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
The pleasure of effectively navigating the idiosyncratic topography of the City of Lights is only eclipsed by discovering the perfect meal in a city known for its gastronomy. Fortunately for the kosher traveler, this is no challenge at all.
In November 2010, UNESCO added French gastronomy to its list of the world’s “intangible cultural heritage,” making France the first nation to be honored for its arts of the table. The term haute cuisine (French for “high cooking”), coined in the nineteenth century, signifies elaborate preparations and presentations of small and numerous courses. French dishes liberally employ herbs and creamy ingredients. Most localities hold open air street markets nearly every day, where they sell locally grown fresh produce such as fennel and truffle, as well as cheese, wine, poultry and cured meats.
In her new book, “Try This: Traveling the Globe Without Leaving the Table,” Danyelle Freeman offers a gastronomical guide to 14 different ethnic cuisines — from British to Vietnamese. The former Daily News restaurant critic, founder of the popular Restaurant Girl blog and recent “Top Chef Masters” guest judge details the ingredients and preparations common in each cuisine. She also recommends restaurants in New York and LA for the best versions of each one (see Freeman’s NYC kosher restaurant recs below).
In “Try This,” Freeman also provides the reader with invaluable information on each culture’s table manners, to avoid making cultural gaffes while dining out. (Did you know that at a Japanese restaurant you should never leave your chopsticks upright in a bowl of rice? The upright chopsticks resemble incense sticks that the Japanese light to commemorate the dead.)
Around the country, a number of synagogues, JCCs, day schools, and other Jewish institutions are doing inspiring work to integrate the physical spaces of gardens and farms into their core work of transmitting Jewish ideas and values. Last month, I highlighted the increased popularity of school and community gardens and pointed out some of the necessary measures needed to maintain them properly and maximize their impact. Innovative Jewish institutions from synagogues to JCC’s and educational farms around the country are also taking broad steps to engage members, students and teachers in Jewish garden programming.
Agudas Achim a Conservative synagogue in Columbus, Ohio had installed a garden about a year ago, but as with many synagogue garden projects, the enthusiasm around it waned. When synagogue leaders heard about their congregant Ariel Kohane’s experiences in the Adamah program, they hired her as an Environmental Scholar in Residence. They saw the potential beyond offering a few “green” programs. With her experience, Kohane could develop a program that would inspire younger Jews to connect to the synagogue community through environmental ethics, food and spirituality. A new and exciting culture could grow from its garden.
As much of New York City mourned the closing of the Upper West Side location of H&H bagels, the quintessential New York bagel shop, the City Room took a look at the state of the bagel in 2011. Check out what critic Mimi Sheraton had to say.
Joan Nathan profiles David Tanis the newest New York Times dining columnist, author of “Heart of the Artichoke” and Chez Panisse chef on Tablet.
Have you ever wondered how the queen of the locavore movement Alice Waters spends her days? The Wall Street Journal follows her for a full 24 hours reporting that she barely sits down, except to enjoy a meal.
The G-20 “agreed to establish a transparent system to track global supplies and set up emergency food reserves” to help stabilize global food prices around the globe says the AP.
In the final installment of our Chosen Chefs series, we head to New Orleans to catch up with chef Alon Shaya, executive chef of Domenica. Like all of the chefs we’ve profiled, Shaya is a member of the tribe who’s worth keeping on your radar. If we were the betting type, we could some James Beard Awards in his future.
To hear chef Alon Shaya tell it, Israeli food helped get him where he is today. The acclaimed executive chef of John Besh’s Italian restaurant Domenica in New Orleans, was born in suburban Tel Aviv but moved to Philadelphia when he was just 4 years old.
The child of an Israeli mother and Romanian father, some of Shaya’s earliest memories were of coming home from school and smelling the roasting peppers his grandmother cooked on a flame. “Those are the memories that made me fall in love with food,” said Shaya, 32.
My parents grew up in Israel, but they immigrated to the United States in their late teens and had me when they were 20. So they have spent most of their adult lives here and raised me and my two sisters in a place very different than the 1960s Israel where they were brought up (their families lived a few blocks from each other in a suburb of Tel Aviv and my father and mother first met at age 14 in the neighborhood pool).
