Photos by Gayle L. Squires
Orangettes are candied orange peel dipped in dark chocolate. Rather than just using the bright-colored zest, they use the slightly bitter pith, tamed by several dunks in boiling water. I add orange blossom water to the candying syrup to complement the pith. You can substitute for the extract two tablespoons of Cointreau (a cousin to orange blossom water, using the peel rather than flower of bitter Seville oranges) for a boozier snack.
Makes about 100 candies
2 navel oranges (organic and washed well)
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons orange blossom water
½ pound dark chocolate (at least 60% cocoa; I like Callebaut or Ghirardelli)
Peel. Cut off the tops and bottoms of the oranges. Score the skin vertically into quarters down to the flesh. Using your fingers tips and a large spoon, wiggle off the skin (rind and white pith) of each segment in one piece.
Slice. Slice the peel into very thin (approximately 1/8-inch) slices. Each orange should yield 50-60 slices. Use the tip of a paring knife to trim some of the pith from each slice.
Boil. Place the peels in a large saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Drain the peels and rinse with cold water. Clean the saucepan. Repeat the boil-drain-rinse-clean process two more times. Each boil removes some of the bitterness from the peels.
Simmer. Add sugar, water, and orange blossom water to the cleaned saucepan and boil until the sugar dissolves into thin simple syrup, about 5 minutes. Add the rinsed peels and lower temperature to medium so that the syrup gently bubbles to the surface. Be careful not to burn the sugar. Swirl the pan every 20 minutes, but do not stir, which may introduce sugar crystals into the syrup. Simmer gently for 45 to 60 minutes until the peels are translucent. Be careful – the syrup is very hot and can scald.
Dry. Allow the syrup to cool for 10 minutes or until you can handle the peels. Space the peels out on a wire rack placed over a baking sheet (to catch drips) and allow to dry out overnight. Reserve any extra syrup and use to sweeten iced tea or cocktails.
Dip. Temper your chocolate (using this method if you have a candy thermometer and this one if you don’t). Dip each candied peel half-way into the chocolate and place on parchment or a wire rack to dry.
Store. Store orangettes in an airtight jar at room temperature or in the refrigerator.
Hamantaschen and JCarrot have a long and loving relationship. We’ve brought you a Brazilian hamantaschen story, and written about the virtue of hamantaschen as hidden food. We’ve taught you how to make hamantaschen the Kibbutznik way with a recipe from Zucker Bakery and how to give them an Asian twist.. If you are looking for more ideas on how to spruce up your hamantaschen, look no further. Here are you seven recipes that will raise eyebrows — and pants sizes — at your Purim party.
1) Purim begins this Saturday night, so get in the mood by giving your Friday night dinner a Purim-themed twist: The Challah Blog has a recipe for Hamantaschen Challah.
2) The Sushi Hamantaschen from Busy in Brooklyn are actually a Japanese dish called Onigiri, but sushi almost counts as traditional Jewish food these days, right?
3) If you want to go down the multicultural route further, Bon Appetit has five savory recipes, ranging from savory Piroshkitaschen with cream cheese and smoked salmon to Masatschen with chipotle-beer squash.
4) Campfire romance meets the spirit of Purim with this S’more Hamantaschen recipe from Couldn’t Be Parve.
5) From Valentine’s roses to Angry Birds, there’s barely a motive that hasn’t been made into a cake pop yet. Here we go, then — Hamantashen Truffle Pops from Joy of Kosher.
6) Most likely, these Rainbow Hamantaschen from Kitchen Tested are more beautiful that Haman’s ear, or pouch, has ever been. In the comments section, people have posted their own creations.
7) Have you ever wondered what happens when you use jelly worms as hamantaschen fillings? The Lady of the Arts tried it. Warning: Contains graphic images of jelly worms in distress.
