The Jew And The Carrot

Mark Bittman's 'Kosher Before Six'

By Uriel Heilman

getty images

(JTA) — Mark Bittman is not a religious man by any stretch of the imagination, least of all his own.

A longtime food writer for The New York Times who three years ago shifted from cooking to food policy columnist, Bittman has made a living eating the kinds of things frowned upon by Jewish tradition.

As he told me recently, “Pork cooked in milk is an amazing dish.”

Though he was born and raised a Jew – going to synagogue, religious school and Reform youth groups at Manhattan’s East End Temple – Bittman says he pretty much has had nothing to do with Judaism since he graduated from high school in 1967.

But read his columns on food sustainability and the book he published last April, “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health… for Good,” and you might see some religious echoes in Bittman’s food philosophy.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: kosher, mark bittman, vb6

Confessions of an Ignorant Eater

By Gal Beckerman

Courtesy of Gal Beckerman

I had gotten lazy. I’ll admit it. Since getting married almost five years ago, I had not really set foot in a kitchen (to cook, that is — I wash plenty of dishes). Not that I was any great chef before. But I was a bachelor, living alone, and I had my meager repertoire, including something called “Eggplant Surprise” — don’t ask what the surprise was. Even that was abandoned in the fairly commonplace division of labor that happens when two people make a home. She cooked. I cleaned.

But recently I’d started feeling strange about how disconnected I’d become from what I was putting in my mouth everyday. When you don’t cook, it’s easy to disregard what makes up the food you eat. When it’s something that’s made for you, it’s easy to stop thinking about how it’s made or — more importantly — what it’s made of. I can’t say I was eating unhealthily, but I just wasn’t very conscious beyond knowing, generally, what was good for me and what wasn’t.

Enter Mark Bittman and his new book, “VB6: Eating Vegan Before 6:00 To Lose Weight and Restore Your Health…For Good.” (And this is when I’m going to try my damnedest not to turn this post into an infomercial.) I don’t know what precipitated it — maybe one too many days of a pastry in the morning or a turkey sandwich that just made me feel sluggish — but about a month ago I started feeling the need for some kind of alteration in my eating habits. And then I discovered Bittman’s new diet book, which has a fairly simple and easy-to-follow main premise: Eat like a vegan before 6 pm.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: ratatouille, meatballs, VB6 Recipe, Mark Bittman

Mark Bittman's Meatballs, The New Way

By Mark Bittman

Gal Beckerman

Reprinted with permission from “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health … for Good” by Mark Bittman.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 1 hour

Combining grains with vegetables and meat makes for a better meatball, moister and more complex in texture and flavor. The combination here is bulgur and spinach, but any soaked or cooked grains (brown rice or steel-cut oats are also nice) work well, as do mashed beans (use about 1½ cups).

There are just as many ways to eat these meatballs as there are to cook them: Put a few on a tossed green salad, stuff into a pita with sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, or add them to the tomato sauce on page 239 and simmer for a few minutes, then serve with pasta or on toast.

¼ cup medium-grind bulgur
1 cup boiling water
1 pound ground beef, or lamb
1 cup chopped cooked spinach (thawed frozen is fine), squeezed as dry as possible
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil

1) Combine the bulgur and boiling water in a small bowl; cover and soak until fully tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a strainer, then press out as much of the water as possible. Combine the bulgur, beef, spinach, garlic, and salt and sprinkle with pepper. Shape into 16 meatballs, handling them no more than is necessary.

2) Put the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When it’s hot, add some of the meatballs; work in batches if necessary to avoid overcrowding. Cook, turning once or twice and adjusting the heat as necessary, until they’re firm and browned all over, 5 to 10 minutes. As they finish, transfer them to paper towels to drain and repeat with the remaining meatballs as necessary. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Nutritional Info (4 meatballs, made with 80% lean ground beef): Calories: 439 • Cholesterol: 81mg • Fat: 34g • Saturated Fat: 10g • Protein: 23g • Carbohydrates: 10g • Sodium: 609mg • Fiber: 3g • Trans Fat: 1g • Sugars: 0g

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: recipes, meatballs, mark bittman, healthy kosher recipes, vb6

Mark Bittman's Chickpea Ratatouille

By Mark Bittman

Thinkstock

Reprinted with permission from “VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health … for Good” by Mark Bittman.

