Jewish Food

 

Shawarma: Israeli Fast Food

 

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The most popular fast foods of Israel are by far falafel and shawarma. Both are served in either pita or lafa and with a variety of salads and dips, resulting in the perfect bite of food. Traditionally, a pita is filled with falafel and/or shawarma, a shmear of hummus, some Israeli salad, and topped off with pickles, olives, charif, and fried eggplant. The tastes and textures are phenomenal and can become quite addicting.

In last year’s Hanukkah issue the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine we created the ultimate Israeli fast food experience.  With recipes for all the Israeli fast food favorites, including salatim, pita, falafel and of course Shawarma.  To see the full story and get all the recipe order your subscription and past issue here, Subscribe. Today we are sharing here the recipe for Shawarma.


 

Homemade Shawarma

 

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Homemade Shawarma Posted 10/29/2013 by Shifra Klein
Shawarma is a classic Middle Eastern fast food. Piles of meat are layered on a spit with fat and spices, and cooked surrounded by heat. When you order a portion of shawarma, the chef will shave off the exterior layer of meat, which is dripping with spices and flavor. The heat creates a crunchy, juicy bite of meat. As the roasted dark meat is shaved, a layer of pale chicken, not yet exposed to heat is revealed. After rotating one or two times around the heat source, the once pale chicken becomes golden and roasted perfectly, ready for the next individual purchasing a quick bite of Middle Eastern goodness. Shawarama can be made using turkey, lamb, beef or chicken. To recreate the texture and taste of authentic shawarma it is best to use the meat of chicken legs as this meat is fattier and has more flavor than chicken breast. You can use chicken breast, but know that it will not taste as authentic. Double or triple the spice rub recipe for multiple uses. You can also use the spice rub for chicken or turkey kebobs as well.

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Israeli Food: The Fusion Continues

 

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Israeli cuisine, reflective of the Mediterranean diet, is redolent with fresh produce, legumes, fish, herbs, spices, and olive oil. But it was not always so. The first Hebrew cookbook, How to Cook in Palestine by Erna Meyer (1936), recommended: “We housewives must make an attempt to free our kitchens from European customs, which are not appropriate to Palestine.” Meyer appealed to adopt zucchini, eggplants, okra, and olives and eventually people did (although not so much okra). Diced cucumber and tomatoes became ubiquitous ‘salat’ or ‘Israeli salad.’ From the dining halls of kibbutzim arose a new way of eating and thinking about food, inspired by biblical Israel and based on the modern Levant. Some European food traditions endured.  The German quark cheese emerged as the predominant Israeli processed dairy product, g’vina levana. In due course, immigrants from more than 70 countries contributed to Israel’s culinary diversity and continuing evolution.


 

Use Your Leftover Brisket For New Meals

 

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I hate wasting food. I hate throwing out leftovers. It’s a hangover from my upbringing. I can still hear my parents’ voice in my head, telling me about the poor starving children in Europe.

Usually there’s no waste at my house though because these days I’m cooking just for two, which means small portions and not much extra. But at holiday time it’s back to mama for my grown daughters and their families, and like most other old-fashioned Jewish mothers, I always cook too much of everything. My kids leave with doggie bags. Still, there’s always plenty of food left in the fridge.


 

In the Kitchen with Traditional Jewish Cooking

 

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Cook and food writer, Ruth Joseph, and former food editor of the Jewish Chronicle, Simon Round came together to bring us a compendium of Jewish recipes in the new cookbook, Traditional Jewish Cooking.  This book takes you on a culinary journey, from the warm climates of Africa and the Middle East to the cooler temperatures of Europe and North America.  This book covers all the bases with Ashkenazi and Sephardi classics you will definitely want to add to your repertoire.  Don’t miss the savory vegetable noodle kugel, just in time for Shavuot.

What motivated you to write this book?


 

Chocolate Falafel with Fruit Salad and Parmesan...

 

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This blog post is all about reinventing Israeli cuisine in honor of Jamie making Aliyah. With Yom Ha’atzmeut around the corner, I don’t think there’s a better time to introduce it! When you think about Israeli foods, I think that there is nothing more Israeli then falafel.

Falafel is the quintessential example of Israel itself, not just its cuisine. Its flavors are loud, obnoxious, and loved by all; this dessert rendition is the same. You have the rich fried chocolate falafel balls paired with the fresh and sweet fruit salad and perfectly balanced with the salty parmesan tuile.


 

Make Ahead Recipes For Third Meal

 

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With Passover just behind us, we can relax and enjoy the easier pace of spring and summer. The days are getting longer, a fact we notice most on Shabbat. Whereas the end of the Sabbath once arrived while we were still groggy from our naps and surfeited from second meal, we now find we can’t make it to sundown without some stirrings of hunger.  That’s where third meal comes in.

Not the heavy, meat-laden, many-coursed repasts we enjoy at first and second meals, third meal is a lighter, more casual affair. There is the obligatory challoh, but we can now accompany the bread with simple cold salads based on vegetables, grains, eggs, or fish. The long gap between second and third meals means we may also be past the maximum 6-hour wait between meat and milk and can have a dairy meal, if we like.