Courtesy of Hazon
Seven years ago, Nigel Savage, founder of the Jewish environmental group Hazon, typed the phrase “Jewish food movement,” in quotes, into Google. There were zero results. Enter those words today, and you will find 80,100 results.
But Savage no longer has to rely on Google for proof of his movement’s success. A study released March 10 by Hazon and several Jewish philanthropies shows that the Jewish food movement — and the associated Jewish outdoor and environmental movements — are on the rise.
The study, which is the first of its kind in the Jewish environmental world, surveyed the range of immersive programs (of four days or longer) in Jewish outdoor, food, and environmental education, or JOFEE, as Hazon refers to it. In 2000, the year of Hazon’s founding, immersive JOFEE programs drew 197 people, but by the year 2012 such programs drew over 2,400 people annually. An immersive JOFEE program might include a bike ride through the Negev desert, a farming apprenticeship centered on Jewish learning, or teaching gardening at Jewish summer camps.
Photos courtesy of Meesha Halm
You can take the New Yorker out of New York, but evidently, you can’t take the kvetching out of a New Yorker. Big Apple transplants have long lamented that you can’t get a good bagel in the Bay Area (or a decent slice of pizza for that matter). While San Franciscans have come to embrace their Californicated version of pizza, not so with bagels. Despite a spate of artisan bagel shops that have recently opened in the Bay Area (including Authentic Bagel and the now-vanished Schmendrick’s), none seem to pass muster with true bagel snobs. Which explains why several hundred carb-craving hipsters waited nearly two hours in the rain outside of a bar in San Francisco’s Mission District last month, in the hopes of sinking their teeth into day-old bagels flown in from Manhattan. And why, next weekend, on March 15th, when the bagel-focused pop-up Eastside Bagels is slated to return locals are bracing for more bread lines.
If it seems like a big marketing ploy, well it was. Sort of. The bagel-focused pop-up, dubbed Eastside Bagels, is the brainchild of Sonya Haines, an online marketing consultant for tech start-ups who teamed up with Wes Rowe, a local chef who runs Wes Burgers pop-up. Haines isn’t a New Yorker, but spent a few years living there and, like many others, missed its bagels when she returned to San Francisco. Recognizing an untapped business opportunity, she bought the domain name nycbagels.com and hatched the idea of launching a subscription-based bagel box, banking on the assumption that San Franciscans would deem any New York bagel (even a day-old one) better than anything they could get locally.
The duo decided to test-drive their idea with Eastside Bagels, a New York deli-inspired pop-up brunch. The word spread quickly, helped along by social media and the promise of Russ & Daughters bagels. “Our original plan was to order 80 bagels,” Rowe told the Forward, “but as we watched the reaction on our Facebook page, we increased it to 120.” Rowe crafted a menu that showcased the overnighted bagels, revived on a flat top and slathered with a choice of flavored cream cheeses (plain, charred scallions-garlic, jalapeno, olive) for $6, or made into open-faced sandwiches topped with lox, pastrami or poached egg, which sold for $10. There was even an oh-so-very-Californian vegetarian option featuring crispy kale, avocado and caramelized onion slaw. Not surprisingly, the everything bagels topped with plain cream cheese were the first items to sell out.
Consume a lot of alcohol on Purim. As the Talmud pushes, “A person is obligated to drink on Purim to confuse the difference between the phrases ‘cursed be Haman)’ and ‘blessed be Mordecai.’ Megillah (7b). That would be a lot of drinking and any number of intoxicants could fulfill this mitzvah. This year you may wish to consider delectable chocolate liqueurs.
photos by Molly Yeh
When I was a kid, hamantaschen came in two varieties: poppyseed (what the sophisticated grown-ups ate) and fruit. It didn’t matter what kind of fruit, it all tasted the same — overly sweet and sticky, and most importantly, difficult to scrape out with a spoon in order to get to the goods — the sugar cookie that encased it.
These days, the internet is bursting with wild varieties of hamantaschen: gummy bears and dulce de leche are tucked into dough, and a trend of savory hamantaschen has resulted in fillings like balsamic caramelized onions and roasted lamb with pine nuts.
