The Jew And The Carrot

Ziskend Family Chick Roast Recipe

By Joan Mass

Herbie Ziskend’s grandmother, Joan Mass, sent in the follow recipe for Chicken Roast to the White House Seder, which has been served several times. “My grandmother has been using this recipe forever…[she] has been serving this dish to her kids and then her grandkids since the 1950’s,” Ziskend told us in an email. The recipe is originally from Joan’s mother.

“During the last six years I have missed a few Passover with my grandmother and my family because I’ve been fortunate to take part in… the White House Passover tradition that began in 2008 — but luckily we still have the same Chicken Roast!” Ziskend added.

Chicken Roast

8 boneless chicken breasts
1 package Osem (or any kosher for Passover) Onion Soup Mix
Jar of apricot preserves (to taste)
3 to 4 tablespoons russian dressing (thick)

Wash and pat dry chicken breasts. Make mixture of dressing, preserves and dry mix until thick, but spreadable, and cover chicken surfaces generously. Bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes (depending on thickness of breasts). A fine alternative to brisket or, serve them both.

Cook’s note: This recipe appears exactly as Joan Mass wrote it. As with all recipes, taste as you go along to find the balance of flavors you like.


Superfruit and Superaromatic Charoset

By Alexa Weitzman

Alexa Weitzman

Let’s face it: even without the charoset, we honor mortar on Passover. The food of this holiday isn’t—how can I say this nicely?—easy on digestion. Matzoh, potatoes, eggs, various proteins, cheese, it seems that most of what we eat is pretty heavy, and we often pay the price, feeling sluggish and fatigued, especially after the Seders. Yes, we are commanded to relax and to relish in our liberation, and the food of Passover makes this quite easy. When thinking about lightening up some traditional Passover dishes to avoid this eventual fate, we don’t often think of charoset as something that can be modified, especially since it’s already so delicious. And how and why would we lighten up the food that symbolizes cement, right?! Well, by integrating a few key culinary concepts from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it’s easy to make charoset a bit more activating and invigorating, so it can do more for your body than just sit there in your belly, mortar-like.

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How To Host an Elegant Vegetarian Seder

By Jessica Fisher

Thinkstock

Whether it’s eating a fish head on Rosh Hashanah or mom’s turkey on Thanksgiving, traditional holiday foods are often not vegetarian friendly. Meat consumption on holidays is deeply embedded in Jewish tradition, where Maimonides and others propagate the idea that one cannot properly observe a holiday or celebration without consuming meat. Even the seder plate calls for a lamb shank (though there are sources that do permit replacing it with a roasted beet). And while the meat issue complicates all holidays for vegetarians, Passover adds a level complexity by taking so many staples off the table, especially if you don’t eat kitnyot. But, contrary to Maimonides’ position, vegetarians will tell you it is possible to enjoy a feast without serving meat, even on Passover.

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At This Seder, It's All About the Chocolate

By JTA/ Deborah Prinz

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Rabbi Adam Schaffer, who’s been leading chocolate seders since he edited a chocolate seder haggadah in 1996, acknowledges that “people often do feel ill” from all the chocolate.

Still, Schaffer, the religious school director at Temple Aliyah in Woodland Hills, Calif., says he was motivated to “experiment outside the box and engage college students who were not in the usual Hillel track,” and found that the chocolate seder took things to a “fun level, helping make connections for people, re-contextualizing the seder.”

In the last couple of decades, college campus groups and synagogue youth groups have concocted the seders that replace the ritual foods with chocolate. There is green-colored chocolate for the karpas/lettuce; chocolate-covered nuts for the charoset mix of nuts, apples and wine representing mortar used in building for the Pharoah; a chocolate egg for the roasted egg symbolizing the Passover sacrifice; a very dark 90 percent to 100 percent chocolate for the bitter herbs or maror. You get the idea.

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Passover Dessert Staple Won't Appear on the Shelves

By Anne Cohen

Cindy Itzkowitz
This is all that remains of the Shabtai Gourmet factory after it was hit by Hurricane Sandy.

Months after super storm Sandy, the full extent of the damage is still coming to light.

This year, customers around the country scouring local grocery stores for their favorite Passover sweets will be sorely disappointed. Shabtai Gourmet, a company that provided gluten-free kosher for Passover cakes and cookies — including favorites like rainbow cookies, cupcakes, and black and white cookie, all gluten-free — for over ten years, was completely wiped out by the storm.

When Sid and Cindy Itzkowitz ventured from their flood-soaked home in Woodmere, N.Y., to their 12,500 square foot factory in the Far Rockaways, they had no idea what to expect. What they found, Cindy said, was beyond their worst nightmare. “There was seven feet of salt water and sewer water in there,” she said. “Everything was floating all over the place.”

