Kosher Tips

 

Ice Cream – The Ultimate in Comfort Food

 

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They say that chicken soup can heal a cold and mend a broken heart, but I beg to differ. When you need real consolation, there’s nothing like digging into a tub of cookie dough ice cream. And everyone knows that confidences shared over a double scoop of rocky road will bond friends forever.

It’s funny how ice cream conjures diverse thoughts. It speaks of indulgence and calories, of hot summer nights and childhood dreams. For me, just looking at an ice cream cone immediately evokes memories of birthday parties and summer celebrations.


 

Turn Holiday Leftovers Into Two Fabulous New Meals

 

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We’ve come to the end!  One full month of cooking, cleaning, hosting, cleaning, cooking, hosting, cooking – an experience so intense, it’s amazing that we actually made it through.  But no sense dwelling in the past, we have to move on.

Like it or not, our lives soon will settle down into comfortable routines.  Meals will once again be just meals, not fully staged banquets.  But wait!  What’s that left in the fridge? Do I detect leftovers?


 

Pop Secrets: The A-maiz-ing World of Popcorn

 

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My relationship with popcorn started innocently enough.  When I was younger, I began seeing Orville Redenbacher.  As I grew older, I discovered Paul Newman. He was hard to let go of, but over the past couple of years I found new varietals popping up in the grocery store and farmer’s market.  With names like Autumn Blaze, Sunset Fire, Blue Heron and Black Hills, popcorn has gone gourmet. Popcorn varieties are broadly categorized by either the shape or color of the kernels, or the shape of the popped corn.  While the kernels may come in a variety of colors, the popped corn is always off-yellow or white.  According to the Star-K, raw kernels do not require kosher certification. Since I started experimenting with different varieties, I am amazed at the differences in taste and texture.  I also love the fact that for a few pennies per cup and under a hundred calories, popcorn is one of the most economical and healthful snack choices around. Popcorn is different from other types of corn in that its hull has just the right thickness to allow it to burst open.  Each kernel of popcorn contains a small drop of water stored inside a circle of soft starch.  As the kernel heats up, the water begins to expand.  The kernel continues to heat to about 350 degrees before the hull bursts open.  As it explodes, the steam inside the kernel is released and the soft starch inside the popcorn inflates and spills out, cooling immediately to form the unique shape we all seem to crave. According to The Popcorn Board, Americans consume 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually, which amounts to approximately 52 quarts per person. Popcorn is lower in calories than most snack foods.  Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup.  When oil-popped, it contains only 55 calories.  Popcorn is a whole grain food which makes it a high-quality carbohydrate source that is not only low in calories, but high in fiber.  This means it takes longer to chew and makes you feel full longer. Joyofkosher member Amfram credits popcorn for helping her lose weight. “I eat popcorn most evenings because it keeps me from eating potato chips and pretzels,” confesses Amfram, “popcorn with spray butter and seasoned salt is the perfect cure for my crunch obsession.” In order to qualify as a healthy alternative to other snack foods, you will to have to stay away from the popcorn available at the movie theater. According to a November 2009 study commissioned by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, the medium and large size popcorn available at Regal, the country’s biggest movie theater chain, each had 1,200 calories and a whopping 60 grams of saturated fat! The editorial team at www.joyofkosher.com have been pop stars for quite a while. Here are our secrets for perfect popping: If using the stove… Warm a 3 to 4 quart pan or a wok with a lid. Add approximately 3 tbsp. of vegetable oil to the pan, just enough to cover the bottom. Drop in two or three kernels and cover with the lid. When the kernels pop, add the whole 1/3 cup popcorn.  Pour just enough kernels to cover the bottom of the pan. Again, cover with the lid. Shake the pan while the kernels heat and pop.  Occasionally lift the lid slightly to allow steam to escape.  When you hear the last few pops, remove the pan from the heat immediately, take off the lid and empty the popped popcorn into a large bowl. Salt or season to taste. Pre-salting kernels toughens the popcorn, so salt after or try it salt-free with other spices. For easy microwave popping… Open a brown paper bag, add 1/4 cup kernels, fold over the top of the bag about ½ inch, and pop like you would a store-bought brand. Heat for 2-3 minutes or experiment with your microwave’s popcorn setting. What I love most about popcorn is its simplicity — after all, it’s just a single popped kernel of corn.  However, with a little creativity, the sweet and savory combinations are endless and it can be a delicious accompaniment to an assortment of appetizers or part of a decadent dessert.  We share a few of our favorite recipes below and we hope you will post some of your pop secrets with us. Lemon Pepper and Parmesan Popcorn Five-Spice Popcorn Honey Peanut Butter and Chocolate Popcorn


 

How Do You Take Your Coffee? New Deluxe Confection...

