The Jew And The Carrot

Mixing Bowl: 'Perfect' Bagel; Kosher Supper Club

By Devra Ferst

istock

What’s it like to run an underground kosher supper club and speakeasy? Itta Werdiger Roth, founder of The Hester, shares her story [Jewess With Attitude]

A look into one of Israel’s largest challah bakeries. [The Kitchn]

…and Israel’s largest hummus factory. [Serious Eats]

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No Meat — The 9 Days

By Jeffrey Cohan

Editor’s Note: The Beet-Eating Heeb is the nom de plume of Jeffrey Cohan, a former journalist in Forest Hills, PA. He also blogs about Judaism and veganism on his own Web site.

Observant Jews refrain from eating meat for the first nine days of the Hebrew month of Av as part of the mourning rituals leading up to Tisha B’Av, the saddest day on the Jewish calendar.

To those refraining from eating meat, BEH says, “Welcome to the plant-based party! And where the heck have you been?” But hold on a second. This nine-day ban on meat-eating is meant to constitute a denial of pleasure. For humans anyway. The list of prohibited actions also includes drinking wine and wearing freshly laundered clothes, which implies that eating meat equates with getting a buzz and dressing for success.

So you’re probably thinking, “BEH, just lay off the vegan advocacy for a few days. For a change.” Well, The Beet-Eating Heeb hates to disappoint you, but upon closer inspection, it appears that the themes of the holiday and the Book of Lamentations actually reinforce the vegan ideal.

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Roadside Gourmet: New York on Rye

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Michael Gardiner

In honor of a century of mobile Jewish-American fare, we selected the stand-out Jewish food trucks from all over the states (and Canada, too). Read the article here and check back Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for more delicious trucks.

New York on Rye

San Diego, Calif.

What to Order: Corned Beef Hash Burrito, Classic Knish

“Have a nosh day” is what the New York on Rye truck has written on its side, and after ordering a sandwich or round of knishes from this California-cuisine-meets-New-York-deli truck, noshing is certainly something you’ll be doing with gusto. The truck carries all the standard sandwiches of an East Coast deli — like pastrami towering on thick slices of rye, anointed with a dab of horseradish — but it also includes some regional specialties. The corned beef hash burrito, for example, accents the breakfast dish with chipotle and pico de gallo. For something vegetarian, try the filling “Coney Island” style knishes, served with slaw.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: New York on Rye, Jewish Food Trucks, Deli Food Truck

Roadside Gourmet: Rolling Reuben's

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Reuben's Deli

In honor of a century of mobile Jewish-American fare, we selected the stand-out Jewish food trucks from all over the states (and Canada, too). Read the article here and check back for more delicious trucks.

Rolling Reuben’s

Atlanta, Ga.

What to Order: The New Yorker

The Deep South isn’t exactly swimming in corned beef, so when Rolling Reuben’s opened in Atlanta last year, it was a welcome addition to the nascent metropolitan food truck scene. Co-owner Mikey Moran started the food truck after being inspired by street vendors in Thailand. The truck is based out of Reuben’s Deli, a family-run sandwich shop that’s been operating since 1996. Rolling Reuben’s sells hearty sandwiches layered with corned beef, pastrami, smoked turkey or roast beef. Local favorites include The New Yorker — corned beef stacked with pastrami and Swiss cheese — and, of course, the Reuben.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Jewish Food Trucks

Roadside Gourmet: Caplansky's Deli Truck

By Margaret Eby

Courtesy of Kristen Bachman

In honor of a century of mobile Jewish-American fare, we selected the stand-out Jewish food trucks from all over the states (and Canada, too). Read the article here and check back Sunday, Monday and Tuesday for more delicious trucks.

