The Jew And The Carrot

Kosher Chow Comes to the Super Bowl

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Thinkstock
Get ready to chow down on kosher franks at the Super Bowl.

There’s no need to brown bag it if you are a kosher football fanatic headed to New Orleans for Super Bowl XLVII next February.

Kosher fare will be served in the stadium at the big game, reports Kosher Today. Game-goers will get to chow down on beef hot dogs, beef sausages with peppers and onions, polish beef sausage, pretzels, bottled soda, bottled water and bottled beer. (In other words, it’ll be your basic football stadium food, minus the nachos — sorry, vegetarians.)

All the food will be provided by Kosher Sports, Inc.,, which runs a kosher stand at all New Orleans Saints games at the Superdome. If you’ve chowed down on kosher franks at Citifield, the U.S. Open Tennis Championships, Barclays Center, United Center, Oriole Park, American Airlines Arena, and Ford Field, then you can expect more of the same.

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The Quest for the Kosher Cheeseburger

By David Chudnow

David Chudnow

Keeping kosher my whole life has limited much of my culinary knowledge. I have this feeling sometimes, especially when I am looking up a new recipe or watching a cooking show, that I am missing something, that I have been cheated in some way. I never knew that split pea soup was supposed to have a hambone in it. Or that lasagna, as a default, is made with meat instead of vegetables. And worst of all, I have never tasted that ultimate non-kosher American delicacy, the cheeseburger.

Let me be clear: I don’t feel that I am missing out on the secret world that is bacon, nor do I have a desire to eat octopus or crocodile. But the concept of mixing milchigs with fleishigs (that is, dairy with meat) is incredibly enticing. Cheese is good; meat is good; why not mix them? I mean, other than the thousands of years of tradition, which I do my best to follow. I often joke that if I were to ever really break kashrut, it would be on turkey and Swiss, which is not even biblically treyf.

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5 Wacky Ways To Eat Your Pastrami

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Red Farm
At Red Farm in New York, pastrami is stuffed into an eggroll for a twist on the Chinese classic.

Pastrami is the staple of Jewish deli food: unctuous and fatty, thinly sliced and layered over a good seedy rye with just a dab of spicy mustard and, it makes one of the more perfect, simple sandwiches. But now the workhouse of the delicatessen is migrating into unusual territory. Chefs around the country have begun to experiment with pastrami in a variety of dishes. From crunchy and chewy pastrami nachos to frothy pastrami ramen, the humble sandwich filler has gotten a whole new culinary reputation as a versatile protein and a clever bacon replacement, too. Below, we present some of our favorite pastrami innovations.

Would you try these pastrami concoctions? Let us know in the comments.

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Staying Healthy During a Hurricane

By Elizabeth Traison

Wikicommons

Sitting on the couch in my Brooklyn apartment, staring at the bright gray sky with trees blowing vehemently in the wind, I feel as if I am waiting for the world to end. My parents called me, as did my aunt, and my grandparents. My cousins sent emails, and my friends sent instant messages, only for me to respond that we are still waiting for the worst of it, and that if I were still home in Detroit people would probably still be driving 75 mph down the highway.

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Bagel Shortage and Hurricane Recipes

By Devra Ferst

Jessica Fechtor
Lemon Za’atar chicken is zingy enough to wake up even this dark day.

As East Coasters prepped for the Frankenstorm, stores sold out of flashlights, bottled water and… bagels? According to the Village Voice, nary a bagel was to be found in Manhattan’s West Village this morning.

So what to do if you’re stuck, hunkered down in your home, for the next 24+ hours? Cook a delicious meal of course. Here are some recipe ideas. If you’re missing some ingredients, don’t fret or run out to the store, you have plenty of time on a day like today to experiment with what’s in your pantry.

Share your favorite stormy-day recipes with us in the comments.

Stay safe and dry.

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Cooking in Season: Pumpkin Macaroons

By Molly Yeh

Molly Yeh

True, it’s not really the official time of year for macaroons. But as the world struggled to find something that doesn’t work with pumpkin (like Pumpkin Pop-Tarts, Pumpkin Eggos), I had to know if the stray bag of coconut sitting in my cabinet would compliment it. So I dug up my basic macaroon recipe that a family friend gave me a while back and I got to work.

It turns out the flavors of the coconut and pumpkin blend beautifully, creating a nutty, more subtle version of the pumpkin treats that I’m used to. I’m tempted to stock up on canned pumpkin right now so that I have some when Passover rolls back around. What’s more is that now pumpkin has been dubbed the new bacon — and a kosher one at that — we really ought to celebrate it!