I want them all. And what do you expect from a holiday that has basically one distinguishing food item? It’s not like Hanukkah, when anything fried is fair game, or Passover with all of its matzo brittle and macaroons. Purim gets booze, costumes and hamantaschen. And I’d just like to say that I’m proud of Jewish bakers everywhere who have refused to submit to culinary boredom when it comes to this holiday.
Last year, I gave my two cents to this hamantaschen craze with a black sesame filling and a savory gruyère filling. This year, I’m giving you two more: The first is filled with red bean paste, a popular ingredient in Asian desserts. Made from adzuki beans (which you can find at Asian grocery stores), it has almost a peanut butter quality. The second hamantaschen is inspired by the oatmeal pie at the Brooklyn bakery Four & Twenty Blackbirds: Imagine an oatmeal cookie wrapped in a hat of sugar cookie, it’s hamantaschen heaven. You will never think about scooping out the filling again.
The costumes line the streets and Purim is in the air. It’s really one of my favorite holidays, made more so by the preparations for our community’s traditional English-speakers Tzfat Purim shpiel. I excitedly anticipate the unique mishloach manot (gift packages) that my Sepharadi neighbors send – their homemade Moroccan Purim challahs, Djerbian orange-flavored donuts, Tunisian muffletot and Iraqi Sambusks are a highlight of the holiday. I make my own strawberry jam, since spring is strawberry-time in Israel (wash and crush 2 kilos of strawberries, add a tiny bit of sugar and let it simmer for several hours on the stove till it turns into a jam) so that I can present my neighbors with strawberry hamantashen.
Kosher shops and restaurants once dotted the streets of the Lower East Side. Now, a small campaign is working to bring a kosher restaurant back to the neighborhood. Photo: Wikicommons
A front-runner has emerged in the fight to replace Noah’s Ark Deli, the last full-service kosher restaurant on the Lower East Side.
As the Forward reported last month, an online petition urging a kosher tenant for the Noah’s Ark space has collected more than 1,000 signatures. Now, Holy Schnitzel, a kosher mini-chain run by a pair of siblings and a former concert promoter, is lobbying the board of the building that owns the space to let it open its fourth location in the space.
Ofeer Benatalba, 31, and Sivan Benatalba-Afia, 24, founded the restaurants with Bill Spector, a veteran Manhattan scenester who lives in the East Village. The team has enlisted heavy-hitters like New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver to plead their case. Seward Park Co-op officials must still decide whether the Lower East Side, with an ever-shrinking Orthodox population, wants or needs a kosher restaurant.
“We can’t speak for our opponents,” Spector told the Forward. “But as the Lower East Side is a cultural institution that was founded on an immigrant settlement, we believe that incorporating history along with nostalgia…will enhance the location [more than] any other option on the table.”
Serve this curry ladled into bowls over steaming basmati rice or coconut rice (rice where half or more of the cooking water is replaced with coconut milk). If desired, experiment with adding different vegetables to the curry, like cauliflower, green beans or potatoes.
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ginger powder
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 ½ pounds broccoli, chopped into small florets
1 medium sweet potato (about ½ pound), peeled and cut into ¾-inch pieces
1 medium red bell pepper, seeds removed, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 ½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
salt and pepper
1 13.5-ounce can coconut milk
½ cup roughly chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for serving
1) Heat the 1/4 cup oil in a large saucepan set over medium heat. Add the onions, fresh ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the turmeric, cumin, ginger, coriander, cayenne and cardamom, and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 1–2 minutes.
2) Add the tomatoes with their juice and bring to a simmer. Stir in the broth, broccoli, sweet potato and red pepper (it is okay if the vegetables are not submerged); raise heat to medium high, bring to a boil, then cover the saucepan, lower the heat to low, and cook until vegetables are just tender, 8–10 minutes.
3) Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a medium pan set over medium heat. Add the chicken, and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add browned chicken, coconut milk and 1/2 cup cilantro to the saucepan; raise heat to medium and bring to a simmer, then lower heat back to low and cook, partially covered, until vegetables are tender but not mushy, and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 10 minutes. Season generously with salt and pepper, and serve topped with more chopped cilantro.
Poha, or flattened rice, and fresh or fresh frozen shredded coconut can be found at Indian or other specialty food stores.
4 cups thin poha
1 cup fresh (or fresh frozen) shredded coconut
½ cup raw sugar, or more to taste
8 cardamom pods
¼ cup sliced almonds
¼ cup black raisins
¼ cup finely chopped dried dates
optional fresh fruit garnishes: sliced strawberries, bananas, oranges, apples, pears, grapes or grapefruit
1) Add the poha to a large bowl, and cover with boiling water; stir until poha softens, 30–60 seconds, then drain well through a fine mesh strainer. Discard water, and return cooked poha to the bowl. Stir in the coconut and ½ cup sugar.
2) Use your fingers to open the cardamom pods; place the seeds in a mortar and pestle or a spice grinder, discarding the shells and skin. Grind until finely ground, and stir ground cardamom seeds into the poha mixture. Stir in the almonds, raisins and dates; taste, and add more sugar if desired.
3) Spread the mixture on a platter, and surround with desired fruit garnishes.
Just in time for Passover, a mouth-watering, new documentary about America’s last family-owned matzo factory might be released — if it gets a little more help from its friends.
Director Michael Levine and producer Michael Green recently completed the production of “Streit’s: Matzo and the American Dream” after they raised almost $65,000 through a Kickstarter campaign last year. Now, they’re looking to raise another $20,000 on their website to cover costs for licensing, marketing and access to film festivals.
“We’ve set our sights high,” director Levine wrote in a post published on Bowery Boogie last Friday. “The Tribeca Film Festival would be an absolute dream for us for obvious reasons. It’s an amazing festival, especially for a New York-based documentary … and it just so happens to take place during Passover this year.”
An eight-minute trailer and a clip specially provided to the Forward (which also plays a tiny role in the film) give a glimpse of the feature-length documentary and show the matzo factory in the face of a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood, the Lower East Side.
If you’re very squeamish, or if you believe that Jews should eat only kosher food, then the film “Meat Hooked!” is not for you. Otherwise, you’ll find it an interesting cinematic study on the renaissance of the art of (non-kosher) butchering.
Filmgoers will have a chance to catch a screening of the 2012 documentary as part of a food-focused film marathon at the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco on March 9. The other films to be shown are Trever Graham’s “Make Hummus Not War” and Ari A. Cohen’s “Falafel! Give Peas a Chance.”
Of late, there has been plenty of talk about organic and sustainable farming, pasture-raised cattle, and nose-to-tail restaurant cooking, but few of us actually watch how an animal gets from the field to the plate. “Meat Hooked!” provides more than just a passing glance at the process. It ain’t a pretty sight, but it’s eye-opening in many ways — not only for what we learn about how a carcass is carved up, but also about what drives certain people to want to wield a cleaver day in and day out.
“This is a film about meat. And about the rise and fall and rise again of butchers and butchering,” says director Suzanne Wasserman in the voiceover for the introduction to the film. Wasserman is director of the Gotham Center for New York City History and an expert on the history of Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
Montreal and New York bagels have long been in a standoff. Will Black Seed, a new bagelry that plans to combine the two recipes end the feud? Photos courtesy of Mile End and Flickr
When Mile End opened in Brooklyn four years ago, the Montreal-inspired deli made a name for itself by trucking bagels weekly direct from the mothership — the hallowed St. Viateur Bagel in the eatery’s namesake neighborhood.
