Kosher Pasture Raised Meat With Grow & Behold

 

July 17th 2013

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One balmy June afternoon I had the pleasure of meeting Anna and Naftali Hanau. My goal was to learn more about pasture-raised beef as this is a fairly new concept to the kosher world. It was inspiring to hear Anna and Naftali share their story and give a tour of their backyard. We chatted over a BBQ feast they prepared, and the simple but truly mouthwatering food was an unexpected perk. We enjoyed Grow & Behold beef tartare (exceptional!), beef burgers, and marinated lamb chops with a salad of greens freshly picked that morning from the garden.

In the backyard of a Brooklyn brownstone, lies a chicken coop with an array of beautiful chickens, surrounded by a garden of herbs, greens and vegetables, and a true living-off-the-land experience: a compost (decayed organic material used as a plant fertilizer).

The owners of this backyard, Naftali and Anna Hanau truly practice what they preach. As the founders of Grow & Behold Foods, they believe in living a natural, sustainable lifestyle. When their dreams of owning a farm didn’t work with their Orthodox lifestyle, Naftali and Anna started Grow & Behold, a unique family-run business which provides high-quality OU-glatt kosher pasture-raised chicken, beef, sausages, beef bacon and lamb to kosher consumers throughout the United States.

grow and behold grilled lamb chops

Grow and Behold Grilled Lamb Chops with Rosemary Syrup

Grow & Behold started out in the summer of 2010 with just chickens and it took over a year to start beef production and another year to start lamb. There is tremendous thought and planning that goes into finding the right farms to raise the meat and they are focused on doing it right rather than doing it fast.  Customers loved the healthier alternative and swear by the difference in quality and taste.  The company quickly grew by word of mouth and in addition to retail consumers; Grow & Behold supplies products to many top kosher restaurants such as Pardes in Brooklyn, Citron and Rose in Philadelphia and the Amsterdam Burger Company on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Every part of the company has a unique story. The name Grow & Behold was chosen by the guests at the Hanau’s wedding, where they ran a contest to choose the name of what they thought would be their farm. Their famous chicken, titled Sara’s Spring Chicken was named by Naftali’s grandmother who upon eating the pasture-raised chicken immediately proclaimed, “This tastes like spring chicken…I haven’t had it since I was a child.” Sara’s comment defined their mission, and fans of Grow & Behold, like Naftali’s grandmother, taste the difference.

What is unique to Grow & Behold’s pastured meat and poultry? The animals are allowed to roam free, eat grass, critters and do what comes naturally to them. They eat mainly grass, are fed some grain as a supplement, and are given antibiotics only when they are sick.

Click here for Naftali and Anna’s recipes for Beef Tartar and Grilled Lamb Chops.

For more information and cooking tips visit www.growandbehold.com

As seen in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine Summer 2013 – Subscribe Now.

 


 

Flavored Ice Cubes

 

July 15th 2013

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In the insane summer heat in Long Island, I pretty much drink everything ice-cold. But watered down drinks are a pet peeve of mine so I’ve been having some fun with the solution to that problem. By making my own flavored ice cubes, I have control over the flavors that keep my drinks cool and my kids love helping fill the ice cube trays with their favorite fruits and drinks! Here are my 6 favorite ice cube flavors but the options are endless! You can even make savory and spicy ice cubes for whiskey and tomato juice.

Strawberry and Blueberry Flavored Ice Cubes

When I’m looking for a refreshing kick to a simple glass of water, these berry flavored ice cubes are my first choice! The strawberry ice cube is just some cut up fresh strawberries and coconut water. As the ice melts in the water, you can taste the mild coconut flavor and sweet strawberry. And the best part is that you get to eat the strawberry when you finish your drink! The blueberry flavored ice cube is a bit more advanced since it’s actually made with sangria. I had leftover sangria in the fridge (can you believe it didn’t get finished?!?) so I poured it into ice cube trays so I could add a little kick to my next glass of water.

