The Kosher Home

 

The History of Kugel

 

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When the word kugel first appeared in Webster’s Dictionary in the early twentieth century, it was defined as “a suet pudding,” a characterization derived from similarities between kugel and British steamed puddings. Later, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary updated the definition to “a baked pudding.” Baking, however, was actually a late step in the kugel’s evolution. For the kugel’s (kuglen plural) origin lay not in a casserole, but rather as bread dumplings in a stew pot.

By the 12th century, the concept of dumplings spread from China along the Silk Road to Italy then Germany, around the same time that cholent reached Germany from Spain by way of France. Within a century or so, German cooks began dropping a bread batter containing a little egg as a binder into the center of the Sabbath stew, the dumpling developing a rich flavor and texture as it simmered overnight and, after morning services, served warm alongside the stew for lunch.


 

How To Make Ice Cream Without An Ice Cream Maker

 

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Although it is true that the best way to make smooth creamy ice cream is with an ice cream maker it is possible to get very good results without one as well. The key to creamy ice cream is to freeze the mixture quickly. In order to get the best results it is essential that the ice cream is well chilled before freezing. While this method may seem a bit strange it produces a creamy ice cream that is almost as smooth as one made with an ice cream maker.

Make ice cream according to the directions in the recipe, making sure to chill the mixture at least several hours but preferably overnight. Line two rimmed cookie sheets with plastic wrap. Pour half of the mixture onto each pan and freeze until completely firm. Remove one pan from the freezer. Working quickly, peel the ice cream off the plastic and break into medium-large pieces. Place them in the bowl of a food processor fit with a metal blade. Process until the ice cream is the texture of soft serve. Place in a container and freeze until firm. Repeat with the remaining ice cream. If making a recipe with a mix-in, such as cookie dough, fold the mix-in into the ice cream after removing it from the food processor.


 

Household Tips to Live By

 

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Summer fun is here and so are these fantastic tips to keep you out of the kitchen.

Here is a list of “Quick Hints” that I share at my Tupperware demonstrations with my customers.  I am sure you will find them very interesting and useful, so bookmark this page and save them for future reference.


 

A Taste of the Illy Francis Francis Y1

 

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Do you love the idea of a shot of convenience to go with your morning coffee?  I do, and I also like the idea of a no mess, one-touch single cup brew.  But to be perfectly honest, I haven’t been blown away by the quality of the coffee capsule competition.  My counter needs a little more flair and my coffee needs a little more flavor.  I’ve been using a Bodum French press for as long as I can remember and I never tasted a good reason to change.  So naturally I was curious (and hopeful) when my favorite espresso entered the single-serve coffee market.

Based in Trieste, Italy, illycaffè is led by chairman and CEO, Andrea Illy, the third generation of the Illy family.  If you are on the prowly for a high-quality single-cup automatic machine for under $300, their Francis Francis Y1 machine is exactly what you are looking for.  It has a simple, one-touch design – just what my tired eyes need in the morning.  Insert a capsule (Medium, Dark or Decaf), press the button, and a concentrated, full-bodied espresso topped with a rich crema is all yours in about a minute. The Y1’s aluminum body, tempered glass cupholder and compact silhouette (9.5 inch base) and fire engine red color make it a perfect fit in almost any space.  Because extraction takes place entirely inside the capsule, the coffee and machine never come in contact, so clean up is a snap.  All in all, it is an impressive package.  Although I am not ready to throw my French press away, Italy and France are going to get along just fine together in my kitchen.


 

Favorite Things

 

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Here are some of our favorite things, featured in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine.  All are available from our favorite store, Kitchen Clique, owned by our favorite gadget girl, Faigie Sprecher.

Charcoal Companion Pizzaque Pizza Stone Grill

Rather munch on veggies while everyone else is wolfing down the meat?  Make a veggie cheeseless pizza.  “Often, non-meat eaters don’t have something filling they enjoy at a BBQ.  This PizzaQue makes brick oven pizza using your grill.”  It just might be worth getting a second dairy grill-so you can make brick-oven style cheese pizza too!