Now, Mile End founder Noah Bernamoff will source his bagels a little closer to home. He’s teaming up with restaurateur Matt Kliegman of hip Nolita café/general store The Smile to open Black Seed, a defiantly old-school bagel shop at Elizabeth and Spring Streets in Manhattan.
Black Seed’s opening is part of a wave of sit-down bagel and appetizing shops coming to Manhattan and Brooklyn this spring. Lower East Side mainstay Russ & Daughters is expected to open a full-service café shortly, and seating at a new location of Brooklyn smoked-fish emporium Shelsky’s is slated to debut after Passover.
“We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel,” Bernamoff told the Forward. “It’s been reinvented a few too many times in the wrong direction. We’re trying to take it in reverse, to a more essential place. It’s not about introducing new and groundbreaking concepts into the canon of bagel-making. It’s just about trying to bake an amazing bagel.”
Black Seed’s bagels may surprise fans of Mile End, which has built a rabid following by rebooting Montreal classics like smoked-meat sandwiches and poutine. While boiling bagels in honey and baking them in a wood-burning oven a la Montreal, Black Seed will unveil a hybrid that draws on both Montreal and New York bagels.
Anthony Bourdain’s tour of Israel last fall left me (and most viewers) desperately longing for a real exploration of Israeli cuisine. Bourdain alluded to a meal of roasted baby watermelon in Gaza that never appeared on camera and somehow managed to skip one of the region’s culinary capitals — Tel Aviv — entirely. Where Bourdain failed, I hold hope American-Israeli chef Michael Solomonov will succeed, in his PBS special “The Search for Israeli Cuisine.”
Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until Spring 2015 to catch the entire program. In the meantime, filmmaker Roger Sherman who traveled with Solomonov to Israel last fall has released a taste of what we can expect.
Catch shots of stunningly bright food, simple hummus and a corned beef stuffed pita at that inspires Solomonov to declare: “You can keep your truffles and foie gras, this is where it’s at.”
Viewer digression is advised: Do not watch this while hungry.
More than 2 million hot dogs are sold every year at Dodger Stadium — more than at any other stadium in America. Which comes as a pretty big surprise in a city known for its obsession with hamburgers and tacos. But here in Los Angeles, we do love our hot dogs. And these days, we love our kosher hot dogs as well — especially those served from a food truck grandly named Holy Kosher BBQ.
The truck offers glatt kosher dog in three sizes — Regular, Holy and Jumbo, along with chips and a salad if you want, and beef “bacon,” if you feel the need to pretend your kosher meal is treyf. The dogs are tasty, with a proper snap when you bite into them, and lots of good juices that will run over your hand and onto your clothing if you’re not careful. (Food truck dining involves a certain degree of cautious juggling.) You can add on grilled onions, ketchup, mustard — and the beef bacon, of course. If you want it crispier, all you have to do is ask.
The truck’s run by Rudy Ellenborgen, a civil engineer from Lima, Peru. Ellenborgen grew up on the edge of the Andes, in a city with a small Jewish community of about 3000 people. Along with his Israeli wife Rachel, he realized there was a need in the madcap world of Los Angeles food trucks for a kosher hot dog vendor. And so, in late January, he launched his Holy Kosher BBQ Truck.
So far, he’s found his biggest following at the colleges of Los Angeles, alternating days between USC and UCLA. He also parks Downtown where LA’s Persian Orthodox flock to his truck. And what do his customers ask for the most? They want the big one, with the works. Which means lots of Aaron’s Beef Fry. “It’s crunchy,” says Ellenborgen. “It makes the dog that much better.”
But what about the BBQ in “Holy Kosher BBQ”? Ellenborgen chose the name so he can grow his concept, he says. But as a first-time food service guy, Ellenborgen is taking baby steps. Or whatever you call baby steps in a truck.