Coffee and Tea Flavored Ice Cubes

I enjoy drinking a cold cup of coffee but the ice always waters it down. That drives me absolutely crazy! My answer to this problem is to make ice cubes made with fresh brewed coffee. You just make your favorite flavor of coffee, add sugar and milk or cream and freeze in ice cube trays. As the coffee ice melts, it adds flavor to the coffee instead of diluting it. The same concept goes for iced tea. Just brew your favorite tea (I chose spicy chai), add sugar or honey and freeze.

Citrus Flavored Ice Cubes

You can basically add these citrus flavored ice cubes to anything…well, maybe not coffee. For a sweet and tart addition to your drinks, combine orange juice, lime juice and some lime zest. You can even pour this juice mixture into popsicle molds for a delicious treat on a hot day! For a spicy kick and flavored ice cube that is pleasing to the eye, add chopped mint (I used orange citrus mint) and fresh ginger to a mixture of water and lemon juice. It’s beautiful to look at and absolutely tasty!

What kind of flavored ice cubes will you be making this summer?

 

In case you missed them above, here are the recipes:

Citrus Flavored Ice Cubes

Coffee and Tea Flavored Ice Cubes

Strawberry and Blueberry Flavored Ice Cubes

 


 

Prefast Meal for Tisha B’av

 

July 12th 2013

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It is a very strong custom to refrain from eating meat and drinking alcohol during the 9 days leading up to Tisha B’av.  This year, Tisha B’av falls on July 16, 2013.  We have shared quite a few dairy menus and meal ideas for you over the past week and now I want to offer some tips for the fast including my menu suggestion.

To start with I always push hydration.  There is nothing as important during these hot days of Summer than staying hydrated.  During the three days leading up to the fast it is best to focus as much as possible on drinking more fluids, preferably water or herbal iced tea.

Those who are regular coffee or caffeinated cola drinkers may want to wean off by switching to decaf to avoid or at least delay the inevitable fast day headache.

Plan a filling, but not heavy meal for before the fast.  You don’t want to overdo anything in the couple hours before starting the fast. So many of use get scared by the idea o not being able to eat or drink for 24 hours that we stuff ourselves and get sick.  Here is a filling meatless menu that will hydrate and fill you with sustenance.  It will keep you cool and satisfied and will help get you through the fast.

Raw-Vegan-Corn-Chowder

Cold Vegan Corn Chowder

This corn chowder can be served warm, but it is best cold and the perfect start to this pre Tisha B’ Av meal.

farrotto

Artichoke and Sun Dried Tomato Farrotto

Any risotto is a nice idea for this meal, but I love that farro is whole grain and hearty and will stay in your system longer to keep you sated.

Salmon Fish Sticks

These crispy baked fish sticks made with salmon can be enjoyed on the side and they will make great leftovers for the kids to eat while you are fasting or would be delicious after the fast as well.

Grilled California Asparagus and Mushroom Salad with Shaved Parmesan

You don’t really need this extra dish or could easily just serve some grilled asparagus on the side of this meal, but it is really good salad, so I am just giving some extra options for you to choose from and between the vegetables and the cheese is somewhat hardy.

Strawberry Ice Cream

You dont’ need dessert either, but then again maybe you do and ice cream is a good choice.  It adds to your hydration and the fat is actually good for keeping you full longer.  Fresh fruit would also be great too.

I hope this menu and these tips give you some good ideas, if you have any tips to share we would love to hear them, just post them in the comments below.  Have an easy fast!

 

 


 

DIY Kosher – Delicious Summer Drinks for...

 

July 12th 2013

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Forget about those pre-packaged drink mixes and wow your guests with these fresh homemade iced tea and punch drink recipes.

Summer is my favorite season for entertaining on Shabbat. Since the afternoon lazily passes by, lunch becomes an unhurried affair full of good food and conversation—quite different from the winter rush when we barely finish dessert before the sky gets dark.

To augment the leisureliness of Shabbat lunch in the summer, I like to enhance the mood by serving a special beverage. While guests may have finished the challah and licked the cholent bowl clean, what they really love is a pitcher filled with a refreshingly cool homemade drink, as in something other than iced tea from a mix.

Gingered Fruit Punch

Surprisingly simple to prepare and easy to make in advance, the best beverages can be made from the comfort of the kitchen. My favorites include agua fresca, a Mexican watermelon spritzer; gingered fruit punch sweetened with honey and molasses; mint iced tea (brewed with real tea bags, of course); and lemonade that’s nothing more than freshly squeezed lemon juice, water, and sugar.

