Mollie Katzen's Sukkot Menu
Secret Tables of Gotham
Bourdain Invades Israel
Tamar Adler's Fried Jewish Artichokes
Save the Bubbes!
The Curious History of Kosher Salt
Shiva for Stage Deli
Berlin's Jewish Foodie Comeback
The Great Deli Rescue
Romping Through the Jewish Pumpkin Patch
Haimish to Haute, NYC Transforms Jewish Food
Bay Area's DIY Jewish Food Movement
Yid.Dish Recipe Box
'Inside the Jewish Bakery’
The Bacon Problem
Manischewitz Goes Sephardic
Jews and the Booze
Jews and Beer
Taking the Food Tour That Keeps on Feeding
At Kosher Feast, Fried Locusts for Dessert
Live Long and Super: Supermarket History
A Slice of Hebrew Pizza
Grow and Behold: A New Line of Kosher Chicken Launches A Conversation Around Jewish Food Ethics
When In Rome… Eat Like the Jews Do
A Letter to Our Readers
JCarrot Archives: 2006-August 2010
Shabbat Dinner, With Panache
Next Generation Challah
On one occasion, Michael Levy just had to say no. While he would try eating dog in China, fried millipedes was just taking it too far. This culinary experience opens the preface to “Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China’s Other Billion,” a book about Levy’s two-year stint living in rural China while serving the Peace Corps. The 35-year-old had traveled deep into the interior of China to teach English and learn first-hand about another culture.
Last month, Levy stood before an audience at BookCourt, an independent book store in Brooklyn, where he spoke about his two-year Chinese sojourn. A history teacher at the local Saint Ann’s School, Levy opened his presentation by handing out a quiz for the audience to test how much they knew about China. The Forward caught up with Levy last week by phone to discuss “real Chinese food” vs. American Chinese food, why he was constantly compared to Karl Marx and learning to play mahjong.
The bounty of summer is upon us, and CSA (community supported agriculture) shares and farmers markets are overflowing with fresh veggies. Join the Jew and the Carrot every other Monday for CSA Unboxed, a look at an ingredient you might find in your CSA box or at your Farmers Market booth, and some interesting ideas of what to do with it.
Living in a rural town in the Berkshires, it often takes time and planning to make a trip to the local farmers’ markets, and even to the supermarket. Rather than relying on the markets for our summer vegetables, last summer my partner and I decided to try our hand at gardening.
We bought some fencing, seeds, and starter plants, dug up the earth and added manure, and got to work building the garden. That first summer we stuck to easier items to grow, like tomatoes, carrots and potatoes. This year is our second summer gardening; our garden is more bountiful than ever, and we’re experimenting more too. This year, we added all kinds of herbs, radishes, beets, and greens to the garden and we love experimenting with different kinds of homemade pesto.
Empire Kosher Poultry, the largest kosher chicken company in the country, claims “it produces a healthier, cleaner, more reliably kosher chicken than available anywhere else in America — and in a socially and environmentally responsible way,” according to JTA.
Multi-colored Carrots are coming to farmers’ markets this month! Yes, we have a soft spot for our namesake veggie.
A deli plate would be naked without a pickle, but the preserved cucumber wasn’t always so beloved. Jane Ziegelman writes that the pickle was once viewed as a stimulant and consumption was frowned upon.
The title of Mark Bittman’s Opinionator piece this week, “Can Big Food Regulate Itself? Fat Chance,” says it all.
Last month, The Dutch Animal Rights Party pushed a bill through the lower house of the Dutch Parliament that would outlaw the slaughter of animals without stunning. The law, if ratified by the upper house of parliament, will in essence make locally raised and slaughtered kosher (and halal) meat illegal. A similar law was passed in New Zealand last year, and kosher slaughter is already outlawed in Iceland, Norway and Sweden.
The battle over the ethicality of kosher slaughter came to the United States recently, though fortunately with a better outcome. A Washington state appellate unanimously rejected a suit that would have made a law protecting religious slaughter unconstitutional, says the JTA.
Jewish groups in Europe are strategizing ways to combat the Dutch bill. In June, United Kingdom Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks told British paper The Telegraph: “We are worried that [this type of bill] could spread. There has been a non-stop campaign by animal welfare activists to have all forms of ritual slaughter banned. It has to be fought everywhere because if it’s lost anywhere it has a potential domino effect.”