Makes: 4 servings
Time: About 1 1⁄2 hours, largely unattended

Classic ratatouille—a mixture of summery vegetables stewed with olive oil and herbs—is stellar and satisfying on its own. Add chickpeas (or cannellini, or lima beans) and you have a super-hearty main dish. Eggplant, zucchini, and peppers are the usual vegetables, but consider alternatives like roughly chopped hearty greens—escarole or kale, for example. Just be sure to keep the tomatoes for moisture.

1 pound eggplant (smaller ones are better), peeled if you like, and cut into large chunks
¾ pound zucchini, cut into large chunks
1 pound Roma (plum) tomatoes, cored and chopped, or
1 28-ounce can, drained
1 onion, sliced
2 red or yellow bell peppers, cored, seeded, and sliced
5 garlic cloves, halved
1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
Black pepper to taste
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme or rosemary, or ½ cup chopped fresh basil or parsley

1) Heat the oven to 425°F. Combine all the ingredients except the oil, chickpeas, and herbs in a large roasting pan. Drizzle with the oil and toss to combine.

2) Transfer to the oven and roast, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender and some water has released from the tomatoes to create a sauce, 30 to 40 minutes.

3) Add the chickpeas, stir, and return to the oven until the beans heat through, 5 to 10 minutes. Add the herbs and stir. Taste and adjust the seasoning and serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Nutritional Info: Calories: 435 • Cholesterol: 0mg • Fat: 19g • Saturated Fat: 3g • Protein: 15g • Carbohydrates: 56g • Sodium: 803mg • Fiber: 18g • Trans Fat: 0g • Sugars: 17g

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: ratatouille, VB6 Recipe, Mark Bittman

Dairy: Oy, It's Complicated

By Eli Margulies

Eli Margulies

Last week’s op-ed by Mark Bittman made its way around my circles in seconds. Bittman validated what many of us in the natural foods arena have been saying for a long while — that dairy doesn’t necessarily do the body good. The same can be said for wheat, corn, soy, meat and many other high-allergen foods. It doesn’t mean that everyone needs to give them up, and it doesn’t mean that all sources of dairy and producers of dairy are inherently bad. Just read the comments (all 772 of them at the time of writing this article) and you will see that Bittman has opened up a hot topic here.

I’ll try to avoid such intense controversy — but I do recommend reading Bittman’s article and discussing these topics amongst yourselves: Jews and Lactose; Jews and Food Allergies, and the ongoing debates surrounding them. Many who might not tolerate dairy in its unfermented form (milk, cream, most butters) might very well tolerate fermented dairy (yogurt, kefir, buttermilk, sour cream, cheeses, etc.). As a natural foods chef I always encourage my clients to consume the highest quality dairy available to them — be it raw or low heat pasteurized, un-homogenized if possible and always organic.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: dairy, Mark Bittman, Hazon Cross-USA Ride, Hazon

Mixing Bowl: Empire Chicken; Pork Memoirs and the 2nd Ave Deli

By Devra Ferst

iStock

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.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Park Slope Food Co-op, Pickles, Mixing Bowl, Mark Bittman, Empire Chicken, Deli, Challah, Carrots, Boycott

Mixing Bowl: Bittman on the 'Unhealthy Tax'; Pickles and MObama's Solution to Food Deserts

By Devra Ferst

iStock

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.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Rugelach, Michelle Obama, Pickles, Mark Bittman, MObama, Hummus, Carrot Top Pesto, Walmart

Mixing Bowl: The Best Hummus; Elk Pastrami and Tongue Tacos

By Devra Ferst

iStock

Charges against Julie Bass, an orthodox woman, who was facing charges from her local government for planting an organic vegetable garden in her front yard, have been dropped says Eater.

Last week’s announcement of changes in living standards for egg-laying hens has “raised more questions than it answered,” says Mark Bittman.

The Jewish classic, cow’s tongue, is given new life on Serious Eats with a Mexican twist — salsa verde and corn tortillas.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Oak Park Garden, Mixing Bowl, Michigan Garden, Julie Bass, Mark Bittman, Hummus, Food Politics, Eggs, Canter's Deli, Perennial Plate

Mixing Bowl: Egg Industry Announcement; Mark Bittman Goes to Iowa

By Devra Ferst

iStock

The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers announced yesterday that they will urge lawmakers to create legislation that would protect the living conditions of hens used in the egg industry. “This would mark the first federal law regulating the treatment of animals on farms,” says CNN’s Eatocracy.

More on the Dutch parliament’s effort to ban kosher and hallal meat slaughter on Tablet.