One morning amidst the July heat, I remembered that the guests due to arrive at my home were big soda fans. Sans anything other than grape juice and milk, I noticed a bag of lemons in the fridge whose image took me back to the thirst-quenching lemonade I used to drink at the state fair as a kid. With that memory in mind, I mixed one part lemon juice to three parts water and sweetened the mixture with a lot of sugar, topping it with tons of ice and thick slices of lemon rind. In less than five minutes, I prepared two pitchers of ice-cold lemonade which had my guests raving.

Iced Green Tea with Mint

Here are three recipes of cool drinks you can enjoy all summer.

Kosher agua fresca, gingered fruit punch, and iced green tea with mint can all be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge for up to two days.

Putting thought into the drinks you serve shows you pay attention to details; a trump card that will take your meal to a new level. And if you don’t have time to make a pitcher of something special before the candles are lit Friday night, do not fret. As long as you have lemons, there’s always lemonade.

Note: Making lemonade on Shabbat can be tricky, due to the prohibition of squeezing. Consult your local Rabbi for the proper method of preparation.


 

The Meal Before Tisha B’Av – Seudah...

 

July 11th 2013

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Tisha B’av (the ninth day of the Jewish month of Av) is the national day of mourning for the Jewish people.

The final meal before Tisha B’Av (“Seudah Mafseket”) is eaten in a state of “mourning”, sitting on the floor, eating a piece of bread and a hard boiled egg with some ashes.

Eating round foods such as eggs, beans or lentils as a sign of mourning is an ancient tradition. When Abraham died, his grandson Jacob was making red lentils for his father Isaac to eat. It was these lentils that Esau purchased from Jacob in exchange for his birthright. The reason such foods are eaten by mourners is to remind us that death and mourning is part the circle of life. Just as bad times come around in our lives, so too good times are sure to follow.

Also these foods are completely closed and have no openings. This reminds us that the mourner also has no “mouth” and is left to sit and mourn their loss without having to speak if they do not wish to.

The Seudah HaMafseket is not eaten as a communal meal. Everyone present sits apart on the floor, so not to cause them to say Birchat HaMazon (the blessing after the bread meal) as a group, which increases happiness, but rather alone.

When Erev Tisha B’Av is Shabbat, however, these practices do not apply since no mourning is allowed on Shabbat. A proper “Shabbat” meal should be eaten at Seudah Shlishit, and this meal may even include meat and wine.

May this be the last Tisha B’Av our nation must endure before the rebuilding of the third and final Temple in Jerusalem.


 

Horchata Recipe

 

July 11th 2013

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I first learned about Horchata on my adventures in Costa Rica earlier this year.  Horchata is a beverage made from ground nuts, seeds or grains usually mixed with cinnamon and other spices and served over ice. It is popular throughout Latin America and Spain, but each country has their own recipe.  No two Horchatas are ever alike and it is up to you to find your favorite version.
When preparing a Horchata, you are basically creating a homemade almond and/or rice milk mixed with cinnamon and sugar. But I’m not talking about those rectangular cartons from the grocery store, I want you to think about a fresh, creamy refreshing drink, spiced and sweetened to perfection. Recipes range from a thinner, watery drink to a thicker, creamier milkshake like beverage, I like thick and creamy, you?
Horchata - Almond Rice Milk Blend
What really surprises me is why I don’t see more Horchata here in America!

Maybe we can start a new trend.  All you have to do is grind some rice and place in a bowl with water, almonds and cinnamon.  Let it sit for at least 8-10 hours (up to 12 hours), process in a blender, strain, add sugar to taste and enjoy.  You don’t have to stop there, though. Go ahead and experiment with your favorite flavors, add nutmeg or cardamom or both.  Turn it into a cocktail, it goes great with a shot of rum or whiskey.

You can even place it in a popsicle mold for a mid-afternoon treat this summer!

Make a big batch, it will go fast.   Click here for my thick and creamy Horchata Recipe.


