The Jew And The Carrot

The Great Brisket Crisis of 2014

By Michael Kaminer

Arby’s Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich has launched a brisket crisis. Credit: Arby’s.

Guard your briskets!

Brisket prices are skyrocketing nationwide as voracious demand for a “limited edition” Arby’s brisket sandwich eats into supply for the prized cut of meat.

Fueled by a hugely successful online marketing campaign, the fast-food giant is consuming more than a half-million pounds of brisket every week to keep up with its 3,300 stores demand for the “Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich,” whose schtick is that it smokes for thirteen hours.

At Jewish-themed restaurants around New York, brisket already commands premium prices. At the tourist-friendly Carnegie Deli, a brisket sandwich will set you back $17.99. Mile End’s smoked-meat sandwich, made of seasoned and marinated brisket, is a relative bargain at $15. A brisket sandwich at Katz’s Deli — albeit perfectly cooked and stacked sky-high — clocks in at $17.45. Owner Jake Dell says he’s eating the cost of the brisket shortage on the back end. “I can’t change my prices every week. Prices are only going one way and it’s clearly not down,” Dell told the Forward.

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Move Over Elijah! Julia Child Is Coming to Seder

By Molly Yeh

Your bread may be swept away, the table set and macaroons purchased, but it really isn’t Passover until the aroma of brisket fills the house. On a holiday without freshly baked challah, no other scent compares to the nostalgic smell of slow cooked tender meat atop a bed of vegetables or nestled into a thick sauce. I prefer mine slowly braised in red wine and stock with vegetables and fresh rosemary and thyme — like a Jewish take on Julia Child’s legendary boeuf bourguignon.

It doesn’t take long to get to the meal at my family’s Seder table. Our Haggadahs are in almost mint condition because a few pages into the Passover story we are too tempted by the brisket to wait any longer.

Craving a carb in the vast leaven-free wasteland of Passover, I turn to quinoa risotto to compliment my brisket. The tiny sturdy pearls stand up to the roast’s tender meat and get an extra boost of flavor when they’re cooked in the brisket’s gravy. The method works for any slow roast. So even if you take one look at the following brisket recipe and declare that your Bubbe’s is better (yes, I understand) this quinoa will work.

If your family completes the entire seder, I wish you luck. This brisket will be calling you from the moment it starts cooking.

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Last BBQ of the 'Goyish Year'

By Michael Kaminer

Ari White thought it was time to “show Brooklyn some love”. And he did it on Sunday and Monday — with 2,500 pounds of meat.

White’s the pit boss of Bronx-based Hakadosh BBQ, whose “Wandering Que” brings kosher Texas smokehouse pop-ups to street fairs across New York City.

But White’s custom-built “BBQ rig” had never graced the streets of Brooklyn, where the Wandering Que boasts a fiercely loyal following.

So under a tent in the parking lot of Crown Heights shul Chevra Ahavas Yisroel, White served up beef ribs, brisket, lamb shanks, lamb “bacon”, and turkey legs to hungry carnivores who schlepped from across the city to sample his celebrated kosher ‘cue. The pop-up, a fundraiser for the Orthodox synagogue, was billed on Facebook as “the last Que of the Goyisha Year.”

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Send Us Your Rosh Hashanah Cooking Questions!

By Devra Ferst

thinkstock

Rosh Hashanah is the perfect holiday to bring out all the stops in your kitchen. Without the restrictions of Passover, it’s a great time to get creative (I’m thinking Asian BBQ brisket) or lovingly revive a special family recipe.

But cooking a holiday meal for your family or friends can be intimidating, whether you’ve done it 50 times or it’s your first time. We’re here to help! Consider the us your virtual bubbe. Need a chicken recipe? A great pareve cake? Wondering how to host a Sephardic holiday Seder? We’ve got you covered.

Send us your Rosh Hashanah cooking questions by Wednesday, August 21st and cookbook author Adeena Sussman will answer them. Don’t worry if your questions are simple or complicated — it’s like calling the kosher Butterball hotline; any question is fair game.

Ask us your questions in the comments below; or tweet at @jdforward using the hashtag #roshrecipes or comment on our Facebook page. And don’t forget to send this along to your friends. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

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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: Best Hamantaschen; Brisket King

By Devra Ferst

Maia Efrem

From the destruction of Sandy, a Far Rockaway bagel shop rises. [Eatocracy]

A look at Katz’s through the years. [EV Grieve]

It’s almost Purim. Check out this guide to hamantaschen in NYC. [Village Voice]

10 beautiful and edible gifts to give Purim. [Food 52]

Which brisket was crowned king? [Serious Eats]

Head to Mile End when you feel like Montreal-Jewish-Sichuan. [Bon Appetit]

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What's a Mensch Doing on 'Iron Chef'?