Headlines about a 26-year-old woman with a nut allergy recently dying from eating Nutella at a Tel Aviv restaurant have been a popular topic of conversation over the past couple of weeks in Israel.
Chen Efrat’s death has been a stark reminder to Israelis of the gravity — and sometimes, fatal nature — of food allergies. Health authorities have begun to raise awarenessof the prevalence of food allergies and to try to get people to take the issue more seriously. Efrat had reportedly asked the restaurant’s waitress repeatedly to check whether the chocolate spread in the Belgian waffle desert she had ordered was Nutella or not, and she was assured that it was not — when, in fact, it was. After being rushed to a hospital, she died several days later. Her parents have just filed a NIS 5.5 million suit against the restaurant.
Oreos became kosher in 1997 much to the delight of the Jewish world. Now the Jewish love affair with the cookie has been immortalized in art.
Artist Judith Klausner, profiled this week in the Forward, professes to “enjoy playing with food, both recreationally and professionally.” Her recent series “From Scratch” attempts to illustrate how modern women have choices previously unavailable to them — through Oreo Cameos and embroidered breakfast foods. Her latest project was in part inspired by how the relationship between women and food has changed over the past two centuries.
Growing up as Jew in Ogden, Utah, I attended a synagogue the size of a small house called Brith Sholem. When I was in kindergarten, Brith Sholem was the target of an arson attack that nearly gutted the entire building. The police never found the perpetrators, who lit two American flags on fire but left the Torah scrolls untouched.
Two months after the fire, a group of Mormon dignitaries pulled up to the synagogue in white Lincoln luxury vehicles and delivered shoeboxes full of cash to the temple leadership, all told, about $45,000 from Mormon church goers all over the state. This was enough to cover the amount the synagogue had to pay out of pocket for renovations after its fire insurance kicked in.
Last week 12 excited Hazon representatives and 160 other Jewish participants gathered in Washington D.C. as part of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable (JSJRT), a collection of 21 nonprofits supporting social justice as an essential component of Jewish life. The two-day affair began on Thursday, July 28th with congressional meetings and culminated the following day with the White House Community Leaders Briefing Series, a unique summer-long opportunity for grassroots leaders to engage White House officials and voice issues close to our hearts.
Jon Carson, deputy assistant to the President and director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, succinctly articulated the purpose of the series: “I’m not here to talk,” he said. “I’m here to listen about what you’re seeing across the country.” For many in Hazon’s cohort and millions of American Jews, this issue is food justice.
Three years ago, Zane Caplansky applied to the city of Toronto to sell Montreal-style smoked-meat sandwiches from a cart. Confronted with red tape that would have required a steep investment in a mobile kitchen, he dropped the idea.
Bad news for the aspiring vendor became a boon for Toronto foodies. Caplansky instead started selling smoked-meat sandwiches from the back of a Toronto bar. Insane demand, fueled by word of mouth, led to the 2009 opening of Caplansky’s, his massively successful deli on the northern edge of the city’s historically Jewish Kensington Market neighborhood. “Caplansky’s did more to put Toronto on the map as a deli city than anyone else in half a century,” says David Sax, author of “Save the Deli” and a Forward contributor.
We are committed Jewish vegetarians. By that we mean that having a vegetarian lifestyle is important to our Jewish practice. And that’s why we love Tishat Hayamim (the first nine days of Av). It’s a fairly strange sentiment, but Tishat Hayamim is the only time in the Jewish calendar when vegetarianism is obligatory. The traditional mourning rituals of Tishat Hayamim stem from second temple ascetic practices, which included vegetarianism. The impetus for Tishat Hayamim stems from the mishnaic statement that, “From the first days of Av, one lessens one’s joy.” Based on this statement, the rabbis forbid eating meat, drinking wine, or listening to music in the first nine days of Av. This is a period of denial, but because of our dietary choices, it is perfectly normal for us.