 

Strawberry and Blueberry Flavored Ice Cubes

 

July 10th 2013

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Posted 07/10/2013 by Melinda Strauss
When you're looking for a refreshing kick to a simple glass of water, these berry flavored ice cubes are a great choice!

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Authentic Healthy Italian Food

 

July 10th 2013

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My husband jokes that I should sell weight-loss tours of Italy. The idea goes back a couple of decades ago, as soon as I moved to the States and
started bringing American friends and family with me when I returned to Venice to visit my mother. Almost every one of them would confess, as they got ready for the trip, that they were excited, but also worried about gaining a few pounds with all the great food and gelato; and regularly they would come back to the States a couple of weeks later five to ten pounds lighter!

To me the concept always seemed pretty clear: in Italy the food may be decadent, but it’s hard to eat more than three times a day because snacks are not so readily available or portable. Besides, the portions are tiny compared to American super-sizing.  (I love to give the example of
lattes, which are just 6 ounces at Italian cafes and a whopping 12 to 20 ounces at Starbucks.)  What remained shocking, though, was the misconception that my friends seemed to have about what constituted Italian food. They envisioned loads of pasta, smothered in tomato sauce, cheese, and cream. Not to mention major olive oil dipping.  (The dipping myth really annoys me. Growing up in Italy, I’ve only been offered olive oil with bread when tasting it before a purchase.  Certainly not at a restaurant before a four-course meal!)  How did the Americanization of
Italian food, which has given it such a bad rep, originate?

italian vegetable stuffed tomato

Vegetable Stuffed Tomato

Evidently, something was lost in translation! Most of the more than 4 million Italians who immigrated to the States between 1880 and 1920 arrived from impoverished areas of Italy, where the diet was so meager that meat was eaten only three times a year. As a natural reaction to
the scarcity experienced in the old country, they welcomed the new-found American abundance by making food central in their lives, and adding copious quantities of rich ingredients to most of their dishes. Many famous “Italian” dishes, such as Caesar salad, spaghetti and meatballs, and the calorically dreary fettuccine Alfredo, were actually invented or popularized here in the States, and remain unheard of in Italy.

Mint Yogurt Sorbet

Mint Yogurt Sorbet

Americans love pizza (which took New York by storm shortly after WWII) as much as Italians themselves, but here it’s loaded with cheese and toppings, while in Italy it’s much more genuine and light in calories (about 350 for a whole authentic pizza Margherita, against 300+ for only
one slice of American pizza!).  Authentic Italian food is much lighter than we think: this cuisine that’s so easy to love (it usually scores highest in polls) can actually be good for our health: the Mediterranean diet is proven to protect us against heart disease and cancer. Its key is simplicity:
copious amounts of fresh vegetables are included in every meal, and the dessert is likely to be just fresh fruit, unless it’s a holiday.  All these fruits and vegetables at the basis of the Italian diet are chock-full of antioxidants, proven to lower risks of heart disease and cancer. Extra-virgin olive oil, besides replacing dangerous saturated fats, is also rich in phenolic compounds (absent in other vegetable oils), and a source of highly absorbable vitamin E.  And let’s not forget to mention another Italian staple, red wine, which may help decrease arterial plaque and lower cholesterol!  Therefore, pour yourself a nice glass of Sangiovese, and enjoy a light and healthy Italian dinner.

Buon Appetito!

Vegetable Stuffed Tomatoes

Yogurt Mint Sorbet

As seen in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine (Bitayavon Summer 2012) – Subscribe Now and never miss an issue.


 

Summer Issue Sneak Peek – On Stands Now

 

July 9th 2013

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This issue is bursting with 50+ triple-tested summer recipes. Cool off with a Caribbean cocktail and learn to make the perfect burger to keep you satisfied all Summer long. Make your own healthy ricotta cheese and use it for both sweet and savory recipes. Grill your corn and your desserts with our expert recommendations and how tos. Don’t miss our new features, restaurant reviews and the latest in the kosher cooking competition arena.

Click below to see a few pages from the latest issue. Then click here so you can get the full issue delivered to your door – Subscribe Now.

Make sure to visit our more online page where you can find all our magazine related contests and a little bit about some of the featured articles. This month you all helped us choose our cover and now you have a chance to enter our Cook the Cover contest – don’t miss this and more.


