Bring a taste of Israel home this weekend with this recipe for baked za’atar eggplant fries with lemon tahini dip. B’tayavon! [The Kitchn]
…and this pomelo and arak cocktail courtesy of our friends at the Kubbeh Project. [New York Magazine]
Is a pastrami and egg sandwich a good idea? You decide. [Serious Eats]
…And what about pastrami on a bialy? [Serious Eats]
DIY seltzer and soda in all their fizzy glory. [Diner’s Journal
Are you a Michael Pollan fan? So are we. His family is putting out a cookbook! [Grub Street
The Jewish Week reports that the hip, super-stylish Soho restaurant is being made to undergo a rebranding as a result of its seeking kosher certification from the OU. Paying homage to a 9th century B.C.E. queen of ancient Israel who built temples to pagan gods and negatively influenced her husband King Ahab, may have worked until now. After all, the restaurant touted its “decadent” atmosphere on its website.
But now that it has decided to try to attract more traditional kosher diners, Jezebel is being thrown out (though perhaps not as violently as the actual biblical queen was).
Breakfast: Smoothies, smoothies, smoothies. The ingredients always contain a mixture of:
1) A milk (almond, soy, kefir)
2) Frozen fruit (berry blend, bananas, peaches)
3) A nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew)
I use my Magic-Bullet smoothie maker and in 1-2 minutes, my breakfast is complete. Once it’s blended, I pour the contents into a reusable bottle and toss it in my bag to drink on the subway. Each smoothie costs me less than $2.00 and contains enough vitamins, nutrients, and protein to keep me energized throughout the morning hours. My favorite combination is soy milk, frozen bananas, and peanut butter.
Have you ever wondered what would happen if hipster organic met bubbe’s cooking? Well, someone did — and they shared it on Pinterest.
In the last couple of years, Jewish cookbooks (or rather, hastily scrawled index cards) have been dusted off and made-over. Celebrity chefs have taken up traditional food and given it a twist. This phenomenon isn’t restricted to the Jewish world — How many different takes on mac ‘n’ cheese have you seen in restaurants lately?
This slightly nostalgic, back to our roots with style, Martha Stewart-envy attitude is the basis of every Pinterest board out there. The DIY social media guru takes ordinary, cluttered, non-glitter-full lives and gives them new meaning. After 10 (OK, 20) minutes on the site, you find yourself thinking things like: How did I ever live without an adorable lamp hand-carved out of elk antlers? What was I thinking making any pancake that wasn’t artfully heart-shaped?
So, to add to the discussion, we thought we would let Pinterest have its say. Behold, the top 10 wacky, scrumptious, and slightly frightening Pinterest takes on Jewish food:
With Passover looming ever closer, now might be a good time to brush up on your kitchen skills.
Luckily there are classes around the country that focus on Jewish and kosher cooking, many of which are taught by well-known restaurant chefs like Michael Solomonov of Zahav and cookbook authors like Joan Nathan.
Here’s a round up of some of the best — both Ashkenazi- and Sephardic-style — that are guaranteed to have you cooking gourmet meals in no time.
The Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture is home to a farm, a farmers’ market and one of the country’s best farm-to-table restaurants, the high end Blue Hill at Stone Barnes captained by chef Dan Barber. On Saturday, March 9th from 1 to 2:30 p.m. famed Jewish cooking expert and prolific cookbook author Joan Nathan will teach Grow Your Own: Passover Seder which will feature her take on the traditional meal complete with seasonality and a touch of the farm ($36 for members, $40 for nonmembers).
Most of the time, I do what I want. It’s what’s so great about being an adult. I get to eat baked potatoes at midnight and watch terrible television by myself. I get to choose the music I listen to, the clothes I wear, the jobs I keep.
I’ve kept kosher in my own way for as long as I can remember. It used to be that I wouldn’t eat meat and milk together, and wouldn’t eat shellfish or pork. Those rules, though a loose interpretation of the laws of Kashrut, meant something to me. They kept me tied into my history, my Jewish inheritance. But sometime in my mid-twenties, I began to slip. First I had chicken and cheese together. Then I ordered a turkey and Swiss sandwich. Last year I had a cheeseburger for the first time.
The post originally appeared on What Is Your Food Worth.
