Packed with fresh herbs, these fish kebabs are bursting with flavor. Since there are no binding ingredients like eggs, the secret is to knead the mixture like dough to break down the proteins. The kebabs are good on their own, but even better with the creamy yellow tahini sauce.
1 kg (2.2 lb) fish filet, finely chopped (such as tilapia, sea bass, mullet or red drum)
2 shallots or 1 small red onion, finely chopped
½ bunch parsley leaves, finely chopped
½ bunch mint leaves, finely chopped
½ bunch cilantro leaves, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper
1) Mix together all the kebab ingredients in a large bowl and knead until you obtain a uniform mixture.
2) Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
3) Shape into small round or oblong patties. Working in batches, cook on a hot grill or skillet for 3 to 4 minutes per side until cooked through and golden.
4) Transfer to a plate or put in a pita and serve with a generous spoonful of the tahini yogurt sauce.
His designer suits and expensive car project project an image of success, but Salah Messikh has been on the brink of bankruptcy for more than a year.
Messikh, the founder of one of Poland’s oldest halal slaughterhouses, saw his revenues halved because of a 2012 court ruling that rescinded a government regulation exempting Jews and Muslims from a requirement that animals be stunned prior to slaughter.
The ruling shut down Poland’s $500 million kosher and halal meat industry last year.
For the activists who petitioned the court, the ruling was an important victory in their fight for animal rights. But for the Algeria-born Messikh, it paralyzed a production line he has spent 10 years and a fortune building.
Messikh now struggles to resell meat imported from Romania, where ritual slaughter is permitted. The high costs and low quality, coupled with Messikh’s insistence on continuing to pay 20 staff members whose services he no longer really requires, have pushed his business to the brink.
“They’re like family,” Messikh says of his workers. “I can’t fire them, but I don’t know how much longer we can all stay afloat.”
Agudath Israel of America asked the Pentagon to restore kosher field meals.
The Orthodox umbrella group on Monday said that the Defense Logistics Agency had solicited a bid in April for kosher and halal “meals ready to eat,” but had recast the solicitation last month to include only halal, which adhere to Muslim religious precepts.
“As things stand now, no kosher MREs are being produced and, as previous stock has become depleted, there is essentially nothing currently available for Jewish members of the Armed Forces that meet their religious dietary needs,” Abba Cohen, Agudah’s Washington director, said in a release. “How long this state of affairs will continue is unknown.”
Cohen said he wrote Maj. Gen. Donald Rutherford, the top military chaplain, expressing his “deep concern” but also confidence “that the department will find a way to address the dietary needs of Jewish service personnel” given that the Pentagon is showing “greater interest in broadening religious accommodation” in the military.
The Pentagon announced last month that U.S. troops may accommodate religious beliefs in their garb or grooming, including kippahs and beards for Jewish servicemen, as long as it does not frustrate their mission.
Cohen told JTA that Rutherford and his staff already are looking into the matter and contacting the relevant agencies.
The U.S. military introduced kosher MREs in 1999, a result of complaints from Jewish troops during the 1991 Gulf War that such meals were not available.
When it comes to filling a job in the food industry, one wouldn’t think that “Camp Tawonga” on a resume would have a lot of sway. But if we’re talking about the Local Butcher Shop in Berkeley, co-owner Monica Rocchino says it’s “a no-brainer.”
Rocchino, who grew up attending the Jewish camp and then worked on staff, says, “Someone from camp, especially who worked there multiple years, is going to be a great employee.” She knows they’ve learned great leadership and communication skills as well as how to work as a team, she adds.
Sure enough, Kel Troughton and Aaron Lurie — who both worked in Tawonga’s kitchen, Troughton as kitchen manager — have now found work at the Local Butcher Shop.
The Gourmet Ghetto store, which opened in August 2011 and quickly signed on new neighbor Saul’s Deli as one of its early customers, is co-owned by Monica, 35, and her husband, Aaron Rocchino, 31. The pair met while working at Oliveto, a trendsetting Italian restaurant in Oakland.