Caplansky’s Deli Truck

Toronto

What to Order: Smoked Meat Sandwich with a pickle

Thunderin’ Thelma is how Caplansky’s Deli affectionately named their deli truck, and thunder it does — or maybe that’s just the collective rumble of stomachs whenever it passes. Zane Caplansky, whose restaurant has become the go-to spot for Jewish comfort food in Toronto, branched into curbside culinary delights last year. Menu items like tender barbecue brisket sandwiches and a gleefully sloppy poutine made with smoked meat are mainstays. Recent specials included the Indian-inspired latke pakora, served with apple chutney, and The Herschel, a sandwich made with smoked meat and Swiss cheese, topped with confit shallots and a pale-ale demi-glace. Not kosher, but delicious nonetheless.


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From Kosher Caterer to Vegan Sushi Chef

By Michael Kaminer

Courtesy of Beyond Sushi

After his limelight moment alongside Gordon Ramsay as a season-10 Hell’s Kitchen finalist, and the nonstop demands of his family’s successful kosher-catering company, Guy Vaknin needed a change.

Vegetarian sushi was one of his biggest successes in “modernizing” his family’s business, Esprit Events. So after ditching his executive-chef post and doing some market research with samplings at New York City yoga studios and gyms, Vaknin opened Beyond Sushi this month in a tiny former wig shop in downtown Manhattan.

Beyond is the neighborhood’s first eatery dedicated to fishless maki rolls, along with veggie rice-paper wraps, and salads. But Vaknin, a “recently converted” vegetarian who was “a big meat eater” until two months ago, is careful to note that he’s not aiming to ape traditional sushi. “I had a bunch of Japanese reporters get really mad at me about the name,” he says. “But that’s why I called it ‘Beyond’. It’s an alternative.” And while the rolls definitely won’t fool devotees of traditional sushi, they stand on their own, with vibrant fillings, hearty rices, and clean, cool sauces.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sushi, Kosher Vegetarian Sushi, Hell's Kitchen, Guy Vaknin, Beyond Sushi, Vegan Sushi

Shabbat Meals: Irma Rae's Snappy Cheese Bits

By Rebecca Flint Marx

Courtesy of Rebecca Flint Marx

On the day after Thanksgiving, 1979, Irma Rae Erdreich was driving home to Birmingham, AL, from her sister’s home in Albany, GA, when she fell asleep behind the wheel of her car and drifted into the path of an oncoming truck.

The news, when it reached my mother, became one of my earliest memories. I was three years old when my grandmother died, and remember hiding in the upstairs bathroom, staring at the tiles, while my mother wailed downstairs.

That day was also one of my very few memories of Irma Rae, whom I called Mimi. I have always regretted not getting the chance to know her, and have tried to compensate for her absence in my life by learning as much as I can about hers. From a food perspective, I think we would have gotten along famously: I inherited her taste for, among other things, pickles, ginger, and anything spicy.

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Video: Frying Falafel, Family Style

By Naama Shefi

Nate Lavey
Chef Einat Admony shows us how to make her signature falafel at home.

Growing up in Israel during the 1980’s, falafel was king. Twice a week I traveled from my Kibbutz to the city of Petah Tikva, for an intense ballet class. To the naked eye I seemed like any other disciplined ballerina, but actually my mind was filled with sinful thoughts of the tahini dripping falafel sandwich that awaited me at the end of the pirouette session.

Then came the dilemma: a falafel sandwich with fries and all you can eat salads at Mordechai’s, or the classic fix at Chatukka, “The most Yemenite falafel in town” (that was, and it still is, their bizarre tagline). At both places, while standing on line, you’d get a crunchy green ball from the server to eat with your hands. That’s how they whet your appetite and welcome you, Israeli style.

Since the days of those post-ballet snacks, falafel has sadly lost is crown as the national dish of Israel. Every Israeli still holds a firm opinion on “where one can get the best falafel,” but chances are that you’ll hear more passionate and emotional arguments about the best hummusiahs (cafes which specialize in the chickpea dip) these days.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Taim, How To Falafel Video, Falafel, Einat Admony

A Beginner Foodie’s Guide to DC

By Lauren Wasserman

ZAK

While traveling in Washington DC with my boyfriend Dov on a hot summer weekend, I was refreshed by the large variety of seemingly-healthy restaurants around. Among them were a wide range of well-known hot spots like Whole Foods, as well as some lesser known options like the produce stands at Eastern Market. But, finding a place to eat for Dov and I can be difficult: Dov keeps kosher and I do not.