Makes two personal pizzas
1 cup chickpea flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
a few cracks of black pepper
1 cup water
olive oil, to coat the pan
About 2 tablespoons harissa* (this amount may vary depending on your taste and how hot your harissa is)
1/2 large onion, chopped and caramelized
1 cup packed fresh spinach, chopped
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
*For homemade harissa, I recommend “Jerusalem’s recipe. I like using Fresno chiles so that it’s not too hot, which means I can pile it on my pizza.
Tara Lotstein purchased a Hungarian-Jewish cookbook, with a recipe written at the back, that made it through the Holocaust. (Courtesy of Tara Lotstein)
BALTIMORE (JTA) — The tattered book with the beige cover was just the sort of thing Tara Lotstein was looking to purchase when she found it online in late 2012.
Its title was “A Jewish Woman’s Cookbook” and after the book arrived by mail, it joined a special, short stack of Lotstein’s acquisitions that includes a Siddur, a High Holy Days machzor and a Passover Haggadah.
All four books are in Hungarian, a language Lotstein learned on the way to completing a master’s degree in 2011 in Russian and Central European studies.
The cookbook’s recipes and apparent pre-World War II printing are enough for the 29-year-old Lotstein, a researcher and translator who lives in Silver Spring, Md., to consider her $145 purchase worthwhile. But four scribbles in it really piqued her interest, and now she would like to locate the people behind the writings and present the cookbook to one of them.
I wondered, as I crossed the stone-flagged patio of the International Convention Center in Jerusalem, if it was worth visiting the Second Wine Jerusalem Festival. I’d made the rounds of the larger Sommelier wine exhibition in Tel Aviv just a few weeks earlier. There probably won’t be much new to see or taste, I thought.
I was wrong. True, there were fewer stands at the Wine Jerusalem event. But, as a kosher-keeper, it was nice to know that I could drink whatever I liked here. I could taste confidently at every stand; a change from the hard stares and snobbish answers I’ve gotten at some non-kosher displays at other wine tastings. The crowd was a fair mix of secular and observant people, with a noticeable number of women swirling wine, inhaling the bouquet, and thoughtfully swallowing, like me. I felt comfortable.
Some wineries represented began without kosher supervision but changed over in the past few years. For example, the Tulip Winery became kosher in 2011. The secular owner admits to a certain frustration in not being able to handle his own wines, but also said that their sales have doubled since going kosher. The religious crowd has gotten hip to quality wines. And they don’t buy just one bottle each time; they buy a lot. Standing at the cashier’s desk with my modest two bottles, I watched a young haredi man load three boxes into his shopping cart. He was talking loudly into his phone at the same time, and saying, “Mom, I just spent a lot of money. OK? I’m bringing a lot of wine home.”
I wish I could have, too.
My synagogue garden will be five years old this spring. That is how long it took to become a truly congregational enterprise, and not just a labor of love for me.
Step 1: Get Leadership On Board
Initially, I wanted to build the garden in the front of the shul. That was nixed by the board—which I am currently a third year member—and it was suggested that we put the garden behind the building, along the edge of the parking lot. And, It only took 1.5 years to get that far!
I was happy to have any space at all, and the rabbi built what became three garden beds over three years. It is not the most elaborate garden, but he built it with a seating ledge for comfort, which was a really nice touch, and considerate to those of us who spend the most time pulling weeds and planting vegetables.
If your bubbe or your great-bubbe or even your great-great-great-bubbe came from Eastern Europe, she probably crossed the Atlantic with a borscht recipe memorized. The soup is served from Russia to Ukraine to the Czech Republic, with each region and cook putting their own spin on it.
In New York, there’s perhaps no better place to tuck into a bowl of deep ruby red borscht than Ukrainian restaurant Veselka. According to the New Yorker, for the past 30 years, “there’s been just one woman behind Veselka’s renowned borscht: Malgorcata Sibilski. Five thousand gallons are served to customers annually, and Sibilski makes her borscht in enormous batches, twice a week.”
Take a tour of her kitchen as she makes one of her legendary batches.
If the video leaves you hankering for some borscht, try this recipe.