Jewish Food

 

Celebrate Israel with Traditional Israeli Food

 

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There are many ways to celebrate Israel here in the US on Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s independence day.  Most of the time it involves eating our favorite Israeli foods.  In Israel families pack large picnics and go out to BBQ and there is no reason we can’t do the same here.  Israeli food like Hummus and Zaatar has become increasingly popular among all people in the US over the past couple of years and it has become such a part of most of our homes that I rarely sit at a Shabbat table without being served hummus and often matbucha.  My favorite part is starting the meal with lots of little salads and spreads with some fresh pita.  Then you can grill up some chicken or kabobs or fry some falafel and your meal is complete.  Here is the menu I am thinking about this year, feel free to make your own spreads or take a little help from the store.

israeli style hummus

Israeli Style Hummus


 

Quick Passover Breakfasts

 

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After all the preparation for the Seders you know you are set for dinner with leftovers, at least until they run out or you get tired of eating them.  But what about breakfast?  How do you manage to feed the family in the morning when you are in a rush, tired of eating matzo brie (although can one get tired of that delicious little pancake?), and your family doesn’t like commercial cereals that resemble their favorite everyday cereal but has a mouth feel of Styrofoam (my opinion)?

Here are some alternatives for breakfast that can start your day, and stomachs, on a happy note!


 

Dress It Up: Matzah Pizza Recipes *Giveaway*

 

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I am not a big fan of kosher for Passover foods.  Meaning, I like to make things that I actually make and eat over the course of the year, recipes that are inherently kosher for Passover.

But there are two exceptions, matzah brei and matzah pizza.  Two foods I so enjoy and always wonder why I don’t bring them into the year-round rotation.


 

Cookbook Spotlight: Nosh On This (Gluten Free) ...

 

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Last year we featured Lisa Horel from the GlutenFreeCanteen blog and her first book, the Book of Nosh, filled with gluten free classic Jewish bakery foods. After Lisa became gluten free she wouldn’t give up her favorites and with so many people needing to be gluten free she has fullfilled a great need for these recipes. Check out the full interview with Lisa here, In the JOK Kitchen with Gluten Free Canteen.

Lisa is back again with more gluten free recipes in Nosh On This, she says, “Nosh on This is a larger, more comprehensive book with a detailed introduction about gluten-free flours along with lots of helpful baking tips. It contains over 100 recipes including a chapter on baked savories and a chapter on how to use a baking mix in a variety of different ways. The book is full of photos – one for each recipe.”


 

Sweet and Spicy Sambusak For Purim

 

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Curry leaves, fenugreek, and multi-colored mustard seeds aren’t part of every day Ashkenazi fare. Integral to Indian foods, they are all part of the vast sweep of Jewish cuisine that includes distinct Indian- Jewish communities.

Kolkata (Calcutta), Cochin and Mumbai (Bombay) were home to the largest Jewish communities for centuries, and yet were relatively unknown to the West. There were smaller Jewish communities dotted throughout the Indian subcontinent. They developed foodways deeply influenced by their neighbors, from spices to techniques.


 

Celebrating Memories – Chicken Paprikash...

 

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He was a holocaust survivor. He was a husband. He was a father. He was a Zaide. He was our hero. Alex Lebovic, my father-in-law, just recently passed away. No words can really express the emotion we feel as a dear one passes on to the next world. We perhaps handle it with grace, strength, overwhelming sadness, humor, denial, guilt, or perhaps with a degree of stoicism. For me, my face, my actions, my words are mere cover-ups to the way I really feel. My father in law was a lot of things, yet writing them on paper or expressing them verbally seems to diminish everything he was. And because of that, for me, I need to celebrate and honor his memory.

In today’s world, Judaism perhaps is just as much a religion as it is a culture. And food is a huge part of that culture. It is quite unlikely that you would find gefilte fish, schmaltz, cholent, gribenes or even potato kugel, outside the Jewish home. Our many holidays are laden with yummy and traditional foods.  Food for my father-in-law, meant being alive. Being a survivor of such notorious concentration camps as, Auschwitz and Dachau where food was scarce, if at all, gave my father-in-law a longing for the dishes he grew up on.


 

In the JOK Kitchen with Tina Wasserman *Giveaway*

 

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Tina Wasserman has been in the food writing business for a while, but two years ago when she wrote her first cookbook, Entree to Judaism: A Culinary Exploration of The Jewish Diaspora, she really appeared on the map.  Tina loves to share the history of our food and helps us all connect to our Jewish roots through food.  Her new book, Entree to Judaism For Families, is filled with the tools to help kids of all ages learn to cook in the kitchen and learn bits of history too.  I had the chance to meet Tina recently and I came away with so much amazing knowledge.  Let’s see what we can learn now.

Your books are filled with little history lessons connecting the food to Jewish history, how did you learn all these facts?


 

The Best Chicken Liver Recipes

 

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Once upon a time…. and it wasn’t that long ago either, we had to grill and kosher liver at home. Today, thank goodness, we can order it form some butchers grilled and already koshered for us.

I remember my mother having to kosher her own meat. I can still see those koshering racks, chunks of salt and lumps of ‘something’ floating about in aluminum buckets under our kitchen table, but come dinnertime, thank goodness, it had miraculously evolved into a magnificent roast.


 

8 Nights of Idaho Potato Latkes

 

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The classic potato latke, fried to a crispy golden brown and emerging from the pan still sizzling, is a family favorite during Hanukkah and year round.  Although the standard ingredients are simple enough, I have seen versions with no added flour, sautéed onions, thick, fluffy, grated by hand, shredded or even mashed.  What makes a really great latke is a really great potato, which is why your search should start and end in Idaho.


 

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.