-long rope and let rest for 5 minutes longer, then roll each rope into a 32-inch rope. Beginning at the center and working outward, form each rope into a coil; tuck the ends under the coils.

4) Transfer each coil to a baking sheet and cover each loaf with a large, inverted bowl. Let stand for 1 hour, until the loaves have nearly doubled in bulk.

5) Preheat the oven to 400˚F. In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks with 1 tablespoon of water. Brush the egg wash over the loaves and let stand uncovered for 30 minutes. Brush with the egg wash once more and sprinkle with the reserved 1 tablespoon of seeds. Bake the loaves side-by-side in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, until they’re golden and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Transfer the loaves to racks and let cool completely before slicing.

Sweet Sally’s Features Traditional Jewish Baked Goods

By Sally Minier

Some of the traditions we learn as children carry with us through our entire lives. For me, that would definitely be my family’s love of baking, as well as the celebration of Jewish traditions. As the owner of Sweet Sally’s Bakeshop, I am able to honor both.

As a child, my Jewish upbringing revolved around food and family. The holidays were much anticipated celebrations that involved baking, eating and the joy of being together. In my home, friends were always welcome at the table, and the more the merrier. Jewish, non Jewish, it didn’t matter. All were welcome and all were lovingly introduced to the Jewish baking traditions that my Grama Gracie brought to the table.

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Junior’s Bucks a Trend to Maintain a Tradition

By Liza Schoenfein

This summer wasn’t kind to New York restaurant lovers.

In June, Wylie Dufresne announced that he’d be closing the doors of his pioneering modernist restaurant WD50. Soon after, Danny Meyer said that Union Square Café would be leaving its original location when its lease expired at the end of the year.

Finally, some good news. At a moment when real estate always seems to trump tradition, Junior’s Cheesecake owner Alan Rosen has broken from the pack. Yesterday he announced that after much deliberation and a visit to his therapist, he would be turning his back on a $45 million offer to sell the building that houses the Flatbush flagship, which opened in 1950, because it did not include a crucial provision for the restaurant to reopen within the same footprint after construction.

“I’m not just running a restaurant,” Rosen explains. “I’m running something that has such a heritage and such a tradition for so many people here in Brooklyn, that it just can’t be replaced.”

Russ and Daughters Heads Uptown

By Liza Schoenfein

Michael Harlan Turkell

As a kid growing up on New York’s Upper East Side, I had appetizing envy. My West Side friends had Zabar’s, Murray’s Sturgeon Shop, and Barney Greengrass.

Downtown, of course, there was Russ & Daughters.

Sure, there were a few Jewish delis like P.J. Bernstein’s, and eventually fancier shops like Sable’s, but we didn’t have the kind of legendary appetizing establishments that other, luckier, neighborhoods had.

Finally, the Upper East Side has arrived. (And alas, I’ve long since moved to another appetizing wasteland, West Harlem.)

Russ & Daughters, which has occupied the same space on East Houston Street for 100 years, yesterday announced a partnership with the Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, where it will open a 75-seat, sit-down kosher café and take-out retail counter in the Museum’s lower level.

It’s a great shidduch,” said Niki Russ Federman, 4th Generation owner of Russ & Daughters.

“We’re delighted to bring a unique and authentic piece of New York City’s cultural and culinary heritage and history from the Lower East Side to the Upper East Side,” added Josh Russ Tupper, 4th Generation owner of Russ & Daughters.

No doubt Upper East Siders are equally delighted. The café and shop are scheduled to open in early 2015.

That Time I Cooked For Joan Rivers

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Getty Images

I’ve long felt a special kinship with Joan Rivers.

Not because we were both Jewish, but because we shared a Jewish sense of humor — no matter how bad things could get, we always found the funny in it.

The first time I almost met Joan was on a flight to San Francisco. I was on book tour and, in those heydays of publishing, sat in first class. I had ordered a vegetarian meal, having learned as a food person that when ordering a special meal more effort usually went into it. Joan was sitting behind me and noticed what I was eating. She asked the flight attendant how she could get a special meal and he explained it had to be ordered in advance. I wanted so much to talk to her and explain how it worked but I was too shy.