Monica Rocchino (nee Pallie) grew up in San Rafael in a Jewish family that loved to entertain and cook, and her husband’s grandfather is a rancher in Pennsylvania Amish country. Still, nothing in their backgrounds suggested they’d end up in the butchery business.
After Oliveto, Aaron went to Chez Panisse and Monica returned to Paula LeDuc Catering, where she had worked before as an event planner.
Newly married, he was working nights while she was working days, meaning they never saw each other. They sought to change that, and began to think of doing something in which they would have a greater impact on their community. Meanwhile, they observed that “it was hard to get locally raised, sustainably grown meat that we could trust — unless Aaron brought it home from the restaurant,” Monica says. “We had the best access of anybody, and if we were having problems, everyone was.”
Following his successful Pollution in a Promised Land: An Environmental History of Israel leading Israeli environmental lawyer and activist Alon Tal has produced another must read for anyone interested in learning more about the land of Israel; in this case the trees that call that land home. His latest book, All the Trees of the Forest: Israel’s Woodlands from the Bible to the Present reads like a combination of a Sherlock Holmes novel filled with characters working to solve the case of what is best for the land of Israel when it comes to trees, and a tractate of the Talmud where divergent issues are explored that all add to a deeper understanding of the issue at hand.
While the focus of the book is Israel, with only “1/60,000 of the wooded area of the planet,” the information and lessons presented are, as Tal points out, both universal in nature and scope. As Tal writes, “In 1948, the planted stands and remnants of natural woodlands occupied less than 2 percent of the area of the State. By 2005 that figure had increased t some 8.5 percent, and should easily cross the 10 percent mark before stabilizing in a couple of decades. A land that was synonymous with erosion, desertification, and human neglect, is enjoying an environmental makeover.” He then continues, “This exercise in ecological rehabilitation occurred in a country where 97 percent of the ground is classified as ‘drylands,’ making it particular relevant for half of the planet where water will be scarce.”
Not that this has been an easy journey.
Plans to overhaul kosher certification services offered by Israel’s Chief Rabbinate include having different levels of certification and outside companies employ the supervisors.
Naftali Bennett, who serves as minister of religious services, and Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau announced the reforms on Monday at a news conference.
Under the new system, the restaurants and other kosher establishments will not pay the kosher supervisor directly, which could lead to graft. The supervisors will be paid by an outside company, which will be paid by the owner of the kosher establishment.
Also under the new system, establishments can choose one of three levels of kosher certification, or kashrut: regular, mehuderet (stringent) and mehadrin min hamehadrin (very stringent).
Establishments seeking very stringent certification previously had turned to outside agencies.
The new system reportedly will cost the restaurants less and could lead other proprietors to become kosher.
“The ultimate goal is to bring back the public’s trust in kashrut by regularizing work relations, removing foreign interests, and upgrading the kashrut array with new and transparent technology,” Deputy Minister of Religious Services Eli Ben-Dahan told the news conference.
I used to joke about the new fad of superfoods and make fun of the health nuts with their goji berries and spirulina. I was farming at the Adamah farm in Connecticut and feeling really good about eating the nutritionally dense seasonal produce that I harvested with my own hands. I was so connected to the land that I could soak up nourishment through my bare feet on the lush soil. I felt skeptical about importing tropical cacao beans and coconuts and other foods from foreign lands. I even went a whole year without eating chocolate!
Then I started to take interest in these so-called superfoods. I bought a bag of goji berries and researched their healing properties. I noticed the small seeds inside these dried fruits, took them to the greenhouse and sprouted my first goji plant. I learned that it is a medicinal fruit (also called a wolfberry) and, although native to China, it can grow here in Maryland where I live. Unfortunately my little seedlings never amounted to much. The kale and cilantro were still my go-to-greens.
