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
In our new series, Chosen Chefs, we will profile up-and-coming Jewish chefs making waves from Los Angeles to New York. And in case you can’t get there, we’ll include a recipe from each of the chefs that you can make at home. These are members of the tribe who you’ll want to keep on your radar. If we were the betting type, we might see some James Beard Awards in their future.
These days, chefs are revered, and they garner so much press attention that they’re often described as the new rock stars. In Barry Koslow’s case, the comparison is even more fitting. Koslow, executive chef of Arlington, Va.’s sophisticated American Tallula restaurant and adjoining gastropub, EatBar, was a guitarist in a rock band before turning his attention to food.
Since the earliest days of colonial America, our government has been involved in guiding consumer food choices. Through graphics, public service announcements, and food labeling, the government has been in the business of helping us decide what and how much to eat. Last Thursday, the USDA and First Lady Michelle Obama continued this tradition by unveiling MyPlate.
MyPlate attempts to take the mystery out of choosing healthy portions for your meal. Previous images, including the most recent food pyramid guided consumers towards how many servings of each food group they needed to consume each day. The earlier graphic representations, though, were confusing and unclear. As the First Lady explained during the launch event, “That’s why I like the MyPlate approach so much, because when it comes to eating, what’s more useful than a plate? What’s more simple than a plate? This is a quick, simple reminder for all of us to be more mindful of the foods that we’re eating.”
In my family, there is one dish that is quintessentially for Shavuot, affectionately known as the “Big Blintze,” which takes the central ingredients of a cheese blintze and turns them into a delectable casserole. I try to make it every year for the holiday, or for the Shabbat closest to it, a creamy reminder of the custom of eating dairy food to commemorate the Revelation on Mount Sinai and our historical entrance to the land of milk and honey.
The recipe is from my mother; the tradition of eating it on Shavuot is not. While food played an outsized role in my childhood — a college roommate, on a visit to our home, said she never heard a family talk as much about food as ours did — I did not grow up particularly observant and, honestly, have no memory of anything special on Shavuot until my synagogue confirmation late in high school.
Many passionate kosher foodies know that kosher cheese is no longer limited to blocks of cheddar and shredded mozzarella. More and more, kosher cheese makers are trying their hands at artisanal, specialty cheeses. There are Israeli cheese makers who travel to France to learn the tricks of the trade, and Wisconsin cheese makers who add spicy flavors to their authentic Midwestern cheeses (that just happen to be kosher). Raw milk is also increasingly common in kosher cheese, as are strong, sharp flavors.
“In the past 10 years, kosher cheese has really taken off,” said Elizabeth Bland, the Alabama-born cheesemonger at Brooklyn’s Pomegranate kosher supermarket. The self-described “cheese mistress” has organized kosher wine and cheese pairing parties for the past three years (“I don’t eat much meat because it messes with my cheese schedule,” she said with a laugh).
What food goes with fire and brimstone? What do you eat in honor of divine revelation?
These are questions I’ve been pondering lately. The holiday of Shavuot, which starts at sunset tonight, recalls the giving of Torah, that pivotal moment when the people of Israel gathered at Mount Sinai and experienced direct divine revelation. It is pretty heady stuff. But even the most spiritual of moments needs a little food to go with them. Spicy food might seem appropriate, literally embodying the fiery sparks of that fateful day.
Instead, our ancestors went the other way, preferring to capture the symbolic import of the moment with foods that speak to purity of heart and mind that are emblematic of the holiday: dairy foods.
Shavuot is just around the corner, meaning, it’s time to break out the dairy. With recipes for cheesecake and cream cheese rugelach on every corner, I like to add an Italian twist to my holiday table with panna cotta, a silken mold that translates to cooked cream (check back for more Italian recipes this afternoon). While I normally try to limit my dairy consumption, Shavuot screams out for us to challenge our lactose intolerance and enjoy decadent and delicious dairy desserts like this one.
There are many arguments for eating dairy on Shavuot, though, the one that resonates most with me is the abundance of milk and cheese in the spring. It’s a true celebration of eating seasonally, as cows and sheep are producing extra milk at this time of the year. Switching over to eating fresh dairy products is also a nice change from cleaning the greens coming from our CSA and local farmers’ markets.
Like a number of young American Jews involved in the “food movement,” a group of about 10 people will gather this summer at an organic farm. They’ll harvest the farm’s bounty, participate in cooking classes, study Jewish texts and form an intentional community. But this group will do it all in Yiddish.
The program called Yiddish Farm, started by Naftali Ejdelman and Yisroel Bass, will launch its pilot summer program in late July at Kayam Farm outside Baltimore. Next year they will move the operation to a farm they have rented outside of New York City, where they hope to ultimately create a “Yiddish speaking pluralistic community there all year round,” says Ejdelman. We sat down with Ejdelman to find out their plans, a bit about the roots of Yiddish farming (there’s more than you might expect!) and what they will be growing on their farm.
