During the summer it has to be a pretty special occasion for me crank up my oven and roast something. And, to be honest, it’s really unnecessary. When so many fresh vegetables and varieties of fruit are in season, it is the perfect time to make a Shabbat dinner out of salads. The leftovers make a delicious Saturday lunch or light Sunday supper.
Here are a few of our favorite summer salads. Serve them with a good challah, bowls of hummus (or Israeli mezze and enjoy a very healthy Shabbat. If we missed any of your favorite salads, tell us about them in the comments!
You might think wearing polyester on the first day of July would be a big mistake, and normally you would be right. But on Monday night, leisure suits, sequins and tube socks were all on proud display as Philadelphia’s most-popular “modern Israeli” restaurant, Zahav, kicked off its fourth-annual Down the Shore.
This year’s disco-themed event was entitled “Klezmer Inferno” and it more than lived up to its name, combining the Eastern European sounds of a live Klezmer band with the Burn, Baby, Burn! heat of an open-air, mid-summer disco.
Previous years have had Zombie Luau and Love Boat themes, but for this year’s Klezmer Inferno, Zahav’s James Beard winning chef Michael Solomonov stuck a bit closer to his culinary home. Recruiting some of the city’s best chefs Solomonov pitched the even as a European Jewish BBQ for disco-crazed diners, young and old.
Believe it or not, there isn’t that much spicy food in Israel. Locals love the odd bit of spice here and there, but piquant — rather than full-blown-spicy — dishes predominate. Perhaps Israel is often mistaken for a spicy-food-loving country, because it’s hot and spice makes you sweat – cooling you off.
Conveniently, then, hot peppers tend to be spicier in the summer; and this year’s hot season has resulted in some particularly potent peppers. We set out on a mission to find dishes that balance spiciness with other flavors. The results aren’t unbearable, just unbeatable.
Moroccan Medley: Marrakech Eggplant at Jamilla
Yoel Weik and Abdu Al’arj met in the kitchen of the late, much-missed Fabian Restaurant. Al’arj, who came from Morocco in pursuit of a great love, cooked authentic Moroccan food for the restaurant’s workers, impressing Weik. Together they decided to open Jamilla, which specializes in fresh, authentic and affordable Moroccan food made without soup powder and with very little oil.
Read the full list at Haaretz.com.
I realized I might have a gluten allergy about two years ago. While many of my friends were already on the gluten free or GF train because of serious health issues like celiac, I joined more because an intolerance rather than a health risk. Despite my partner’s urging, I haven’t been tested for celiac and try (try being the key word) to cut gluten out of my life. It’s a lot harder than I expected, especially when I’m out of the house, but it’s also posed interesting challenges for me as a home baker.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve perfected pancakes, cookies, bread and rolls. But a delicious, light and golden challah still eludes me.
So when “Nosh on This” and “Gluten Free Canteen’s Book of Nosh,” two new Jewish cookbooks, appeared on my desk I thought I had found the Holy Grail, the answer to my deep urges for Shabbat challah.
I looked them over. Both were authored by the creators of the blog Gluten Free Canteen, Lisa Stander-Horel and Tim Horel. Great, gluten free bloggers, I was getting more excited by the minute. But when I cracked the spines of the books, I was instantly disappointed.
Let me explain. Gluten free baking is all about flour supplements. In regular baking, it’s the gluten in wheat that makes many baked goods what they are, light, slightly chewy and with that perfect elasticity (think about how a perfect croissant pulls apart).
“Why is a nice Jewish girl like me making a film about pigs and bacon?” Suzanne Wasserman the writer and director of the new documentary “Meat Hooked!” in the beginning of her movie.
The question is a good one but not one that’s easily answered. Wasserman, who comes from a meat loving family, set out to explore the “rise and fall and rise again of butchers and butchering.” In her absorbing and graphic documentary (which will air on July 7 on PBS) she introduces us to butchers and meatpackers, chefs and farmers who are part of the current meat craze of artisan butchers and meat CSA’s.
Watching “Meat Hooked!” employs all of your senses, for better or worse. Though I had to look away at certain parts of the film (a pig slaughter was hard to stomach), Wasserman skillfully weaves historical and personal narratives throughout to grant her viewers frequent reprieves. The history of butcher shops in New York City is fascinating, and the film takes it back almost 200 years. As Wasserman explains, it was only in the mid-19th century that the New York City Council legalized meat sales and butcher shops, partly as a response to an expanding middle-class that demanded a more accessible and regular supply of meat. That expanding middle-class came in part from the influx of immigrants – Irish and Germans, Jews and Italians – who were arriving in waves over the course of the mid-to-late 1800’s, many of them planting themselves in the heart of the Lower East Side. These butcher shops sold beef, chicken and of course pork.
