New Yorkers no longer have to go to Tel Aviv for Uri Scheft’s extraordinary bread, his shop has come to Union Square. [Grub Street]
Apparently, an addiction to hummus is a thing — and Kate Moss is suffering from it. Sorry, Kate. [Grub Street]
Three months after Sandy, Eater stops by several restaurants that were hit by the storm to see how they’re doing. [Eater]
Max Sussman has left the building! One half of our favorite brotherly cooking duo has left his post at Brooklyn pizzeria Roberta’s. Where will he go next? [Grub Street]
As cookbook author Melissa Clark says, “Thanksgiving is just one big excuse to eat lots of stuffing.” For me, stuffing is simply a better way to experience the practice of dunking a piece of bread into a bowl of chicken soup. You get more doughy bready goodness, less of a mess, and in my experience, tons more flavor.
Such is the principal behind the following recipe.
This challah and pastrami stuffing is slightly inspired by one memorable midnight trip to Katz’s Deli where I sat happy as a clam and drunk as a sorority girl, dunking my pastrami sandwich into my friend’s matzo ball soup and making a massive and delicious mess. If only I just had a bowl of this stuffing, there might have been one less sloppy drunk girl on the Lower East Side that night.
The pastrami in this recipe is balanced by the sweetness of honey and dried currants. It is truly a delicious mix of flavors, and I hope it will give you something to be thankful for.
The smell of savory challahs permeates the kitchen with sweet hints of cinnamon and raisin. We knead, stretch, sweat and grunt as we shape the dough with our fingers into elaborate braids, rolls and twists. Our hands have been inherited from a long line of women empowered by a sacred undertaking: the making of challah.
This year, I will hold a challah workshop in my home the day before Yom Kippur where female friends will gather in my kitchen to celebrate Jewish woman hood and the magic of femininity. We will take turns kneading the dough as each one of us, immersed into a state of harmony and spirituality shares prayers of healing, comfort, finding love, looking for a job and other requests.
She delivers freshly-baked challahs to customers’ doorsteps (or their doormen), but she doesn’t use wings to get there… she drives a Honda Pilot.
The Challah Fairy, a.k.a. Chanalee Fischer Schlisser, sees her business almost as a calling, hoping her tasty challahs will encourage more Jews to enjoy Shabbat.
“People have a much better experience of Shabbos if they have a special challah and not some gross supermarket challah,” Schlisser said.
Schlisser’s challahs have garnered a following in the New York area, specifically specialty flavors like cinnamon and chocolate. Her “best-ever” chocolate babka is also popular.
A good challah can make a Jewish meal. Here are seven excellent ones in Los Angeles. [Serious Eats]
Rosh Hashanah now has it’s own cupcake. New York’s Magnolia Bakery is now serving up Honey Cupcakes made with walnuts and a touch of citrus zest. [Magnolia Bakery]
If you’re never braided a round challah, it can be a bit tricky. Here’s a video to help. Haaretz
The tweet that shocked the food world this week: “I’m stepping down as restaurant critic to be the national editor of The Times. #checkplease. @Samsifton
A New York Whole Foods store opened a mini in-store pickle shop this week, carrying a wide variety of artisanal pickles. Grubstreet
In Israel, Friday night dinner is an institution. Israelis of all backgrounds, from observant Jews of Jerusalem’s Mea Shearim neighborhood to members of the artsy Mitzpe Ramon community in the south, celebrate the Shabbat meal with a homemade festive dinner. Strong Jewish tradition, a deep national spirit and the geography of this small country ensure that Shabbat dinner is mandatory for all. And so, every Friday night, families gather at the homes of the elders of the tribe. Siblings update each other on their love lives, children sing songs and aunts and uncles debate political views until everyone unites at the table to eat an honest home-cooked meal. This time, all across the nation, becomes holy.
Growing up in the most secular environment in Israel, the Kibbutz — Friday night dinner played a major role in the scenery of my childhood. These dinners were our only outlet of festiveness and connection with Shabbat. For me, that connection was symbolized by the food.
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.
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.
This morning I was making challah for the Sabbath. The water I mixed with the yeast came straight from the tap. Thankfully, today my water is clean and free of chemical contaminants. But I’m worried that this may change.
My water comes from upstate New York, where gas companies are eager to begin drilling for natural gas to power the energy needs of a growing population. New York City’s watershed lies over the Marcellus Shale, a geological formation that stretches from New York, through Pennsylvania and Ohio, to West Virginia. Until recently, gas companies did not have the technology to extract the gas in the Marcellus shale, because it is trapped in small pockets in layers of rock. But now a new and dangerous process called hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking or fracking, has made it possible to release gas. The state is expected to lift its ban on fracking in certain areas of the state, according to The New York Times today.
Masquerades, double identities, and hidden truths are the very essence of Purim, the story, the parties, the carnivals, and as it turns out the food too. Traditionally, across the Jewish landscape, food was as integral to Purim celebrations as it was to Passover or Rosh Hashana. In addition to gifts of food, there is the mandatory celebratory meal, the Purim Se’udah or feast. The menu of this meal historically varied by community with local tastes and traditions. But common across the landscape were “hidden foods,” which looked like one thing on the outside, but like the story of Ester revealed secrets below the surface. Folding, rolling, stuffing and cramming away from rabbinic view, Jewish women through the generations created culinary complements to hidden motifs of the Purim story.
