Ancient Pans for Modern Flavors

 

October 22nd 2014

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It’s not that I don’t love my mother; she is great. She is smart, interesting, accomplished and fun to be with.  It’s just that she has this annoying habit of recalling my past mistakes and exclaiming: “I told you so!”

It all started in the eighties when I was a know-it-all teenager, and decided to embark on a modernization spree. The first step was imposing the purchase of a microwave oven and a Braun food processor (my mother continued to whisk her mayonnaise by hand, and used the microwave to store cooking books). Next was my “upgrade” from aluminum and cast-iron pans to stainless steel and non-stick Teflon. Still polite, condescending silence (after all, if that was the extent of my teenage rebellion, she considered herself lucky).

Until one day she found out that, to make space for the new stainless set, I had dared to dispose of grandma’s pentola di coccio (clay pot), and her copper pots (paioli) for polenta and jam. Now, you shouldn’t think that my nonna was one of these extraordinary home cooks that populate the dreams of Italian food lovers; all she could make were five or six things.  However, her bread soup and polenta were awesome, and when my mom opened the cabinets to find her favorite tools missing – all h*ll broke loose. We had an epic fight, which ended, as always, with her saying “One day you’ll be sorry!” and me raising my eyes, hissing “Yeah, right!” and slamming my bedroom door.

But here is the thing: even when your children look like they aren’t listening to you, they are. It’s just going to take them about 20 years to process the information and finally agree with you 100%. One day in my thirties I woke up and realized that, in many ways, I had turned into my mother. The truth was that my mom had been giving me sound advice for all my life. Some of it just took a while to actually sink in.

I started noticing many articles that praised the qualities of traditional cookware. Cast iron, clay, copper; they were all calling my name from the glossy pages of my favorite Williams- Sonoma catalogues. Of course, after I broke down and spent a week’s salary on an imported and overpriced version of something I myself had thrown out, I went to great lengths to hide them from Mom.

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COCCIO-TERRACOTTA EARTHENWARE (Enameled or not)

When I was little, I remember my Nonna telling me that clay “remembers” all the delicious dishes that are cooked in it, so the older and the more “used’ the pot is, the tastier the result. I would have laughed this off as an old wives’ tale – but my mom, who is a pharmaceutical chemist, confirms that it’s all true, thanks to the porous nature of clay. This means, she adds, that (no matter how gorgeous my authentic Tuscan cookware is, and how many cooking classes I teach) my stew is never going to taste as good as it would have in our family heirloom.

Click here for 5 Tips for Cooking with Earthenware

Get my recipe for Tuscan Pepper Stew here

Copper Pots

What home cook hasn’t dreamed of owning an extravagantly expensive copper cookware set and feeling like a romantic French chef in a Paris kitchen? Let’s admit it: even if you don’t cook at all, such a shiny and gorgeous set would make your kitchen look designer fabulous! In addition to adding a decorative flair, copper conducts heat better than any other material, propagating the heat quickly but evenly through the whole utensil, without any of those annoying burns you get with stainless steel. Copper also lasts practically forever, and like cast iron and clay it boosts the flavor of some particular foods.

Read all about using Copper pots, limitation and best uses. 

Get my recipe for authentic polenta here.

 

This article is part of a series on “pots & pans” published in Joy Of Kosher Magazine. Some other pots & pans included are crock pots & pressure cookers, for more information and recipes Subscribe Today

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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Using and Taking Care of Copper Pots

 

October 21st 2014

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What home cook hasn’t dreamed of owning an extravagantly expensive copper cookware set and feeling like a romantic French chef in a Paris kitchen? Let’s admit it: even if you don’t cook at all, such a shiny and gorgeous set would make your kitchen look designer fabulous! In addition to adding a decorative flair, copper conducts heat better than any other material, propagating the heat quickly but evenly through the whole utensil, without any of those annoying burns you get with stainless steel. Copper also lasts practically forever, and like cast iron and clay it boosts the flavor of some particular foods.

And how could I not mention polenta, the symbol of cucina povera (peasant cooking) in Northern Italy – which has recently made inroads in the trendiest New York City restaurants? A basic cornmeal and water mush served on a wooden cutting board, delicious with hearty stews or artisanal cheeses, the best polenta is always made in a heavy-gauge unlined copper pot with flared sides, a paiolo. It’s hard to explain, but the “flavor” of copper is part of “real” polenta, and lends it a depth that’s a
far cry from the blandness of any prepackaged and instant versions.

Get my recipe for authentic polenta here.