One of the biggest adjustments for them when I was born was figuring out how to pass on Jewishness. It was never something they had thought about before. They both came from fairly secular Israeli families in which being Jewish was part of the air they breathed. It wasn’t anything they did. Judaism, for my father, was the intense quiet that permeated the streets of Israel on Yom Kippur. They knew that this was not going to be my world and they would have to do something to pass on a sense of connection. So they started celebrating the Friday night arrival of Shabbat.
The sign is gone at the legendary H & H bagel shop at West 80th and Broadway. A TV truck with its long-prong antenna is parked out front. On the sidewalk, people pull their smart phones up to eye level and snap away.
Today is reportedly the last day of the Upper West Side bagel shop, and the lines inside run eight and 10 deep. It’s one last go round for these hot and doughy bagels, fresh from the oven. The man behind me in line holds a hand-written petition to keep the shop open. Others in line take photos of the signs above the counter, where the bagels wait in bins for hungry customers.
I live in the neighborhood, but have been here only once before. I naively ventured in months ago and asked for a bagel with light cream cheese. The counterman snapped back at me, “We don’t sell them that way.” Off I went empty handed.
Deli bagels are for toasting and spreading with cream cheese. Fresh supermarket bagels are for lox. Lender’s bagels are for when you’re traveling and desperate.
Only H&H’s bagels are for eating hot and plain — crisp on the outside and a little doughy inside. And though this bagel is as essential to Manhattan’s Upper West Side as the beignet is to New Orleans and the croissant to Paris, today is the last day you will ever be able to enjoy one there.
Following legal troubles and a February bankruptcy filing by an apparently associated firm, the quintessential New York bagel shop is reportedly closing its West 80th and Broadway location for good today.
Spanish cuisine is at a critical moment. Ferran Adrià, arguably the world’s most influential chef, will close his historic restaurant, El Bulli, July 30 to start a culinary foundation and think tank. The restaurant, which puts humor, illusions and even irony on the plate through the use of molecular gastronomy and other remarkable cooking techniques, did more than make waves in the world of Spanish food — it pushed the limits of cuisine around the globe. “Spain has transformed itself into the world’s effervescent center of gastronomic creativity,” noted cookbook author Claudia Roden writes in her new book, “The Food of Spain.”
Writers like Julia Moskin at The New York Times and prominent members of the food community have pondered what will happen to Spanish cuisine without El Bulli. Some fear that the closing will hurt the country’s culinary tourism business; others hope it will allow light to shine on lesser-known chefs. But no one is certain.
Standing on a precipice, unsure of what lies ahead, is perhaps the best time to look backward. “You have to look into the past to understand Spain’s complex gastronomic map,” Roden writes. Her immense and exhaustive new book does just that. The tome is an indispensable guide to the country’s traditional cuisine, tracing the cultural and religious roots of many of its signature ingredients, dishes and culinary traditions.
At a session entitled “The University of California: Friend or Foe to Sustainable Agriculture” at this year’s Eco-Farm Conference, Tom Tomich of the UC Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute reminded participants of how the California budget crisis may affect farming: With massive cuts to the University of California system expected, funding for agricultural research at its land-grant universities is in danger. The students and faculty doing GMO and pesticide research can secure funding from private companies, but researchers doing sustainable agriculture and food systems research are on shakier ground, says Tracy Lerman, a UC Davis graduate student and member of the Community Development Graduate Group. As an example, she cites the closure of the Small Farms Center as a result of state funding cuts to the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources.
Lerman and her fiancé, Leon Vehaba, are helping to organize sessions at the 2011 Hazon Food Conference, which will be held at UC Davis this summer (August 18-21). The conference will showcase agriculture and food systems research taking place at UC Davis, which is the largest of the public land-grant universities in the state. In particular:
While located in Central Europe, Budapest was planned and built in the decidedly Western style of Paris and Vienna. It is the largest city of a relatively obscure country, and it’s teeming with Jewish history and rich culinary culture.
Hungary’s culinary reputation is modest, revolving around beef stews such as goulash and generously spiced chicken paprikash, but for those who are used to their kosher food being packaged and processed, a visit there is a welcome change, even if your selection of kosher options is somewhat limited.
