Archive for March, 2010



15
Mar
10

Chef Laura Frankel’s Cooking Demo at DeGustibus Tomorrow


Kicking off De GustibusInspired Kosher Cooking Series, Chef Laura Frankel will do a demo tomorrow.

The official announcement says:

Tuesday, March 16, 2010 | 1 – 3:30 PM
LAURA FRANKEL, executive chef for Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering in Chicago, formerly of Shallots, and author of two cookbooks, most recently Jewish Cooking for All Seasons, returns to demonstrate healthy and delicious kosher fare inspired by greenmarkets.

De Gustibus is located on the 8th floor of Macy’s (151 West 34th Street, 8th Floor; NY NY 10001; Telephone: 212.239.1652; Fax: 212.494.4741), in Manhattan. Having attended a class there myself, recently, I can attest to the high quality of teaching and the delectable food everyone is served.

According to The Jew And The Carrot website, Chef Laura is currently Executive Chef and head of food services at the Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and café at the Spertus Institute for Jewish studies in Chicago. She is the former chef and founder of the Shallots restaurants. Mrs. Frankel has training and extensive experience in both savory and pastry kitchens. Before committing herself to her culinary passion, she played both alto and baritone saxophones. She taught and played professionally. She is the author of Jewish Cooking For All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes. After class you will be able to buy cookbooks at 10% off.

I’ve eaten many times at Shallots when it used to be located in Manhattan at the atrium of the SONY building’s where Solo is now situated. I definitely can vouch for her succulent creations!!!

Having communicated recently with Chef Laura I can attest to her charm and wit. I have no doubt this will be an exciting class with superb food. Who can ask for anything more?

CS

12
Mar
10

Jeff Nathan Creations


Logic would have suggested I do this post, after Passover, but I’m excited about these products, I couldn’t wait. From Abigael’s on Broadway’s website I ordered a set of all three flavors of Jeff Nathan Creations All Natural Gourmet Panko Bread Flakes.

Gourmet Panko's three flavors: Plain, Fine Herbs and Italian Blend

I couldn’t wait to taste these bread flakes and considering that it’s almost Peissach and all chametz must go, I wasted no time in following Chef Jeff’s Panko Crusted Chicken recipe, printed on the back of each box. I used the Fine Herbs Panko. Strongly aromatic and what a difference over regular breadcrumbs it made!

8  ounces Panko – Plain, Italian blend or Fine Herbs
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons water
4 seven-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, lightly pounded (or use filet or sole or thinly sliced vegetables)
1/2 cup olive oil
Lemon wedges, for serving

1. Place the panko in a shallow dish. Place the flour in another shallow dish. Beat 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons water in a third shallow dish.
2. One at a time, dip the chicken breasts (sole or vegetable), in the flour and shake off the excess. Dip in the egg mixture, then in the panko to coat, gently pressing the panko to adhere.
3. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375F. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium high until hot but not smoking. Add the chicken breasts to the skillet. Cook turning once, until the crust is golden brown, about 4 minutes. Transfer the breasts to a baking sheet. Bake until the chicken feels firm when pressed in the center, 10-12 minutes.
4. Transfer the chicken to paper towels to drain briefly. Serve hot with lemon wedges, or sauce of your choice.

My results of Chef Jeff's Panko Crusted Chicken

Instead of lemon wedges, we added some breaded zucchini… The breaded chicken was delicately spiced, full of flavor, loved it! Try it and enjoy.

CS

12
Mar
10

Gotham Wines 7th Annual Wine Tasting


This past Sunday Gotham Wines & Liquors held its 7th Annual Wine tasting at the Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan. They had hundreds of wines for every taste and every price range. Under the expertise of Costas and Noah the selections exceeded most expectations. In fact they proved, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a wine need not be expensive to be good.

A small fraction of the hundreds of bottles...

There was a time when kosher wine choices in the US boiled down to Kedem‘s Extra Sweet Malaga or Extra Sweet Concord, those days – thankfully – are long past. Today Kedem, through its various labels, is classed among the world’s top wineries. Its 2006 Generation VIII (Cabernet Sauvignon) is, by any standard a superb wine that just happens to be kosher.