There is a misconception that copper utensils are not easy to take care of. Nowadays, there are many commercial products that make it a breeze to shine your set to perfection.

However, the most natural and effective system is what grandma taught me: washing with hot water and Marseille soap, and shining with a “scrub” made of equal parts of corn flour, white vinegar, and kosher salt.

When to avoid cooking with copper: Like the other “reactive” metals (aluminum, copper, iron, and steel when not ‘stainless’), copper also reacts with acidic and alkaline foods: preparations with tomatoes or lemon juice can take on a metallic flavor, and light-colored foods, like eggs, can develop gray streaks.Foods will also pick some copper from the cookware, especially if you cook preparations with acidic ingredients for a long time, and if they are left to cool down in the pot. While iron is processed easily by our bodies and has health benefits, copper or aluminum can build up in the body with harmful effects. This doesn’t happen with occasional use, but you should avoid copper for everyday usage and storage.

Temporary solution: To eliminate this problem altogether, manufactures have lined the inside of copper pots and pans with tin or stainless steel. Unfortunately, this type of cookware is outrageously expensive and the lining gets damaged over time. Damaged stainless lining cannot be fixed– which means you lose on the main advantage of copper, its durability! Tin can be redone, but it has a disadvantage: it cannot withstand the same high temperatures as copper. This makes tinned copper utensils less than ideal for some of copper’s otherwise most perfect matches: candy, chocolate, and jam-making. All of these need to cook evenly, quickly and at high heat, which only pure (unlined) copper can achieve, particularly when its thickness at the bottom is between 2 and 2.5 mm.

Use only UNSOLDERED copper pots, for the best flavor, I bought my Ruffoni on Amazon.

 

This article is part of a series on “pots & pans” published in Joy Of Kosher Magazine. Some other pots & pans included are crock pots & pressure cookers, for more information and recipes Subscribe Today

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

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Tips For Cooking With Terracotta Earthenware

 

October 21st 2014

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When I was little, I remember my Nonna telling me that clay “remembers” all the delicious dishes that are cooked in it, so the older and the more “used’ the pot is, the tastier the result. I would have laughed this off as an old wives’ tale – but my mom, who is a pharmaceutical chemist, confirms that it’s all true, thanks to the porous nature of clay. This means, she adds, that (no matter how gorgeous my authentic Tuscan cookware is, and how many cooking classes I teach) my stew is never going to taste as good as it would have in our family heirloom (one’s I threw away as a rebellious teen).

People have been cooking in clay utensils since the beginnings of time. From Morocco to Italy, from Mexico to Japan, terracotta is favored for slow cooked preparations, from minestrone to stew, from legumes to meat sauces. Unlike metals, earthenware heats up extremely slowly, and releases the heat to its contents just as slowly! So much so, that the food keeps cooking for a while once the heat is turned off.

5 Earthenware Tips

  1. Moist heat can have its drawbacks too: once when I opened the lid to check my Japanese hot pot recipe, I ended up with a third degree burn from the steam. I have since invested in a pair of asbestos gloves for safe handling of my pot.
  2. Before the first use, most manufacturers recommend that clay pots be soaked in water for several hours to be tempered and made heat-resistant. Some even rub the surface with garlic as a kind of “toner” to close the pores. Note that natural pots (unglazed) also need to be “seasoned.” There are different ways to do this (rice, pareve milk, etc.) and you can simply follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Because clay is porous and absorbent, you should never use commercial detergents to clean it! Hot water and a good scrub, plus some vinegar and/or baking soda are all you need.
  4. “Natural” clay pots can only be used in the oven. However, glazed ones can withstand more direct heat and can be used on the stovetop; but always on lower settings, and with the help of a heat diffuser (available for about $5 at most cooking supply stores).
  5. As far as glazed clay is concerned, while some countries such as the U.S., France and Italy are known for their high quality-control standards, other places produce gorgeous pots but still use lead in the coloring. Lead is highly toxic, so make sure to do your homework before you buy!

You can find Italian Terra Cotta pots like the one pictured here on Amazon.

Get my recipe for Tuscan Pepper Stew here.

This article is part of a series on “pots & pans” published in Joy Of Kosher Magazine. Some other pots & pans included are crock pots & pressure cookers, for more information and recipes Subscribe Today

As seen in the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine

Summer 2013

Subscribe Now


 

A Shabbat Project Breakfast Idea

 

October 20th 2014

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Looking for inspiration for a Shabbos Breakfast? – look no further than these Israeli Breakfast ideas.

