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In The JOK Kitchen With Eating The Bible *Giveaway...

 

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Rena Rossner was inspired about ten years ago while eating a hot bowl of red lentil soup.  That fateful soup began a journey for Rena that culminated in her first cookbook, Eating the Bible.  Eating the Bible takes us through the weekly Torah portions with quoted verses and a little bit of commentary that connects us to a recipe.  Rena find connections similar to the way I do in our Shabbat Menus and I had fun going through and finding new ideas I had never thought of before.  I also love the way Rena explains her connections going into just the right amount of detail and adding alternative recipes options as well as questions to help keep the conversation moving from cooking to table. Let’s learn a bit more about Rena and preview a few recipes here:

The red lentil soup served to you the same week we read about the one Esau sold for his birthright inspired your journey.   What else inspired you through the whole process?


 

The Lava Lamp Cocktail Link Up

 

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If the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a lava lamp is a visit to Spencer’s at your local mall or a blissed out night during college listening to psychedelic music, you’re probably not alone, but I’m here to tell you there’s a little more to the Lava Lamp than all that.

I was inspired by a friend’s recent story about a Lava Lamp cocktail and I was able to create a fun at home version that you can enjoy with or without alcohol, so it’s a perfect party drink whether you’re having some friends over or stuck at home with the kids.


 

Celebrating Memories – Chicken Paprikash...

 

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He was a holocaust survivor. He was a husband. He was a father. He was a Zaide. He was our hero. Alex Lebovic, my father-in-law, just recently passed away. No words can really express the emotion we feel as a dear one passes on to the next world. We perhaps handle it with grace, strength, overwhelming sadness, humor, denial, guilt, or perhaps with a degree of stoicism. For me, my face, my actions, my words are mere cover-ups to the way I really feel. My father in law was a lot of things, yet writing them on paper or expressing them verbally seems to diminish everything he was. And because of that, for me, I need to celebrate and honor his memory.

In today’s world, Judaism perhaps is just as much a religion as it is a culture. And food is a huge part of that culture. It is quite unlikely that you would find gefilte fish, schmaltz, cholent, gribenes or even potato kugel, outside the Jewish home. Our many holidays are laden with yummy and traditional foods.  Food for my father-in-law, meant being alive. Being a survivor of such notorious concentration camps as, Auschwitz and Dachau where food was scarce, if at all, gave my father-in-law a longing for the dishes he grew up on.


 

Romantic Dinner For Two

 

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It has been a cold snowy winter for most of us.  Everyone is staying home more than usual.  The silver lining is finding the perfect menu to make a romantic dinner for two.  Whatever the occasion, a first date, a first anniversary or just a night without any kids here is a heart warming menu that can be served on a table filled with roses and candles.

Creamy Hot Tomato Soup

Creamy Hot Tomato Soup


 

The World of Culinary Sustainability

 

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The concept of ‘sustainability’ is a growing trend both in the world of agriculture and the world of food. Many of today’s farmers are doing away with the traditional methods of farming, which includes use of chemicals, machinery, and mass production of unhealthy and heavily genetically-modified foods, and are returning to producing natural and healthy nutrient rich produce. Since the 1930’s and 1940’s, we have lost thirty percent of the nutrients in our whole foods, and the ‘sustainability movement’ is trying to move back toward the ‘real’ food that existed prior to World War II.  Many food manufacturers, as well as restaurants, supermarkets, and other food related establishments, have openly welcomed the concept of ‘sustainability’ and incorporated this philosophy as well.

It is not a rare occurrence these days that I run across a product in grocery store that boasts “sustainably raised” or “sustainably farmed”. One of the reasons that I think I am so fond of many of the markets past the Mason-Dixon line, especially around Upstate New York and New England, is their effort to be part of the ‘sustainable’ mindset. Many of these markets, from small individual owned grocery stores to large chain supermarkets, are now seen boasting their fine selections of only locally grown fruit, no-growth hormone chickens, cage-free eggs, and all grass-fed beef. ‘Sustainability’ in regards to the culinary world essentially means going away from all the engineered foods we have available today and back to the natural. It means growing natural, unadulterated produce and selling it in the local stores. ‘Sustainability’ means treating food animals humanely, not injecting them with growth-hormones, and feeding them properly (because ultimately what they eat ends up in our stomachs). Sustainability means being good to the earth, for it in turn will be good to us.


 

A Night In Tuscany With Steak and Wine

 

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There are many foods we associate with Tuscany. White bean stew. Ragu. Fresh pasta. The list goes on, from the super traditional recipes that grandma perfected, to more contemporary dishes found in Italian restaurants worldwide. However, the food would not be what it is today without two Italian staples–meat and wine. Tuscany is known for its beautiful white cows–the Chianina, and its wine–from simple red house blends to a robust Chianti. Every household has a bit of meat and wine on hand at all times.

For years, the kosher-observant traveler has been unable to sample these quintessential foods, let alone find the raw ingredients to prepare them on their own. Thankfully, the recent kosher revolution has brought about a welcome, and delicious change. Kosher Culinary Adventures is a unique Kosher travel company (and I’m lucky enough to work with them!) that provides people with a passion for food and travel the opportunity to eat like a local. We do that by finding the best kosher meat, wine and cheese, kashering a villa, and cooking like a Tuscan grandmother.