Although I did not grow up in a kosher or vegetarian home, I do not eat meat very often, so Dov’s degree of keeping kosher would not be too great of an adjustment for me. As my exploration of Judaism has deepened over recent years, my relationship with Kashrut has changed and presents me with the potential to deepen as well. This personal struggle was exasperated during my trip to DC with my kosher partner. As it turns out, all these struggles were brought to life in trying to find a place to eat that satisfies the needs of both Dov and myself. Bounded by the battle between Halakha and healthy, I chose healthy.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Washington DC, Sustainable Restaurants, Treif, Kosher

Your Hummus Now Comes in a Cone

By Sarah Melamed

Thinkstock

Israelis love their hummus. It is a nation of Zohans who have no qualms eating it three times a day and any time in between.

But when I told my Israeli friends I wanted to try hummus ice cream they looked perplexed. “Hummus ice cream? Who would want to eat that?” or “That sounds disgusting. I’ve never heard of such a flavor!” my friends declared. Despite their intense fondness for hummus, Israelis are traditionalist and want their hummus doused with fruity olive oil and sprinkled with pine nuts, not perched on top of an ice cream cone. They love the idea of tehina ice cream “It’s like halva. It makes sense,” a friend told me. On the other hand, almost everyone I spoke to dismissed chickpea ice cream as a tourist gimmick.

Well, perhaps they’re right. For a brief time this chickpea gelato grabbed some attention from the media. ABC news featured an article about this new-fangled flavor from Lagenda, an ice cream parlor in Yaffo. “It’s tasty but not more than that” was the verdict of one taster. Despite the attention, it didn’t garner enough interest with the locals. With a rare show of solidarity, patrons continued to stream to the hummusias (cafes that specialize in hummus) to get their hummus fix.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ice Cream Tel Aviv, Ice Cream Month, Hummus Ice Cream

The Wackiest Jewish Ice Cream Flavors on Earth

By Naomi Sugar

Courtesy of Max and Mina's Ice Cream

If you’re a fan of Ben and Jerry’s, you’ve likely heard of some comically flavored ice creams — Americone Dream or Phish Food, anyone?

This summer, in honor of National Ice Cream Month (yes, it’s a real thing), we’ve rounded up the craziest Jewish ice cream flavors from herring to cholent and haroset to jelly donuts.

Fan favorites include everything from tzimmes (honey carrot ice cream) scooped up at Max & Mina’s Ice Cream in Queens, N.Y., to hummus, tehina and za’atar offered at Lavan Restaurant in Jerusalem and local Tel Aviv ice cream parlors.

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Using all of Summer's Bounty

By Ilana Cohen

It’s mid-July and farmer’s markets and gardens are brimming with gorgeous produce. You don’t have to look far to find interesting ingredients for a summer meal — some of them are already a part of your everyday veggies. Instead of throwing away veggie leaves or discarding what are typically thought of as weeds (like dandelions and purslane), a slight change in perspective will reveal an even wider array of summer produce right in front of your eyes.

This week’s featured CSA veggie is beets. Often the leafy beet greens are discarded in favor of the rich root which is commonly baked, boiled, or made into soup. But beet greens are also a delicious and versatile summer veggie, and by putting the greens in a pan, rather than in the bin, you will gain a delicious and nutritious addition on your plate. Beet greens are actually so tasty that whole varieties have been cultivated so that the plants produce copious amounts of tender, sweet leaves and only the suggestion of a red beet.

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Kutsher Tribeca's Jewish Food Porn Flick

By Blair Thornburgh

Youtube
Can a seeded rye be sexy? Kutsher’s Tribeca thinks so.