Chateau Guiraud Sauterne 2001 and the Chateau Piada Sauterne 2001 are both superb examples (at different price points, though both are on the higher end) of how seriously wineries around the world now take the kosher consumer. These wines are the result of an evolved kosher palate and they represent a tacit recognition, that kosher now represents, unabashedly, a major new market ready for the world’s best producers.

All the above, however, does not mean you can’t find superb choices at more down to earth price points. There were wines here from almost every corner of the planet, with price points starting under $10.00. You like sweet dessert wines? You prefer a dry wine? Semi sweet? Semi dry? Red? White? Rosé? A specific grape? From Italy’s Borgo Reale Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2008, their Chianti Riserva 2005, or their Primitivo 2008, to Israel’s Recanati with selections like their Chardonay 2007, Cabernet Blanc 2006, etc., etc., etc. all were represented

All in all, a tasting to remember. And… Gotham Wines & Liquors (2517 Broadway; New York, NY 10025; Telephone: 212.932.0990) has the best prices in town!

CS

RELATED POST

A Private Wine Tasting

10
Mar
10

Glatt a La Carte


So, I’ve got to admit, I showed up to Glatt A La Carte (5123 18th Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11204; Telephone: 718.438.6675) in Boro Park bearing preconceived notions of uber chulent-fresser waiters in bowties serving upscale Jewish chic, featuring ptcha in arbes parsley pesto and liver pâté in matzo taco shells, with huge mains of brisket and mashed potatoes in a pomegranate reduction sauce.

Nothing could be further from the truth! This restaurant was understated chic and welcoming. There were inconspicuous screen separators between some of the tables giving a sense of privacy and intimacy and tall lean white winter branches warmly lit from below against the back wall.  The waiters, detail oriented and attentive, gave an exemplary dinner service.  Chef Mark Green, a 10 year veteran of Glatt A La Carte, personally brought us the courses that unequivocally proved his superb talents and artistry of taste. It all further demonstrated, the coordinated organic time-lapse frame of a restaurant which, through the patient masterful guidance of owner Binem Naiman and Chef Mark combined,  has grown from the ordinary to the extraordinary, incorporating the traditional with  the contemporary.

I started the meal with a Butternut Squash Ravioli, the sauce consisted of roasted butternut squash, apple sauce, onions and winter sage. The ravioli were freshly made, the combination of spices gave an out of the ordinary perfect taste, rich in flavor and pleasing to the eyes.

Butternut Squash Ravioli

CS had a Spicy Tuna Tartar with a special avocado wrap.

Spicy Tuna Tartar

I followed with a Beef Brisket Spring Roll, served with red cabbage confetti slaw (red cabbage, finely sliced orange and yellow pepper and red onion) in a hickory BBQ sauce. It was the best brisket spring roll I ever tasted. I liked the hickory/honey sauce was on the side as it the well seasoned brisket stand alone on flavor. The bright colored confetti slaw was festive and tangy, a perfect partner to the brisket!

CS opted for the Grilled Veal Sweetbreads, served with rustic chimichurri sauce and parsley with home made garlic bread sticks and olive oil. The presentation was enticing, the flavor all conquering.

Next I had a Reserve Steak.

Reserve Steak

It was a rib eye steak, served with grilled onion and a tarragon béarnaise sauce. It was what every rib eye I ever consumed should have been, exploding with flavor, an exquisitely traditional ta’am.

CS had a Bone-in-Roast Prime Rib with the Columbian Rub (blend of fresh ground coffee and spices), served with Bourbon Aju and topped with crispy seasoned fried onions. It was super tender, juicy and flavorful. The coffee rub, brought out some unusual flavors (my mouth is watering as I write). It cut like butter. I don’t think I can rave enough about either of the steaks!

For dessert CS ordered a Plum Carpaccio.

Plum Carpaccio

This dessert came topped with mango and raspberry sorbet, it was served with molasses and honey… colorful and delicious!

But… I had the best of all. I ordered the homemade Angel Food Pinwheel, it was topped – in front of us – with a luscious, warm blueberry sauce. The cake came filled with whipped creme, decadently succulent! Perfect ending to a perfect dinner…

During the meal we enjoyed a very nice 2005 Segal’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. We accompanied our desserts with a glass each of 2008 Baron Herzog Late Harvest Chenin Blanc. Excellent choices both!