By Micah Kelber

Courtesy of Micah Wexler

This Sunday night, rising star chef and member of the tribe Micah Wexler will face off against Master Chef Bobby Flay on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef”. We caught up with the popular L.A.-based chef to get some cooking and restaurant advice, a recipe for pomegranate brisket and to find out if he really will appear on “The Bachelor”.

How did the “Iron Chef” team find you?

The producer came into Mezze, my first restaurant, and really liked the food. He asked to meet me and then asked if I’d ever considered doing the show. When I was younger, I imagined it, but I hadn’t thought the opportunity would come about at this point in my career. He came back 6 or 7 times and then he invited me to be on it.

What is the penalty for telling us about the show before it airs?

A million dollars. In fact, they make everyone who is in the audience sign a non-disclosure agreement. When my episode was taped, my sister Miri was in the audience, and like everyone else, she had to sign an NDA. Shortly after, I talked to my mother and she knew all this stuff about what happened and I called up Miri and said, “Didn’t you sign one of those papers they passed out?” And she said, “Yes.” And I said, “Didn’t you read it?**!” And she said, “No.” I made sure neither of them said anything to anyone else.

Do you have any advice for Bobby Flay?

He’s done well for himself, so he should be the one giving me advice.

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Mixing Bowl: Brisket Trend; Ethereal Hummus

By Devra Ferst

Thinkstock

Where can one find a good black and white cookie these days? Max Falkowitz has the answer. [Serious Eats]

How do we love hummus? Let us count the ways (and places to eat it). Here are 14 of ‘em. [Serious Eats]

If you would rather make your hummus, the great Deb Perelman has a recipe for “Ethereally Smooth Hummus.” [Smitten Kitchen]

Is Jewish food taking over Chicago? We can only hope. [Serious Eats]

Brisket is finally a trend! Or, atleast a trendlet. [New York Magazine]

From the looks of this round up of 2013 cookbooks, the cookbook industry is doing very well. [Eater]

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Brisket: The Holy Grail of Jewish Food

By Molly Yeh

Courtesy of the Center for Jewish History

The truth about brisket is that your bubbe’s is probably the best. It’s probably better than my bubbe’s, and better than your neighbor’s bubbe’s, and while no two brisket recipes are the same, we’re all right when we say our briskets are the best. Past that, there aren’t a whole lot of definitives — even the terminology can get a little shady — which is exactly why putting five brisket aficionados on stage to talk about the comfort meat was more than fascinating.

At Tuesday night’s panel discussion at the Center for Jewish History led by Mitchell David, Executive Vice President of the James Beard Foundation, and organized by culinary curator Naama Shefi, so much was revealed about the dish that no Jewish feast is complete without.

Like many popular Jewish foods, brisket worked its way into the cuisine because of its low cost. “Brisket is implicitly kosher since it’s from the front of the animal,” said New York Times reporter Julia Moskin, “and it was cheap because anything that takes a long time to cook and that can’t be grilled has challenges, especially in a restaurant.” Davis added that while the ribs are also from the front of the animal, their popularity in Jewish cuisine didn’t quite reach that of brisket’s because they could be sold for more money. Daniel Delaney, owner of the barely month-old BrisketTown, in Williamsburg, attested that this was the case in the Texas culture as well, where butchers who emigrated from Germany and Czechoslovakia had trouble selling the slow-cooking cut of meat and ultimately created a way to dry smoke it and preserve it.

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Shabbat Meals: West African Brisket

By Michael Twitty

Michael Twitty

Being an African-American who is a Jew-By-Choice means having to do a lot of culinary negotiations. The table is where I integrate both sides of my hyphen. The plate is a means of “locating” myself squarely in the history of both Diasporas — African and Jewish, and all the places those Diaspora’s represent from Angola and Alabama to Ashkenaz, from South Carolina and Senegal to Sepharad. Cooking is how I pull all of my parts together and articulate who I am to those who might not understand how someone like me could be culturally “possible.” Shabbat gives me an opportunity to look within and use my cooking to tell stories that friends of all backgrounds have never heard — stories of history and migration, struggle and triumph, loss and recovery.