One of the winners of the New York Ride mini grant from Hazon last year was Temple Beth Shalom in Mahopac, New York, a Conservative synagogue situated “where the country begins,” according to their local tourism slogan. The synagogue is led by Rabbi Eytan Hammerman, a 2010 Jewish Theological Seminary graduate and long-time friend of Hazon, from time of the organization’s founding. Rabbi Hammerman moved to Putnam County several years ago from White Plains, New York where he was the synagogue’s Rabbinic Intern. A highlight of his time in White Plains was his participation in the Tuv Haaretz CSA program which operates out of Temple Israel Center. He enjoyed the fresh fruits and vegetables that Tuv Haaretz provided each week. Upon moving to Putnam County (by bicycle, one Sunday morning – that’s another story), he surprised by the lack of CSAs or farmers markets “in the country.” He felt that the area was prime for a farmer’s market and wanted his synagogue to host the market. Coincidentally, a local landscaping business had the idea at the same time. After their first trial year, the synagogue and other business, together, opened the Mahopac Farmers Market, located each Sunday in the parking lot of the synagogue, at a central location in town.
Picture this scene: city-dwelling children running with wild abandonment under a canopy of fertile fruit trees in a Jewish orchard, each tree emblazoned with a blessing bestowed on it by a community of orchard care-takers. Standing outdoors, not a car horn to be heard, a child grabs a pear from a tree, like taking candy from nature’s vending machine. Peaceful, right?
With this image as inspiration, one year ago, Yoni Stadlin and Jonah Adels, of Eden Village Camp and Jewish Farm School respectively, applied for a mini grant through Hazon’s New York Bike Ride. Their dream was to build a Jewish orchard of 100 trees, able to provide local, carbon neutral organic fruit for community events on the Farm at Eden Village and to bring into being a permaculture laboratory and fruit forest that will one day be the scene of a lot of happy and satiated children.
This past December, an opportunity involving fish and plants swam into my life. At work, I was tasked with finding answers to the question: “Could aquaponics viably produce healthy organic produce faster and more efficiently than conventional soil- growing?” In seeking to answer that question, I became part of the small but growing world of Aquaponic farming. That’s aquaculture (raising fish) and hydroponics (growing plants in water, rather than soil) combined. Individuals who farm aquaponically are usually experienced with either aquaculture or hydroponics, and are drawn toward aquaponics for the added benefits that flow from marrying the two. Over the past six months, I have embarked on quite a journey–I’ve met inspiringly innovative individuals, I have grown to understand fish needs, and I’ve learned way more Chemistry than I bargained for.
I’m blessed to work at a glorious place called Urban Adamah, a nonprofit Jewish farm & education center in Berkeley, CA, where I have quickly become an aquaponic farmer. Though currently, I’m working on living up to the title. Rising Tide Aquaponics installed our beautiful system, and now I have the privilege of managing it. I’m finding that there is quite a learning curve when one begins farming aquaponically. I haven’t yet developed an eye for when spraying worm casting tea on the leaves could boost plant health, or the knack to know when adding chelated Iron might provide necessary nutrition. My mentor has a background in ecology and evolutionary biology, and it sure shows. This, however, is not to say that aquaponics requires a specific degree. The technique is fairly straightforward; training, research, and an experimental approach will suffice to equip one with the tools to become an aquapon.
I grew up avoiding garlic. Pesto did not exist in my house, garlic bread was unique to summer camp, and dishes would begin with plain cooked onions. My family was the antithesis of everything culinary ethnography told me was Jewish.
Apparently, we are “the people of garlic,” but if you had spent any time in my childhood home, you would think we were vampires. Spending two weeks at Yiddish Farm harvesting garlic scapes and embracing this bulb was a very different and fragrant experience.
Shortly after leaving Egypt, Goshen, and the burdens of slavery, the Jewish people yearned for the garlic and onions they had enjoyed in Egypt (Bamidbar 11:5). In a handful of places in the Talmud, we are referred to as garlic eaters. Throughout the Ashkenazi experience in Europe, Jews were notorious for their alliumic odor (for more on this, read Maria Diemling’s article in Food and Judaism). And now, this is the largest crop of the new, Jewish, organic-certified farm in the Catskills.
