Kosher Cooking School

 

The World of Culinary Sustainability

 

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The concept of ‘sustainability’ is a growing trend both in the world of agriculture and the world of food. Many of today’s farmers are doing away with the traditional methods of farming, which includes use of chemicals, machinery, and mass production of unhealthy and heavily genetically-modified foods, and are returning to producing natural and healthy nutrient rich produce. Since the 1930’s and 1940’s, we have lost thirty percent of the nutrients in our whole foods, and the ‘sustainability movement’ is trying to move back toward the ‘real’ food that existed prior to World War II.  Many food manufacturers, as well as restaurants, supermarkets, and other food related establishments, have openly welcomed the concept of ‘sustainability’ and incorporated this philosophy as well.

It is not a rare occurrence these days that I run across a product in grocery store that boasts “sustainably raised” or “sustainably farmed”. One of the reasons that I think I am so fond of many of the markets past the Mason-Dixon line, especially around Upstate New York and New England, is their effort to be part of the ‘sustainable’ mindset. Many of these markets, from small individual owned grocery stores to large chain supermarkets, are now seen boasting their fine selections of only locally grown fruit, no-growth hormone chickens, cage-free eggs, and all grass-fed beef. ‘Sustainability’ in regards to the culinary world essentially means going away from all the engineered foods we have available today and back to the natural. It means growing natural, unadulterated produce and selling it in the local stores. ‘Sustainability’ means treating food animals humanely, not injecting them with growth-hormones, and feeding them properly (because ultimately what they eat ends up in our stomachs). Sustainability means being good to the earth, for it in turn will be good to us.


 

How A New Recipe Is Born

 

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Normally I would enter into my kitchen and if I don’t have anything specific in mind I’d open the refrigerator and look for the leftovers; then whatever I find I start making something out of it. Sometimes when I stuff vegetables or dough I use the remaining filling to spontaneously create a new dish. Normally in cases like this no one asks me for the recipes, so in general I don’t write them down.

Now I learned my lesson. I posted a picture of one of my food creations on Facebook and one of my fans asked for the recipe – what a catch. Well I have to be honest and say this was one of those recipes that I improvised without taking notes.


 

Game Day Recipes From South Africa

 

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When Tamar asked me what we would eat, in South Africa, if we had the equivalent of the super bowl, the first thing that came to my mind, and confirmed by ‘my butcher’, was The Curry Cup Final. This annual inter-provincial rugby match is held in either of the two finalists province. What we would eat, needed no confirmation, most South Africans gather around a braai (Bbq) either before or after any sporting match. The charcoal braai is normally started up at half time and by the end of the match the braai is ready to cook the meat. Just the aroma of boerewors can excite the senses and arouse even the most avid vegetarian’s desire to take just ‘one bite’!

Boerewors in South Africa is mostly served on pap (mielie meal/corn meal) with a tomato and onion gravy. It’s the tomato and onion gravy that most pride themselves on. It’s one of those old, traditional and sometimes secret family recipe’s that’s inevitably shared after a couple of beers.


 

How To Cook Turkey London Broil

 

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There are three things that intrigue me… first and foremost is food and the many ways it can be turned from nourishment into an edible work of art.  Next is words… the written, the spoken, the meanings.  And finally there is history.  The history of our people, my people, antique furniture and old photos.  Along with these very separate subjects is often a chance for them to come together, especially for us food writing chefs.

Old recipes and those with interesting names are also fun for me to work with.  Where did they come from, and what has made them endure the test of time and the counting of calories?  Who was the first one to create a dish, and who was the first one to put it in a cookbook?  A modern day favorite is the Caesar Salad, which does not hail from the Roman Emperor Caesar, but from the Grand Master Maitre d’ Hotel at the brand new Waldorf Astoria of the 1930′s.  Or was it the Italian Chef Caesar Cardini, living in Mexico in the 1920′s?


 

Wild Rice Recipes

 

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Wild Rice is actually the seed of a grass plant. The plant grows in shallow lakes and slow moving streams. Wild rice is native to America and China and is a staple of Ojibwa Native Americans.  Wild rice is endangered in many areas due to loss of habitat and it varies a lot in quality. The term wild does not accurately describe the growing environment and much of the rice we buy is cultivated and mechanically harvested.  True wild rice is river grown and hand harvested.

The perennial plants produce delicious and fragrant seeds each year. The seeds are very fragile and are susceptible to shattering which drives the price of the seeds up, that is why true wild rice is expensive, full flavored and elegant, but worth out.  Seek out a sustainable true wild rice that is hand harvested and you will be rewarded with a delicious and nutritious side dish. It is high in protein and dietary fiber so that is an added bonus.


 

Have You Got The X Factor?

 

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Have you got the cooking X factor?

One of my guests who participated in my cooking tour recently complained, “I get frustrated to invest so much time in cooking when the food is gone so quickly.” Can you imagine what I answered?


