Kosher Tips

 

Tip #9 – Substitution for Buttermilk

 

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No buttermilk? Mix 1 tablespoon lemon juice into 1 cup milk.


 

Tip #7 – Tips on Grilling Tofu and Fish

 

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When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray before placing it on the grill.


 

Tip #6 – Best Way to Oil a Grill

 

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To oil the grill rack, oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.)


 

Tip #5 – How to Pit a Cherry?

 

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To pit a cherry, halve it with a paring knife then pry out the pit with the tip of the knife, or use a cherry pitter.


 

Tip #4 – What is Greek Yogurt?

 

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Greek-style yogurt is made by removing the whey from cultured milk. Removing the whey gives it an extra thick and creamy texture.


 

Tip #3 – What is Quinoa?

 

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Quinoa is a delicately flavored, protein-rich grain. Rinsing removes any residue of saponin, quinoa’s natural, bitter protective covering. Find it in natural-foods stores and the natural-foods sections of many supermarkets.


 

Tip #2 – What kind of tofu should I buy?

 

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Precooked “baked tofu” is firmer than water-packed tofu and comes in a wide variety of flavors.


 

Tip #1- How much vanilla bean do I use?

 

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On tablespoon of Vanilla Paste is equal to one whole bean.


 

Kosher Cheese Guide

 

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Fresh Cheeses The term “fresh” is used to describe cheeses that have not been aged, or are very slightly cured. These cheeses have a high moisture content and are usually mild and have a very creamy taste and soft texture. These may be made from all types of milk and in the United States, these cheeses will always be pasteurized.   Cheeses in the Fresh category include Mascarpone, Ricotta, Chevre, Feta, Cream Cheese, and Cottage Cheese. Soft-Ripened Cheeses The term “soft-ripened” is used to describe cheeses that are ripened from the outside in, very soft and even runny at room temperature.   The most common soft-ripened cheeses have a white, bloomy rind that is sometimes flecked with red or brown. The rind is edible and is produced by spraying the surface of the cheese with a special mold, called penicillium candidum, before the brief aging period.  In the United States soft-ripened cheeses are generally produced from pasteurized milk. Cheeses in the soft-ripened category include brie, camembert and triple crèmes. Semi-soft Cheeses The term “semi-soft” is used to describe cheeses that have a smooth, generally, creamy interior with little or no rind. These cheeses are generally high in moisture content and range from very mild in flavor to very pungent. Semi-soft cheeses may be made from both pasteurized and raw milk, depending on the aging requirements and the cheesemaker’s personal style. Cheeses in the semi-soft category include many blue cheeses, colby, fontina styles, havarti and Monterey Jack. Many washed rind cheeses fall into this category and are described separately. Firm/Hard Cheeses The terms “firm” and “hard” are used to describe a very broad category of cheeses. Their taste profiles range from very mild to sharp and pungent. They generally have a texture profile that ranges from elastic, at room temperature, to the hard cheeses that can be grated. These cheeses may be made from pasteurized or raw milk, depending on the cheese and the cheesemaker. Cheeses in this category include gouda, most cheddars, dry jack, Swiss (Emmenthaler), Gruyere, and Parmesan. Blue Cheeses The term “blue” is used to describe cheeses that have a distinctive blue/green veining, created when the penicillium roqueforti mold, added during the cheesemaking make process, is exposed to air. This mold provides a distinct flavor to the cheese, which ranges from fairly mild to assertive and pungent. Blue cheeses are found in all of the categories above, except for fresh cheeses. Blue cheeses may be made from both pasteurized and raw milk, depending on the age of the cheese and the preference of the cheesemaker. Cheeses in this category include Roquefort, Gorgonzola and Danish blue. Pasta Filata Cheese The term “pasta filata” is applied to a whole family of cheeses, mostly of Italian origin. The pasta filata cheeses are cooked and kneaded, or “spun” as the name implies. This family of cheeses can range from very fresh to hard grating cheeses, depending on the cheese and the producer. The pasta filata family of cheeses includes Mozzarella, Provolone, and Scamorza. Natural Rind Cheeses “Natural rind” cheeses have rinds that are self-formed during the aging process. Generally, no molds or microflora are added, nor is washing used to create the exterior rinds, and those that do exhibit molds and microflora in their rinds get them naturally from the environment.  Because most natural rind cheeses are aged for many weeks, to develop their flavor as well as the rinds, many natural rind cheeses are made from raw milk. Many “tomme” style cheeses fall into this category, especially the French Tomme de Savoie and Mimolette, as well as the English Stilton (also a blue), and Lancashire cheeses. Washed Rind Cheeses “Washed rind” is used to describe those cheeses that are surface-ripened by washing the cheese throughout the ripening/aging process with brine, beer, wine, brandy, or a mixture of ingredients, which encourages the growth of bacteria.  The exterior rind of washed rind cheeses may vary from bright orange to brown, with flavor and aroma profiles that are quite pungent, yet the interior of these cheeses is most often semi-soft and, sometimes, very creamy.  Washed rind cheeses may be made from both pasteurized and raw milk, depending on the style of the cheese and the cheesemaker producing them.   Cheeses in this category include some tomme-style cheeses, triple-crème, and semi-soft cheeses, like Epoisses, Livarot and Taleggio. Processed Cheeses The term “processed” is used to describe cheese by-products made from a combination of natural cheese and added ingredients, such as stabilizers, emulsifiers, and flavor enhancers that are used to create a consistent and shelf-stable product aimed at mass market consumption. Cheeses in this category include American Cheese, processed cheese spreads, and &”cheese flavored&” spreads. Special Thanks to the American Cheese Society for their assistance in the preparation of this Guide.