How and when this tradition developed is shrouded in mystery, as the evidence was eaten and not recorded, but recipes passed through the generations and diverse communities, with very different culinary traditions, all found hidden foods tucked into their Purim menus. Persian Jews who laid special claim to the holiday — given that the story of Purim story is set in ancient Persia — have a tradition of eating gondi a meatball with the surprising filling of raisins and nuts, in a sweet and sour sauce. From the Greek Island of Rhodes there is a custom of sticky honey cookies called travadicos which are filled with nuts. The Jewish community of Italy added spinach ravioli and manicotti to the mix. The legacy of Eastern Europe takes shape with kreplach, delicate dumplings filled with meat and challahs stuffed with onions and poppy seeds.
When a stooped, ball cap-wearing elderly man buying challah, salad and stewed chicken fricassee at Toronto’s Harbord Bakery says, “they’ve been keeping me alive for years here,” he is by no means exaggerating. Indeed, the Kosower family, owners of this legendary establishment since 1945, have been provisioning loyal locals with exceptional quality breads, baked goods and Jewish appetizing items for generations.
Today, as the only remaining Jewish retail bakery in downtown Toronto, Harbord Bakery is still in its original location on Harbord Street and is still using its original family recipes. They are attracting the young Jewish singles and families who are moving back into the neighborhood, now referred to as The Annex and considered a prime, trendy residential area. It’s the kind of crowd that appreciates the fresh, artisanal and gourmet food offered not only by Harbord Bakery, but also far more recently opened neighborhood Jewish food businesses like the Israeli Aroma espresso bar and Caplansky’s Delicatessen.
Most Fridays, I bake two loaves of challah for Shabbat dinner. Sometimes I have no other plans for dinner beyond the challah, and I scramble to add something to complete the meal. I use a standard recipe, which varies weekly based on how much whole wheat flour I add, whether there are raisins on hand and how much time there is to let the dough rise. The loaves are always slightly different, even between the two loaves on the same week there is often variation, one dough compliant and neatly braided, the second straining against the twists and curves.
These days I bake with my nearly four year old son, my 14 month old daughter watching from her baby carrier or toddling around on the floor. My son loves the routine. He can turn on the mixer, add ingredients and even break the eggs. He can sense when more flour is needed and when the dough is the right consistency to be left alone to rise. He has even developed a magic word — geech — he likes to shout to help the dough rise.
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).
Thanksgiving weekend is arguably the ultimate time for Jewish food-lovers. With lots of family around to cook for, no need to shop for Christmas and several days off, there are hours and hours of open time to sip tea (or wine) at home and leisurely cook, filling your house with sweet and sumptuous smells of autumn food.
And while some recipes can be thrown together at the last moment, or be made in advance, others are best when we have several hours to savor their elaborate steps in the kitchen. Among those are breads, which require attention and kneading at several points throughout the day, but don’t necessitate an entire day spent on your feet cooking.
A new crop of challah-making workshops popping up across the country is proving that truly, man cannot live on bread alone. By integrating yoga, music, meditation, activism and prayer into challah-making, these creative workshops offer a chance to connect to Judaism, community, and food in an informal manner that goes way beyond a sweet eggy loaf.
Traditionally (or at least for the last 50 years) the most common type of challah-making workshop has been hosted by Orthodox communities who actively reach out to less observant Jews. Leah Goldman, who has been running workshops for the past ten years through Lubavitch Philadelphia says that the purpose of her workshop is, “Basically promoting the special mitzvah that women should bake challah. Baking challah is one of the three mitzvoth that women are obligated to do.” Lubavitch women host similar events around the world, she says.
Growing up, each member of my family entered our neighborhood ice creamery’s annual, yet now defunct “create your own ice cream flavor” contest. We never won – all of our creations seemed to feature Cheerios prominently – but it sparked some creativity in the kitchen.
So, when I learned to bake challah several years ago, it seemed only natural to start experimenting challah flavors as well – in this case, fortunately, there were no Cheerios involved. I started out with the classics like cinnamon raisin and progressed to the less-classic, but more decadent, chocolate chip. To satisfy my family’s deep love for all things garlic, my sister and I concocted a sautéed garlic challah that didn’t quite work out (it left us with terrible breath until the next shabbos dinner).
But, the best recipe, by far was my father’s idea: a challah baked with sundried tomatoes, black olives, and fresh basil. What we now fondly call “Mediterranean Challah” has become a family staple, which is perfect for a festive and flavorful accompaniment to a shabbos meal in the sukkah this week. The recipe I use makes six loaves – though it can easily be halved. The loaves also freeze well.
There are few things more wonderful for a creative cook than the challenge of figuring out how to repurpose leftovers well. Leftover roasted chicken adds protein to a spinach salad and rice from Monday can make Wednesday’s soup hearty. But thanks to the back-to-back scheduling of Rosh Hashanah and Shabbat this year, many of us are currently left with overwhelming amounts of round challahs, that are on the verge of becoming stale.
Instead of freezing the challahs (bread really is best when fresh), I will be using them to celebrate the New Year this week at my dinner table. Orange challah French toast served with turkey bacon, puts a spin on a favorite brunch food and makes a delicious dinner.
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