Rushed off our feet during the week sometimes makes it impossible to sit down as a family and eat a healthy breakfast together. Let’s really get into the spice and spirit of the promised land, leaving the macon and eggs behind, to enjoy the land of milk and honey in the form of an Israeli breakfast.

The options are endless and you don’t have to make a thing!

Everything’s available from your favourite supermarket. All you have to do is spread it all out on the table.  Your breakfast can include any or all of the following ideas:

  • Cereals
  • Yogurts
  • Labane (Yogurt cheese)
  • Crackers
  • Cream cheese
  • Feta
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Smoked salmon
  • Pickled herring
  • Capers
  • Olives
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Onions
  • Pickled vegetables
  • Humus
  • Techina
  • Fresh fruit salad
  • Dried fruit compote
  • Fresh fruit juices
  • Coffee
  • Babka
  • Muffins

Now you have plenty of  time to bake your challas and prepare your cholent.

Have you signed up for the Shabbat Project yet?   Join the JOK team and sign up now!!


 

New Jewish Summer Camp Options for Parents

 

October 20th 2014

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This past summer four new Jewish summer camps opened their doors to offer kids (and parents) new choices.  Thanks to a generous grant from four major foundations (Jim Joseph, AVI CHAI, the Foundation for Jewish Camp, and UJA-Federation of New York), visionary camp directors were able to create new experiences to meet the demands of many families looking for unique camp experiences that incorporate Jewish values with a concentration on  science, sports, business and health and wellness.

 

Camp Zeke, located in the Poconos, focuses on health, wellness and culinary.  When I learned of this camp I thought it was a perfect fit for my kids.  Cooking and healthy eating are central values for my family and I liked the way Camp Zeke was able to weave these programs into a diverse camp experience.  We learned about Camp Zeke at our local synagogue and decided to give it a try for their one week Taste of Zeke program.

 

In the weeks and days leading up to camp, my 10-year old read the entire website and pamphlet, practically memorizing the sample menu and activities list.  My 8-year old was excited to go away for the week with his big brother and try his hands at Krav Maga (Israeli martial arts).  I of course missed them each day, but followed along with the pictures on Facebook and their website and I could see they were having so much fun. Camp Zeke exceeded our high expectations.

The camp is not affiliated with any Jewish movement, they serve kosher (dairy) food and have a respectful and robust Shabbat program.  Every day they have bunk activities, electives and in the evening they come together for a camp wide activity.  Activities include Sports, Art and Cooking, but they also offer Strength Training and Yoga.

Before Shabbat, campers work together to prepare a traditional Shabbat meal and they all dress up in blue and white for the evening services and dinner.  On Shabbat day, the kids choose between a spiritual walk or yoga services with meditation.  It is a time for quiet contemplation and spiritual reflection and my boys loved it!

The goal of Camp Zeke and some of the other new Jewish summer camps is to provide more opportunities to connect kids to their Jewish identity.  My children go to a Jewish day school and live an active Jewish life, but the opportunity to fuse food, health and Jewish values at Camp Zeke gave them an even stronger spiritual connection.

Visit CampZeke.org to learn more and take advantage of the Camp Zeke Early Bird Special - Sign up byOctober 31st for $350 off.

 

 

Photos provided by Camp Zeke and taken by Netanya Lerner (who just happened to find out about the camp from us)


 

Bereshis and New Beginnings: Healthy All-Day...

 

October 15th 2014

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The new year starts on Rosh Hashana, the slate is wiped clean on Yom Kippur, and the Torah reading cycle starts anew on Simchas Torah.  And what begins the Monday after the holidays of Tishrei come to a close?  My new diet, that’s what.  Eating healthy on a holiday or weekday is often times a lot easier said than done, especially when one considers the other priorities that take precedence.  I find that when I call it a “diet” I usually end up gaining weight because I’m always saying “diet starts tomorrow… or after ____ treat”.  Instead, I find that it’s much more sustainable to focus on eating healthier rather than restricting oneself.  Below are 40 healthy dishes (even dessert!) for each meal of the day.  Hatzlacha!

 

 

 

Start the day right with power-packed punch of protein, carbs and healthy fats.  If you’re up to it, (not sure if I even am), try a smoothie filled with veggies and fruits to help get those necessary nutrients in early.

Oatmeal Protein Cupcakes

Healthy Green Smoothie

Roasted Grape Breakfast Farro

Soft Boiled Eggs on Toast

Benedict Goes to Norway (substitute with whole wheat, sourdough or gluten-free bread)

Granola

Flourless Banana Pancakes

Cinnamon Blueberry Buckwheat Chia Muffins

 

At lunch I’m always faced with the tough decision of having a large lunch or instead having a large dinner.  I tend to lean towards the former and eat a heavier lunch, limiting myself to a small dinner. Whatever you prefer, the lunch recipes below work great paired up (1/2 sandwich + soup and/or salad) or as larger stand-alone portions.