Bodum Fyrkat Cone Charcoal Grill

“Isn’t it cute?” For anyone who doesn’t have a lot of space, or is tired of gas fumes or empty canisters, this is a charcoal grill that’s easy to clean, compact, light – and stylish.  There’s two cooking surfaces, a rotisserie, and the cone at the bottom screws off so you can remove the ashes without getting your fingers balck.”  The Bodum comes in a bunch of fun colors.

Breville Electronic Grill Removable Plates

“Yes, there are less expensive indoor grills. Panini makers will also give you grill lines,” says Faige. “But this is the king of electronic grills – it’s large, state-of-the-art, and wil give food that authentic BBQ flavor. It’s just like bringing your fancy barbecue indoors.

Camerons Beer Roaster

For Chicken Lovers. Tired of dry grilled chicken breasts? For the best, most moist chicken ever—pour your favorite marinade in the middle (or your favorite beer, the inspiration for this nifty cooking tool). “Stick the chicken on top, and cook over the grill or in the oven. The fat also drips down, resulting in a healthy BBQ option,” says Faige. That’s way cooler than chicken burgers.

WIN THIS! Contest ends August 17, 2011 at 9 am.

Cuisinart Griddler Grill Centro

For Shish Kebab Lovers “This indoor electronic grill has a cool feature that rotates the skewers so they cook evenly,” says Faige. “The top can convert from a grill to a griddle.”


 

Father’s Day Unique BBQ Sauces

 

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Let’s get real. We all know how uber important good BBQ sauce is to the success of your grilling. If you’ve got the right one, it’s all the seasoning you need; if you’ve got the wrong one, ain’t nothin gonna save your meat.

There are great bottled brands on the market, and “best” is a matter of taste. But if you are feeling a bit adventurous, why not try your hand at an easy homemade BBQ sauce recipe? I admit I never thought of creating my own BBQ sauce until I was inspired by the “DIY (Do-It-Yourself ) Diva” columnist, Felisa Billet, in my Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller magazine. It turns out there are some DIY recipes which are easier than you or at least I thought.


 

Easy Food Preparations When You Freeze with Ease

 

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I meet many people who are simply “afraid” to freeze any food merely because they have had bad “freezer-tasting” food in the past.  That is a false assumption.  The food they ate was just frozen and stored the wrong way.  It’s like trying to make cholent in a frying pan!

With summer rapidly approaching, we look forward to spending more time outside with our families.  Whenever my family and I would spend a great day outdoors, all I do is go to “Mom’s Diner”—my freezer—and pull out our dinner!  We never have to experience the “instant heartburn” some people get from takeout food!


 

How to Make Your Own Kosher Fish Sauce

 

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Q: I can’t find kosher anchovy paste or fish sauce. How do I make my own?
Amy, Tulsa OK

A: Amy, believe it or not, you are not alone. I hear this question often. It is hard to find these products with reliable kosher supervision just about everywhere.


 

Go Fishing! in Your Freezer

 

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Our busy lives take a toll on so much of our lives, including getting a homemade dinner on the table every night.  We feel forced to spend extra money on “takeout” food.  But that is not the only answer.  We can have our own “takeout” food right out of our own freezer.  All you need is a little forethought and some great tips.  That’s where I come in.

When you fill your freezer ahead of time, you won’t feel stressed out when holidays  or other busy days pop up in your life.   But, it is important to follow freezer safety tips and keep your freezer at zero degrees for optimum freshness of your frozen food.


 

Ten Tips for Designing and Building Kosher...

 

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Kosher or not kitchen design is as much a science as an art.  There are many essential concepts critical to any kitchen but for our purposes let’s look at what is essential for a functional Kosher Kitchen.

1)Materials:  Stainless Steel for all sinks and dishwasher interiors (with two sets of racks if in your budget).  Quartz resin or granite counter tops.  Quartz resin slabs can look like granite or not and almost any solid color is available.  This opens up the range of design possibilities to infinity!  Quartz counter tops can also contain an anti-microbial agent and is ten times stronger than granite.   Granite is beautiful and practical as well, but does need to be cleaned and treated with a water based sealant on a regular basis.


 

DIY Kosher – 3 Kid-Friendly Mother’s Day...

 

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Crafts - Painted Flower Pots

What can you give the woman who has it all for Mother’s Day?  Hair accessories?  A cookbook?  Perfume?  Nah. Better opt for something she can’t get herself (or return): kid-friendly craft projects made with love!