 

Cooking Brisket – Low and Slow

 

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Brisket is still trending! Something so traditional that can reinvent itself each year, has to be the trendiest cut around. There is always a new brisket recipe being circulated, in fact, I don’t think any cut of meat has been so well utilized as much as brisket. Whether pickled, boiled, steamed, roasted, barbequed or baked, the versatility of brisket cannot be beaten. Now that’s trendy!


 

The Ultimate Jewish Food Reinvented –...

 

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So I have a friend who sends me food every Succos. We daven in the same little shul, and our husbands are friendly. So a day or so before Succos, she called me to tell me she was sending over a trayof stuffed cabbage. I thanked her, and offered to send over a potato kugel - I was in the middle of making a batch at the moment. She told me she didn’t need potato kugel, but if I was making yapchik that would be lovely. ” Sure, absolutely, no problem,” I told her before we hung up.
Turning to my husband, I asked him ” Yapchik is potato kugel with meat inside, right?” He told me it was, that he had the chance to taste in shul. I smiled to myself, and began to make what I thought was yapchik. I sent it with my husband to take on his way to shul that night. After Succos, my friend called me. ” I just wanted to tell you, my husband said this yapchik was better than the ones he’s eaten before- he said it was different- there was meat all throughout and that was good.” I thanked her and went on my way..til I found out what I had made wasn’t yapchik. At least not in the traditional sense.
You see, I knew I couldn’t just put raw meat into raw potato kugel, bake it at 350 or 400 for 3 hours (how I usually bake my potato kugels) and expect it to be done. I couldn’t even do it even if I used chopped meat. So when I made what I thought was yapchik I used cold-cuts. Not just off the shelf- I used navel pastrami, 1st cut corned beef and genuine turkey breast. That explained why it was different – I’ve heard that with traditional yapchik the meat doesn’t mix all the way through.
So if it’s not yapchik, why am I calling it Amerikaner Yapchik? To me, it’s yapchik, and deli makes it completely American. The best part of this recipe? It cooks like regular potato kugel..and its even better the next day!
Click here for the Amerikaner Yapchik


 

The Best Challah Dough

 

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Watch Jamie Geller prepare her fabulous challah dough.


 

How to Make Cholent

 

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Jamie Geller and hubby show you how to make cholent in this Quick & Kosher video. Find the recipe here.


 

Stuffed Latkes

 

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A latke with a surprise in the middle is a great way to update the classic Chanukah dish. Be creative and stuff latkes with anything you have on hand. Maybe even use it as a way to get your kids to eat their veggies by adding peas, broccoli, tomatoes, zucchini, or spinach.

Start with my favorite Basic Latke Recipe.


 

Gefilte Fish Recipes

 

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There is a popular custom to eat fish on Shabbat and many people regularly start the Shabbat meal with a cold fish appetizer like gefilte fish.  It is nice to have something you can make ahead and serve cold, but that doesn’t mean it has to be the same each week.   To be honest growing up with jarred gefilte, I never thought I liked any form of gefilte.  In college I was introduced to the frozen loaf and found that it actually could taste quite good and doesn’t have to come with jelly.  Since then I have found so many new ways to make and serve a cold fish appetizer and have been inspired by Jamie’s ideas too.  Here are some new ways to serve and old food.

Starting with Jamie’s famous Spiced Gefilte Fish, so gorgeous it made the cover of her first book, Quick & Kosher From the Bride who Knew Nothing.  Now it is time for you to try it.


 

Cooking Brisket – 5 Sweet Recipes

 

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For a busy cook, for whom cooking is not the priority, recipes that require a little bit of preparation followed by at least one fuss-free hour are choice. Perhaps this is why so many Jewish cooks cook with brisket. Since it is a cut from the lower chest of beef, it has a lot of connective tissue that needs to be properly broken down in order to tenderize. Braising the brisket as a pot roast for holiday meals is the perfect way to break down the connective tissue. Just ensure to keep the meat covered and that it has plenty of liquid to cook in to avoid a dry and stringy cut of beef.

Since braising meat can take around three hours to cook, it is the perfect recipe to prepare before a big holiday: prepare it, stick it in the oven, and work on all of the other patchke dishes while it cooks. Over the years, brisket has penetrated the collective unconscious as a “Jewish food.” This dates back to nineteenth century Europe, because it was, and remains today, a relatively cheap cut of meat. Since it is lean meat, almost none of it goes to waste. Brisket just takes a little bit of patience, so that it gets tender and delicious. Here are some brisket recipes for Rosh Hashanah.


 

Papanasi – Romanian Cheese Sweets

 

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Papanasi (pronounced “papanash”) are traditional Romanian cheese sweets. I grew up in a Romanian Jewish family. Most of my childhood’s cuisine was based on Romanian dishes, mostly meat, potatoes and eggplants but there were also cheese dishes that I loved – savory and sweet.

Since I became vegetarian, 22 years ago, I’ve been focusing on those vegetable and dairy dishes.  One of the dairy sweets that both my grandmother and mother used to make (and still does, G’d bless her) is called Papanash.  The original Papanash that you can find in most Romanian Restaurants is a sweet cheese DOUGHNUT that looks a little similar to the American doughnuts we’re accustomed to (as oppose to Hanukka’s doughnuts that do not have a hole and are filled with jam or other fillings), except the Papanash doughnuts do not come out as round as American doughnuts because their dough is softer.