Tomato Soup with Egg in a Hole

Marinated Vegetable Salad

Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup

Teriyaki Beef Banh Mi with Sesame Cucumber Salad

Wild Rice Chicken Soup

Arugula Salad with Tahini Vinaigrette

Grilled Herbed Veggie Chicken Sandwich

Grilled Chicken Mango Salad

Smoked Salmon Olive and Wild Rice Salad

Thai Chicken Salad

 

The nerve-enducing afternoon snack doesn’t have to wreck a good day of eating.  Try drinking a large glass of water and moving a bit before you snack to reduce fake hunger inducing factors such as dehydration and tension.

Maple Roasted Smoky Almonds

Baked Root Vegetable Chips with Babaganoush

Kale and Popcorn Medley

Fruit Salad with Honey-Lime Dressing

Whole Wheat Mozzarella and Chive Cheez-Its

Chickpea Snack (try it with za’atar!)

 

After a long day treat yourself to a healthy, satisfying dinner followed by a sweet dessert.

Fish Tacos

Caramelized Onion, Spinach and Blue Marble Quiche

Sautéed Chicken With Leeks, Carrots, Parsnips and Mushrooms

Fresh Carrot and Corn Soup

Mushroom Chow Fun (small portion!)

Bahn Mi Salmon Burger

Black Bean Yellow Pepper and Cumin Chili

Turkey Veggie Meatballs with Panko Crust

Fresh Fig, Carrot, Fennel and Kale Salad

Fall Harvest Soup

Smoked Salmon Waldorf Salad

Apple Compote

Mint Chocolate and Lavender Popcorn

Almond Olive Oil Cake

No-Bake Chocolate Cappuccino Brownies

Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Muffin Top Cookies

 

See more healthy recipes here!

 


 

DIY Passion Fruit Cornucopia and Colada

 

October 15th 2014

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Wine doesn’t have to be just for drinking. Especially fruit flavored wine, like Morad’s Danue line. I used their passion fruit variety to make a creamy cocktail and a tropical-inspired dessert in honor of harvest season.

 

In the spirit of Sukkot and Thanksgiving, I created a twist on the classic cream horn, using puff pastry to make cornucopia’s. Cornucopia’s are literally “horns of plenty”, resembling an abundant harvest.  

I used Morad Passion Fruit Wine, a flavorful and affordable drink, to flavor the cream. Passion fruits are full of vitamins A & C, as well as iron, and are both tangy and sweet. The passion fruit flavored custard adds an exotic touch to the traditional french dessert. Get my full recipe for non dairy Passion Fruit Cornucopia here.  

Aside from drinking Morad’s passion fruit wine straight from a glass or using it to flavor dessert, you can also use it to make a creamy cocktail. I did a riff on the classic pina colada by using the wine in place of rum, making it a little lighter so you can enjoy even more. I added rich coconut milk and crushed pineapple for a fresh and delicious drink. Get my full recipe for Passion Fruit Colada here.

Get your bottles of Morad Fruit Wines at your local wine store, if they don’t have it, ask them to order it.  L’chaim.


 

I Failed Again…

 

October 15th 2014

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I failed.
I did it again.

I didn’t fail because the cookies were dry.

I failed because I said the cookies were dry.

I have been playing around with a whole wheat, olive oil, cinnamon, chocolate chip cookie recipe.

My first batch came out excellent.

So naturally I tried to improve upon excellent.

Note to self, excellent is pretty excellent (as in, excellent enough!).

My second batch came out less than excellent.

Way less than excellent.

In fact they came out so very dry.

Even though I have given the same advice over and over and over again, in person and in print, I simply couldn’t hold myself back.

I always tell you all not to make excuses for your food.  Your guests aren’t critics from the New York Times and don’t know how the recipe was supposed to look or taste.

But I convinced myself this situation was different.  I wasn’t making silly excuses for missing ingredients.

The cookies were dry.

And I needed everyone to know that I knew that.

Really, I didn’t want to serve the cookies.

But since they came out so excellent the first time I only made 108 this time, to keep in batches in the freezer.

So I had to serve them.

Really, because Hubby made me serve them.

Because he is not into wasting food.

And neither am I.

Unless the food is not edible (as in, really dry!).

And so I served the cookies.

But I just needed my guests to know that I knew that the cookies were dry.
And then Hubby called me out saying “you just couldn’t help yourself, could you?!”