 

30 Recipes to Help You Sleep Better

 

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Sleep is a necessary part of our everyday schedules, but when we don’t sleep well we lose some of the benefits of a good night’s rest.  These 10 recipes will help you sleep better; improving your sleep quality has never tasted better.

 


 

Two New Ways To Make Pot Pie

 

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Growing up, pot pie night was the highlight of my week, dinner-wise at least! The idea of getting my very own little dish, piping hot out of the oven, made me feel so special. My mom used to make the classic chicken pot pie, but I thought it was time to recreate my favorite childhood dish. The best part is that it’s a one pot meal which means easy clean up, and who doesn’t love that?

If you love pizza, this dish is for you! Served in an nontraditional way, and filled with a unique blend of vegetables, both adults and kids will be excited for dinner. Feel free to substitute your favorite vegetables for the ones in the recipe.


 

DIY Chai Latte and Giveaway

 

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I cry…
…when I leave on tour. I actually think it’s getting harder not easier as the kids get older. They understand that I am going, I understand how much I will be missing. How everyday something new, sad, exciting happens to them and I so badly want to be part and privy to it all. My daughter asked “why can’t you have a normal job?” “Like what?” I answered/questioned, “like a teacher” she said (duhhh?!?!). Between us chickens I can tell you with as much certainty as a human being can muster, that I was definitely not born to be a teacher.

When I go to New York for business and events I have some routines that comfort me while I am far from home. My most favorite of which is landing at JFK and heading to Central Perk in Cedarhurst for 2 soy chai lattes. The first I enjoy on site with my egg white omelet and salad breakfast. The second I take to go as I race to my first meeting.


 

Hail To A Slaw

 

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To be quite candid, if I may, I never really celebrated Presidents’ Day. It’s not because I am not patriotic. On the contrary, I nationally still identify myself as an American; even from living overseas. While I may not be too pleased with the current administration governing the country, I appreciate what the country still represents: Freedom, Liberty, Equality and Justice for all. I am not denying that we had great leaders who made an impact on America for the greater good. Their overall dedication to establishing and building the country, creating a haven for the poor and persecuted deserves my utmost respect and honor. Even though I made Aliyah, I still appreciate the freedoms and opportunities I’ve had growing up in America. At day school, we would recite the Pledge of Allegiance before class.

While I grew up celebrating July 4th and Thanksgiving, I never saw Presidents’ Day as a cause for celebration. While it is an established national holiday, all it meant to me was having a day off from school or work. We did spend a lot of family quality time together. We either went to a museum, sports event, or a movie. We didn’t throw any swanky dinners or parties.


 

How A New Recipe Is Born

 

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Normally I would enter into my kitchen and if I don’t have anything specific in mind I’d open the refrigerator and look for the leftovers; then whatever I find I start making something out of it. Sometimes when I stuff vegetables or dough I use the remaining filling to spontaneously create a new dish. Normally in cases like this no one asks me for the recipes, so in general I don’t write them down.

Now I learned my lesson. I posted a picture of one of my food creations on Facebook and one of my fans asked for the recipe – what a catch. Well I have to be honest and say this was one of those recipes that I improvised without taking notes.


 

The Truth About Vermouth

 

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Vermouth is a type of fortified wine that is made by adding spirits to wine and infusing with a proprietary blend of botanicals. It has been used as a flavor enhancer in many cocktails for years, including classic cocktails like the Martini and the Manhattan.

Vermouth was popular starting in the 1800s and comes in dry and sweet varieties. Over the past several years there has been a resurgence of interest in old fashioned cocktails, many of which include vermouth. A variety of new aperitif and fortified wines (of which vermouth is both) have been introduced to the U.S. market.


 

Comfort Food With No Compromises

 

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Create the ultimate comfort foods to satisfy all palates using Tofutti’s variety of dairy-free products.

kosher chicken parm

Kosher Chicken Parmesan


 

5 Mushroom Recipes

 

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Filling, meat-heavy meals are the foundation for most meals during the winter months.  For those looking for a break from meat, mushrooms can provide the same level of heartiness without the weighed-down feeling that meat can cause.  Below are 5 quick and delicious mushroom recipes to incorporate into your weekday meals.

 


 

Mustard Greens Recipes

 

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Mustard greens are part of the healthy “dark leafy green” vegetable family.  They are similar in texture to kale and collard greens, but with a bit more body.  And, like the name implies, mustard greens have a tangy, peppery bite reminiscent of mustard.   Mustard greens are wildly nutritious: low in calories, a good source of fiber and high in Vitamins K, A and C.  Additionally, mustard greens store very well in the refrigerator for at least one week.   I love them as a main course any time of day when they are sauteed with garlic and topped with a poached egg.  Try my recipe for Sauteed Garlic Mustard Greens with Sweet Potato and Poached Egg.

shaved mustard greens

Shaved Mustard Green Salad