Gourmet & Kosher

 

Golden Globes Dinner Party Menu

 

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Last Thursday, the celebrity chefs responsible for feeding the stars at the Golden Globes on January 15th unveiled their dinner menu.  It has taken six months to prepare for this day and will take a team of 40 chefs and 100 kitchen staff members to make the magic happen. This year’s menu is created by executive chefs Suki Sugiura and pastry chef Thomas Henzi is not only elegant and mouth-watering, but also reflects the global nature of the Golden Globes.

Stars at the Golden Globes will enjoy food flown in from around the world and a decadent dessert topped with real gold shavings.  The menu they will enjoy includes the following dishes that a kosher cook can try to make at home:


 

Comfort Food – Meatloaf

 

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Winter is comfort food season. There is something about the cold howling wind and long nights that make me crave warm, comforting dishes. On these nights I don’t want an aggressively crunchy salad, or complicated dish with tons of ingredients and steps, I want a dish that warms my heart and soothes my soul.

I have a whole list of sentimental foods that fit the bill. They tend to be something from childhood, easy to digest, soothing and as easy as a pair of fuzzy slippers. They are home-style dishes and not complex “cheffy” recipes.


 

Chicken Soup: A Classic Jewish Recipe

 

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I think I could make Jewish Chicken Soup in my sleep. My mother taught me the recipe and the rules before I could read. I’d stand on a chair and watch her clean the bird (“remember we have to take out all the stuff inside the chicken”). She showed me how to remove leftover pinfeathers, sometimes using a lighted match to burn off tiny hairs and then for a few minutes the kitchen would have an awful organic odor.

But all was forgotten as the soup simmered and the heady perfume of salty broth and sweet dill, meaty chicken and softening vegetables suffused through the house reminding us that a good dinner was on its way.


 

ETC Steakhouse – Restaurant Review

 

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It was my birthday, and my husband decided to treat me to dinner out at ETC Steakhouse in Teaneck.

Upon our arrival we were greeted with a smile. We didn’t wish to be seated in the place they chose for us – we wanted somewhere a little more private. Our request was granted with the minimum of fuss and delay.


 

The Best Way to Cook Meat

 

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Red Meat.  It’s a sign of joy, affluence, and celebration.  We avoid it during times of mourning and turn to it during special occasions, but the age old saying “there’s no celebration without meat and wine” is not always accurate.  I’ve had many a memory of an overcooked steak or goulash meat that sat in a slow cooker for much longer than would be considered healthy.

For years, my realm of red meat was limited to ground beef in spaghetti sauce.   I did not dare roast a brisket or slow cook a London broil for fear of over-cooking and ruining dinner.  As I have grown more adventurous as a cook, and been inspired by others, It turns out that cooking meat isn’t all that difficult at all.  I was lacking the attention to detail and a meat thermometer.


 

The Best Hanukkah Fritters and Leftover Gelt Ideas

 

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I don’t tend to do much deep-frying in my kitchen. I would rather order foods like French fries in a restaurant than make them myself. But Chanukkah is the exception. During the eight days of chanukkah I break out my pot of oil and my thermometer and start frying up a storm. It is our custom to eat a different fried food each night of the holiday. We of course enjoy the traditional sufganiyot and latkes but I also like to make other fried treats that might not be commonly associated with Chanukkah, like buñuelos (Colombian cheese fritters) and fried wontons.

Banana Fritter


 

The Deliciousness of Donuts

 

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Chanukah is filled with nostalgia, memories of years past, childhood, and of our ancestors. Each house has its own customs and traditions which bring the Mitzvot closer to the heart.

Borrowing from both Sephardic and Ashkenazic traditions we opt to have latkes and doughnuts for our Chanukah treat, it’s like having dinner and dessert. A “healthy” meal of fried comfort foods; one week only! I think my kids look forward to this week all year. I try to get everything ready so we can eat while sitting snuggly in the afterglow of the blessings. Each year I ask myself whether to make doughnuts using yeast or a quick raised cake doughnut (one using baking powder or baking soda).


 

Chinese Recipes, Anyone?

 
 

‘Chanukah, Oh Chanukah come light the menorah. Let’s have a party. We’ll all dance the hora.’ You know the rest, but what are we going to do on December 24 and 25 when we’re not ready to peel potatoes again or heat up oil for the latkes one more time? We’ll go out for Chinese, of course. How did this Jewish connection between Chinese food and December 24th get started? Some say that Chinatown in New York City was close to the Lower East Side and the restaurants there were open that night, so the rest is history.

 


 

Get Ready For Chanukah

 

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We’re just days away until the first candle is lit on your family’s Chanukah menorah. It’s never too soon to get out your holiday check list. So, did you buy a new box of candles yet? Are your pounds of potatoes and onions purchased for batch after batch of latkes? More important than anything else, especially if you have children, are all of your gifts bought, wrapped, labeled, and hidden?

Some years ago we started a Nathan family tradition, attempting to combat the mad rush we usually experience while preparing for the holiday. More like a family concept than a tradition, I should note… This two-step idea just made sense to us so feel free to adapt it into your family’s Chanukah routine…


 

Rotisserie Chicken

 

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Nothing brings out our primal instincts in cooking more than preparing food on an open spit. What was once a necessary cooking method requiring nothing more than meat, fire and a big stick has now become all the rage in the best markets and butcher shops.  Walk down any main street and you will see large rotisserie ovens turning and churning out freshly roasted chicken, juices dripping down the window pane and appetites growing with every step.  The good news is; these succulent birds can be easily prepared at home for a fraction of the cost.