This abstinence from meat during Tishat Hayamim suggests that vegetarianism is a traditional Jewish practice, though primarily associated with ascetic denial. The traditions of Tishat Hayamim demonstrate that the rabbis were in dialogue with second temple sects such as the Therapeutae, a Jewish monastic group who lived near Lake Meroe in Alexandria, Egypt. They spent most of their time studying Torah and holy writings, practiced vegetarianism, and refrained from drinking wine. The Therapeutae subsisted on simple food, seeking through bodily affliction to suppress natural human desires. It is also possible that the famous ascetics of the Judean desert, the Essenes, who were probably the authors of the Dead Sea scrolls, were vegetarians. Archaeological excavation at Qumran has not revealed animal bones, though this is an argument from silence. However, no ancient source identifies the Essenes as vegetarians.
With all the recent talk about Jews and their love of bacon, could the advent of kosher pork really be far behind?
It appeared that the dream of kashrut-observant Jews with a hankering for the taste of treyf had come true on July 27 when photographer Oded Hirsch spotted a whole bunch of pork (spare ribs, pork chops — you name it) labeled as “Shechita Beit Yusef”(ritual slaughter of the House of Joseph) at an Associated Supermarket on Greenpoint Avenue in Sunnyside, Queens, a multi-ethnic neighborhood with a current Jewish population much smaller than it once was.
As you know, we at JCarrot love pickles (try our quick summer pickle recipes here). Serious Eats shares some creative ways to use leftover pickle juice. They also conduct a jarred pickle taste test. See which pickle is the winner.
In this week’s New York Times dining section, Julia Moskin writes about how to use commonly discarded parts of vegetables. The Perennial Plate conveniently shares a recipe and video of how to make carrot top pesto.
Jon-Jon Goulian, author of “The Man in the Gray Flannel Skirt,” makes rugelach pinwheels on Cooking the Books.
In 1984 President Ronald Reagan declared July National Ice Cream Month. In honor of the month, we’ve been celebrating this delicious food each week with Frozen Fridays, a series about Jews and ice cream. This will be our last Frozen Friday post, so we thought we’d go out with a bang!
Ice cream mavens Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield (better known as Ben and Jerry) are as famous for their ice cream flavors as they are for the wacky monikers that accompany them (Cherry Garcia, Chunky Monkey and Half Baked anyone?).
Born just four days apart, Ben and Jerry grew up together in Merrick, Long Island (they’re both Jewish). In 1978, with a $12,000 investment ($4,000 of it borrowed), they opened Ben & Jerry’s Homemade Ice Cream shop in a renovated gas station in Burlington, Vt. There, Ben worked the creative side, dreaming up flavor combinations, while Jerry made the ice cream. Success came quickly, and the company became known far and wide for its chunky, chock-full-of-goodies ice cream.
Fifteen years ago it would have seemed absurd. Between 10 and 20 English speaking young adults, mostly from the United States, living in geodesic domes on an organic farm in Israel, growing heirloom variety vegetables for a posh, up-and-coming restaurant in Tel Aviv’s trendy Yaffo district. But as the father of modern Zionism, Theodor Herzl once declared, “if you will it, it is no dream” and indeed, green agriculture, haute cuisine and diaspora Jewish education have all caught on in the holy land and are even finding exciting points of intersection.
The popular restaurant Shakuf, is the brainchild of seasoned Israeli chef and dedicated locavore Eldad Shem Tov. Shakuf is not even one year old and is already receiving rave reviews. Inspired by Shem Tov’s experience in globally celebrated kitchens like New York’s Per Se and Copenhagen’s Noma, Shakuf gracefully marries the kind of modern, molecularly influenced fare that foodies dream of with the eco-conscious practices necessary to ensure a healthy future for us all. Shakuf diners are treated to a tasting menu guided by seasonal availability and local Mediterranean flavors. Perhaps most demonstrative of the restaurant’s vision is one of its most marveled at first courses — an adorable edible “planter.” Tiny tops of carrots, radishes and other veggies peak out from a blend of edible “dirt” consisting of ground chickpeas and nuts. Eaten without utensils, the planter highlights the important role of fresh veggies at Shakuf while challenging food perceptions as diners munch away at the savory “dirt.”
Fair Food Network’s Oran Hesterman and Kate Fitzgerald co-hosted Hazon’s first Farm Bill webinar on July 20th. Twenty attendees from Florida to California watched an informative presentation about Farm Bill history, implementation and impact and participated in a question and answer session touching on issues from kashrut to conservation.