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A Virtually Nosh and Stroll Tour of New York

By Molly Yeh

On Sunday morning, a crew of folks who were bundled up and ready to learn (and eat) gathered for the Eldridge Museum’s Passover Nosh and Stroll. Amy Steinmilford and Hanna Griff-Sleven co-led the tour, which included stops at historical Jewish buildings and favorite food artisans around New York’s Lower East Side.

Scroll over the pictures below for a virtual tour.

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Fair Trade Chocolate You CAN Eat on Passover

By Ilana Schatz

David Lingren

SHEHECHIYANU! We can finally eat chocolate on Passover that’s been certified to not have been made with trafficked child labor!

Fair Trade Judaica received word from Rabbi Aaron Alexander, Associate Dean, Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies at the American Jewish University, that “Equal Exchange pareve chocolates (the 3.5 oz. or 100 g line and dark chocolate minis) may be purchased before Passover and consumed on Passover.” These products are also vegan, soy and gluten free. For people following Conservative Halacha, products must be in the house the day before Passover, prior to Bedikat Chametz.

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Facing a Food Crisis: The Ingenuity of Haitian Farmers

By Ruth Messinger

Evan Abramson, courtesy of AJWS
Images of cash for work team working on crops outside town of Sodo.

With Passover around the corner, many of us are poised to recite the words, “Let all who are hungry come and eat.”

But when nearly 1 billion people around the world are hungry or malnourished, these words become acutely daunting—particularly for communities recovering from disasters.

More than three years after a major earthquake ravaged Haiti, the country is still struggling to recover. Unfortunately, there is no shortage of problems: homelessness, violence, political corruption and, perhaps most severe, a shortage of food—resulting in hunger. In November 2012, these crises were further exacerbated by Hurricane Sandy, which ripped through Haiti before wreaking havoc in New York and New Jersey.

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Q & A: Timothy Lytton, Author of the Book 'Kosher'

By Bryant Simon

Courtesy of What Is Your Food Worth?

This post originally appeared on the blog What Is Your Food Worth?

Timothy D. Lytton is the Albert and Angela Farone Distinguished Professor of Law at Albany Law School, where he teaches courses on regulatory theory and administrative law. His book, “Kosher: Private Regulation in the Age of Industrial Food,” has just been published by Harvard University Press. In his book, Lytton argues that the $12 billion a year kosher industry is something of an unheralded story of success of private-sector regulation in an era of growing public concern over the government’s ability to ensure food safety. Kosher uncovers how independent certification agencies rescued American kosher supervision from fraud and corruption and turned it into a model of nongovernmental administration.

Recently Professor Lytton answered a few questions from the What Is Your Food Worth? Project.

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From Coast to Coast, the Best Seders

By Renee Ghert-Zand

thinkstock

Not up for cooking for the Seders this year? Not a problem. Restaurants around North America are offering seats at the Seder table for those who are hungry for updated Jewish fare like matzo balls in a lemongrass broth, tropical haroset and Turkish flourless chocolate cake.

At some, a Seder service will be led, while at others it’ll be strictly BYOH (bring your own Haggadah). We’ve rounded up some great choices, but there are many others out there. So please add additional suggestions from your city in the comments section below.

Note: These dinners are non-kosher, unless otherwise noted.

New York

Kutsher’s Tribeca
186 Franklin St., (212) 431-0606
Passover diners will enjoy Kutsher’s nouvelle twist on Borscht Belt Seder classics, like sweet onion butter for the matzo, wild halibut gefilte fish, and beef brisket with kasha, veal bacon and creamed spinach.
Details: March 25 and 26. Seder seatings at 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. $85 per person ($49 for kids under 10), 20% gratuity added to all checks.

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Mixing Bowl: Passover Knishes; 25 Ways To Use Matzo

By Susan Armitage

Courtesy Knishery NYC

You’ll be glad you bookmarked this one: 25 creative ways to use matzo, from s’mores to spinach and matzoh pie. [Buzzfeed]

New Yorkers, Knishery NYC is taking orders for three kinds of Passover knishes. You can pick them up at Malt & Mold on the Lower East Side or have the “knish bike” deliver to you directly. [Knishery NYC]

Looking for the perfect Seder wine? Here are a dozen kosher bottles to consider, starting at $16. [The New York Times]

Is that kosher? OU Kosher answers consumers’ most common Pesach questions. Coconut oil? Kirkland salmon? They’ve got you covered. [The Yeshiva World News]

The Gins-burg Passover cocktail at San Francisco’s Brasserie S&P isn’t named for Allen, but it looks mouthwatering nonetheless. [Zagat]

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A Consumer's Right To Know: Business Ethics, Halakhah and GMOs

By Rabbi Justin Goldstein

Courtesy of: Terra Organica Facebook Page
GMO labeling at Terra Organica in Bellingham, WA

While media coverage has been typically quiet regarding the labeling of food produced with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), the issue has been gaining some traction in the political arena on the federal level with Colorado Congressman Jared Polis’ recent announcement of a federal GMO labeling bill (where Hazon’s own Becky O’Brien issued her words of support. However, while the Colorado representative is attempting to bring this matter to the halls of Congress, his own state legislature recently followed the voters of California’s lead and voted against mandated labeling of GMOs in Colorado.