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Kosher Update: Empire Poultry Fires CEO

By JTA

Empire Kosher Poultry Inc. fired its chief executive officer allegedly after the aborted acquisition of another kosher poultry firm.

Greg Rosenbaum learned Oct. 10 that he was out at Empire, the leading supplier of kosher poultry in the United States, the Washington Jewish Week reported Wednesday. The company, based in Mifflintown, Pa., went from near collapse to prosperity and expansion about a year after Rosenbaum arrived there in 2006, the newspaper reported.

Rosenbaum told the newspaper that he was fired because of a “disagreement between himself and the partners of Empire Kosher on the strategy and direction for the company.” The problems began, he said, after the partners vetoed a complex acquisition deal that he had been negotiating since the spring with MVP Kosher Foods, the country’s second largest supplier of kosher poultry.

MVP Kosher’s Mark Honigsfeld told the Washington Jewish Week that he had approached Rosenbaum in May and that negotiations were taking place with the knowledge of both companies’ board of directors. In preparation for the acquisition, Honigsfeld said his company turned over to Empire its farming relationships, inventories, birds and customers. In July, MVP closed its plant in Birdsboro, Pa.

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What If Farming Is Actually A Curse?

By Anna Hanau

wikimedia

The next shmitta (sabbatical) year is two years away. At Hazon we’re gearing up for it already by doing some weekly learning on the topic with Rabbi Ari Hart, and recently, a look at some of our foundation stories in the Torah – Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel in particular – led us to unexpected realizations.

Such as: What if Jewish tradition sees farming as a lower, compromised, even “exiled” state? And what is the point of a cycle – whether it is seven days of Shabbat and the week, or seven years of a Sabbatical year cycle – if they keep simply repeating themselves?

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What's for Dinner? Prepared Kosher Meals at Fairway

By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Courtesy of Abigael's/Fairway

Dinnertime may get a lot easier for kosher customers at Manhattan’s Fairway stores.

Just last week, the supermarket chain began offering “dinners to go” from Glatt Kosher New York City restaurant Abigael’s on Broadway.

The prepared meals — the kind you usually only find in specialty kosher markets and not in mainstream supermarkets — are available in the pre-packaged deli section of Fairway’s Upper West Side and Upper East Side locations.

A spokesperson for Fairway told us: “We reached out to Jeff Nathan of Abigael’s because we are big fans of his restaurant and asked him to make meals to go for our customers.”

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Culinary Dreams of Israel — Interrupted

By Emma Rudolph

Emma Rudolph

I’m going to be honest with you. I signed up for Birthright mostly because I wanted to spend ten days eating Israeli food. When I found out I was chosen for a summer 2012 trip, my daydreams were filled with visions of pistachio-studded halvah, mounds of falafel, juicy shawarma, and creamy hummus. You could say I was going on the trip for all the wrong reasons, that gorging oneself on Israeli delicacies was not a moral reason to take advantage of a free 10-day trip to the Holy Land. Well sometimes karma bites you back.

I arrived in Jerusalem on a breezy July night, accompanied by my best friend and about 40 other college students, still strangers to me. Jet-lagged and exhausted from the 11-hour flight, we trudged into the hostel’s dining room. My eyes perked up at the sight of roasted chicken, hummus, and juicy watermelon. Yes, this is why I had traveled for nearly half a day. I happily ate my dinner and played the obligatory name games with the group.

Not even 12 hours after the meal, I was struck with a certain discomfort. I’d been sick from traveling before, and I assured myself this little stomach upset would pass. I sullenly skipped out on the next morning’s breakfast of hard-boiled eggs and Israeli salad.

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No Whisky for Old Jews?

By Dan Friedman

wikicommons

When I first went to WhiskyFest New York two years ago I was astounded at how Jewish it was. Growing up in Britain, there had been whisky at Kiddush, but it was rough generic stuff, not for the connoisseur. I never saw the bottles, but it was more Manischewitz than Mouton Rothschild. At the 2010 event I saw Jews of all stripes sipping some of the finest malt whiskies available in the world. I felt surprised, vindicated, happy.

Then, after last year’s event, the organizers from Whisky Advocate magazine (until last year Malt Advocate) announced their plan to capitalize on the size and strength of the demand and move from a Tuesday night onto a weekend — the last weekend in October, 2012. Not really a weekend, but from Friday night to Saturday night. AKA shabbat. AKA it’s now muktze, or inappropriate for traditionally observant Jews.

