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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.


 

Cocktails Of The Carribbean

 

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Generalizing about “Caribbean cuisine” is difficult once you recognize that the region is actually a mass of islands, most of which have been owned and occupied by various european countries. Over the years, these invaders have added their own flavors, spices and vegetation to the native landscape:

Rum, the undisputed regional spirit of choice, is distilled from the sugarcane that Christopher Columbus brought over to the new World. The spanish were also responsible for introducing the coconut and pineapple to the West Indies. When you look at things this way, the most famous island drink, The Pina Colada, really owes its origins to spain!


 

3 Recipes For The Perfect Burger

 

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There is nothing like a juicy burger, all siz- zling and crackling right off the grill to get the appetite going. I love grilling season and will arm wrestle my husband to see who gets to do the honors.

The Perfect Burger


 

Burgers 101

 

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For such a simple, classic sandwich, there are a surprising number of competing theories on how to make the perfect burger. Chef Mike Gershkovich insists that a true hamburger is made from 100% ground beef. But over at Pomegranate, Brooklyn’s most prestigious supermarket, “meatologist” Ari Heinemann disagrees. At Pomegranate, the most popular ground beef blend is the so-called Perfect Burger, a closely guarded secret recipe involving salt, onion powder, soy sauce and minced onions. And at Wolf & Lamb, Chef Daniel favors a simple mix of salt, pepper, garlic and onion— “seasonings that enhance the natural flavor of the meat, and don’t compete with it,” as Wuensch explained. Both Heinemann and Gershkovich recommend using ground chuck, an affordable and reliable choice.

At Wolf & Lamb, the chefs put aside scraps as they trim top-notch meat cuts like rib-eye and ribs, and then grind those scraps into their famous rib-eye burgers— Wuensch recommends home cooks try the same trick for an affordable way to have burgers made of top-quality meat.


 

A Better Burger – Talking With Chefs

 

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Picture yourself at a barbecue on a lazy summer afternoon. With one hand, you hold a frosty beer; with the other, you bite into a thick, juicy hamburger. Soft bun meets juicy tomato, crunchy pickle and savory, beefy burger in that one perfect bite — THE TASTE OF SUMMER…

That is, at least in theory. Far too often, the burgers I find at backyard barbecues are little more than crusty, blackened pucks of meat drowning in ketchup and mustard. Meanwhile, the humble hamburger is enjoying a haute-cuisine revival at kosher restaurants in New York and across the country.


 

Hybrid Fruits: 3 Pluot Recipes

 

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Pluots are a hybrid of a plum and an apricot and only make an appearance during the summer.

We are thrilled to be presenting you with a true summer fruit and several ways to use it. There are many varieties of pluots, mostly origi- nating from California, and each farm gives their crop a unique name — ranging from Dinosaur Eggs, Flavor Grenade, Dapple Dandy and Flavorglo, just to name a few. Pluots are sweet and juicy with a pink/red interior. They are full of vitamins A and C, and about 40 to 80 calories. Use pluots as you would plums.


 

Four Fantastic Summer Salads

 

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Delicious fresh salads using all your favorite vegetables and some new ingredients you will want to add to your pantry.


 

I Like My Food All Rolled Up

 

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A couple of years ago Pesach, we did an “All Rolled Up” article, featuring Steak Rolls, Eggplant Rollatini, Kishka-Stuffed Chicken, and lots more. It was super popular. To this day, my Chicken Pastrami Rolls get more comments than any other recipe.


 

A Guide To Ancient Grains

 

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You might notice a strange sensation the next time you are strolling down the aisle at your local supermarket.

A prehistoric flashback?
Caveman-like confusion?


 

How To Serve A Yogurt Bar

 

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Our Inspiration: The Mamilla hotel in Jerusalem is a culinary experience like no other. While vacationing in Israel with my family this past winter, the Shabbat weekend we spent at Mamilla was one that took our trip to a whole new level. We were surrounded by gourmet dishes bursting with classic and new flavor combinations; it was a veritable feast for the senses.


 

4 Fish Recipes And How To Pick Fresh Fish

 

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It suddenly became clear to me after a year of living in new york city. I was distractedly looking at the menu proposal for yet another fundraising dinner at the non-profit where I worked, and all of a sudden realized that all the fish options were salmon, salmon, and salmon. Baked salmon, poached salmon, smoked salmon, in a hodgepodge of flavors and textures. Had all the hype about its health benefits made us forget about all other types of fish? Or was it fear of the unknown?

Growing up in Venice, my experience had been different: my mom and her friends always cooked many types of seasonal fish — very simply, with just a handful of fresh ingredients and no sauces that would hide its flavor. This minimalistic sophistication was meant at highlighting ingredients of the highest quality, and finding a good fish was considered at least as important as knowing how to cook it.


 

4 Spring Salads That Wow

 

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Throughout the year, a common Shabbat side dish in America might be butternut squash pies made with store-bought crusts laden with shortening. A dessert might be I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-cream-cheese cheesecake. Chicken might be smothered in duck sauce (what sauce? You mean sugar and cornstarch?) or barbeque sauce (a.k.a. molasses, vinegar and cornstarch)

Hearty Salad with Gorgeous Mustard Greens


 

Why You Should Be Eating More Goat Cheese

 

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Although goat cheese may be a relatively new option for the kosher consumer in the U.S., it has ancient origins and is among the best-known and most popular cheese varieties in the world. Goat cheese can refer to any cheese made from goat’s milk, but is most often associated with the soft variety we find in log-shaped packages in the refrigerated section of the market. Cheeses made from goat’s milk tend to have a distinct tangy flavor and can be used to enhance and add complexity to many different dishes. Cheesemakers also may incorporate herbs, dried fruits or other creative flavorings to goat cheese to provide even more options for cheeseheads everywhere.