I am not a hoarder. I am constantly trying to simplify, to reduce my house of the “stuff” that has accumulated over my many moves. But the one thing that I keep adding to is my cookbook collection. On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I found myself in the most amazing used bookstore, Amber Unicorn. Lest you think I just happened upon this hidden gem in a Nevada strip mall, the credit for the find goes to Ruth Reichl who raved about it in a Saveur Magazine piece back in April. My mother and sisters were generous enough to give me a few minutes on our way to check into Wild Bill’s Gambling Hall and Saloon. I could have spent days there just methodically going through the rows and rows of cookbooks. The Jewish section was extensive and I immediately reached for the community cookbooks, with their spiral bindings. One volume, which I had to take home with me, was called “Centennial Celebration Cookbook: 100 Years of Jewish Cooking in the Ozarks.” Ozarks!! Some of these cookbooks I use, some I just love. This is a list of Jewish cookbooks I love to use.
Here are my five favorite Jewish cookbooks (in no particular order).
“Elizabeth, why does God make weeds?”
“Well, that’s a really good question. What do all of you think?”
“I think it’s so that the bugs have food to eat.”
“It’s because weeds protect the dirt from getting too dry.”
“Well, weeds are also plants and they deserve to grow too.”
“We have weeds because it teaches us to take care of the garden. If we have too many weeds in the garden, our plants won’t grow.”
This memory is just one example of the engaging conversations I had with campers last summer during the ten weeks I spent as the Amir Farmer at URJ Camp Kalsman in Arlington, WA. The Amir Project hires college-age students to build gardens and run educational programming related to environmental and social justice issues at summer camps in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. Amir also facilitates relationships between camps and local food banks where the produce can be donated, since camp ends before the harvest is complete for the season.
From the destruction of Sandy, a Far Rockaway bagel shop rises. [Eatocracy]
A look at Katz’s through the years. [EV Grieve]
It’s almost Purim. Check out this guide to hamantaschen in NYC. [Village Voice]
10 beautiful and edible gifts to give Purim. [Food 52]
Which brisket was crowned king? [Serious Eats]
Head to Mile End when you feel like Montreal-Jewish-Sichuan. [Bon Appetit]
To say that New York City is the place to eat pizza is like saying New Orleans is the place to celebrate Mardi Gras — it simply goes without saying. But the pie that made New York famous for isn’t what it once was. Pizza lovers and pizzaioli (the men who make pizza) have moved away from the single slice and towards artisan interpretations that are served by the pie — as any good Italian would tell you they should be. These stellar pizzas are made with Caputo flour, baked in ovens schlepped over from Italy and topped with house-made mozzarella.
Kosher pizza lovers have sadly been left out of this almost entirely. Sure there’s good kosher pizza. But authentic Neapolitan kosher pizza? Sorry, but it just doesn’t exist. Hopefully, that will change on Monday with the opening of Pizza Da Solo, the newest restaurant in the Prime Empire. The tiny midtown takeout shop will be headed up by master pizzaioli Giulio Adriani. The owner and chef of noted pizzeria spot Forcella, Adriani started his career at 13 in Naples and has gone on to be certified as a Neapolitan Pizza Master by two Italian culinary associations.
The pies at Pizza Da Solo will be made in traditional Neapolitan style, meaning the dough will be flash-fried, topped and then finished in an 1000 degree wood burning oven from Naples. (The shop’s pizza makers spent a year working under Adriani at Forcella to learn the technique.) The 10-inch personal pies will come in traditional interpretations like the Margherita and modern takes like breakfast pizzas — think egg topped pies and one with smoked salmon — as well as dessert pizzas spread with Nutella a la Max Brenner.
My late grandparents lived in a small city on the Canadian prairie when I was little. With no butcher anywhere close by, my grandfather took it upon himself to purchase kosher meat for the entire community. He would have the meat the meat flown in from Montreal, which was thousands of miles away. And, when the order finally arrived, he would divide up the meat and personally deliver it to the various households.
Things are different today. My grandfather would be startled by news of a kosher meat delivery service called The Kosher Express, which delivers kosher meat ordered online to your doorstep anywhere in North America.
The Aurora, Colorado-based company, which sells kosher certified beef, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey and even bison by mail order, was launched in 2010 by Robert Bernton, who was only 23 years old at the time. All of the products are certified glatt kosher by the Orthodox Union and are frozen fresh for shipping — first to The Kosher Express warehouse in Missouri, and then from there to customers’ homes and businesses (many deliveries go to hotels and vacation destinations, including one that went to Disneyland).