 

Spiced Up Meatless Recipes *Giveaway*

 

July 9th 2013

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This year Tisha B’av falls out on July 16th, 2013. During the 9 days leading up to the fast it is a custom to refrain from meat. A meatless menu for the 9 days can keep you busy with pizza (we have 100), pasta and potatoes.  And if that’s you’re thing and you’re OK with it then may I recommend my Peach and Arugula Pizza, My Light Fettuccine Alfredo, and my Colorful Mashed Potatoes featuring Gold’s Healthy Horseradish and Wasabi Sauce.  But if you’d like to try something different this year and spice up your meatless recipe repertoire then I have two new dishes just for you.

Peach and Arugula Pizza

My Caraway Noodle Cakes with Red Cabbage and Horseradish Sour Cream are totally from another planet.  Yes I know it’s still pasta but not in the traditional Baked Ziti or Creamy Dreamy Pink Linguine sense.  Ever since eating my first scallion pancake when I was 15, the summer I worked as a secretary for my dad’s law firm (there was a Chinese restaurant in the building), I became totally obsessed with all kinds of savory pancakes.

Sesame Scallion Lomein Pancakes

I’ve made Lo Mein Scallion Pancakes, Wild Rice Pancakes,  and now these Caraway Noodle Cakes.  Every bite really must be enjoyed with the Horseradish Sour Cream for the full fabulous effect.  I happen to be a big believer in mixing horseradish into lots of condiments, BBQ sauce, ketchup, dressing and my sour cream.  I love a little heat and spicy foods speed up your metabolism so join me and give me an “H” for horseradish.

nut crusted salmon

Nut Crusted Salmon with Creamy Chrain Sauce

The other recipe I promised you comes from Australia via Woodmere courtesy of my dear friend Naomi Nachman, aka the Aussie Gourmet.  Her Nut Crusted Salmon with Creamy Chrain Sauce uses a base of mayonnaise mixed with Gold’s Red Horseradish to keep the fish moist and is topped with crushed nuts of your choice although she recommends pistachios, which I adore.  There are a few other ingredients in there so click here for the full recipe.

Mexican Baked Potato

Mexican Baked Potato

Ooooh and one more goodie…. my Mexican Baked Potato.  Add some Gold’s white horseradish to the sour cream for a kick to this already flavorful spicy little spud.

**Giveaway*** Now’s your chance to add some spice to your life with a Gold’s Giveaway prize package.   Leave a comment and let us know which new recipes you are adding to your 9 days menu. And right now don’t miss your chance to win big in our Gold’s Recipe Contest, more info here.

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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post and giveaway as part of a partnership with Gold’s. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.


 

In the JOK Kitchen with Cook In Israel *Giveaway*

 

July 8th 2013

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Cook In Israel is the new cookbook written by Orly Ziv.  Orly contacted me a few months ago and told me about her cooking school in Israel and the cookbook she was working on.  It sounded very exciting, but to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect.  A few months later this gorgeous new cookbook filled with my favorite kinds of Israeli style recipes showed up at my doorstep.  I learned that Katherine Martinelli, a long time friend of joyofkosher took the photos!  Needless to say I am excited to share this book with you and to learn more about Orly and her new cookbook.

I feel a kindred spirit with you being that we are both nutritionists and I love that your book is mostly vegetarian. How did you decide which recipes to include?

I run a cooking school in Israel and so I chose recipes that my guests really like first.  Then I added more of my favorite recipes that us eggplant and tomatoes, my two favorite vegetables, there can never be enough recipes to use them.  I added recipes for the Jewish holidays and my family’s preferred recipes.

Can you tell me a bit about your Greek heritage and how it has affected your cooking?

I grew up on Sephardic  cooking which meant lots of tomato sauce, eggplants and feta cheese.  I guess that is why those are my two favorite vegetables.  We used to have borekas for Shabbat breakfast and my mother and grandmother used to make them fresh every week.  We also ate lots of fish at home and not as much meat, so you can see the influence.

israeli style hummus

Your recipes are all very quick and easy, but sometimes I am sure you cook something more difficult. What is the most time consuming dish you make and why do you think it is worth it?