(Haaretz) — In 1966, on a dreary Saturday morning in Rochester, New York, Florence Rappaport’s surprised her young children with ice cream for breakfast. As she scooped the creamy treat into bowls for her ecstatic offspring, Joe and Ruth, she formally announced, “Today is Ice Cream for Breakfast Day.” And so, the social worker and mother of six created a holiday.
On the first Saturday of the following year, Joe and Ruth, piously demanded to observe the holiday again. And over time, the tradition only grew stronger. When Joe and Ruth grew up and left for college, they brought the holiday with them, Joe to Columbia University and Ruth to Binghamton University. Joe took the holiday particularly seriously, hosting large gatherings with a variety of ice creams and toppings. After college, Ruth moved to Israel, taking Ice Cream for Breakfast day with her.
When Joe and Ruth and their college friends started their own families, many of them continued the tradition with their children and introduced it to friends. In 1994, Itzah C. Kret, a quirky artist based in Washington, D.C., attended an Ice Cream for Breakfast celebration hosted by Barry, a former roommate of Ruth’s. An instant convert, Kret began zealously proselytizing.
“Life is about making beautiful things and introducing them to the world, and Ice Cream for Breakfast Day is a beautiful thing,” he told Haaretz.
If you have tickets for the Super Bowl at the MetLife Stadium this Sunday, and you’re planning to munch on some kosher snacks while watching the battle between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, you’d better bring some extra cash: This stuff’s not cheap.
As the Forward reported, this year’s event is likely to be the most kosher Super Bowl ever. A significant number of the ticket holders for the 82,000 seats are expected to be Jewish; the stadium features a praying area — and a solid selection of kosher food.
But it comes at a hefty price: The kosher caterers charge $13 for a turkey or chicken wrap, $13 for chicken wings and $11 for a hot dog with chips (Hebrew National, of course). And don’t forget to tip! If you want to save money, we recommend a knish: The dough snacks go for $6 per piece.
After shelling out $1,000 (at the very least) for a ticket, $13 for a wrap might actually seem a bargain. If not, you could always bring your own food.
“Would You Make This?” is a sporadic column where personal chef Alix Wall evaluates a cookbook by making some of its recipes, sharing them with friends and asking what they think of the results.
“Balaboosta: Bold Mediterranean Recipes to Feed the People You Love” is a funny name for a cookbook from a chef who is 100 % Sephardic, but never mind (it means the perfect housewife in Yiddish). Written by Einat Admony, the Israeli-transplant chef who owns a restaurant and two falafel bars in New York, learned how to cook by standing at the elbow of her Persian mother. She defines the modern-day Balaboosta as follows: “She can be anyone — young or old, male or female, religious or not — who lives life with gusto, shuns fear, and relies on instinct over precision” and one who expresses “emotion… through food. Not exactly my great-grandmother’s definition of a perfect housewife, but a balaboosta all the same.”
The book, which is lovingly photographed by Quentin Bacon, has a good mix of dinner-party worthy dishes (chicken tagine), romantic dishes (lamb chops with Persian lime sauce), recipes from Israel (Eggplant salad), barbecue (harissa and honey hot wings), and even items to feed your kids (chicken littles). And that’s only some of the categories, there are more.
While Israeli recipes abound (shakshuka, falafel, sabich, hamin), so do lots of Moroccan and Persian flavors, this is not solely an Israeli or even Middle Eastern book. One could be forgiven for wondering what oysters with watermelon granita or Spanish-style shrimp are doing in here.
The cookbook came out in the fall, so I thought it was high time I took it for a test drive in the kitchen. I cooked three of the recipes for a small group of friends: Kibbeh Soup, which Einat loosely defines as an Iraqi borscht, Dorit’s Cabbage Salad, and My Homemade KitKat.
The kibbeh soup is a simple beet broth that looks like borscht, but doesn’t have the same complexity. That is, until you add the meatballs. Ground beef is mixed with onions, cumin and cinnamon and then wrapped in a semolina and rice flour dough to make dumplings, which are then simmered in the soup.