In Hungary (as in many other countries with a relatively large Jewish population but no system of kosher certification), kosher “certification” goes by word of mouth. The rabbis and other prominent members of the community do their research and let their friends and fellow synagogue-goers know what’s okay to eat and what should be avoided.
Budapest Jews and visitors are lucky to have ready access to several restaurants and groceries that specialize in classic Hungarian dishes, with servings so large, authentic, and delicious, you won’t feel like you’re missing out at all.
Long before anyone started using terms like “recycling,” “repurposing,” and “upcycling” (turning a disposable item like a soda can pull-tab into something intrinsically useful and longer lasting, like a handbag), our grandmothers and great-grandmothers knew a thing or two about “reusing” food packaging.
They lived in a world in which food did not come excessively shrink-wrapped or in boxes designed to scream at you from supermarket shelves, and in which “disposable” was not a term they applied to either income or things that they bought. Balebustas stored leftovers in used plastic margarine, cottage cheese and ice cream containers, reused paper grocery bags to wrap parcels and line garbage bins, and never considered putting fruits and vegetables in plastic bags before placing them in their shopping bag. So they would probably find the current dilemma of what to do with all this food packaging a bit ridiculous.
Crossposted from Haaretz
A series of inventions by a talented member of Afikim made the kibbutz a major player in the global dairy industry. Today, their computerized milking systems can be found in over 50 countries and will soon supply some 40% of Vietnam’s milk consumption.
“It’s a fairly trivial sort of love,” she says as she sinks down onto a faded sofa. It’s afternoon, outside the dairy, which is surrounded by endless groves of green banana trees, and Chen Weiss, freshly discharged from the army, is taking a little break.
“I arrived for the first milking at six in the morning,” she says, holding a raspberry drink in one hand and a pack of cigarettes in the other. “Cows are a very trivial thing to kibbutzniks,” she adds casually, pulling her hair back. “It’s a nice animal, very kind. It may look big but it’s really very gentle. We have almost 400 dairy cows here. In terms of size, our dairy is a little above average. Some kibbutzim have smaller dairies than we do, but there are also some that have 1,500-2,000 cows.”
If you’ve always dreamed of having dinner with the president, this is your chance. CBS reports that Obama’s campaign is raffling off four tickets to have dinner and talk policy with the Pres. Any donation of $5 or more enters you to win.
The seltzer deliver business may be dwindling but a fountain soda drink with ice cream is just as refreshing as ever during the summer months. Check out Food 52’s contest for the best recipe.
It’s no surprise to anyone that many of America’s fruits and vegetables are all too often laden with pesticides. So what are the cleanest and dirties options at your grocery store? Marion Nestle tells the Atlantic.
Plans for the Soho restaurant off shoot of Kutcher’s — a 3000 sq foot hip kosher restaurant — are on track, says Fork in the Road. Check back on JCarrot for more on their upcoming plans and pre-paid Shabbat dinners.
Alex Reznik never thought he’d be a kosher chef. But when he was asked to lead the kitchen at La Seine Bar and Grill, in Beverly Hills he jumped at the opportunity to get back in touch with his roots, and modernize kosher cuisine. “I thought, ‘Why can’t kosher food just be great food?”’ he said.
The Kiev-born, Brooklyn-raised Reznik, was working at Cafe Was, a (non-kosher) celebrity hangout in L.A., when La Seine’s owner, Laurent Maslieh, approached him about his soon-to-open kosher restaurant. Reznik, a “Top Chef DC” alum was up for the challenge.
He and the owners of La Seine hoped the appeal of La Seine would reach beyond the kosher clientele, and they’ve been able to attract both Jewish and non-Jewish customers. Reznik likes to think he achieves this by cooking great food that “just happens to be kosher.”
(Photo: Peter Morehand)
This Tuesday, Manischewitz daringly went where no other matzo maker has ever gone. The company attempted to bake (or should we say build?) the largest matzo in history — 336 times a regular matzo sheet — in honor of the opening of its new headquarters, in Newark, N.J. Rabbi Yaakov Horowitz (pictured above), chief rabbi of Manischewitz, shows us just how big the giant matzo was (that’s a regular sheet of matzo his holding, folks). Israel’s chief rabbi, Yona Metzger, blessed the plant and the town’s mayor, Cory A. Booker, joined the event. The matzo, which was baked in a 200-foot-long oven, was divided up after the ceremony for everyone to sample.