I often serve this West African Style Brisket on Shabbat, which is inspired by recipes from Nigeria, Senegal, Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean. The dry spice mixture is a take on suya, a very old spice mixture from West Africa, hearkening back to the days of the medieval salt and gold trade. Certain flavors like garlic, ginger, bay leaf, and onion are common in both culinary traditions; while others like the inclusion of peppers, olive oil, horseradish, and the use of stock, point to different stops on the map as each Diaspora wound its way to North America.

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Mixing Bowl: Mimi Sheraton's NY; Kosher 'Cue

By Blair Thornburgh

Chef Tamar Adler shares her secrets for making “brighteners” out of simple ingredients to breathe life into leftovers and more. [Food 52]

Kansas City goes kosher: the capital city of ‘cue is hosting its first-ever kosher BBQ Festival and Celebration with 16 teams set to compete for the inaugural honor. [Kansas City Jewish Chronicle

Daniel Delaney is popping up again this Fall with BrisketTown, an eat-in shop in “North Brooklyn or Lower Manhattan” that will feature sumptuous slabs of his oak-smoked, Texas-style specialty. [Grub Street]

The ever-appetizing Russ and Daughters gets a cameo as a date location for Louis C. K. and guest star Parker Posey to nosh on nova lox in an episode of FX’s “Louie.” [Eater]

Veterans of New York’s hummus scene, chefs Yigal Ashkenazy and Sharon Hoota, along with Nir Mesika of Tel Aviv and Milan, are setting up Brooklyn shop Zizi Limona, which will feature “modernized Mediterranean cuisine” and sell retail goods like pickles, cheese and produce. [Grub Street]

The New York Times Mimi Sheraton revisits New York institutions like Kossar’s and Katz’s to sample timeless “lost and found” specialties like pastrami, rye, and bagels and schmear. [The New York Times]

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Got Leftover Brisket? Make a Knish

By Paula Sadok

Noah Wildman

“A knish is basically a dumpling,” Noah Wildman said, when I interviewed him for the Jew and The Carrot in November. “You can pretty much put anything in it.” Noah was explaining some of the unconventional ingredients, like chocolate hazelnut and spiced pumpkin, he had used to stuff a line of knishes for his Knishery NYC debut.

When I read Julia Moskin’s article “Lucky to be a Leftover” earlier this month, about ways to repurpose leftover holiday meats, my mouth watered at the mention of a brisket knish — soft dough, surrounded by oniony potato and stuffed with succulent tender brisket — it seemed all the best parts of a Jewish grandmother’s kitchen combined into a single bite.

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Nach Waxman's Brisket Recipe

By Nach Waxman

Claudio Papapietro

This week in the Forward, noted restaurant critic Craig LaBan profiles the legendary Nach Waxman, owner of the Kitchen Arts & Letters — the most significant cookbook store in America, possibly in the world.

In addition to Waxman’s impeccable taste in cookbooks, he is famous for his brisket recipe, which calls for no water and slicing the meat halfway through cooking. Check out his recipe below and let us know your favorite way to make brisket in the comments.

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'Caplansky’s: A Kickin’ it Old Shul Delicatessen'

By Renee Ghert-Zand

When Torontonian Zane Caplansky was 16 years old, his then-girlfriend, who was from Montreal, introduced him to the smoked meat of the famed Schwartz’s Delicatessen. Caplansky broke up with that girlfriend many years ago, but his devotion to good deli has been abiding. “My love affair with smoked meat has been long lasting,” he declared.

Now 42, Caplansky, who opened his eponymous Caplansky’s Delicatessen in downtown Toronto a year and a half ago, has wedded his name and reputation to his own version of cured and smoked beef brisket. Not to be confused with corned beef (the pickled and boiled brisket for which Toronto is traditionally known), Montreal smoked meat is more like pastrami — the main difference being that the former is made from brisket and the latter from the tougher navel cut.

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Kitchen Talk: Smitten Kitchen's Deb Perelman

By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Courtesy of Deb Perelman

There is no shortage of home cooking blogs out there. But Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen, a relate-ably personal, yet eloquent blog, is one of the lucky few to have gained a large and loyal following. In fact, it’s her blog’s popularity — she has about 4 million unique visitors a month — that led Perelman to the holy grail of food blogs — a book deal.

And with Knopf no less. “It’s so exciting because they published Julia Child. I don’t know what they’re doing with the likes of me,” the always-humble Perelman said.

