Kosher Cooking School

 

Vegetarian Monte Cristo Sandwich

 

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A Monte Cristo sandwcih is like a stuffed, savory french toast. Similar to a Croque Madame, these sandwiches are typically filled with ham and cheese and then dipped in an egg batter before being pan fried. To make a kosher version, you can just leave out the ham and make a glorified grilled cheese, but I wanted to take that a step further and add in apple slices.

Everyone knows apples work well with cheddar, in my recipe I actually used a Blue Marble cheese from Sincerely Brigitte, but a cheddar would work well too. The apple didn’t really get soft and I really enjoyed the crunch that it provided in this sandwich. While preparing this sandwich I learned that it is customary to serve a Monte Cristo sandwich with a sweet sauce, so I served mine with a Plum and Fennel Chutney I got from Kosher Artisanal. It went perfectly.


 

Ancient Pans for Modern Flavors

 

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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).


 

Using and Taking Care of Copper Pots

 

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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.


 

Tips For Cooking With Terracotta Earthenware

 

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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.


 

3 Recipes For The Perfect Burger

 

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There is nothing like a juicy burger, all siz- zling and crackling right off the grill to get the appetite going. I love grilling season and will arm wrestle my husband to see who gets to do the honors.

The Perfect Burger


 

Burgers 101

 

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For such a simple, classic sandwich, there are a surprising number of competing theories on how to make the perfect burger. Chef Mike Gershkovich insists that a true hamburger is made from 100% ground beef. But over at Pomegranate, Brooklyn’s most prestigious supermarket, “meatologist” Ari Heinemann disagrees. At Pomegranate, the most popular ground beef blend is the so-called Perfect Burger, a closely guarded secret recipe involving salt, onion powder, soy sauce and minced onions. And at Wolf & Lamb, Chef Daniel favors a simple mix of salt, pepper, garlic and onion— “seasonings that enhance the natural flavor of the meat, and don’t compete with it,” as Wuensch explained. Both Heinemann and Gershkovich recommend using ground chuck, an affordable and reliable choice.

At Wolf & Lamb, the chefs put aside scraps as they trim top-notch meat cuts like rib-eye and ribs, and then grind those scraps into their famous rib-eye burgers— Wuensch recommends home cooks try the same trick for an affordable way to have burgers made of top-quality meat.


 

Brisket Is Best When…

 

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…overcooked.  Really!  If you want that tender, soft, melt-in-your-mouth, fork tender, cuts like “butter” beef then brisket is your best friend, your baby, your #1.  Although in Israel it’s designated by the number #3 but that’s neither here nor there.  Most often we cookbook authors will end a brisket recipe with instructions to let it rest for at least 15 minutes before slicing against the grain and serving.  But really, there is a better way to do that and so much more.  Listen very closely to what I am writing and you are reading here:  No matter what the recipe tells you, mine included brisket is best when…


 

Summer Barbecue 101: Planning a Healthy Cookout

 

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Summertime is the time when many of our spouses love to don their chef’s apron and light up the barbecue grill to cook outdoors.  Personally, I love it!  I do prepare the foods in the house, the marinades, salads etc.   I set up everything in individual Tupperware containers with seals, so they stay bug-free outdoors, than I let “hubbie” take over!  I am free to enjoy my guests without worrying about the cooking. All the men also love to congregate around the barbecue grill sharing their opinions.

Grilling is a favorite summer cooking technique that enhances the flavor of many dishes, including lean meat, skinless chicken breasts, fish, veggies, and even fruits. Whether you’re already a grill master — or aspiring to become one — you’ll still benefit from using the right grilling utensils. If you are a“newbie”, make sure you have the following equipment on hand before you get started. (clicking on the links will take you to our Amazon store page)


 

Instead of Heavy Cream, Try Coconut Milk

 

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ASK US: What do you recommend as a A SAVORY pareve substitute for heavy cream.

ANSWER:


 

How To Cook With Herbs

 

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Herb Guide To Cooking


 

How To Cut a Pineapple – Step By Step...

 

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Ask Us:What is the best way to cut pineapple?

Answer


 

DIY – Fruit Filled Popsicles

 

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There is nothing like a cold refreshing fruit flavored popsicle in the heat of Summer, but you don’t have to wait for Summer to start enjoying these cool fruit filled pops.  Start mixing, pureeing and freezing now with these amazing flavor combos.

Enjoy these popsicles for dessert or a quick snack. You can use any popsicle molds you desire or you can simply freeze these recipes in cups inserted with popsicle sticks.  Start with these flavors and then go on to try your own, you will learn you can “Let It Go” and you can’t get too far off the frozen path.


 

Toasted Almond Milk and Au Creme Passover Dessert

 

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In my continual quest for food worth every bite, I love to explore the entire culinary world and create unified Seders reminiscent of a specific time and place in Jewish history. This year my theme will be the French countryside. Not exactly associated with Pesach, I know, but Rashi was there, so for me, it works. I wanted to make a no-bake, pareve pot au crème that is simple and has the texture of the creamiest pudding you’ve ever had.

Pot au crème, or pot of cream, is a traditional French dessert that has been found as early as Medieval times. It is a custard cooked in a water bath, or bain marie. The cups used have a history all their own–they were often made of the finest porcelain with either one or two handles and small fitted cover on top. I inherited two sets of Passover dishes but alas, none include a dainty pot au creme set, so I make due with some sturdy tea cups.


 

The Kosher Butcher Wife’s Favorite Passover...

 

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As a proud South African, this Pesach, my Seder theme is ‘Out of Egypt into Africa’. This year all the beautiful inherited Pesach crockery will be used after the Seder. Last week our Rabbi gave a shiur on the importance of keeping the children entertained during the Seder. After all isn’t it their night too? How right he is. I can still remember, as a child, falling asleep under the dining room table only to be woken up by the lebberdikke thumping on the table when ‘Echad Mi Yodeiyah’ was sung. So this year it’s an African themed Seder where table decor will be combinations of white linen, leopard print embossed hessian overlays, white miners lanterns filled with African daisies, Wee Willie Winkie candle holders, tin plates and cups, wooden serving spoons, wooden matzah boxes and a very special carved wooden seder plate.


 

Tips and Tricks for Cooking With Kids

 

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Pesach is a time we focus on 3 specific themes: Traditions, Children, and Food. With all the time spent in the kitchen preparing food for the plethora of meals consumed over this week, now is a great time to begin the tradition of getting kids involved with food preparation. Not only is it a great way to teach family and religious customs, but there are so many more benefits to be gained, such as:

  • Learning math, science, and language skills
  • Learning about nutrition, food skills, and social skills involved with working together and sharing space and equipment
  • Being more likely to eat with family resulting in: making better food choices, having better nutrient intake, healthier weight, reduced risk of developing eating disorders, improved social interactions with peers, and better school performance
  • Better intake of fruits and vegetables with decreased intake of fats, soda and fried food

While you may be wary of including children in food preparation as you can do it so much faster and neater without their involvement, cooking with your children can be a positive and fun experience. These tips make it a fun and safe way to reconnect after a long day, or just relax together with a shared activity.