“I stood willingly and gladly in the characters of everything - other people, trees, clouds. And this is what I learned, that the world’s otherness is antidote to confusion - that standing within this otherness - the beauty and the mystery of the world, out in the fields or deep inside books - can re-dignify the worst-stung heart.” – Mary Oliver
Sometimes I marvel at how hard it can be just to be myself, to be the person I expect of myself, to be the version of myself that others probably expect, too. I end up staring off into space, dreamily fixed elsewhere, thinking abstractly about where I’ve been and how far I still have to go in a world that paints me flat. Sometimes my friends privately settle on the word ‘melancholy’ after they’ve known me for a few months. They present the word to me carefully, like a confession of their judgment, holding it by its edges, setting it carefully into my hands. Melancholy. It’s as if the word itself, a little gift, might capture and hold my disquietude, the parts of me that clamor against patters, expectations, what’s tried and true, and if I hear it, perhaps – poof! – fulfillment and happiness! Thinking of this, I don’t want to write another ‘perfect’ or, even, the ‘best’ hamantaschen recipe, the tried and true the ones we all love, and know. And what we all expect. I want something else today.
On Purim, we celebrate Jewish survival and redemption. It is one of the most popular Jewish holidays because it is built on hope. Purim is a reminder that no matter how bad the circumstances, or whatever we fear around the corner, things will turn out well in the end. It’s greatly loved for the merriment to be had celebrating Esther’s victory with the king, her great success, not to mention her great skill and tact. It is with this in mind that Jews observe Purim. The day before Purim is a fast day, followed by two days of celebration: dancing, merrymaking, feasting. Jews will linger in temple into the early morning hours, drinking and masquerading, dressed in full costumes – drunkenly assuming new identities.
I love eating meat. While I am aware of how harmful conventional industrial meat production is to the environment and to our health, to say nothing of the issues of cruelty to animals and fair treatment of workers, I cannot imagine going without meat entirely. I even tried being vegetarian a couple of times, but always fell off the wagon rather quickly. By now, in the wake of the scandals at Agriprocessors, most of us know that kosher meat is not necessarily ethically superior to its non-kosher counterparts.
Some have suggested eating meat only on special occasions like Shabbat and holidays. While this practice puts healthy limits on one’s consumption of meat, and makes the consumption a meat part of the celebration and sanctification of religious occasions rather than a simple hedonistic indulgence, in some ways it seems backwards: if I think that the meat I’m eating is so morally problematic, is it really appropriate to reserve its consumption for holy occasions like the Sabbath or other holidays? If I’m going to eat meat whose production involve mistreatment of animals and workers, and degradation of the environment, it might be better to save that meat-eating for ordinary weekdays, and make more ethical (and therefore more holy), food choices on Shabbat and holidays
The recent discovery of horsemeat in products sold as beef in the UK has shocked many British consumers, turning them away from their local butcher counters, fast food restaurants and ready-meals.
While the situation is alarming for the larger meat industry, kosher meat purveyors in Europe are thriving as consumers — Jewish and non — turn to them as “guaranteed safe sources,” reports The Jewish Chronicle.
“The level of supervision which exists in all kosher establishments — either retail or otherwise — ensures that any ingredient or meat meets our requirements,” Rabbi Yehuda Brodie, administrator at the Manchester Beth Din, told the Chronicle. “There would be no way whatsoever that anything could find its way into a kosher product which is not perfectly acceptable,” he added.
For Jewish consumers in the UK, this means returning to the kosher vendors they might have strayed from due to high prices, says the Chronicle.
Sue Fishkoff, author of the book “Kosher Nation”, said that the reaction to the horsemeat scandal indicates a shifting European mentality in regards to kosher food.
This Sunday night, rising star chef and member of the tribe Micah Wexler will face off against Master Chef Bobby Flay on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef”. We caught up with the popular L.A.-based chef to get some cooking and restaurant advice, a recipe for pomegranate brisket and to find out if he really will appear on “The Bachelor”.
How did the “Iron Chef” team find you?
The producer came into Mezze, my first restaurant, and really liked the food. He asked to meet me and then asked if I’d ever considered doing the show. When I was younger, I imagined it, but I hadn’t thought the opportunity would come about at this point in my career. He came back 6 or 7 times and then he invited me to be on it.
What is the penalty for telling us about the show before it airs?
A million dollars. In fact, they make everyone who is in the audience sign a non-disclosure agreement. When my episode was taped, my sister Miri was in the audience, and like everyone else, she had to sign an NDA. Shortly after, I talked to my mother and she knew all this stuff about what happened and I called up Miri and said, “Didn’t you sign one of those papers they passed out?” And she said, “Yes.” And I said, “Didn’t you read it?**!” And she said, “No.” I made sure neither of them said anything to anyone else.
Do you have any advice for Bobby Flay?
He’s done well for himself, so he should be the one giving me advice.