Perelman says the cookbook, which should be out in spring or fall 2012, will be a lot like her site, with stories and personal introductions to the recipes. “It’s a conversation,” she said. Perelman will often start a post on a subject that seems to have nothing to do with food (case in point: a recent post about how messy her closet is), and end it all with a fantastic dish (in this case, a dijon chicken recipe she found while clearing out said closet).

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Cooking Shabbos Dinner After the Clocks Fall Back, Part Three

By Jessica Fechtor

Jessica Fechtor

Cooking Shabbos Dinner After the Clocks Fall Back, Part One

Cooking Shabbos Dinner After the Clocks Fall Back, Part Two

We’re used to it by now: the mad dash home on these too-short Friday afternoons. They say the days are getting longer now, but I don’t know. The hours that we optimistically call “late afternoon” still feel like the dead of night. Fortunately, we know what to do. We have Wednesday! We make soup. We have Thursday! We bake a cake. And in that final hour between briefcases down and candles lit, we brown our waiting bird and slide it into the oven to cook the rest of the way through. If, as one reader commented last time we’re lucky enough to have that hour at all. When we tumble through the door mere minutes before the last light slips away, what then?

Enter that darling of Shabbat food prep, the crock pot. When we think crock pot, we typically think cholent, and we typically think Saturday lunch. But we shouldn’t stop there. For a slab of meat that stands up to a good long braise, the crock pot is an ideal final resting place. And Friday night is as good a time as any to enjoy a meal that more or less prepares itself. In fact, it just might be the best. Your work in the kitchen begins and ends on Friday morning, and entails little more than folding a browned brisket into a crock pot and shooting out the door. There are spices involved – cumin, coriander, chili powder – the requisite garlic and onions, a generous pour of molasses, a can of tomatoes, and a chipotle chili to seal the deal. By mid-afternoon, that humble crock pot squatting on your counter will be pumping out the kind of aroma usually reserved for summertime barbeque pits and backyard grills. It’s all the proof you’ll need that you’re having southwestern pulled brisket for dinner.

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Mixing Bowl: Christmas Meal Alternatives, Brisket and Bialy Recipes and Wine from the Golan

By Devra Ferst

Going to be in New York on Christmas and looking for a break from Chinese food? Eater NY gives us a list of 22 restaurants where you can enjoy a delectable meal. If you’re afraid to stray too far from the classic Chinese feast, they recommend trying Brooklyn’s Mile End Deli’s interpretation. [Eater]

‘Tis the season for brisket. It seems brisket recipes are everywhere at the moment. The Kitchn supplies us with a recipe cooked in pomegranate juice from James Peterson’s new book “Meat: A Kitchen Education.” [The Kitchn]

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Mixing Bowl: Hanukkah Edition

By Devra Ferst

This week in the world of Jewish food we’ve all been lusting after delicious fried Hanukkah goods, but in case you need a break, we bring you some healthy Hanukkah culinary options as well. Happy Hanukkah.

For Hanukkah recipes from Mario Batali’s Latkes with Apple Sauce to Brisket Bourguignon check out Serious Eats’ Hanukkah page.

But the recipe we’re really dying to try right now is The Kitchn’s innovative Apple and Cheese-Stuffed Latkes.

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Yid.Dish: Brisket Goes South of the Border

By Gordon Haber

To reinterpret Tennyson: In the autumn a not-so-young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of brisket.

Even in Los Angeles, the alleged city of no seasons, the days get shorter and the evenings get chilly. At such times my thoughts turn to big, comforting hunks of meat.

This year I wanted a new twist on an old Jewish favorite. So I called Lowell Bernstein, a founder of Takosher, the kosher Mexican food truck that makes inventive tacos from Jewish standards like latkes and brisket.

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Memphis in August: (Kosher) BBQ Competition Sizzles

By Stacey Greenberg

Every August, the parking lot of the Mid-South’s oldest Orthodox congregation fills with BBQ smoke. Forty-two teams from as far away as New York gather here to set up tents and spend most of a Sunday barbequing brisket, ribs, and beans as part of the annual Anshei Sphard-Beth El Emeth (ASBEE) Kosher BBQ Contest and Festival.

The BBQ pork that Memphis is known for, is replaced with beef and the competitors, who start cooking as early as 4am on Sunday, must use Weber-like kettle grills that the synagogue owns and stores all year just for the contest, to insure that all the cooking is kosher.

But with grills instead of fancy smokers, the fear of over-cooked meat can be seen in every competitor’s eye. And there’s no shortage of sauce in the team tents, some bought and doctored and others made from scratch, to add flavor and make up for any dryness.

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