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Cocktail Inspired Mishloach Manot

 

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Sending Mishloach Manot to friends and family is an obligation on Purim, but coming up with new ideas for your Mishloach Manot each year can be difficult. We all want to be creative and ‘wow’ our friends and family, but there are so many great ideas out there and narrowing it down to just one can be hard.  On Purim, there is an obligation to drink alcohol and cocktail inspired Mishloach Manot is a creative way to connect the obligation of drinking alcohol with Mishloach Manot. These three Purim inspired cocktails can easily be turned into Mishloach Manot using the packing instructions below and adding the cocktail ingredients.

Shushan Bullet


 

Kosher Chef Wars: Quinoa Style

 

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Quinoa has been gaining popularity over recent years for its grain-like quality and high protein value. It is quite simple to make, and can be prepared like a couscous or rice recipe. Stir-frying quinoa is the ultimate way to add tons of flavor quickly.

We asked two top kosher chefs to share their favorite way to prepare quinoa. Chef Yosef Schwartz of Hassid+Hipster, based in South Florida, shared a new technique in prepping quinoa. Chef David Kolotkin of The Prime Grill shared a savory quinoa pancake.


 

Mishloach Manot in a Jar

 

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Mason jars make an incredible gift basket for a variety of edible goodies. You can buy them in bulk (www.amazon.com or your local home goods store) for a mishloach manot treat everyone will remember. You can fill mason jars with anything you can dream up, from  soup to pasta sauce to sweets. Make it extra special by dressing up the jar with ribbon and a fun homemade gift tag.

Here are 10 great ideas for mishloach manot in a jar:


 

Make Your Own Chocolate Truffles: 4 Variations

 

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Sweet and sophisticated chocolate truffles are simpler to make than you might think. Earn yourself a compliment at the Purim seudah, or package them in a simple gift box for an elegant and delightful Mishloach Manot. Just don’t forget to save a few of these goodies for yourself.

Classic Chocolate Truffles


 

How and Why To Use Pressure and Slow Cookers

 

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Ask any of your middle-aged friends or relatives about pressure cookers, and they’ll likely conjure up a scene straight out of “Pulp Fiction.” While pressure cookers were at their most popular between the 1950s and 1970s, the rubber valves in those early versions could explode in your face pretty easily if the pressure got too strong, and many of us are still scarred by our childhood memories.

Pressure Cooker Risotto


 

The Evolution of Jack’s Gourmet Kosher...

 

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In many ways, Jack Silberstein is like many young chefs living Brooklyn’s hip neighborhoods.  With his small beard, fashionable dress sense, and love of obscure meats, as well as his top-notch education at the Culinary Institute of America, Silberstein could be any trendy Brooklyn chef.  But there is one main thing that sets Silberstein apart: he doesn’t work in a restaurant kitchen.  At one point, Silberstein and his business partner, Dr. Alan Broner, were planning a kosher restaurant serving gourmet kosher cured meats, such as chorizo and Italian sausage that Silberstein had been developing.  But they soon realized that the items they had created could be so much more than just a deli.

Jack’s Gourmet hit the first grocery store shelves in 2010.  Starting with five varieties of sausage, plus corned beef and pastrami, Silberstein and Broner relied on word of mouth to get their products noticed.  At Kosherfest, Jack’s Gourmet handed out thousands of samples; besides for being the most talked-about company there, they also walked away with an award for Best New Product and interest from dozens of grocery store buyers.


 

Party Platters In 20 Minutes Or Less

 

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Last year I judged a food competition at the Nachum Segal Network. We had a blast and it was a fun, food-oriented competition among the talented staff at the network. The competition was close. The winner of the Chopped-style competition beat his competitors simply because of ONE unique item he produced: he made the most incredible pickled shallots. It was that one component on his plate that put him in the lead. This reflects a secret of many chefs and party planners. You don’t need to spend lengthy amounts of time making every component. Use fresh, store-bought ingredients and focus your energy on that ONE amazing component and you will have immediate success and awesome feedback from your guests.


 

Decorating Donuts

 

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No time to make homemade doughnuts but want to make a home run party??

Luckily, there are lots of ways to dress up store bought doughnuts.


 

Kosher Sausage Recipe Challenge: Vote and Submit

 

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KOSHER SAUSAGE & JACK’S GOURMET

In recent years, kosher sausage options have expanded tremendously, due to the diligent work of Chef Jack Silberstein and Dr. Alan Broner, co-founders of Jack’s Gourmet. In 2010, Jack Silberstein, a highly successful chef, introduced a variety of ethnic-flavored sausages to the kosher market. These included Sweet Italian, Hot Italian, Mexican-style Chorizo, Bratwurst and Boerewors. Through the years, Jack’s Gourmet has continued to revolutionize the kosher palate with gourmet offerings such as Facon, Spicy Italian-Style Salami, old-world Corned Beef and Pastrami, and a variety of nitrite-free sausage patties and burgers. The general philosophy of Jack’s Gourmet is to use quality ingredients and avoid gluten, MSG, fillers, byproducts, and artificial ingre- dients, which explains the loyal customers and many accolades the company receives. In line with their mission to continually introduce new flavors to the kosher con- sumer’s palate, Jack’s Gourmet has recently released an all-new flavor which premiered this fall: Beef Merguez Sausage.


 

Betting On Winter Greens

 

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Wen I was studying to become a dietitian and cramming for an exam, I followed the mantra “bet on green” whenever I was unsure of an answer on a test. Packed with dozens of vitamins and minerals, it was hard to go wrong then, and even now, I still bet on green. With the winter approaching, most of the colorful tomatoes, corn and squashes begin to disappear off the supermarket shelves, replaced by bright leafy winter greens. Winter greens are green-leafed vegetables, hardy enough to thrive in the colder winter weather. They include chard, collards, mustard greens, escarole, kale and beet greens, among many others. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phy- tonutrients, which may help prevent heart disease and cancer.


In 2009, The Center for Science in the Public Interest (a nationally recognized not-for-profit research organization where I used to work) ranked nearly 85 vegetables in order of highest to lowest nutrient content and found kale, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, and Swiss chard in the top five.


 

Drinking In Fall Colors

 

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Use colors and flavors to infuse fall into your beverages.  The following cocktails look the part; they play on our fall sensibilities by playing off the harvest season in terms of their tastes, colors and connections to our traditions. They can be made into mocktails by leaving out the alcohol and increasing the amount of the mixer so everyone can lift a glass together.

All cocktails make one serving. To make multiple shots for a group and save yourself a lot of time, increase the proportions accordingly and make a bunch at once. Just make sure to shake long enough to chill the entire mixture down.


 

Spicing Up Tradition, Santa Fe Style!

 

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In this multi-cultural melting pot, one enterprising family endeavors to bring a uniquely “New Mexican” spin to generations-old Ashkenazi and Sephardi recipes.


 

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.