As Israel engages in a tumultuous debate over what to do about African migrants, other conversations, more personal and friendly, are taking place between Israelis and asylum seekers. As part of a social art project called Sihot Mitbah (Kitchen Talks), which takes place every weekend in Tel Aviv, African migrants give cooking workshops to groups of curious Israelis.
The people behind the project are Yael Ravid and Goor Somer, both in their early 30s. For more than a year Ravid, an artistic photographer, has volunteered at the Soup4Lewinsky project, which brings hot, nutritious meals every day to homeless asylum seekers living in Levinski Park. Kitchen Talks is her graduation project for her studies in curating at the Contemporary Cultural Center in Tel Aviv in cooperation with Kibbutzim College. Somer’s first encounter with migrants and meals was held on the last World Refugee Day, in connection with the first Sudanese restaurant in Israel.
The two have recruited workshop instructors from across the African continent: Claudine of the Ivory Coast, who caters out of her home for events and for the embassy; a Nigerian woman, who runs a restaurant near the Tel Aviv Central Bus Station; Hassan, a well-known cook in the Darfur community, and Yemane, from Eritrea.
“We tell them it’s a project for bringing people together,” says Ravid of the participants, who heard of the initiative by word of mouth, spread from a library in South Tel Aviv, kindergartens, restaurants and human-rights groups. The price for the vegetarian workshop in NIS 130, says Ravid, and the cooks are paid for their work.
Read more at Haaretz.com.
During the winter I long for summer meals — laugh if you must, but I dream of grilling and cold beer. There is nothing better than food that’s been cooked over an open flame and is served only moments later on a table in a backyard. Since Shabbat comes late in the evening during summer months, Friday afternoons are the perfect time for grilling. The season’s fresh vegetables and fruit also opens up options for the menu, so I like to leave tradition behind and prepare an entire Shabbat meal on the grill with a little Mexican flare.
Here’s one of my favorite summer menus.
Back in 1995, it seemed the only way the Soup Nazi rolled was with “No soup for you!” But that was well before the current food truck craze. Now, thanks to a franchising operation, it’s possible to literally experience soup-ordering hell on wheels.
Remember when you used to have to have to line up at the original Soup Kitchen International in Midtown Manhattan to be abused by soup-maker-par-excellence Al Yeganeh (aka, the Soup Nazi, as “Seinfeld” fans know him)?
Well, those days are long gone, as are hopes for a revival of the classic television series that made the soup vendor famous beyond New York with an episode that skewered the soup nut’s totalitarian rules for ordering. (By the way, Yeganeh was apparently so incensed by the parody that he warns people on his website never to use “the N-word in relation to him or his soups”).
“There’s no joy. There isn’t a lot of strength. Everything is dead inside,” said Dina Kit about the emotional experience of losing a child. Kit speaks from personal experience, having lost one son to cancer and another, an Israel Defense Forces soldier, to a terrorist attack.
One of the things Kit and other mothers are not usually able to bring themselves to do in the wake of their children’s deaths is to cook their sons’ and daughters’ favorite foods. The tastes and smells, and even the going through the motions of the preparation of the dishes, are too overwhelming. “We cry when we prepare the food,” Kit told The Jew and the Carrot in a phone conversation from her home in Jerusalem.
However, Kit, who used to make meat kebabs on a bed of mashed potatoes and spinach for her fallen son Ofir, kept coming back to the notion that food might be the best way to memorialize her children. “I wanted to write a book that utilized food as a way of remembering,” she said.
We think the name Hakodosh BBQ is fitting for an amazing kosher pop up. But not everyone in the kosher community agrees. Some are fighting to change the name. [Yeah That’s Kosher]
Here’s summer Shabbat dessert that you can make after work — and still impress your guests with. Seven steps to the perfect galette. [Food 52]
Veggie burgers are tricky beasts — they’re often bland and brown. This sweet and smoky beet burger recipe couldn’t be further from those frozen slabs of “grains.” [Food 52]
Lower Manhattan is getting a Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf — and it’s kosher to boot! [Yeah That’s Kosher]
Friend of JCarrot Louisa Shafia shares the five essential ingredients you need to make excellent Persian food. [Food 52]
Compost is a touchy subject. As anyone who’s collected food scraps in her kitchen can tell you, some people see a container full of cucumber peels and egg shells as a step toward sustainability, while others smell a stench. Last week, New Yorkers filed into each of these categories — and a few in between — when they learned that the Big Apple will start composting.