A knife slides seductively down a slender stalk of celery. A plump loaf of rye splits to reveal a seductive sprinkling of seeds. Tender slices of brisket fall on a cutting board as a voice-over moans “you’re driving me meshuggeneh” before dissolving into a breathy series of “oys.”

Sound like a bizarre fetish video better left to the dark corners of the Internet? Actually, this awkwardly literal foray into food porn is meant for public consumption. It’s a promotion for Kutsher’s Tribeca, which calls itself a “modern Jewish American bistro” in New York that wants to make Jewish food “sexy.”

But does Jewish food need sexing up? Implying it does is shorthand for saying it’s gone stale. But as anyone who’s partaken of American Jewish cuisine, be it a piled-high pastrami or a humble hamentashen, can tell you it’s delicious. And these days, there’s no shortage of chefs eager to tap into tradition and turn out posh matzo brei and borscht-inspired beet salad for brunchers — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Jewish food is still fresh.

Video Below

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Mixing Bowl: Kosher Wimbledon; Pickle Video

By Devra Ferst

iStock

Take a tour of Uri Buri’s ice cream shop in Acco, where he makes locally sourced seasonal ice cream flavors like yogurt with lime and poppy seeds. [Serious Eats]

A kosher food truck rolled up to Wimbledon last week, giving kosher tennis fans some options other than a tuna fish sandwich. [Chabad.org]

Paris-based food writer, David Lebovitz, continues to blog from his trip to the Holy Land. This week he shares his recipe for tahini and almond cookies. [David Lebovitz]

A first look at New York’s newest hip kosher restaurant, Jezebel. [Grub Street]

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Zalatimo, Uri Buri, Mixing Bowl, Marion Cummingham, Jezebel, David Lebovitz, Canadian Kosher Wine

Dairy: Oy, It's Complicated

By Eli Margulies

Eli Margulies

Last week’s op-ed by Mark Bittman made its way around my circles in seconds. Bittman validated what many of us in the natural foods arena have been saying for a long while — that dairy doesn’t necessarily do the body good. The same can be said for wheat, corn, soy, meat and many other high-allergen foods. It doesn’t mean that everyone needs to give them up, and it doesn’t mean that all sources of dairy and producers of dairy are inherently bad. Just read the comments (all 772 of them at the time of writing this article) and you will see that Bittman has opened up a hot topic here.

I’ll try to avoid such intense controversy — but I do recommend reading Bittman’s article and discussing these topics amongst yourselves: Jews and Lactose; Jews and Food Allergies, and the ongoing debates surrounding them. Many who might not tolerate dairy in its unfermented form (milk, cream, most butters) might very well tolerate fermented dairy (yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream, cheeses, etc.). As a natural foods chef I always encourage my clients to consume the highest quality dairy available to them — be it raw or low heat pasteurized, un-homogenized if possible and always organic.

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When Harry Met Nora Ephron's Tzimmes

By Blair Thornburgh

ILONA LIEBERMAN

It goes without saying that Nora Ephron was a woman of excellent taste. And though she never wanted to become a published cookbook author or be labeled as a “Jewish” writer, a recipe of hers that’s just surfaced melts both identities together: it’s for, of all things, a traditional tzimmes, that classic Ashkenazi dish of stewed fruit and vegetables.

For a girl who grew up “not eating a lot of Jewish food,” the warm and witty writer certainly had an appetite for eating and talking about it, whether it was Russ & Daughters’ smoked butterfish or the iconic (and, ahem, exciting) deli fare at Katz’s. The force behind food-centric flicks like “Heartburn” and “Julie & Julia” was also a famous home entertainer whose self-avowed trademark was “slightly too much food” and an almost mother-like insistence that guests partake as much as they pleased. “You should always have at least four desserts that are kind of fighting with each other,” she once told an interviewer at Epicurious.

“She wanted people to experience what she experienced and love what she loved,” remembers Abigail Pogrebin, a writer and friend of Ephron’s who interviewed her for the Forward last year.