Meanwhile, the Maine State Legislature has also taken on the issue of mandating GMO foods in the marketplace with striking tri-partisan support, believing that labeling is in everyone’s best interest — from the consumer to the farmer, from the producers to the manufacturers.

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Matzo for Mr. President

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Thinkstock

Jewish mothers (and others) have been worried for some time now whether President Obama will have enough to eat while on his first official visit to Israel next week. We’ve known since early February that the president will have to forgo eating chametz when he stays next week at the King David Hotel, which will have already made its kitchens kosher for Passover.

“When U.S. President Barack Obama said yes to a long-overdue visit next week, his first since becoming president in 2008, it’s not clear that he knew what he was getting himself into. Gastronomically, anyway,” suggested Ilene Prusher in Haaretz.

But now we can let out a sigh of relief, knowing definitively that our president will not go hungry in the Land of Milk and Honey.

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Can a Haggadah Inspire a Gourmet Meal?

By Michael Kaminer

Perched on a massive dais at Manhattan’s tony Four Seasons restaurant, Edgar M. Bronfman and wife Jan Aronson talked up their new “Bronfman Haggadah” at a crowded reception this week. “Passover’s the one night of the year when children come to the table without being pissed off,” joked Bronfman, whose writings Aronson illustrated in her signature nature-inspired style.

But the real star of the evening was Noah Bernamoff, owner of Brooklyn’s storied Mile End Delicatessen, who created a menu of Passover-themed hors d’oeuvres themed around the reimagined Haggadah. Tapped by the Bronfmans to cater the event, Bernamoff squeezed six staffers into a corner of the Four Seasons’ gargantuan kitchen. Starting with a gefilte-fish cake with chrain cream and pickled carrots, and ending with take-home macaroons, the results were as revelatory as the book that inspired them.

Indeed, Bernamoff told the Forward, “The Bronfman Haggadah was meaningful. I’m so used to settling down with the Maxwell House and going through the motions. This Haggadah talks about life. And the depth of language is incredible.”

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Digital Ritual Animal Slaughter: The Game Leviticus!

By Rabbi Ezra Weinberg

Ezra Weinberg
“Children are pure; therefore let them study laws of purity” (Leviticus Rabbah 7:3)

What do you get when you mash-up ‘Fruit Ninja’ (the popular touch screen game) with the laws and procedures of the ancient sacrificial cult embedded in the Torah? You get “LEVITICUS!” A downloadable game for your smartphone or tablet by the folks at G-dcast.com. The game play is remarkably similar to the premise of Fruit Ninja, except instead of slicing watermelons, pineapples and kiwis, you are slicing up goats, bulls and flour offerings.

The setting is straight out of the Torah, right inside the Mishkan (mobile holy space of the Israelites), You are the Kohen (Priest) responsible for the daily sacrifice prescribed in Leviticus chapters 1,2 and 5. Your goal is to make it through the weekday sacrifices so you can merit the honor of the Shabbat slaughter-fest, which includes the special ‘musaf’ offering. A video game where your goal it is to make it to Shabbos – dayenu. But the animals come at you fast and you must slaughter each one, in multiple combinations for extra points. You must NOT kill any animal with a blemish it says in Leviticus 22:19. Not only must you discern healthy from unhealthy animals, but non-kosher animals are also thrown at you. If you contaminate yourself by offering up a lobster to Hashem, you get one strike. Three strikes and you are out, only to start again at the day one Maariv. All mistakes are one strike, except one. If you slaughter a pig, the most abominable animal in the Torah, game over immediately.

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No Kosher Dogs for Mets Fans on Shabbat

By Renee Ghert-Zand

wikicommons

Kosher Sports, Inc. scored big at the Super Bowl in New Orleans, where it had the concession to sell kosher stadium food to football fans. Unfortunately for the company, it has struck out in a legal dispute with a Major League baseball venue — Citi Field, home of the New York Mets.

On Tuesday, KSI got unwelcome news from the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals, which rejected the kosher food purveyor’s request to throw out a February 2012 ruling in favor of Queens Ballpark, Co., the company that runs Citi Field. KSI had originally filed a breach-of contract suit against Queens Ballpark in 2010 for preventing it from selling its kosher hot dogs, sausages and other products on Friday nights and Saturday.