I do cook very simple food with fresh high quality ingredients. When using fresh quality ingredients you do not need to complicate the cooking as you want the fresh flavors of the food.  However, making Borekitas from scratch is more time consuming just like baking your own challah,  but the taste is heaven.

Since you offer cooking classes regularly I am sure you have many tips for our readers, please share what you feel is your best tip. My best tip is cutting an onion without crying, all you have to do is keep the root on until the end.  One of my guests wrote on TripAdvisor: “Orly showed me how to cut an onion without tearing up. This is a ‘life-changer’!”.

 

Can you pick your favorite recipe in the book and share it with us?

This is difficult as all the recipes are my favorites :) but since you ask I’ll share the challah bread which I make every Friday. If you follow the recipe as is you’ll get the same results every time and you’ll stop buying it from the store. I even had a non Jewish guest prepare the challah for Thanksgiving dinner.

Middle Eastern Malabi

Which recipe do you feel is the most quintessential Israeli, that everyone should know how to cook?

I always teach homemade hummus.  It is famous in Israel and easy to make.  One time a couple came to my class and the wife told me that her husband doesn’t really like hummus, but she still wanted to learn how to prepare it.  A few weeks later she wrote to tell me how often she makes and how much her husband loves it.  All my guests really love hummus and it is very healthy, especially mind without any preservatives or vegetable oil as in store bought hummus.

Thank you so much Orly for talking to us and for sharing your recipes for Challah, Hummus and by special request Malabi, a middle eastern rose water pudding that can be made dairy or parve, can’t wait to try.

Go to Cook In Israel to find out more about Orly, her culinary tours, cooking classes and how to purchase this book, Buy Now.

Enter to win this cookbook with the rafflecopter entry options below.  Some options you can do daily so come back often!!  Also, note that this giveaway is open to those living in Israel too!!!

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DIY – How To Use Chalkboard Paint on Glass

 

July 5th 2013

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For a while now, I’ve been getting a bunch of requests for a tutorial on how to use chalkboard paint on glass. These projects are all over Pinterest and my fans want to know HOW DO THEY DO THAT???

Well guys….. IT’S SUPER SHMEEZY EASY!

What you’ll need:

Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint (for Glass)

Plaid Folk Art Enamel Black Paint (for Glass)

Brush

 

There is nothing more delicious then a summer time drink and my favorite is lemonade!

These Gold’s glass bottles make the perfect recycled drinking glass ESPECIALLY for parties. Think about doing this project with a variety of re-purposed glass bottles. Everyone at the party could use the chalk to write down their names so no more mix-ups!!

Step 1: Using the black enameled paint, brush on a solid layer of black in a square shape. Let it dry for an hour.

Step 2: Brush a layer of Chalkboard paint OVER the black square. Let it dry for 4 hours.

Step 3: Bake at 350 degrees in an oven for 30 minutes. You can bake it directly on the oven rack. Let it cool inside of the oven.

Step 4: Now your glass is ready to use.  Add your favorite drinks and write phrases or names onto the chalkboard square.  When you’re finished using your glass, wash it with warm water and a soft sponge.

I would LOVE to see your chalkboard glass creations! So please send your pictures to info@joyofkosher.com or post them on our Facebook wall and you might be featured on the Joy of Kosher site!

Happy Crafting!!


 

Strawberries + Dark Chocolate = Dairy Free Dessert...

 

July 4th 2013

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Summer berries are here in full swing!  It may be too early in the season to feast on homegrown fruit, but local farmers markets and supermarkets are fully stocked with an assortment of colorful berries, lush and bursting with flavor.

Sweet, versatile and nutritious, strawberries are one of the most well-liked fruits in the United States and perhaps the most popular of all the berries.  In addition to their distinct, juicy flavor and gorgeous crimson color, strawberries are packed with fiber and potassium and have the most Vitamin C of any berry, all at only 25 calories per half cup.  Nowadays the fruit is usually available year round, but peak season is from April to July when strawberries are welcomingly inexpensive.