Serious Eats checked in with Spike Mendelsohn’s Sixth & Rye food truck in DC. Their slide show is making us hungry.

Mark Bittman visits a pig farm Iowa and argues that the state’s failed ag-gag law, which would have prohibited video or photograph of treatment of animals on chicken and pig farms, is irrelevant as it’s already virtually impossible to see how these animals are treated.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sixth and Rye, Mark Bittman, Kosher Cookbooks, Iowa, Egg Producers, Farm Interns, Dutch Kosher Bill, Soda Chart

Shabbat Meals: Cooking Vietnamese Lemongrass Cod for my Parents

By Jessie Leiken

iStock

I had already been living in New Haven for close to five months when my parents came to visit for the first time. Whenever I cooked in the enormous, sunflower-yellow Le Creuset Dutch oven they sent as a housewarming gift or wondered where to hang a piece of art, their absence from my new home was palpable. It wasn’t that they weren’t eager to come or that I didn’t want them to — quite the opposite. But the six-hour drive from Washington suddenly felt like a much more daunting distance than the four hours it had taken to visit me at college in New York.

The fact that they were so far away heightened my sense that this move was for real. I had moved to a new city where I hardly knew anyone. For a job. With my boyfriend. I bought my first car. I shopped at our local farmers market and threw dinner parties on our deck. I paid my first gas bill. It all seemed very adult.

Nevertheless, my transition into true adulthood didn’t feel complete until I’d shared it with my parents. The roles were now reversed. It was my turn to make them feel at home and I wanted it to be perfect.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Fish, Mark Bittman, Shabbat Dinner, Shabbat Meals, Vietnamese Lemongrass Halibut

Shabbat Meals: Daikon and Bok Choy Stir-Fry

By Elizabeth Alpern

Flickr

We never could decide what (if any) prayers to say, what language to say them in, or what gender pronouns to use. For a stretch of time my “Shabbat crew” was a mish mash of religions (Catholics, atheists, Buddhists, etc) and religiosity (or lack thereof). We were a feisty group of about 15 college students, fresh out of the dorms and into off-campus housing and excited about a weekly dinner party with a little something more.

That little something more was always a whirl of questions and negotiation. All week leading up to shabbat a spicy conversation ensued, each person adding his or her own distinct take on how and what shabbat should be.

But, when the food was presented on Friday night (long after sundown) the tension dissipated. Suddenly we were a unified family, eating and celebrating together. And there was one dish that embodied this group transformation: stir fry.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Shabbat Meals, Mark Bittman, Shabbat Crew, Shababt Dinner, Daikon, Bok Choy, Stir Fry

The Sweet Side of Tahini

By Rivka Friedman

Rivka Friedman

Once upon a time, before Mediterranean food got a facelift and a silent endorsement from the healthfood industry, tahini was a one-trick pony: you made hummus, and then you mixed in some tahini to give the finished dish that je ne sais quoi. Yes? Yes.

These days, tahini is something of a trend. Tahini is showing up everywhere. At Le Pain Quotidien, a French cafe chain, a spicy tahini dipping sauce accompanies the black bean hummus tartine. Mark Bittman, of Minimalist fame, combines tahini with herbs and onions as a coating for his “15-minute herbed fried chicken.” The day tahini met fried chicken was the day it earned its claim of ubiquity.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tahini, Mark Bittman, Hummus, Granola

Ben Gurion’s Rice and a Tale of Israeli Invention

By Katherine Martinelli

Israeli couscous, the pearl-shaped wheat balls that are often mistaken for a grain, may have the distinction of being the first truly Israeli food product. Cooked up in 1950s Israel, the product was just one answer to the food shortages and rations that characterized the era. Whether called Israeli couscous, pearl couscous, ptitim, or “Ben-Gurion Rice,” the popularity of this unassuming staple has since spread across continents.

The story goes like this: during the tsena, or austerity period that followed the War of Independence, rice – a staple of the diet of many new immigrants to Israel – was scarce. So David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s resourceful first Prime Minister, approached the Osem food company about making an inexpensive, mass produced, wheat-based substitute for the popular grain. What they came up with was ptitim, a rice-shaped creation made from wheat paste that is toasted in the oven. When the product took off, Osem began producing ball-shaped ptitim, which they called “couscous” because of its likeness to the shape of that other favorite North African staple.

Read more


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: couscous, Tsena, The Book of New Israeli Food, Ptitim, Osem, Mark Bittman, Janna Gur, Ben Gurion Rice




Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.