Einat has you grind jasmine rice yourself, and I wondered why I couldn’t just use rice flour, but I did as she said, using my spice grinder. I’m not sure what happened, but the dough didn’t work for us. From the beginning, it was too watery, and we needed to add more semolina and rice flour to get it to stick together. When we finally got it, it was a strange texture, in fact, resembling matzo balls, and most guests ended up picking the meatballs out of the dough, to eat them by themselves.
With that ringing endorsement, I would understand if you were saying to yourself “then why are you including this recipe?” I am doing so because the soup and meatballs were so delicious, that we didn’t care about the failed dumpling dough.
Photo by Quentin Bacon
Serves 4 to 6
Part of me wants me to call it Iraqi borscht, but that wouldn’t do it justice, and I’m afraid the name would create too many misconceptions. This soup is tangy, thanks to beets and lemon being boiled together into a broth. My recipe uses a combination of rice flour and semolina instead of plain semolina, which is harder to find in the United States. I worry that this recipe won’t be around in two generations—I don’t know anyone except my sister, me, and a handful of Iraqi grandmothers who still make it. I’m relying on you to carry on the tradition!
Photo by Quentin Bacon
Serves 4 to 6
My Big Sister, Dorit—who is a terrific cook in her own right—came up with this recipe. How great is it to have chips in a salad! If you can’t find Terra Stix at your local grocery store, use any root vegetable chips and crumble them.
1/3 cup white wine vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
8 cups thinly sliced cabbage
3 cups Terra Stix root vegetable chips
1 cup shredded carrots
½ cup toasted slivered almonds
¼ cup finely chopped scallions
¼ cup toasted sesame seeds
Whisk together the vinegar, oil, sugar, and soy sauce and set the dressing aside.
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, Terra Stix, carrots, almonds, scallions, and sesame seeds.
Right before serving, toss the salad together with the dressing. You can throw in a handful of raisins if you’d like. Dorit never does, but don’t worry—your secret is safe with me.
Excerpted from “Balaboosta by Einat Admony” (Artisan Books). Copyright (c) 2013.
Photos by Molly Yeh
May I toot own horn for one tiny second to say that when I make challah, there is never any left the next morning for French toast?
Ok really, the credit should go to my all time favorite recipe. It’s unstoppable. But my point is: how do people let challah go stale in the name of French toast? And is there another way to experience brunch time challah that doesn’t require self-restraint every time you walk into the kitchen and see half a loaf of challah just sitting there, saying “eat me! eat me!”?
The answer is waffles. The quirky brunch middle child that requires its own appliance — an appliance that can also handle a fresh ball of challah dough. Yup. No stale bread needed, and waffles à la challah are so mind blowingly tasty that challah French toast better watch its back.
These waffles take a hint from the Belgian Liège waffle, which is made using yeast-risen dough that’s flecked with large crystals of sugar called pearl sugar. It’s also doughier and chewier than what most Americans think of when they order a Belgian waffle.
If you were following New York City news last week, then you’ll know that millions of tri-state area residents (including an irate Jon Stewart) were flabbergasted to see Bill de Blasio eating a slice of pizza with a fork and knife. Deeply disappointed New Yorkers (as well as citizens of neighboring New Jersey and Connecticut) were left wondering whether they will ever be able to rely on New York’s new mayor’s taste when it comes to the Big Apple’s signature foods.
The question is not a hypothetical one, because now, just days after Forkgate, hizzoner has passed judgment on the most Jewish of New York foods: the bagel. Brooklyn Magazine reports that de Blasio has named Bagel Hole in Park Slope the purveyor of the best bagel in all of New York. Not only are Bagel Hole’s bagels the best, but they are also “the most authentic, traditional authentic,” according to the mayor.
We are sure plenty of New Yorkers (including devoted fans of say, Tal Bagels, Murray’s and the now shuttered H&H) would beg to differ with de Blasio, but he does seem to actually know what he is talking about. Bagel Hole often appears on lists of New York’s best bagel shops.