Check back on Wednesday for an editorial on “Fair Food” and a podcast with author Oran Hesterman.
My first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pick up of fresh, local, organic veggies, is a few days away. In mid-winter, I plunked down $550, signed up for my volunteer slots, and felt good that I was voting with my fork for a healthier, more sustainable food system.
During the 2011 growing season, I’m joined by a network of 56 Hazon CSAs and thousands more CSAs across the country. While I am excited for the season to begin, I’m aware of the many people don’t have access to a CSA or even to a grocery store. According to one USDA study on food deserts, “more than 57 percent of people living in low income neighborhoods have limited physical access to supermarkets or grocery stores.”
Our food system is broken. Joining a CSA is a great first step, and there is more we can do in order to fix it.
This post first appeared on the Huffington Post Religion page.
Kosher certification in the nation’s capital has become much like everything else in D.C.: political and divisive. The Vaad Harabanim of Greater Washington has long had a monopoly on kosher certification and it doesn’t want to give up its stronghold anytime soon.
Over the past several decades, reports have surfaced of the Vaad refusing to certify sit-down restaurants as kosher because it will lead to socializing between single Jewish men and women (which could in turn violate strict Jewish law). The Vaad even insists on charging for its own certification on top of already established certifications. As Jay Lehman recently wrote to the editor of the Washington Post, “The Vaad has made it clear that other kosher-certifying authorities are not welcome in the area to supervise these establishments. In addition, all kosher meat and poultry wholesale suppliers who wish to sell to kosher establishments are expected to submit to Vaad supervision, even if they are already certified by another nationally recognized kosher certifier.”
Serious Eat’s Cook the Book column this week shares some recipes from one of our favorite cookbook’s, Janna Gur’s “The Book of New Israeli Food.” Check out the recipes for flakey cheese bourekas and authentic hummus.
Remember that food pyramid from elementary school? Well, it’s no more. The USDA has announced that it will replace the pyramid with MyPlate, which shows the portions of protein, fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy each meal should contain. Now, let the debate start! Check out what the Atlantic, Eatocracy, Food Politics and the Washington Post have to say. Let us know what you think of the redesign in the comments.
In our new series, Chosen Chefs, we will profile up-and-coming Jewish chefs making waves from L.A. to New York. And in case you can’t get there, we’ll include a recipe from each of the chefs that you can make at home. These are members of the tribe who you’ll want to keep on your radar. If we were the betting type, we might see some James Beard Awards in their future.
With his culinary background, it’s tempting to call chef Todd Ginsberg a wandering Jew. After graduating from the Culinary Institute of America, Ginsberg, 36, worked at the Ritz-Carlton in Atlanta, Asher restaurant in Roswell, Ga., Tap and Trois in Atlanta, Madison’s in North Carolina and Alain Ducasse at the Essex House in New York — all in the span of 10 years. Oh, and did we mention he apprenticed in Paris and Bangkok, too?
For now, Ginsberg is staying put, at the helm of the kitchen at Atlanta’s Bocado, a neighborhood restaurant in the bustling West Midtown area. At Bocado, he serves up an award-winning burger, and subtle, simple ingredient-driven dishes such as sweetbreads and chicken livers.
One of the great successes of the new food movement is that planting gardens has become hugely popular in schools and other communal institutions. In the Jewish community, day schools and camps are increasingly jumping on the green bandwagon to install everything from small herb and flower container gardens to large-scale vegetable gardens.
When I speak to teachers, parents and other Jewish professionals in Atlanta and around the country, the big question is: Now what? They put tremendous sweat equity into building beds, transporting soil and planting seeds. How do they capture the energy and support in an ongoing way to reap all the benefits of what they have sewn?
Yoshie and I arrived in New Orleans on a Friday morning. We were newlyweds on vacation, staying with our friend Josh for the Sabbath before spending a few days exploring the city.
Early in our relationship, the Sabbath had been a point of contention between Yoshie and me in that he observed it and I did not. To me, the Sabbath felt like a foreign country — intriguing, but filled with unfamiliar customs and signs written in a language I couldn’t quite understand. As our relationship grew, I gradually began to learn and like more about celebrating the Sabbath, and together we had begun to define the boundaries of a shared religious practice. Still, while we had found a good rhythm in our observance, I worried about how well it would translate away from home. (I must have forgotten that “worrying” is not a popular pastime in the Big Easy.)
Geographically speaking, Mexico City is in North America, but it doesn’t quite feel that way. Known as the Distrito Federal (Federal District), it is the most important ﬁnancial, political and cultural city in Mexico, as well as an intense and beautiful place.
It is a city where the minimum wage is 57.50 pesos per day, ($4.80 USD), but service is always gracious. A city where the street stands sell better food than restaurants and where avocados are cheaper than apples. Best of all, it is a city where you don’t feel like you are missing out because you keep kosher.
Rabbi Rebecca Joseph changed one letter and started a business.