Well I had the chance to do full teshuva (the Hebrew word for “return” with the common connotation of repenting for one’s sins but more accurately meaning a return to one’s original state).

I had 25 friends coming for a BBQ.

I had 72 cookies left to serve.

Do you think I was able to keep quiet and serve them with a smile?

*But what do you really  think I should have done?  The cookies were very dry (just reiterating in case you somehow missed that point) and I didn’t want my guests to think I was delusional and thought the cookies were good, especially because I am me.  Thoughts?

 


 

Caviar For Shabbat

 

October 14th 2014

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This article is dedicated to my father, who with out fail, reminds me every three day yom tov to do eruv tavshilin.  Eruv Tavshilin refers to the prepared food that is set aside with a prayer before a yom tov, that allows us to cook and prepare foods on a yom tov for Shabbat when Shabbat is the following day.  This is most often necessary when two days of holiday lead into Shabbat as we have been enjoying this year.  Get all the details of Ervu Tavshilin here and don’t worry if you have forgotten or didn’t know about it before, there are many that allow you to rely on the eruv of the Rabbi in the community who will have everyone in mind.

In my family as I am sure in many it is customary to use a hard boiled egg and challah or matzah for the Eruv.  It is easy to eat the bread at any meal, but no one in my family really likes to sit down to a hard boiled egg, that is how I started to serve Caviar on Shabbat.

Traditionally caviar refers to the fish eggs of specific fish, like beluga, which is not only ridiculously expensive, but also not kosher.  However, caviar can really refer to any type of fish eggs including Salmon roe which many people enjoy in sushi.  Years ago I found a jar of black caviar at the store that was sold for at most three dollars and was kosher.  I knew it was going to be the delicacy people go crazy over, but I figured it would be fun and was well within my budget.  I learned to serve it on a light cracker or blini with chopped egg white, egg yolk and onion.  I didn’t have a mother of pearl spoon, so I used a ceramic spoon and my husband had a blast snacking on caviar and drinking vodka.

Only recently did I try the caviar that Chef David from Prime Grill says is the best Kosher caviar, Bowfin.  While not nearly as expensive as the non kosher stuff, it was at least 10 times the price of my cheap stuff.  It might be worth the splurge now and again, but I am just as happy without it.

Recently I spotted the inexpensive caviar again and brought it home, excited to introduce it to the kids.  After sitting int he cupboard a few months, I finally found the best time to serve it on Rosh Hashanah.  I had my hard boiled egg, I had some crackers and I found a new tradition.  Yes, caviar is high in sodium, but it is also low calorie and noted to be an excellent source of vitamin A, Potassium, Omega 3 fats, and vitamin D.   Still, it is generally enjoyed in small quantities so I wouldn’t get too excited.

 

 


 

Fresh Seasonal Food For The New Year

 

October 14th 2014

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With the holidays quickly approaching, we find ourselves yet again in the kitchen preparing daily feasts for our families and friends. Whether we are cooking traditional foods or new recipes, we sometimes get lost in the idea that the more complicated the recipe, the tastier and more impressive it is. In my own cooking, I find that it’s usually the simpler recipes using fresh and in season produce are the most delicious and healthier to boot.  Let’s put the healthy back into the new year and cook fresh, seasonal foods!

Here is a favorite recipe of mine, Moroccan Mint Beet Salad. Pairs beautifully with any fish appetizer from gefilte to sea bass and everything in between.

Wishing everyone a Shana Tova, a Happy, Healthy and Delicious New Year!


 

A Simchat Torah Mexican Menu

 

October 13th 2014

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On Simchas Torah and Shemini Atzeres, it’s time to push your culinary daring to the limits. Consider the fact that we’ve just come through Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkos, not to mention a Shabbos or two. Everyone at your table is thinking, “If I see one more potato kugel…” So have fun with the menu and try my simple recipes for Butternut Squash and Black Bean Stuffed Poblanos (a mild chili pepper) and Mexican Brisket, a fab twist on traditional recipes.

For your main serve: Corn Salad (topped with lime juice and served in a lettuce cup), Mexican Brisket (love this spice rub!!!!), Stuffed Poblanos (use bell peppers if you can’t find poblanos) and Mexican Pasta (follow this fab technique for all sorts of pasta dishes). Pair the Mexican themed meal with Ramon Cardova Rioja a fruity Spanish red wine.

Finish with individual Banana Chocolate Parfaits topped with dark chocolate shavings. Uhm, honestly, doesn’t this menu sound different and divine? Can I get an olé?