Fitzgerald first discussed the early years of Farm Policy, beginning with the establishment of an independent Department of Agriculture in 1862 and moving into the Depression era and its long-term effects. She then discussed the farm bill’s evolution and its 15 varied and complex titles (or sections), revealing what the bill does and does not cover. We learned that the bill contains billions of dollars in funds for agricultural subsidies and farm relief programs, hunger relief and emergency food aid, environmental conservation programs and many other government programs.
Reader Mike Benn wrote to the Forward’s word fiend Philologos about a childhood memory of bronjenas, a flame roasted eggplant dish that his grandmother who lived in Palestine in the early 20th century made. The dish, while now called h’atsil al ha-esh in Israel and by other names the Balkans, lives on as a roasted eggplant mixed with tahini and/or yogurt. Read the article to find out the origin of eggplant and the many words used for it around the globe including the “Jew’s apple”.
Janna Gur, doyenne of Israeli cooking, offered us her recipe for the dish, which is smoky, creamy and slightly nutty from the raw tahini. Share your favorite eggplant recipe with us in the comments.
Unlike Rachel Ray (whom I happen to enjoy watching), I am perversely attracted to drawn out, labor-intensive kitchen projects. Case in point: I will happily put aside a few hours to stretch my own strudel dough. I also bake bagels, a process that involves simmering the raw bagels in a water bath laced with malt barley syrup before they go into the oven. As a matter of principle, I stay away from sauces in jars and other convenience foods like boxed muffin mix which violate my sense of culinary fair play and generally taste lousy. But my kitchen principles, like the rest of my life, are shot through with contradictions.
I like to keep a canister of Reddi Wip whipped cream on hand for that impromptu root beer float. I believe that Hellman’s has perfected mayonnaise and I actually prefer it over freshly made. I enjoy a bowl of cold cereal for dinner.
“Quick pickles,” though not exactly a convenience food, employ a variety of time-saving techniques geared toward the impatient cook. Classic kosher dills, for example, can take weeks to mature. Like a fine glass of lager, they rely on fermentation, a biological process carried out by friendly micro-organisms. Different organisms of course are used in different types of fermentation. In beer making, for instance, brewer’s yeast convert sugar into alcohol. The kosher dill, by contrast, is indebted to a strain of lactic-acid-producing bacteria, hence the term lacto-fermentation. Like the alcohol in beer, the lactic acid acts as a preservative. At the same time, it imparts that distinctive bacterial tang found in all fermented foods from sauerkraut to kimchi.
Early in my marriage, I would alternate Shabbat dinners between my parents and in-laws, who were both from Syria. They continued the custom of setting the Shabbat dinner table with loaves of Khubz ‘Adi, a Syrian flatbread to symbolize to the twelve loaves of shewbread that were the centerpiece of the altar in the Jewish Temple.
Years later when my children went to yeshiva, challah replaced the Khubz ‘Adi on our Shabbat table. However, as a couple of decades passed, I returned to my roots. I decided to prepare Khubz ‘Adi, just as my ancestors had baked for Shabbat centuries before me. In my heart I knew that food defines who we are and that I was preserving a culinary legacy for my family, and strengthening the heritage of my community.
First Sacha Baron Cohen as Bruno wanted to solve the Middle East conflict with hummus, now Larry David wants to give his take on food as an element of the conflict. Sunday’s episode of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” took a snarky look at Al Abbas, a Palestinian chicken spot in Los Angeles, which happens to have a location next to Goldblatt’s Deli — a culinary turf war ensues. Check out the culinary themed episode on the Arty Semite.
(P.S. Eater reported earlier today, that the episode’s actually filmed in a Lebanese restaurant called Sunnin in LA.)
For many of the 1.4 million hungry people in New York there is little or no access to sustainable and locally sourced food. Out of necessity, many food pantries and soup kitchens historically stocked take-home bags and filled plates with mass-produced food from far away places, frozen veggies and canned legumes.
With the help of organizations like City Harvest and Grow NYC, that’s started to change. These types of organizations connect local farmers and restaurants with hunger fighting organizations. This summer, these efforts are coming to New York’s hungry and kosher-keeping community, with the help of Masbia a network of four kosher soup kitchens in Queens and Brooklyn that serves both a kosher and non-kosher community.
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