In the fall of 2008, we re-launched the food bank at my synagogue, Valley Beth Shalom. The economy had started to crash, and the synagogue responded, in part, by reinvesting in this project to help San Fernando Valley residents who needed a hand. Little did I know that within a few weeks, our little food bank would grow to reach hundreds of families a month–including members of my own community. During the Great Recession and subsequent (albeit slow) recovery, I spoke with congregants who told me their stories: Before the recession, they were successful in business and had “done everything right,” but the bank later took their home. They needed a little extra food each month to bridge the gap between their paycheck and bills.
It’s times of social and economic upheaval when we recognize our own vulnerability, despite our hard work and planning. One day we have it all, and the next–perhaps, nothing.
For our children, Purim is the silliest day of the Jewish year. In fact, it also celebrates life’s unpredictability. The Book of Esther, for example, showcases sudden reversals of fortune: At one moment, the Jewish community faces annihilation by genocide, and the next—the King of Persia executes our would-be killers. Or in the words of the Megillah, our lives were “turned inside out from sorrow to joy, and from mourning to a day of celebration.” (Esther 9:22)
Since being aurally haunted by hundreds of toy noise makers during one Purim celebration in my childhood, Purim has been banned from my top 10 list of favorite holidays (making way for more quiet and civilized holidays where you soberly eat matzo ball soup with your family). In my wimpy eyes its only point of redemption is hamantaschen. This year, I have reinterpreted the triangle cookies two ways — one sweet and Asian inspired and the other savory and filled with delicious rich cheese.
My favorite varieties of classic hamantaschen can be found at a few hidden deli counters in New York and in care packages from the mother of a dear college friend, Brian. When we were in college, Brian’s apartment was good for three things: throwing wild patio parties, eating spray can cheese, and hosting impromptu hamantaschen eating parties as soon as his Purim care package arrived. His mother’s hamantaschen were soft, doughy, slightly smashed from the shipping process, and swimming in powdered sugar (perfect for the morning after those legendary patio parties). So when I decided to make hamantaschen this year — with a personal twist — the obvious starting point was tapping Brian’s mom for her recipe.
One of these recipes draws on my Asian heritage and uses black sesame seeds in place of the traditional poppy seed filling. Black sesames are common in Asian cooking and have a smokier and nuttier flavor than their white counterparts. The other is an homage to my cheese and spinach obsessions and is as perfect for an appetizer or party hors d’oeuvre as it is sacrilege.
One of my favorite things about Jewish holidays is their vivid food symbolism. On Purim, this typically translates into triangular foods, like hamantaschen and kreplach, which represent Haman’s hat, pockets or ears, depending on who you ask. And, while Purim the is one of the few Jewish holidays that encourages drinking, that symbolism has yet to make its way into beverages. So this year, I’m getting in the spirit by concocting some holiday-inspired cocktails to serve up to my friends.
There are varying interpretations on exactly how drunk one should get on Purim, but the general idea is to get drunk enough that you cannot tell the difference between the hero Mordechai and his nemesis Haman. The Book of Esther even commences with a 180-day drinking festival. The biblical drink of choice would be wine, but it’s high time that Purim swills got a modern facelift.
Since Queen Esther is the heroine of the Purim tale, I wanted to invent a cocktail in her honor. The Esther Cocktail starts with pomegranate juice, since the arils of the fruit are reminiscent of the jewels in Esther’s crown. I added rose water, a common Persian ingredient, as an homage to the setting of the tale. Finally, a date honey and poppy seed rim makes for a nod to hamantaschen, as well as a dramatic presentation.
On a recent Friday afternoon, 32 seventh-graders from San Francisco’s Brandeis Hillel Day School piled into a yellow school bus for a rather unusual field trip. Instead of heading to the zoo or a science museum, they went to the supermarket. With Jewish values on food and sustainability as their guide, students cased the aisles of local Trader Joe’s and Safeway stores to discover what products were available that met their social and environmental standards.
The field trip, conducted with the California office of Hazon, complemented the food curriculum that Samantha Zadikoff’s seventh grade class has been exploring this year. Food, rituals around food, distinctions about what is ‘kosher”, and the implications of who grows our food, where it comes from, what it’s fed, and what’s sprayed on it have been their through-lines to connect daily life with Jewish values.
Take a walking tour of Jewish food in San Francisco with the guys from Wise Sons Deli. Yum. [Serious Eats]
Saveur.com suggests adding white chocolate to your smoky baba ghannouj. An interesting idea. [Saveur]
Passover baking might go down easier if we all tried these chocolate raspberry macaroons. [Serious Eats]
This might be the best veggie Shabbat dinner recipe we’ve heard of in a while — Dan Barber’s cauliflower steak. [Food 52]
But, if you prefer chicken, here’s an excellent tutuorial on how to know when your bird is done. [Food 52]