 

Is Grass Fed Beef Better? *Giveaway*

 

October 13th 2014

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If I were to ask you where your steak comes from and your first answer is the supermarket, we need to talk. Long before a trimmed, perfectly portioned rib eye finds its way onto your grill or your plate, it starts with a cow and a cattle rancher. The Farm to Table Movement has caused many of us to think more about where our food comes from. Although I don’t yet (and can’t afford to fully) practice what I preach, our family is starting to eat more sustainable and natural foods, including grass-fed beef.

Some kosher consumers feel that eating animals raised in captivity challenges our goal for having greater sensitivity to the natural world. I’m not sure I’m entirely convinced by this argument, but grass-fed meat and pastured poultry seeks to find a thoughtful balance between the ethical and the practical.

According to the American Grassfed Association, an organization representing U.S. producers, food service industry personnel and consumer interest representatives, grass-fed animals “have eaten nothing but grass and forage from weaning to harvest, have not been raised in confinement, and have never been fed antibiotics or growth hormones.” In moderation, grass-fed meat is also healthy.

In addition to lower overall fat content, research published in Nutrition Journalsuggests that grass-based diets can significantly improve the fatty acid (FA) composition of beef, especially conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) (C18:2) isomers, trans vaccenic acid (TVA) (C18:1 t11), a precursor to CLA, and omega-3 (n-3). In addition, “cattle fed primarily grass significantly increased the omega-3 content of the meat and also produced a more favorable omega-6 to omega-3 ratio than grain-fed beef.” Grass-fed beef is also higher in precursors for Vitamin A and E and cancer fighting antioxidants, researchers say. Beef is also nutrient-rich, with eight times more vitamin B12, six times more zinc, and three times more iron than skinless chicken breast, according to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board.

Brisket In a Pot with Garlic

Now I want to be up front here, grain-fed beef is filling a need. We’ve got a big population to feed and modern agriculture and science is allowing us to serve the bellies of the many, but it’s nice to know that there are alternatives to the mass-produced grain-fed meat. Grass-fed meat is leaner and has a delicious, natural taste that I think you will really enjoy.

KOL Foods, founded by Devora Kimelman-Block, is reshaping today’s kosher diet with great-tasting sustainable, grass-fed meat and pastured poultry that is available to order online with affordable shipping anywhere in the United States.

Our family could not get enough of KOL Foods this holiday season – it definitely beat waiting in line at the butcher and I was able to create some amazing recipes that you will definitely want to try at home!

Try my recipes, leave your comments and enter the giveaway:

Brisket in a Pot with lots of Garlic

Thai Flavored London Broil

***Giveaway***  Now’s your chance to give KOL Foods meat a try with their meat giveaway valued at $250!!

To enter the giveaway go here to the KOL Foods Contest NOW through October 27, 2014!!

 


 

5 Menus for Shemini Atzeres, Simchas Torah, &...

 

October 8th 2014

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Ok, I admit it, I am guilty of calling every holiday “my favorite holdiay”.  Another confession, I don’t feel all that guilty– I really love everything about the holidays (minus the limits on showering, but let’s not discuss that).  Sukkos is this incredibly festive, yet humbling holiday.   Shemini Atzeres and Simchas Torah fall right at the end of Sukkos, after Hoshana Rabbah, and are literally, truly, just straight up days of rejoicing.  In gashmius, materialistic, terms: bring on the food!  These 5 menus will leave you full, feeling festive (you may also need a nap) and will motivate you to dance all night (and work off all those calories…sort of kidding!) by Simchas Torah.

 

Flavors of Fall

I’m not talking pumpkin spice lattes here, but the real hearty flavors of fall.  Start with the Marinated Vegetable Salad and the classic-with-a-twist Baked Horseradish Gelfite Fish.  Then enjoy the Fall Harvest Soup, which is loaded with parsnips, gala apples, leeks and sweet potatoes. For the main course chose your pick of  Sauerbraten- Classic Roast Beef with Apples and Raisins and/or Sautéed Chicken With Leeks, Carrots, Parsnips and Mushrooms, alongside the Roasted Pumpkin and Asparagus and the Apple Rice Salad.  At this point, your guests will be pretty stuffed (and seriously impressed), so keep it simple by dessert with Apple Compote and maybe a scoop of parve vanilla ice cream on top.