Rose Levy Beranbaum

The second time, however, I found my voice through a somewhat ridiculous incident that I have never had the courage to write about before. But since it showed me what a warm and supportive person Joan Rivers was, now seems like the time to share it.

I was in the prep kitchen of NBC making pastries for my appearance on the Today Show for the “Pie and Pastry Bible.” Someone on the show announced that Brad Pitt was to be the next guest so when the door bell rang I stopped what I was doing and went running to the door, opened it. Instead of Brad Pitt, it was Joan Rivers! (I hadn’t realized that Brad’s appearance was being done remotely.)

I didn’t want Joan to see disappointment in my eyes so I exaggerated my greeting crying out “It’s Joan Rivers!”

She entered the prep area, looked at the apple pie I was styling and then went off to makeup. My appearance was to follow hers but when I went into the makeup room she was still in the chair and I could hear her saying to the makeup artist with great enthusiasm: “Just wait until you see Rose Levy Beranbaum’s desserts!”

I couldn’t believe that she would remember my name or that she would be so impressed by my baking. And I’ve loved her ever since.

This post originally appeared on Real Baking With Rose Levy Beranbaum. An interview with Rose to discuss her new cookbook, “The Baking Bible,” will appear on the blog next week”

Vietnamese Soup Gets Yiddishe Momme Twist

By Vered Guttman

Pho-chicken soup with kreplach dumplings / Vered Guttman

You could always tell the time of year by looking at my Polish grandmother Rachel’s chicken soup: If it was served with bubelach (egg pancakes) or home made lokshen (she used to fry dozens of thin omelets and slice them, very very slowly, to thin lokshen) you knew it was Passover. Kneidlach were served on just any Shabbat, and kreplach, chicken liver filled dumplings, were saved for the high holidays.

Kreplach involve a lot of work, kneading and rolling the dough, making the stuffing and shaping each dumpling. My grandmother did not believe in short-cuts and the kreplach were served only a few times a year. “We’ve been waiting for this a whole year!” she used to say in her almost perfect Hebrew.

But I’m lazy. I do make kibbeh soups, but kreplach seemed too much. Then I found the wonton wrappers, which are available in every Asian grocery store across the U.S. These come in a square or round shape, just the right size for kreplach. They’re easy to fold, fill and shape, and the wrappers are thin and let the filling take the lead.

To match the Chinese theme of the kreplach-dumplings I made a pho-inspired chicken soup. Pho is a wonderful aromatic Vietnamese soup; it is beef-based and spiced with star anise and cinnamon. The version below is a nod to the Vietnamese soup and the Polish tradition.

Pho-chicken soup with kreplach dumplings

You can make the soup up to three days in advance, and the dumplings a day in advance.

Wonton wrappers (dumpling wrappers) are available in the fridge or freezers of any Asian supermarket.

For the dried mushroom you can use any variety, including those found in the Asian markets (do not use porcini though, their strong flavor will overpower the soup).

Star anise is available in some health supermarkets, and in any Asian market.

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RECIPE: Eggplant, Labneh and Pomegranate Dip

By Vered Guttman

(Haaretz) — Dip with labneh (sour yogurt cheese) and pomegranate molasses.

Yields 2 cups of dip


1 large eggplant 4 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling juice of ½ lemon 1 garlic clove, minced Kosher salt to taste 1½ cups Labneh 2 tablespoons pomegranate molasses Pita chips or veggies for serving.

1. Steam eggplant as directed in the eggplant and yogurt soup above. Alternatively, you can also roast the eggplant whole either in a 450 degrees oven for half an hour or over open flame until the eggplant is soft and shows no resistance when you press it with your finger. Scoop out the flesh of the eggplant.

  1. Put the eggplant flesh in a bowl, mash it with a fork to an almost smooth consistency, add olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt to taste.

  2. Spoon labneh into a wide serving bowl and spread with a spoon in circular motion (as you would with hummus). Spoon eggplant in the center and gently mix it with labneh, only half way, leaving some unmixed labneh. Drizzle with pomegranate molasses and olive oil and serve with pita chips.

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