Last August, she launched the first kosher and sustainable CSD — Community Supported Dinnerculture project— a tasty riff on a CSA (community supported agriculture project). Community supported dinnerculture, like its agricultural counterpart, involves buying shares of a company and sharing in the proceeds. Members pay a lump sum at the beginning of a season and then pick up a freshly prepared, ethically sourced, kosher dinner for their family to enjoy at home each week.
Joseph’s CSD, called 12 Tribes Foods, runs on a seasonal cycle, with members buying shares — basically a subscription — for three months at a time. However, with its summer season beginning June 1st, 12 Tribes is experimenting with month-to-month subscriptions to accommodate people’s erratic summer schedules.
Starting a family commences a period of change. Expectant parents very quickly transition from thinking for themselves to providing for a new life, and the preparation and anticipation can be overwhelming. Especially when thinking about how we want to feed our new families.
This spring, Hazon piloted a new program, called Setting the Table, designed to help couples think through these challenges with a Jewish lens. Setting the Table, generously supported by UJA-Federation of New York, brought together three couples in Brownstone Brooklyn for a series of cooking classes and communal meals exploring Jewish ideas around the table.
Montreal-style deli Mile End’s smoked meat may be coming to your grocery store. Owner Noah Bernamoff dishes on his plans for packaging his meat in an Nona Brooklyn interview.
Is Spike Mendelsohn’s new deli truck Sixth & Rye kosher? That depends upon who you ask. The Washington Post takes a look.
Kosher meat imported to Israel, may actually be Halal meat, which is taxed significantly less, Haaretz reports.
Octavia’s Porch, the global Jewish cuisine restaurant run by Top Chef alum Nikki Cascone, closes after only six months, reports Eater. Z’’L
In our new series, Chosen Chefs, we will profile up-and-coming Jewish chefs making waves from Los Angeles to New York. And in case you can’t get there, we’ll include from each of the chefs a recipe that you can make at home. Last week, we profiled chef Moshe Wendel of Brooklyn’s Pardes restaurant; this week, we head to the Windy City for some sweet desserts with Sarah Levy at Sarah’s Pastries & Candies.
Chicago native Sarah Levy has been a chocoholic since birth. “Growing up I’d have chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and a chocolate bar for dinner,” she said. Now, as the owner of the Windy City’s popular Sarah’s Pastries & Candies, she can have as much as her heart desires.
“But I have to be careful,” the bubbly Levy told us with a laugh. “I think I gained about 30 pounds during the first three years we were open.”
When Ofer Vardi’s Hungarian grandmother passed away in 2001, he and his family realized that a culinary era was over. Struck with panic, Vardi, a journalist, knew that he had to preserve her recipes, and thereby her memory — and fast. “I just sat down and thought what are we going to eat now?” recalls Vardi, who lives in Tel Aviv. “I started to think and to write the memories and recipes of course and it actually came from that place. I missed her and I missed her cooking and I just wrote about it.”
What began as a blog turned into a weekly column for Israeli news site Ynet, which naturally evolved into a Hebrew-language cookbook. Vardi says that “It started for me, for myself. When I started to write the blog I realized there are so many people all over who miss their grandmother’s cooking; it was very nice to hear about it and know that I’m not alone with these feelings.”
The first book to be published by Vardi’s publishing house, LunchBox, “Goulash Legolash” (Hebrew for “Goulash for Surfers”, and a play on words), came out in Hebrew in 2009. Rather than a traditional cookbook, “Goulash for Surfers” is presented as recipe cards in a box to mimic his grandmother’s recipe box. Next it was released as an iPhone app in Hebrew and, most recently, Vardi’s cookbook has made its English debut as Going Paprikash, an app for iPhone and iPad.
Peer into a Jewish household on a Friday night, and you’ll have an instant window into that family’s food legacy. The Syrian table is piled high with zucchinis and eggplants stuffed with lamb and beef, beautiful rice dishes, and my favorite, lahmacun, those wonderful flatbreads topped with tamarind-and-tomato drenched ground meat. The Eastern Europeans have lokshen and cabbage, noodle kugel, and of course, cholent.
But take a seat at my Shabbat table, and you might be confused: we’ll start with, say, a Moroccan soup called harira. The pièce de résistance, if I’m lucky, is huachinango a la Veracruzana, my favorite preparation of red snapper in a Mexican tomato sauce with onions, olives, currants, hot peppers and cinnamon. A side of the Indian eggplant curry baingan bartha might round out the meal, and for dessert, my mother’s homemade chocolate croissants. If you’re following along, that makes one American-born Jew, with Eastern European roots, who, along with her mother, is building a Shabbat dinner and cooking legacy on Indian curry, Mexican fish, Moroccan soup, and French pastry.
You've successfully signed up!
Thank you for subscribing.
Please provide the following optional information to enable us to serve you better.
The Forward will not sell or share your personal information with any other party.
Thank you for signing up.Close