 

 

Garlic Honey Brisket

Holiday Worthy Comfort Foods

How can you top a first course of Salmon en Croute, Israeli Salad of Oranges and Black Olives, and 5 Ingredient Leek and Potato Soup? By serving, any of the following amazing dishes or sides of course!  Depending on cost or availability, try the Pomegranate Wine Osso Bucco or Garlic Honey Brisket, if you prefer poultry then the Chicken with Prunes in Apple Butter Wine Sauce just can’t be beat.  The elegant Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cake makes for an excellent end to a very delicious meal.

 

 

“Finger Foods”

If you have a lot of guests visiting or a busy holiday planned, then easy to serve, individually portioned foods make for a delicious and hassle-free meal; they are especially great by lunch.  Easy Zucchini Soup isn’t a finger food per-se, but as the name says it is a cinch to make and great to keep warm on the stove for a quick bite.  Baked Salmon Croquettes, Savory Curried-Coriander Pumpkin Latkes, and Colorful Cauliflower make for a great fish course.  For the main, try the Cabbage Leaves Spring Rolls, Sausage, Apple and Sage Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms, Leek Onion Noodle Cups, and Savoy Cabbage and Cashew Slaw.  For dessert try either the Carrot Apple Mini Cupcakes with Non-Dairy Cream Cheese Icing or the Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Walnuts.

 

 

Lighter Menu

This is probably the overall healthiest menu of the bunch, but everything in moderation right?  Start with the Honey Sesame Side of SalmonKale, Avocado and Farro Salad, and the Cabbage and Persimmon Salad with Sweet and Sour Dressing (use pears if persimmons aren’t available), followed by the Sweet Potato Leek Soup. Then enjoy the Easy Roasted Sweet Potato Wedges, Tumeric Rice and Chicken with Olive and Capers.  And for dessert, drumroll please, the Chocolate Pretzel Crust Tart or the Four “C” Tart With Gluten Free Crust.

 

 

Shabbos Day

You survived the third three-day yontiff of the year, mazel tov! Let’s be real, there’s only enough energy, and clean pots, for one or two new dishes to be made on Friday.  For shabbos day, enjoy some leftovers starting with the Baked Horseradish Gefilte Fish or Honey Sesame Side of Salmon, and the Kale, Avocado and Farro Salad.  For the main enjoy the  Sweet Noodle Kugel and Colorful Cauliflower alongside a piping hot bowl of  Vegetarian Chicken Apple Sausage Cholent (which can be made vegetarian or fleishig).  For dessert, if there are any leftover, enjoy the Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Chips and Walnuts or the Chocolate Pretzel Crust Tart.

 

For Sukkos Recipe or Shemini Atzers/Simchas Torah recipes click here or here!  Looking for kugel recipes?  Check out my 10 Favorite Kugels post here!

 

 


 

Join Us For The Shabbos Project

 

October 7th 2014

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Last year The Shabbos Project took South Africa by storm with a weekend dedicated to getting as many people as they could to keep Shabbat from sundown to stars out.  The weekend kicked off with a mass challah baking lead by our dear friend and regular contributor, The Kosher Butcher’s Wife, Sharon Lurie.

The Great Challah Bake

Sharon told me all about The Great Street Challah Bake, where they blocked off a whole street in the center of Johannesburg, and more than 3,000 women came together to prepare challah for their Shabbat.  The Shabbos project far exceeded expectations with around 90% of the synagogues in South Africa participating.

The Shabbos project urged people to take a break from daily life and digital devices and keep Shabbat the traditional way.  Many people took the challenge and observed Shabbat for the first time ever.

This year the Shabbos project is going global.  Communities around the world are coming together to encourage everyone to keep Shabbat on October 24-25, 2014.  Even Paula Abdul is getting involved and along with other celebrities is working to get everyone to celebrate Shabbat.

To help spread the word and get everyone to sign up, Sharon has shared with us two of her favorite challah recipes.

Get Sharon’s challah recipe used at the Great Challah Bake and set up your own challah bake!! So that no one should be left out, Sharon has created a gluten free challah she really loves.

The Shabbos Project has tons of resources to help anyone who wants to keep the day and may not have the resources.  From setting people up for Shabbat meals (you can also go to volunteer to host), to resources on cooking your own (easy rundown of the laws of Shabbat).

We will be sharing recipes and ideas on our site too to keep everyone excited and involved.

TOGETHER WE WILL KEEP THE SHABBAT OF 24/25 OCTOBER FROM SUNDOWN TO STARS OUT!!!  WE SIGNED UP – DID YOU?