 

New Recipes Using Homemade Dried Falafel Mix

 

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It really doesn’t get any better than homemade falafel fresh out of the oil! But making falafel can be a bit of a pain and I find myself wanting to just go out and buy falafel or use that boxed mix to make them at home. Instead of using that sodium-filled falafel mix from a box, I’ve created my own easy recipe for homemade dried falafel mix using garbanzo bean flour. The falafel mix is filled with the flavors of cumin, parsley, paprika, garlic, coriander, turmeric, and chili powder and it tastes good on just about anything.

Falafel-Crusted Chicken with Tahini Sauce


 

A Thanksgiving Kishke

 

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There’s a romantic relationship we seem to have with food, even the simplest food. Kishke, the simple stuffed gut is an Eastern European dish that I assume came from the poverty stricken communities in Eastern Europe.

When it comes to tying traditions together, like Thanksgiving and Chanukah, we turn to that romance and come up with recipes and a menu that combines the best of both worlds and a Thanksgiving Kishke is simply delicious. I’d never suggest skipping an actual stuffing at the Thanksgiving table, but if you’re making Friday night dinner the next day, this might be a good way to go. It’s oh-so-simple and you can either bake it in the oven or slow cook it in a soup or stew.


 

How To Make Kosher Paella Without a Paella Pan

 

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Paella is one hearty dish! Typically filled to the paella-pan brim with rice, chicken, seafood, spices, vegetables and more. There is no minimum and no maximum to how many ingredients are combined to make a Paella. Since I keep kosher, my paella was a little more tamed. Seafood- outta the dish! In place of the “shrimp” I used incredible sausage. By sautéing the sausage first, my Paella base of flavor was born. Salty, briny and meaty sausage flavor; I’m a fan of that!

Before I continue with the plethora of aromatic ingredients, let me begin by how to cook a paella. Sadly, I do not own a paella pan. I even asked for an extension to write this article so I could buy cute mini paella pans for individually served dishes. Tamar, the wonderful editor at Joy Of Kosher told me “You don’t need to buy a paella pan… how many people will have this in their kitchen’s already? Just use a wok, or a deep frying pan.” Thanks to Tamar, I saved some money, and realized that my good ol’ giant meat frying pan would do the job.


 

How To Cook and Eat an Artichoke

 

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Growing up in the 70’s, my mom always tried new dishes, from, sweet breads, tongue, calf’s heart, caviar, and liver. My family had a sophisticated palate. I on the other hand would complain if I tasted pepper. Although, my taste buds were not as sophisticated as the rest of my family, I was pretty sure I was exposed to a cultivated selection of food choice.

I was wrong!


 

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.


 

5 Recipes That Will Teach You About Prime Rib

 

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The first lesson I learned, marrying into a fourth-generation family of butchers, was that the popular kosher cuts such as Scotch Fillet would never make it onto our table. This cut was ‘for the customers’ and it was not negotiable! In fact, it was very reluctantly, that I was given a Prime Rib roast for this photographic shoot.

Raw Prime Rib


 

Bar Snacks with Cocktails

 

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What’s better on a hot Summer day than an ice cold cocktail? I have been thinking up some delicious, fruity, Summer cocktails for a family BBQ that’s coming up, and I decided to make a little project out of it, so here we have it: At Home Cocktails and Bar Snacks Thankfully I have my husband to test all my kitchen experiments, especially now that the basketball finals are on- he loved watching the Miami Heat dominate the court the other night, while sipping my Mango Mojito! If you are having a BBQ this Summer, or a little get together with friends, try serving one (or both) of my yummy Summer cocktails and all of my homemade bar snacks.

Bourbon Slushie

I served these Bourbon Slushies to the adults at my son’s birthday party and people asked me to text them the recipe on the spot, it was so good!


 

Easy Slow Cooker Dinners

 

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In many houses, crockpots are associated with Shabbos day Cholent. However, that is far from their only use. Slow cookers have earned themselves a prominent spot in the kitchen, and rightfully so.

The crockpot, originally called the Beanery because its original sole intended use was to cook beans, was first patented in 1970. It was not until 1971, when Rival, the company who owned the patent and was doing in-house testing, realized that this slow cooker was fantastic for slow cooking meat as well as beans and other foods. Finally in 1974, the crockpot that we all know and use was introduced to the market and has been a huge success ever since.


 

Homemade Pizza and Focaccia Recipes With...

 

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No matter how you slice it, pizza has gone mainstream and is now one of the most popular fast foods in North America.  Pizza was first made popular in the United States by soldiers who brought the concept back from Italy at the end of World War II. The literal translation for pizza is “pie,” but pizza pie is generally savory, not sweet. Pizza is usually round in shape and is made from crispy, yet tender yeast dough topped with
tomato sauce, grated mozzarella cheese and various toppings such as bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, even anchovies. Different cheeses can be used: goat cheese, feta, Monterey Jack, Swiss and Parmesan.

Gourmet-style pizzas might be topped with shiitake, porcini or Portobello mushrooms, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, hearts of palm, capers, salsa, tomato slices, sun-dried tomatoes, zucchini slices, fresh or dried herbs (basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme), sliced red onions or leeks, partly cooked eggplant slices, chopped spinach, garlic slivers, blanched broccoli, cauliflower or asparagus, grilled potato slices, green or black olives, even smoked salmon and cream cheese!