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Shabbat Meals: Taking the Cake

By Simi Lampert

Thinkstock

When I was growing up, every Thursday night in my house was cooking night. Ovens running, music playing, pans spattering, my sister, mother and I would gather in the kitchen to prepare the Shabbat meals. The rest of the week my sister and I could do whatever we wanted as long as our homework was done, but Thursday nights we belonged to the kitchen. Singing, cooking, chopping, arguing, laughing. We’d stand over our dishes and unite — and fight — like the modern Jewish version of the sewing circles of yore, with knives in place of needles (both tools that could second as weapons if need arose).

I learned how to cook those Thursday nights, and I grew to love baking, especially cakes that I could frost in different ways. My mom is famous among my friends for her excellent cooking, and I inherited that acclaim as I learned to make my own dishes and shared them with friends and guests. Reading recipes off well-worn cards with hand-written edits or finding new recipes to try in papers and cookbooks, the experience was as much about spending those hours with the women in my family as it was about measuring ingredients, mixing, and ending with a personal edible creation. My sister specialized in cholent, while I would spend hours perfecting a cake recipe and decorating it just so.

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Not Everyone Is Happy With the Kosher Co-op

By Michael Kaminer

Courtesy of Chaim White
Chaim and Katie White own a network of 17 kosher co-op’s nationally.

Even before its planned July 17 launch in Phoenix, KC Kosher Co-op — which delivers bulk discount kosher goods in 17 cities — is ruffling feathers. Since its 2007 debut, the business has expanded into cities with limited kosher availability but significant Jewish populations, including Las Vegas, Columbus, Ann Arbor, Savannah, Raleigh, and Boca Raton. Though kosher co-ops of varying size have done business across the country for years, KC is the only national operation of its kind with a full-service online operation.

As the Jewish News of Greater Phoenix reported last week, Phoenix kosher consumers have hailed the co-op’s arrival. But the city’s kosher merchants are feeling threatened – and some local rabbis have even framed the co-op’s imminent arrival as an ethical issue. “This kind of enterprise… is at the expense of something else, which has long-term consequences,” Rabbi David Rebibo, head of the Greater Phoenix Vaad Hakashruth, told the Jewish News. “We have a certain moral obligation to be conscious of this potential damage that we can do to someone.”

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Defending a (Kosher) Kill

By Simon Feil

Hazon

It is commonly remarked that the best lies told are those that contain some truth. And so it often seems to be with the argument, which returns like the tides every few years, that shechitah, kosher ritual slaughter, is intrinsically inhumane. That it stands apart from the modern, civilized form of animal slaughter the rest of the world engages in and that this dark, antiquated and backwards practice must be brought into the light and abolished by right-thinking, morally upright persons of conscience.

The most recent foray into this field, by James McWilliams, makes some excellent arguments that seem simple and logical to the common man. This would seem to point to his overall conclusion, that kosher slaughter is “gruesome” being true. While it is certainly true, and sad, that kosher slaughter, like any slaughter can be gruesome, it is by no means inherent to the details of kashrut. McWilliam’s sullies his valid points by mixing them with half-truths and assumptions.

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To Till and To Tend: Jewish Farming Course

By Alyssa Bauer

Alyssa Bauer

The beginning of June was busy in the Greater Boston area — garlic plants sent their scapes into the air, rainbow chard darkened their multi-color stalks and a whole slew of salad greens begged to be harvested. Intoxicated with the potential energy of fresh produce, New England provided an enchanting background to engage in matters of Jewish sustainability and food systems issues.

This is the environment in which the Jewish Farm School and Hebrew College hosted a one-week intensive course called “To Till and To Tend.” The course aimed to focus on sustainable agriculture, food justice and the Jewish tradition through a hands-on, skill-building week. In the mornings, we worked at the day’s chosen organic farm or urban garden and posed a number of questions to the farms’ managers: How did you become interested in farming? Why are we planting strawberry plants? Where are these lettuce heads being donated? What’s it like being a woman in a male-dominated field? What is this?!

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: sustainability, Jewish Farm School, Hebrew College, Genesis



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