 

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Kosher chocolate-covered coffee beans may be an old confection, but a company called How Do You Take Your Coffee? has redefined this treat in remarkable ways.

Not too long ago, Kosher.com began carrying an innovative and deluxe new product called Javaz from a company called How Do You Take Your Coffee? As you can guess, their product does have something to do with the black stuff. Yep, I’m talking about Java, Juice, Joe or whatever you call coffee. But in this case, the coffee in question is specially sourced to be eaten as a gourmet chocolate confection—what the company calls their Eating Roast. Now, chocolate coffee beans may not be new, but How Do You Take Your Coffee? has taken these coffee confections to new heights. Here’s my interview with Sam Williams, Jr. from How Do You Take Your Coffee?


 

¡Oy-lé! Can Kosher Get a Spicy Mexican Makeover?

 

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Kosher cooking can get a bad rap when it comes to spice, but there’s no reason you can’t up the heat with the help of some kosher Mexican food.

The U.S. take on Mexican food is heavily influenced by the flavors of the border and the Mexican region of Puebla. Even Cinco de Mayo, which many think is Mexican Independence Day (it’s actually September 16th), celebrates a Mexican victory over French invaders in Puebla on May 5, 1862. Like American cooking, Mexican cuisine is a hybrid, combining indigenous traditions and ingredients like corn (maize), chocolate and chilies with Spanish, French and German cooking. In the U.S., Mexican cooking has been very influential, especially in border states like California and Texas.


 

Cinco de Mayo – Authentic Kosher Mexican

 

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The start of tomato season is almost upon us. While we wait, another member of the tomato family, the tart green tomatillo, prized in Mexican cuisine, starts to appear in markets.

Tomatillos are a tart, green fruit that resemble tomatoes but are very lemony and brightly flavored. Often overlooked, this sprightly member of the nightshade family is too puckery to eat raw, but adds a piquant citrus flavor when toasted. I love this creamy sauce with its earthy, nutty flavor. I serve Pipian, or green mole, with roasted or BBQ chicken, roasted fish, grilled vegetables and my kids favorite, chicken schnitzel. The vibrant color and flavor wake up the plainest piece of chicken or fish. Tomatillos are in season during the summer months. The sauce can be made and stored, covered, in the refrigerator for three days or frozen for one month.


 

DIY Kosher – How To Make The Perfect Pesto...

 

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On a hot June day, I open the freezer in my mother’s kitchen looking for a tray of ice. Instead of clear, slippery cubes, I find green, coarse ones. Although I am eight years old, I am puzzled how the cubes changed color and texture overnight.

At dinner that evening, my mother brings out a plate of steaming pasta the same verdant shade as the cubes. Like many cooks, she makes batches of pesto when basil is in abundance during the summer, storing and freezing them in ice trays and transferring them to Ziploc bags for use during the fall and winter. And so began my love affair with pesto.


 

Salmon Gefilte Fish West Coast Style

 

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Whether you buy it in a jar or make it from scratch, gefilte fish is a Passover staple. West Coast cooks have found a new twist on this old stand-by—salmon!

Gefilte fish,  parve balls of ground up fish, which do not require deboning and thus can be eaten on the Sabbath, are traditionally made with a mixture of pike and whitefish. In many Jewish families, gefilte fish recipes date back to Europe and the shtetl.


 

20 Simple Ways to Reuse Leftovers

 

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One of the easiest ways to cut down on your grocery bill is to view leftovers as ingredients for completely different meals. With a good dose of creativity, you’ll be amazed at the minimal amount of food that will end up in the trash, and at the money you’ll save by utilizing what’s in your fridge.

Many leftovers like cold rice or congealed meat lack culinary appeal. Whether you transform pita with leftover vegetables, pasta sauce and cheese or blend overripe fruit with yogurt, here are 20 tips to make zero-waste meals a part of your life.


 

Shop Smart – 10 Easy Ways to Save Big at the...

 

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Whether you reuse leftovers, efficiently cook with what’s in your pantry or prefer seasonal produce, to really save money, budgeting begins when you grocery shop. Here are ten cardinal rules to help you cut costs before you check-out.

1. Shop Online or Leave the Kids at Home