 

10 Essentials for my Passover Kitchen. Win our...

 

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There’s nothing that annoys me more than not having the right tools for the task at hand. There are enough stresses and headaches cooking for Passover that I make sure my kitchen is equipped with everything I need. Here is a list of the tools I must have in my kitchen. To some they may be superfluous but for me each item is very important. The one thing I haven’t listed here that is probably the most important thing to have in your kitchen is a good set of knives. Without good, well-sharpened knives it’s hard to do anything.

1. Potato Ricer
If you haven’t used or seen one, a potato ricer is like a giant garlic press – you just place cooked (boiled or baked) potatoes into the ‘bowl’ of the potato ricer and press the handle down, squeezing the potato through the small holes that line the bottom of the press. Out comes smooth, lump-free potato. It’s perfect for mashed potatoes, making filling for potato blintzes or topping Shepherd’s Pie or Chicken Pot Pie – two of my favourite meals for Chol Hamoed.


 

Mexican Fiesta Purim Seudah

 

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Go South of the Border for your Purim Seudah!  It falls on a Sunday, so no excuses!  CreativeJewishMom collaborates with Jamie Geller to help you create the perfect Mexican Fiesta Seudah with everything from the colorful vase to the poblanos. Ole!

It all starts with the right tablecloth, in this case, a Mexican blanket. and some bright crepe paper flowers. If you can’t find a Mexican blanket, any colorful (preferably woven) table cloth can certainly work.  Bring out all the colorful dishes you own, paint some whimsical styrofoam fruit, and make some napkin rings from plastic bottles and a recycled bleach bottle to match. Just look how great this table looks! If you don’t have any colorful glasses, or would like to add some to your table, it is super easy and a great project for the kids.


 

Adventures With My Pressure Cooker

 

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What is round, eco-friendly, and full of hot air? Not Al Gore.  A pressure cooker!  A pressure cooker is a pot with a locking lid that creates an airtight seal to suppress the steam created when food heats up.  It allows liquid to boil at 250°F rather than the usual boiling point of 212°F.  The higher temperature reduces the cooking time for most foods and the steam tenderizes the ingredients making it an ideal cooking method for soups, stews, rice and beans.

I’ve heard pressure cookers are a convenient cooking tool, but I didn’t know much about them.  I also heard scary stories about exploding pressure cookers!  Last year, at a nutrition workshop, I met a colleague who was raving about her pressure cooker.  It was easy to use, cooked foods in half the time and safe, she explained.  It was time to investigate.  I learned that the stories of pots exploding were decades old, when manufacturers used inferior materials to save money.  The days of exploding pressure cookers are over, the modern pressure cooker is filled with safety mechanisms that provide all the advantages of pressure cooking without the risk of sauce on the ceiling.


 

SodaStream – The New Bubbly

 

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When I was a child growing up, there were frequent visits to my grandparents apartment in the Bronx, New York, for dozens of memorable holiday meals. And while the drinks on the table at our yom tov gatherings in suburban Long Island were soda in all kinds of 1960’s pop-art colors (think lime green, razzy purple and cherry red), the tablescape at my grandma’s house was noticeably different. For one thing, there were lacy tablecloths, dainty silver spoons, tea cups made of glass, china plates with gold rims (no plastic or paper here!) lots of sugar cubes – and not a soda bottle to be seen. The choice of drink was seltzer, an unflavored, bubbly fizzy thing that the adults guzzled and the kids avoided at all costs. We did try doctoring it up with lots of sugar cubes and sliced up oranges but we never managed to make it palatable. We would eventually become cranky enough so that our good-natured Grandpa would take us downstairs to the corner grocery and let us pick out a few bottles of soda (this was way before Snapple, Vitamin Water and organic Pomegranate juice hit the market).

Fast forward a generation and we find ourselves around the holiday table, with our octagenarian-parents, a tableful of children and bottles of…seltzer. If you are like me, in pursuit of healthful, kosher products, you are probably looking for natural products that eschew artificial dyes, too much sugar and ingredients that you would need a freshman chemistry textbook to pronounce. And, somehow it just didn’t seem right to eat Jamie’s delicious Brisket in Wine Sauce and wash it down with Coke!