Manischewitz is currently in the process of registering the matzo with the Guinness World Records, which will decide if it’s actually the biggest ever made. So what does it take to make a claim of the world’s largest matzo? See the details, below.
Esther Kessler, my paternal grandmother, cooked with the precision of a diamond cutter, methodical, deliberate, and composed. Her hair professionally coiffed, a silk-scarf jauntily tied at the neck, she brought those same qualities to her personal style.
Esther immigrated to the U.S. from Poland in 1938 and settled in the Bronx. A single mother of two, she was a working woman and therefore “fed” her young family in both senses of the word. She earned the money to buy the groceries, but also turned them into meals.
My grandmother was not an adventurous cook. Her culinary repertoire was limited to the Jewish standards she had learned as a girl back in Europe, along with a handful of schlock (by my standards), American dishes acquired on this side of the ocean. On her Friday night table, you would have found gefilte fish, chopped liver, chicken soup, roast chicken, farfel with mushrooms, but also a salad of iceberg lettuce, green pepper, and Wishbone Italian, along with a form of kugel made from frozen broccoli, margarine, eggs and matzoh meal. All, however, were prepared with consummate finesse.
In recent years, a few fortunate Jewish communities have seen a rebirth of the deli. Ribbons of house-smoked pastrami are layered on loaves of traditional seeded rye and served alongside crunchy house-made pickles. But what of the appetizing shops and dairy delis? Once a staple of Jewish communities, appetizing stores carried rich smoked salmon, fresh bagels, pickled herring and even a handful of sweets like rugelach. Many of the shops have disappeared and an appetizing renaissance hasn’t come yet.
Enter Shelsky’s Smoked Fish, the Brooklyn-based appetizing store which opened their doors for a soft opening yesterday. The tiny shop, which will officially open this weekend, will be serving up an ambitious list of cured and smoked salmon, pickled herring, bagels, bialys and pickles, many of which will be made in-house. A line of clementine and ginger flavored products — a cured salmon, pickled herring and rugelach, to start — named after the owner’s two daughters, will also be featured. And a list of creative sandwiches put the plain bagel and schmear to shame.
A few weeks ago, I suggested that those of us living outside the land of Israel (or in an otherwise distant place from wheat and barley cultivation) might use the Omer as a time to “count down” to the harvest of another more familiar crop that grows closer to home. What will you be looking forward to seeing at the farmer’s market? What crops are growing on a field somewhere, getting ready for harvest right around the waxing summer moon?
I decided to take my Omer countdown to the next level: I planted a garden right after Pesach, and harvested my first arugula right before Shavuot.
Gardening and farming is an ongoing process, a constant reparation of previous damages, and preparation for future growth. Cutting down what has died, turning under and planting anew. Given this cycle, it’s interesting that we still mark a time of “first fruits” right around Shavuot. When does the cycle actually start? Is it when crops are sown, or when the ground is prepared in early spring, or perhaps when the compost is spread the fall before? Tilth, that essential quality of organic soil that describes its health and composition, is built up over decades. Each first fruit is but a preparation for the next and the next.
In Spain, the amount of garbage on a bar floor attests to the quality of the establishment’s fare. Local tradition dictates that an accumulation of dirty napkins and food scraps shows that patrons are having too good a time to be bothered with such mundane matters as cleaning up. Legs of ham are sliced in cafes, delis and bars; whole pigs hang proudly in store windows, and copious amounts of local red wine flow everywhere. Even in this milieu, however, kosher travelers do not need to go hungry.
Long before the infamous expulsion of the Jews in 1492, Jewish culture thrived in Spain. The country was home to Jewish scholars, poets and philosophers, such as the great Maimonides and Judah Halevi. The once numerous and prosperous Sephardic population almost completely disappeared after the expulsion, but recent years have seen a steady increase in Jews, now estimated to be a population of 40,000. A small number of Jews from Western Europe arrived in Spain in the mid-19th century. The 1950’s and ’60s saw waves of Jewish emigration from Morocco, and since the death of Spanish dictator Francisco Franco in 1975, Jews have been arriving from Argentina, Chile and Israel.
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