Take your summer strawberries to a new height with this dairy-free, gluten-free and egg-free dessert.   I love making panna cotta (Italian for “cooked cream”) during the warmer months — the traditional creamy eggless custard is thickened with gelatin and chilled until set (no oven required!).  This not-too-sweet dark chocolate panna cotta is a recipe you’ll find yourself turning to again and again not only because of its simple preparation but also because it is elegant, impressive and deliciously satisfying (and who can resist deep, creamy dark chocolate lusciousness on a spoon?).  Another bonus is the make-ahead nature of panna cotta; since it needs to set, you won’t be juggling dessert at the same time as your other dishes.

As chocolate is so versatile, the dark chocolate panna cotta can be dressed up differently each time you make it:  think chocolate shavings, toasted or caramelized nuts, fruit coulis, crushed toffee, chocolate or caramel sauce, or simply a raspberry and mint leaf.  But why stop there when strawberries are here and at their peak of flavor?  Enhance them and the dark chocolate with a splash of aged balsamic vinegar for a truly unforgettable summer dessert.

Enjoy this simple summer dessert perfection and let me know how yours turns out.

Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta with Balsamic Strawberries


 

4 Refreshing Ways to Keep Cool This Summer

 

July 4th 2013

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Can’t take the heat? One of our favorite ways to cool off during the hot summer months is by escaping it all together – with trips to cooler climates where we can feel the air in our hair and excitement in our veins. Here are our picks for cool vacations this summer:

1. Iceland’s glaciers and snow-capped peaks – With an average temperature of 54°F in the summer (!) we think this is a great place to stay cool. Our kosher tour to Iceland in August includes glistening white mountains, cool springs of water and even a snowmobile ride on the largest glacier in Europe. It’s not all frigid, though. We also visit steamy geysers, volcanoes, lava fields and an outdoor lagoon filled with naturally heated geothermal water from 6,500 feet below the surface of the earth.

2. Alaska’s icebergs and wildlife – The thrill of catching a fresh Alaskan salmon is hard to forget. So is the excitement of watching a whale breach the ocean’s surface for the first time…and feeling the rush of bald eagles flying overhead. There are endless things to see and do in Alaska, from the old mining towns to the magnificent wildlife. We have two kosher cruises to Alaska this summer (one in July, one in August) because that’s when the weather is ideal – cool and refreshing but you don’t have to wear an eskimo coat.

3. Baltic’s capitals and beautiful seas – Cruising the Baltic sea is popular for a reason. You get the nippy air of the upper northern hemisphere, plus an entrancing mix of modern and historic sites to visit at its famous ports of call. Our 9-night August cruise to the Baltics covers all the big cities – Copenhagen, Berlin, St. Petersburg, Helsinki and more. This is where you see some of the world’s best historic beauties up-close, from the Hermitage Museum and Peterhof Palace to the canals of Scandinavia and cobblestone streets of Stockholm. The average temperature on a cruise ship in the Baltic Sea during August is 64°F. It’s cool if you like it, but you can still enjoy an ice cream.

4. Sumava Mountains – This year we’re taking on a prominent wellness hotel complex and going kosher on the banks of Lake Lipno in the Czech Republic, two and a half thousand feet above sea level. The location itself features plenty of opportunities to cool off with its indoor aquapark, pool and watersports. Offgrounds we’ll be busy exploring castles, abbeys, historic towns and woody peaks underneath the cool shade of the Bohemian Forest. If it gets too chilled? No worries, we’ll just go inside to enjoy a steambath and healing massage.

What are YOU doing to keep cool this summer?


 

Watch Warm Potato Salad With Horseradish Sauce

 

July 2nd 2013

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I went to ETC Steakhouse in Teaneck NJ for my birthday a few years back after we featured Chef Seth, his restaurant and recipes in the pages of our magazine.  Among other things I ordered a Warm Tarragon Potato Salad and could not get it out of my mind.  Crispy taters tossed in creamy dressing have been dancing around in my head, my thoughts, my dreams for what seems like years.  I took one look at the Gold’s creamy Horseradish Sauce and instantly thought about recreating my Quick & Kosher version of this perfect summer BBQ recipe for you all.  This dish is all kinds of crazy good… Watch this easy how-to-video and learn how to make my new obsession in less than 3 minutes.

Get the printable recipe here.