 

RECIPE: Caramelized Spring Onions

 

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So many recipes call for caramelized onions including simple grilled steaks, burgers and more complex recipes such as soups, stews and sauces. While caramelized onions are a commonly called for ingredient, the technique seems baffling for many home cooks. This technique will work for any onion but is especially delicious with spring onions as they are as sweet as candy when prepared this way.

You will need a heavy-bottomed sauté pan. This is not the moment to pull out aluminum cook ware. Pull out the good stuff. The heat will be evenly distributed and your onions will be less likely to burn. You can also control the heat on a heavy bottomed pan easier than on a thin aluminum pan.


 

Cherry Compote a la Elka

 

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If you keep the proportion of fruit to water low, you can puree it and voila – you’ll have a spread or jam and can use it accordingly. If you add onions, spices, vinegar – you’ve made chutney.


 

The Flavors of Persia

 

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Persia was the trade hub for the ancient world. Animals, textiles, metals, gems and foodstuffs all passed through its ports. Ancient Persia was quite the cosmopolitan empire with influences from India, Egypt, Syria and more.

The foods of Persia are exotic and reflect thousands of years of tradition. Pomegranates, pistachios, rose water and almond pastes are just a few of the flavors of Persia that we cherish today.


 

Unique and Easy Plating Techniques

 

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WIN WIN WIN!! You could win a copy of both my books! Read through to the end of the post for details on how to enter.

Sometimes we want our meals to have a little pizzazz. Maybe it’s because the in-laws are coming, or because you’ve just spent the day spooning carrot mush into the baby’s mouth and that creative side of you is just screaming to be unleashed. (I’ve never been particularly creative with carrot mush; presentation is one of those things lost on my baby.)


 

Decadent Molasses Spice Bundt Cake

 

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In real estate, the three things that matter are: Location, location, location. And in cooking, the three P’s are: Presentation, presentation, presentation.

Even ordinary foods get “oohs” and “aahs” when the presentation is something special. And the ultimate presentation trick is a Bundt cake. A Bundt pan is one of G-d’s many gifts to a non-baker. It can make any cake look like a patchka, even if it’s out of a box.


 

5 Recipes for Mouthwatering Meatloaf

 

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My grandparents were amazing chefs, hailing from Transylvania. Unfortunately made infamous by the legendary Count Dracula, Transylvania is a real place – a region in central Romania that has had strong Hungarian influence since the tenth century. So my grandparents’ cooking was strongly Romanian and Hungarian and meatloaf was not on the menu.

Not that meatloaf doesn’t have European roots. It does – but not my family’s old country. It’s reputedly of German origin, and it made its way here with German immigrants during Colonial times. It became really popular during the Great Depression because it’s a great way to use inexpensive meat, leftovers and spices (sometimes stretched by cereal grains) in an appetizing dish. How apropos for us now that we are all looking for ways to stretch a buck in the most creative culinary fashion possible.