Thanks to successful pilot programs, “the Bloomberg administration is rolling out an ambitious plan to begin collecting food scraps across the city,” the New York Times reported last week.
The compost program could reach the entire city by 2015 or 16, with a requirement to separate unwanted food from other trash not far behind. As with New York’s recycling program, those who do not comply could face fines.
For some Jewish businesses, city composting would align with an interest in environmental responsibility or the sense of a religious imperative to care for the Earth. And, many well-known forces in the city’s Jewish community, in fact, already embrace the practice that has divided residents. But for others, it’s not a chief priority.
I walked into the Chobani store in New York’s Soho neighborhood for the first time last Sunday. Like every store in this neighborhood, it’s effectively a hallway transformed into a functional retail outlet. It’s a beautiful, rustic wood paneled room, filled with an eager staff that immediately stick menus into your hand with delicious dairy food porn on the cover.
Effectively, I paid four dollars to watch someone do what I do almost every morning: put a bunch of ingredients into Greek yogurt (though I’m much more into kefir these days). What they do in white coats and chefs hats on display in a stainless steel kitchen, I do in my pajamas in my Formica Brooklyn kitchen at 7 o’clock in the morning. I joked with my roommate, who does professional marketing, about the incredible marketing strategy this place uses, which gets hundreds of people in the door for a pretty ordinary breakfast.
If you’re a kosher-keeping sports fanatic, there aren’t many places to catch a game and grab a bite. Until recently, Stamford, Conn. hosted the only kosher sports bar in the country, Kosh.
But, last week it got some company. Gotham Burger opened its doors on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. The new spot boasts eight flat-screen televisions, a fun take on kosher bar food to be washed down with one of six beers on tap, a well-curated wine list, and signature cocktails.
“When you analyze kosher eateries around the city, there’s a lot to choose from,” says Avi Roth, the psychologist-turned-chef who opened Gotham Burger with partner Michael Chill. “The question for us was how to give people an experience that maybe they haven’t had and weren’t used to.”
The partners placed their bets on comfort food, a hit at Gotham Burger’s first restaurant in Teaneck, NJ. Once Roth and Chill decided to ramp up their beverage program in Manhattan, a sports bar “seemed like a natural progression,” Roth says. “I played baseball in high school and college. I love sports. A lot of people do. And a sports bar was a way to distinguish ourselves in the kosher world.”
If you’re on the hunt for a taste of the shtetl in New York City, there’s no place better than the Brooklyn neighborhood of Crown Heights. Home of the Lubavitch community, the neighborhood streets are lined with signs in Hebrew letters, hat makers, wig shops, and displays of silver Kiddush cups, candlesticks, and challah covers in store windows. If you stroll through the neighborhood, you just might catch a whiff of freshly fried schnitzel or the aroma of baking strudel wafting in the air.
Located in the heart of the neighborhood, Kingston Avenue has excellent places to nosh, from great supermarkets, to small prepared-foods shops, to mouthwatering Jewish bakeries. I recently spent an afternoon eating along the avenue; click through the slideshow below for a guide to some of the street’s best offerings.
It was a warm Monday night last Summer. We all dressed in black, though this was more for the thrill of being illicit than necessity. We piled into David’s car, silent until we reached our destination: Trader Joe’s. Well, not quite — behind Trader Joe’s — in their dumpster. It was my first time dumpster diving, and we gleaned an impressive haul: over a dozen eggs, zucchini, edamame hummus, and an entire, still cold chicken.
Before last Summer, I had only heard of dumpster diving in passing. As I considered it more, I went from being downright repulsed by the idea of sitting in a dumpster to adopting the stance, “that’s cool but it’s not for me.” Most people agree that the less food waste, the better. With dumpster diving, this is made all the more sweet by the alluring price tag: free. Last Summer, while interning at Urban Adamah, I learned that there is a whole philosophy behind dumpster diving. Most importantly to divers, dumpster diving cuts down on food contributed to landfills. In the landfill, this food would eventually become methane, a harmful greenhouse gas. Even if the food found on a given night is no longer of good enough quality to eat, much of it can still be composted.
If, like me, your Bubbe doesn’t speak Yiddish, take a lesson from the ladies who do. The latest Yiddish cooking video (with English subtitles) by Rukhl Schaechter and Eve Jochnowitz, shows us how to make fluden, an oft forgotten Jewish pastry from France and Germany. Rolled and baked into a log, the rich dough is stuffed with apricot preserves, chopped dates, walnuts and raisins and sliced into pieces while it’s still warm. Serve it with a glass of tea — make that a glezl tey.