SIGN UP AT WWW.SHABBOSPROJECT.ORG


 

In the JOK Kitchen with Ronnie Fein *Giveaway*

 

October 7th 2014

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I am thrilled to finally invite long time Joy of Kosher contributor, Ronnie Fein, into our kitchen.  Well known for her first cookbook, Hip Kosher, Ronnie is a former lawyer who turned her passion for food into a blooming career in food writing and teaching.  Ronnie has been writing about food since 1980, when kosher food was not so hip and she has helped to shape the modern kosher food we all enjoy in our books at our tables.  Nothing Ronnie makes is ever purely traditional, there is always some sort of Ronnie twist, just browse through the more than 120 recipes she has already contributed to our site!!  You can bet each one is written well, tested and delicious.

Ronnie’s latest venture, The Modern Kosher Kitchen Cookbook, brings healthy tasty food to the forefront of the kosher kitchen.  With a foreword, by our very own Jamie Geller, who wrote, “I know her work, I know her recipes, and I know that Ronnie knows good food.”  Ronnie has created a new cookbook for anyone that is looking to try something new and delicious and modern.

You can learn more about Ronnie from our interview spotlight about her blog, Kitchen Vignettes, but today I wanted to learn more about the new book.

How did your life change after writing Hip Kosher?

I’ve been in the food writing business for years and I always enjoyed getting together with people who shared my interest in cooking and creating new recipes, but after Hip Kosher I began to meet more friends who shared a deeper commitment to Jewish life, whose families shared similar traditions and memories, especially when it came to celebrating holidays. I feel a special relationship with these “friends,” even though I haven’t even met some of them! The other thing is, after Hip Kosher I’ve been busier than ever, writing, doing cooking demonstrations, speaking about how we can bring kosher cooking into the 21st century and keep it healthy and delicious.

Chicken Fried Steak Portobello

How is the new Modern Kosher Kitchen Cookbook different than Hip Kosher?

My mission has always been the same as my ancestors — adapt the surrounding food culture to kashruth. So I cook “American” food, but make it kosher, just as my grandmother adapted Romanian food, because that is where she came from. Although I love the old traditional dishes, they are not what I cook on a daily basis or even for company. There are so many kosher products available today that kosher cooks can cook almost everything that every other American cooks.

The biggest difference between The Modern Kosher Kitchen and Hip Kosher is that my new book has chapters that weren’t covered and that my readers have asked for specifically: chapters on Hors d’oeuvre, Passover dishes, Budget-minded meals. There’s also more vegetarian and whole grain recipes, more parve salads and a few slow-cooked foods. Also, although the recipes are modern, I did include my recipe for challah. It is the most requested of my recipes and everyone who has tasted it told me I had to put it into The Modern Kosher Kitchen. It is essentially my grandma’s recipe, and was an award winner for her.

Kale Farro Salad

What makes recipes modern?

The recipes are modern in the sense that they are not traditional Jewish foods. I use seasonings, ingredients and methods that are globally influenced, that may be relatively “new” to kosher cooks — things my grandmother probably never heard of. They are modern also in that I have cut down on meat and use more healthy ingredients, less salt and sugar, more greens and grains. I also like to innovate and experiment on my family by using almost every new product or ingredient I hear about and also try to mimic some classic American dishes but “kosherize” them. So, for example, I created the Kale, Avocado and Farro Salad with Marcona Almonds. It’s kosher, it’s tasty, it’s healthy, it’s attractive too. And Chicken Fried Portobello Steak and Chive Eggs — it’s a riff on Chicken Fried Steak, a specialty in the American south, but this version is vegetarian, perfect for a dairy, parve or meat meal. I’ve served that one for brunch and it got rave reviews!

 

What inspires your recipes?

I look around and see what’s available, what’s fresh, what’s new. At farm stands, at supermarkets, bakeries, everywhere. I think, hmmmm, how would that taste with that? I read food blogs, magazines, restaurant menus, health newsletters. And I do what my Mom called “patchke in the kitchen.” I experiment a lot. What can go wrong? Dinner might not be great every night — I’ve had lots of failures and some recipes didn’t work, but my family is game and there’s always eggs in the house (I also keep a supply of This and That Soup — the recipe is in the book — in the freezer, for emergencies). At this point, I’ve cooked like this for so many years I have an inkling of what flavors will blend and which ones won’t. It gets easier as you get older and more experienced.

Thanks to Ronnie for everything plus these three new recipes as a sample of what is in the book:

Pan Seared Hanger Steak with Peppers and Onions

Kale, Avocado, and Farro Salad

Chicken Fried Steak Portobello with Chive Eggs

***Giveaway*** Now you can win a copy of The Modern Kosher Kitchen by Ronnie Fein – comment below and enter with Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

https://www.facebook.com/RonnieFeinKitchen