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Confession: I have a Secret Snack Stash

By Edward Angert

wikimedia

I work for the largest Jewish environmental organization in the United States. The kind that has a written food values policy which outlines the steps we, as an organization, take to ensure that the food we serve to our guests, participants, and each other is kosher, ethical, healthy, delicious, and a conversation starter.

Why then, do I have a five-pound bag of Halloween chocolates in my desk drawer?

Because somewhere around 4pm, it’s time for chocolate. And I don’t mean the good-quality, fair trade, dark chocolate (I keep that hidden in a different drawer), I mean that sugary, processed, preservative-laden, “exactly what I wanted right now” chocolate.

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Oma & Bella Film Recalls War-Time Recipes

By Reuters/Barbara Goldberg

Thinkstock

For anyone who craves one more hug from a grandma long gone, one more of her chocolate turtle cookies or another whiff of her apple strudel baking in the oven, there is “Oma & Bella.”

Scenes from the new documentary about two octogenarian friends living together in Berlin are warm, but the hunger to learn more about their past as Holocaust survivors creates a suspenseful undercurrent throughout the film, which is being released on iTunes and Amazon in the United States on Tuesday.

The sometimes jarring shifts from cozy kitchen scenes of chopping and sauteing to starkly lit interviews in which they reluctantly reveal some of the horrors they survived as Jewish girls in World War Two are purposeful, filmmaker Alexa Karolinski said.

“In the beginning, they basically said, ‘You can do whatever you want as long as you don’t ask us about then,’” Karolinski said of the agreement with her grandmother — or Oma — Regina Karolinski, and her friend Bella Katz, who moved in to help with Oma’s recovery from a hip operation in 2007 and never left.

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Gefilte Fish Throwdown Heats Up

By Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty
Gefilteria’s platter of salmon and whitefish gefilte fish.

A mom, a food crafter and a chef glare at one another in a Baltimore parking lot ready to throw down with fire and sharp objects. No, this is not a surprise culinary season of The Wire, or a bizarre new John Waters film. It’s a “Gefilte Fish Throwdown” sponsored by the Jewish Museum of Maryland as part of their exhibit “Chosen Food: Cuisine, Culture, and American Jewish Identity.”

Aromas of fresh fish, piquant onion and horseradish, with faint notes of celery and short gusts of white pepper seem “louder” than the dogs yelping in the distance or the occasional siren. As the brisk cool air dances with the flames of the camping stoves, and the hot, bright sun beats down on the 100 or so people in the audience, it may be a Sunday in October, but it’s beginning to smell a lot like Passover.

Hosted by honored guest, Aaron Harkin of Baltimore’s NPR station, WYPR, and host of The Signal, the competition got under way as the eager audience was introduced to the three participants. Dave Whaley of Baltimore’s acclaimed restaurant, Wit and Wisdom at The Four Seasons, unveiled his novel gefilte fish corndog, dipped in corn batter and deep fried served with a birthday-cake-pink tinted sauce of cream, horseradish and beet powder. “I didn’t have whitefish or pike, so I decided to use cobia, another kosher fish, that I knew would stand up to being made into a fish sausage and would remain firm and flavorful throughout the process.”

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We're Smitten With the 'Smitten Kitchen Cookbook'

By Margaret Eby

Deb Perelman

There are two general camps of cookbooks: the kind that you keep on the coffee table and the kind that you keep in the kitchen. The former are big, sumptuous, glossy numbers, usually full of exotic ingredients and complicated recipes. The latter are often less pretty but functional, stained by sauce splatters and muffin batter. It’s rare to find a volume that serves both purposes, but Deb Perelman’s wonderful The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook is one of them.

Perelman, who based the book on her popular website of the same name, describes herself as “an obsessive home cook,” and her recipes certainly reflect that. She tinkers, she recreates, she attempts to cajole people. Her buttered popcorn cookies, for instance — salty-sweet umami crunch-balls that should replace Rice Krispie treats in your next holiday platter — were an effort to convince a friend to see the merits of buttered popcorn. She updates old recipes, because, she admits, “my curiosity gets the better of me, and it’s usually worth the blasphemy. Her fig, olive oil, and sea salt challah for example, takes a classic and adds notes of herbaceous savoriness to the sweet and supple bread. She uses honey instead of sugar to leaven the yeast, and tucks a fig and orange zest paste into the braided dough. The result is something heavenly, and fairly simple, even if you’re not a seasoned baker. (Though, I confess, I abandoned her braiding technique in favor of a simpler one.) A dear friend of mine, asking after what I was baking, was the first to proclaim “heresy!” about the addition of salt and figs. He was also the first to ask for the recipe once he tasted it.