To achieve rotisserie nirvana, you can, of course, invest in a countertop rotisserie.  The manufacturers of “slice them and dice them” fame make affordable and practical models for your home, as does Cuisanart other name brand kitchen appliance companies.  The results are good and the clean up is generally easy.  If the weather is not a factor, you can brave the elements and cook your bird on an outdoor spit, your gas grill most likely comes with an attachment and the bird can roast outside, lid down until juicy perfection.   Some indoor ovens come fitted with a rotisserie option, and all you need to do is follow the manufacturer’s instructions, keep a watchful eye and spin your bird to delicious results.


 

Egyptian Recipes -A Walk Down Memory Lane

 

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I could never have predicted that Egyptian food would provoke a Proustian flood of memories. But there it was, on a recent, nearly two-week trip my husband Ed and I took to Cairo (plus a cruise down the Nile). I tasted Rahib, which, like the author’s famous madeleines, carried me back to my girlhood.

My grandma made this dish, only she didn’t call it Rahib, which is a lovely word for roasted eggplant and tomato salad. I remember how she roasted a whole eggplant on top of the gas burner until it turned charcoal black, and then mixed the insides with onions and tomatoes, parsley and vegetable oil. In Egypt the salad is made with scallions, fresh coriander and olive oil, but it’s the same dish, one I haven’t eaten since I was a little girl. So fresh and colorful, begging to be tasted.


 

Winter Soup Recipes

 

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I’m sitting in my office with a fleece jacket on and the baseboard heater turned to high in an attempt to compensate for the cold temperatures that arrived last night with the first snow of the season. As I do every year, as soon as the cold weather arrives and the snow hits the ground I start thinking about which soups I’m going to prepare in my kitchen.

Now, I don’t want you to think that hot soups are only appropriate in the late fall and winter – there isn’t really a time when a bowl of soup isn’t appreciated. But there’s something about watching through the kitchen window as snowflakes fall and a pot of chicken soup simmers gently in my warm kitchen. And if you’re lucky enough to have somebody cooking soup for you, there’s nothing better than walking in from the frigid cold and being hit with the steam and aroma wafting out of a pot on the stove.


 

An Alternative Thanksgiving Menu

 

 

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“Of course I’d be honored to write a Thanksgiving post for JoyofKosher.com but there’s only one problem…we don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.” I’m Canadian, my wife is Czech, our kids are Israeli and even though we’ve been living in the States for nearly eight years we’ve never really gotten into it. There are a number of reasons we don’t, none of them religious. As a Rabbi I feel that celebrating Thanksgiving is perfectly permitted, maybe even sensible. But as a family, especially a rabbinic family, we rarely have quiet times. Every weekend is busy; of course Shabbat is packed, but then so is Sunday. (Oh yeah, and my wife dislikes turkey.)

Thanksgiving for us is one of the few times we can count on everyone else being busy and leaving us to ourselves. I’m a University Chaplain and a Hillel Rabbi and the campus is like a ghost town during the Thanksgiving recess. The streets are empty, no one calls us, and we have a chance to have what I imagine a weekend is like for people who are not Shabbat observant. A little quiet, some leaf-raking, a bunch of football and some nice food.


 

Hand Held Pot Pie Recipes

 

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I grew up in a pie family. My mother was a terrific baker and although her apple pies were world class, she’d put just about anything under a crust, like cherries and plums and the peaches from the tree in our backyard and strawberries from the big patch near the goldfish pond.

But she didn’t stop with the sweet versions. She also put all sorts of leftovers into pie. Like chicken and roast beef. She combined chunks of whatever leftover meat there was with frozen mixed vegetables, folded in some condensed canned soup and plopped it all into a casserole dish. Then she topped it with crust and in 45 minutes we had yummy dinner.


 

Winter Squash Recipes

 

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As the last decorations come down from the Succah –gourds and all – and we prepare to dive into our year’s activities, I can’t help but wonder and ponder…what on earth do we do with these gourds anyway? Not to say that their place as a Succah decoration is an unjust existence, but c’mon…what does one actually do with them? Quite a lot, it seems, or at least so I discovered after doing some research (we love Google!). With over 700 known species, the gourd seems to have infinite craft and artistic possibilities and has been used by people throughout the world for musical instruments, pipes, masks, canteens, water jugs, dippers, birdhouses, bath sponges and as decorative pieces with intricate etched designs. So important were gourds to Haitian people in the early 1800s that gourds were temporarily made the national currency. But this is a cooking article, so I am clearly more interested in the edible possibilities. Some of the most delicious members of the gourd family include squash, pumpkin, cucumber and melons.

With the return of cooler weather, winter squash is back…and may just be the perfect warming ingredient, bound to qualify any dish as “comfort food” with all its sweet, orange creaminess. Though Butternut and Acorn squash happen to be the most common and known supermarket varieties of winter squash available, there are many other terrific kinds worth trying – Sweet Dumpling, Banana, Kabocha and Buttercup varieties, just to name a few. Each type has its own special flavor and texture. Using a new variety or a combination of a few may add a new flavor or dimension to your next squash dish.