KSI claimed it had incurred high costs in outfitting its carts in such a way that kashrut certification authorities would allow kosher food to be sold from them on Shabbat. Court documents KSI filed further stated that it stood to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits if it was prevented from selling on Shabbat.

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Kosher French Fare Comes to Brooklyn's Park Slope

By Malya Levin

“How could a kosher restaurant have opened in Park Slope without my knowing about it?” I unceremoniously asked of the first person to greet me as I walked into Chagall Bistro, who happened to be Dan Gicquel, the restaurant’s owner. Ten minutes before, I was settling in for a Sunday night dinner of hard-boiled eggs when a scan of my Facebook newsfeed turned up a friend’s posting: “New kosher restaurant on 5th Avenue and 5th Street!” I shared the news with my husband, who joined in my incredulity that this critical information had slipped past the vigilant watch we keep over all of brownstone Brooklyn’s Jewish news. A moment later, our phone rang. It was a foodie friend of ours who happened to be driving through the neighborhood. We shared the news, called the Facebook friend who had started it all, and a few minutes later, the four of us were scrutinizing the meat menu posted outside of the restaurant’s doors, its kosher certification prominently displayed, and I was demanding answers.

Gicquel explained that he and his wife moved to Brooklyn from Paris a year ago when they bought Belleville, the French bistro that had long occupied the space in which we were standing. “I am French and Jewish,” he said. “My dream was always to combine the two. And it’s opening night!” he added, possibly to help me feel less woefully ill informed. He told us there were plans to further expand the menu and he welcomed suggestions that would help him cater to the needs of the community.

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OU To Certify Kitniot This Passover

By Renee Ghert-Zand

thinkstock

The Orthodox Union wants to take the guesswork out of eating kitniyot on Passover. With no kitniyot kosher certification to go by, eaters of legumes and several grains during the holiday—traditionally Sephardi Jews, but now also others—have had to rely on their own judgment that there was no hametz, or leaven, in a food product.

Now, the experts have stepped in to alleviate any possible confusion. For the first time ever, the OU has introduced OU Kitniyot, a new certification symbol that can appear on kosher for Passover products.

“People may assume a food product is kitniyot, but there could actually be hametz hidden it,” warned Rabbi Moshe Elefant, COO of the Orthodox Union’s kashrut division in a phone interview with The Jew and the Carrot. “This new certification is critical because you can’t tell just from the ingredients list whether something is really kitniyot and nothing else.”

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The Kubbeh Project: Iraqi Jewish Dish Comes to NYC

By Ruby Namdar

Katherine Needles

It is hard to describe a sharper contrast then the one between the trendy spirit of the Lower East Side of Manhattan and the idea of a steaming bowl of authentic kubbeh soup. My first association with Kubbeh soup is of a small Israeli kitchen, presided by a skilled Iraqi or Kurdish Jewish grandmother, or of an equally small kitchen-restaurant in Shuk Machaneh-Yehuda, the famous market of Jerusalem.

But last week, I found myself, rather late on a freezing winter night, in a street filled with small fashion boutiques and trendy bars, standing in line with a group of young people waiting to enter Zucker’s Bakery. A coffee shop by day, the small yet inviting space, is transformed each night into a pop-up kubbeh restaurant named “The Kubbeh Project”.

The restaurant presents a playful tension between the authentic and the contemporary: it is dominated by a large community table, set with a long blue denim runner and brown paper placemats. Young couples and small groups are seated elbow to elbow, in an unusually intimate setting I later learned was part of the Kubbeh Project’s goal. “We wanted people to sit close to each other, their conversations to blend into each other and their space-boundaries to be challenged. It’s a part of our vision of the preparation and serving of food as a mode of community-making. We would consider it a success if people felt comfortable enough with each other as to reach out and grab a slice of bread from their neighbors’ basket”.

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'EatWith' a Local in Israel, Courtesy of a New Website

By Katherine Martinelli

Courtesy of EatWith

There’s nothing like dining with a local when traveling. A homecooked meal is often a welcome reprieve from a week of restaurant dinners and the insider tips you can glean from someone who lives there beat any tour book. If you’re not lucky enough to have friends or family in Israel (or even if you are), a new company called EatWith is your virtual insider friend.

Part supper club and part social experiment, the idea for EatWith came to founder Guy Michlin while on vacation with his family in Greece in 2011. “We always look for the authentic places [when we travel], but we couldn’t find them and fell into every possible tourist trap,” explained Michlin in a phone interview. “On this specific trip almost by accident I managed to get us an invitation to a local family for dinner and this was by far the highlight of the trip.”

Israeli-born and a graduate of Stanford Business School, Michlin had been on the lookout for a start-up idea, and he knew he was onto something. “When I came back to Israel ,” he recalls, “we started thinking about it and brainstorming. How can we take this unique experience and turn it into a business?”

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