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The REAL Food Stamp Challenge

By Erika Davis

Desiree Stavracos

I recently found myself in one of my favorite places in NYC — The Union Square Farmer’s Market. As I wandered through the stalls, admiring the colorful varieties of cauliflower and broccoli I reflected on how much my shopping habits have changed. Sure, I occasionally shop at the Green Market at Grand Army Plaza in Brooklyn, but for the past year I’ve purchased most of my produce from the Caribbean market around the corner from my house in Bed-Stuy. Spending almost a year on unemployment and one measly month on SNAP has changed the way that I budget, and the way that I shop for food.

In July of 2011, I found myself in an interesting predicament — I was unexpectedly unemployed. As the thrill of spending work days on the beach turned into weeks and then months without so much as an interview, my meager savings disappeared and my debt mounted. I realized that I would have to get government assistance. I struggled with this realization and put it off until the very last moment, which I learned was a terrible idea because you don’t just get SNAP benefits just because you want them — you have to wait.

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Mixing Bowl: Many Falafels; Preserved Lemons

By Devra Ferst

iStock

A falafel, is not a falafel, is not a falafel. Each country in the Middle East has their own way of making falafel. [NPR]

Beautiful preserved lemons are a staple flavor of many north African and Sephardic cuisines. Try your hand at making them at home. [Saveur]

Should you try your hand at making your own peanut (and other nut) butters? [Serious Eats]

Desserts to Love: Knafe. The deliciously sweet pastry is available in the Holy Land if you’re willing to go looking for it. [Serious Eats]


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Medieval Jewish Meal in Italy Resurrects Menus

By Ruth Ellen Gruber/JTA

In a medieval tavern in 21st century Italy, waitresses in archaic costumes served a tepid, chalk-white substance the texture of oatmeal to tables filled with slightly skeptical diners.

Sweet yet salty, and flavored with a mix of unexpectedly tangy spices, it turned out to be a tasty puree made from shredded chicken breast, almond milk, rose water, cloves and rice flour.

The dish was a savory form of biancomangiare, or almond pudding, a food that was popular in Italy in the Middle Ages. Jews back then loved it, too, food historians say, and often called it “almond rice.”

On this recent night in Bevagna, an ancient walled town in central Italy’s Umbria region, biancomangiare was being served as the first course of a special kosher-style dinner aimed at re-creating a meal that Jews in Italy would have eaten in the 14th and 15th centuries.

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Gaza's Deaf Restaurant Is Changing Minds

By Reuters

Thinkstock

A restaurant run and staffed by deaf people opened for business in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, helped by Palestinians seeking to build a more inclusive society where people with disabilities can realise their full potential.

The stylish Atfaluna restaurant near Gaza port stands out in a city with few facilities for the disabled. Waiters and cooks use sign language, guests point to selections from the menu and what ensues is a spontaneous form of communication that organisers hope will break down bias and barriers.

“Deaf people have determination and there are no worries except when it comes to communication, the language problem. At first we may get translators to help us with the speaking clients,” supervisor Ayat Imtair told Reuters in sign language.

After six months of training with her staff, she was confident the service would go smoothly.

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Choosing Food for the Chosen People

By Avery Robinson

Devra Ferst

Last week I bought an impromptu ticket for New York, not because there was a great deal or I found Broadway tickets for next-to-nothing, but because I came across a blurb about a conference on the Future of Jewish Food. A conversation focused solely on what is Jewish food and where it is headed — not to mention an all-star line-up of Jewish deli proprietors, authors, and critics — I knew I had to attend. As a graduate student studying Jewish American culinary history (yes, academia can be this great), this conference seemed to be a great opportunity to introduce myself to contemporary thoughts on Jewish cooking in America.

Joan Nathan, the doyenne of Jewish (American) cooking, started off the first panel by noting, in the words of Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, that “Jewish food is anything eaten by Jews.”

By this logic, wherever I am and whatever I eat could be considered Jewish food. But this just doesn’t seem right to me. Shouldn’t Jewish food be shmaltzy and unpronounceable? And what about kosher!?

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