Russ & Daughters has been around for so long that it’s hard to say that any one year is the year of Russ & Daughters, but 2014 really is it. The Lower East Side palace of lox is celebrating its 100th birthday by opening its first café this spring. The stories of the original shop (four generations and 1.8 million pounds of herring in the making) will be captured in Julie Cohen’s new documentary “The Sturgeon Queens.”
Catch Maggie Gyllenhaal and Ruth Bader Ginsberg in the trailer below — it’s filled with choice lines like “There’s something maybe genetic that makes you feel good when you’re down there,” and “Pop used to throw people out if they said anything he didn’t like. ‘Who asked you to come here, forget the address.’”
Say what you will about the most iconic Jewish foods — bagels, matzo soup, brisket, Shabbos chicken. Cheese blintzes are the reason I am proud to write about Jewish food. When made well, they are delicate little pillows of crepe stuffed with warm, sweet, freshly made cheese and topped with a fruit compote. They are in essence, a dessert that is socially acceptable to eat at the dinner or breakfast table.
Today, it’s time to correct one of the greatest oversights of the last 7.5 years on this website… we’re going to talk about cheese blintzes. I mean, really, what have I been waiting for? I’ve got all of the bases covered that would prequalify me for a cheese blintz proclivity: I love crêpes and Eastern European food, I’m Jewish, married to a Russian, had a deep cheese blintz addiction when I was pregnant…
Deb goes on to discuss the provenance of these treats. While the name blintz is Russian, I’ve tried them in Ukrainian restaurants and spotted them on menus in Poland and Germany.
Comprised of such near-universal foods as a thin pancake and sweet cheese filling, I imagine that cheese blintzes are one of these foods that you could connect via dotted line to dozens of others in other countries and cultures.
In Jewish homes, blintzes are usually spring-time fare, made for the dairy fest Shavuot. But, as Deb points out, they are perfect winter comfort food.
They hail from places where the snow seems to go on forever, places where our Polar Vortexes would seem comparatively weak, places that know how to fill bellies with warm to hold you over until it’s fun to go outside again.
While I haven’t had the chance to make hers yet, Deb’s recipes are as reliable as they come. So cancel your evening plans, head to the store and start cooking. Like I said, it’s perfectly fine to eat these for dinner — even your bubbe would approve.
Whether you love the game or just watch for the commercials, this Sunday is really all about the food. If you’re hoping to host a kosher fiesta party, down more wings than you ever thought imaginable, order a sub as tall as a football player or even have some veggie friendly fare, we have you covered with spots around the country.
What are you eating on game day? Tell us in the comments!
This new, upscale midtown kosher steakhouse and sushi bar is hosting its first-ever kosher Super Bowl party (we know, sushi and football, it’s an odd combo but just go with it). Game day specials include a selection of brochettes or skewered meats including beef, kafta, veal and lamb and a prime-meat sampler with a lamb chop, filet mignon, short rib and center-cut rib eye. The game will be broadcast on 55-inch flat-screen TVs around the restaurant, and a special selection of HE’BREW kosher beer will be brought in for the occasion.
RSVPs are recommended, though not required. Brochettes are $22 per serving; buy three, get one free. The prime-meat sampler is $75. 340 Lexington Ave at 39th Street, New York, NY, 212-972-2200
Gotham Burger Gotham Burger’s Manhattan location is holding an All You Can Eat and Drink Super Bowl Buffet with unlimited beer on tap for just 80 people (so make your reservations stat). Cost: $85 in advance, $100 at the door. If you’d rather munch on your snacks at home, both locations are offering take-away packages complete with game day favorites like sliders, chili, heroes and wings.
*The deadline to place orders is January 29. 726 Amsterdam Avenue, New York, NY, 212-335-0005; 1383 Queen Anne Rd, Teaneck, New Jersey, 201-530-7400,
A volunteer board of rabbis has been regularly inspecting Los Angeles businesses already certified as kosher by the Rabbinical Council of California.
The Kashrut Vaad of LA — five local rabbis not affiliated with the rabbinical council — has been making inspections since late last year, the Los Angeles Jewish Journal reported.
Its formation comes less than a year after the scandal at Doheny Glatt Kosher Meats, the largest kosher meat supplier in Los Angeles, which was certified by the council. The store’s kosher certification was revoked following the revelation of an undercover video showing its owner directing his employees to unload unsealed boxes of chicken from his car while the kosher supervisor was absent.
The certification was withdrawn the day before Passover in March 2013. The store was sold and later reopened with a new owner and management.
The Orthodox Union’s kashrut division conducted an audit of rabbinical council-certified shops and made recommendations, which have been implemented, to provide stronger kashrut standards, increased inspections and more transparency, the Journal reported.
The vaad grew out of an ad hoc group of local independent rabbis recruited by the rabbinical council to inspect its clients.
He’s a pizza-loving “Jewpanese” — his word — whose hit Cooking Channel show unleashed homemade “wacky food contraptions” on an unsuspecting Canada. Now, Nobu Adilman’s bringing his brand of brainy mischief to Eater Toronto as the site’s new editor.
Adilman’s best known up north as a creator of “Food Jammers”, in which he and two cohorts came up “with brilliant designs for culinary contraptions” like a charcoal-powered fish-and-chip fryer, homemade food dehydrator, and a cheese-cultivating, DIY bacteria cave. Adilman has a long television resume, from writing Canadian shows to acting in Canuck hits like Trailer Park Boys.
With best pal Daveed Goldman, Adilman also runs Choir!Choir!Choir!, an ad hoc singing group that gathers weekly to belt out choral versions of pop songs like Bryan Adams’ Run to You.
In between table-hopping — at least that’s how we imagine it — Adilman spoke to the Forward about Toronto delis, vegan soup, and his Japanese mother’s mandel broit.
You’re the son of a Jewish father [the late Toronto Star entertainment reporter Sid Adilman] and Japanese mother [scholar Toshiko Adilman]. What kind of food did you grow up with?
My father could barely cook an omelet. But he had a weekly habit of clipping recipes from the New York Times Magazine into a compendium of binders with dishes he would not so subtly suggest my mother make. She can cook just about anything so she conquered it all. Her Jewish cuisines won over my Jewish grandmother. A number of VIP Jews in Toronto regularly request her mandel broit, as long as she never tells their mothers. Side note: I am planning to make a short film that catalogues all these recipes.
Imagine you’re a kosher traveler sightseeing in Croatia and you’d like to make sandwiches for a picnic lunch. How would you know which bread is kosher, or which jam to look for on the store shelf? You probably wouldn’t have a clue.
Until now, kosher shopping posed a real challenge to those unfamiliar with European hekshers and local kosher food distribution networks. But all that is changing thanks to a massive online database of every kosher European food product — ever.
It’s not always easy to find products with various hekshers all listed together in one place. Fortunately for Jews Down Under, the Kashrut Authority of Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific Region has a website (promising “Keeping kosher made easy”) with just such a list. But in the United States, consumers have to search different authorities’ databases. For instance, the Orthodox Union’s database only contains OU authorized products.
“This online resource is a fantastic example of how modern technology can be used to make religious life a little easier,” said Conference of European Rabbis president Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt of the new European list. “The project comes following a huge amount of hard work over recent months and we will of course continue to update and improve it.”
With more than 5,000 products listed, kosher eaters in Europe will not go hungry. You can buy kosher Knorr sauce to put on your kosher Buitoni pasta in just about any country on the continent. Sweet tooths can be indulged with kosher chocolate from famous confectioners like Lindt in many European countries.
And there is no need to call off that picnic you were hoping to have while touring Zagreb. Thanks to Croatia’s chief rabbi Dr. Kotel Da-Don, you’ll just need to consult your smart phone to be able to find more than twenty varieties of kosher jam (many of them local brands) for your sandwiches.