SYR

Glatt a la Carte on Urbanspoon

09
Mar
10

Les Petites Fermières plus Organic and Kosher


A small selection of Les Petite Fermieres and Organic And Kosher cheeses

I like cheeses, as does CS, I use them in cooking, I use them in sandwiches and even in between wines at wine tastings. Thus I was happy to find that Les Petites Fermières (distributed by Anderson International Foods in Mineola, NY), has an interesting collection of available cheeses and most can be found at supermarkets and kosher groceries throughout the US and Canada. Some of my favorites include Gouda, Fontina, Havarti and Havarti with Dill.

Gouda is a distinctively flavored cheese, first developed in Gouda (Netherlands), as it ages it develops a slight caramel like taste.

Fontina, like Gouda, is made from cow’s milk and it originated in Italy’s Valle d’Aosta. Today, however it is also made in the US, France, Denmark and Sweden. Les Petites Fermières’ selection is softer and creamier than its fully aged, darker, Italian sibling.

Havarti was first made in the mid 19th century in an experimental farm, just north of Copenhagen, Norway. It has a subtle flavor that makes it perfect for slicing, grilling or melting. I also like its sibling Havarti with Dill, which has a somewhat stronger yet delightful taste due to the herb.

When I want something sharper I go for their Cheddar or the Mediterranean Jack. Frankly, I found all of them delicious! I like a cheese omelette for breakfast, so I made one using various cheeses.

CS’ Simple Cheese Omelette

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup of Les Petites Fermières Chef’s Blend (natural cheddar and pizza style blend) Shredded Cheese
  • 1 slice of Mozzarella
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Roland Oven Roasted Tomatoes (optional)

Preparation

  1. Melt the butter in an 8” inch skillet, over a medium flame, until it starts sizzling. Tilt skillet until bottom is completely covered.
  2. Drop in the two eggs and tilt the skillet to cover as much as much of it as possible.
  3. Sprinkle the Chef’s Blend cheese on top of the eggs liberally. Within a few seconds it will melt.
  4. With a spatula reach under the omelette and fold it over itself.
  5. Immediately cover the top with slice of Mozarella.
  6. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. I also added a couple of oven roasted tomatoes over of the Mozarella. Do not overcook.

Sometimes I also add other spices, when I mix the eggs, prior to folding them into the skillet. Delicious!

For those of you who prefer organic food, Anderson International Foods also distributes Organic and Kosher. If you love cheese you’ll notice the difference between organic and regular cheeses. I did and absolutely liked the difference.

SYR

RELATED POSTS

Naturally Kosher

08
Mar
10

Cooking Steak at The Center For Kosher Culinary Arts


Did you ever have a perfect steak? I did, when I attended a session at CKCA, (1407 Coney Island Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11230; 718.758.1339 – they are right above Happy Home Housewares) when Chef David Ritter was teaching class the evening class. Though I’m not a student at the school, like all those present my attention was fully taken by Chef David’s directions and explanations.

This particular session was devoted to making Steak au Poivre (Peppercorn Steak)…

Steak au Poivre

Below is the recipe Chef Ritter has graciously agreed to share with us. As you read, you’ll see how dramatic the very act of cooking this recipe can be:

Steak au Poivre

2 tournedos – Tender Beef Filets – preferably Rib Eye medallions

1½ ozs. Cognac (Brandy)

2 ozs. Non-Dairy Creamer

1 ozs. Shallots – chopped

1-2 ozs. Margarine (optional) cold & cubed

1tspn Black Pepper – crushed

½ tspn Green Peppercorns

2 tblspn Clarified Margarine or Olive Oil

3 ozs. Demi-Glace (or, buy boxed beef stock and reduce it by ¾)

Preparation

Step 1 – Season Filet w/ Salt & Pepper.
Step 2
– Sautée Both Sides in Clarified Butter or Oil.
Step 3
– Remove meat; add shallots & sweat, Deglaze food particles on pan with Cognac – FLAMBÉE!
**(MUST REMOVE PAN FROM HEAT WHEN POURING ALCOHOL INTO PAN)**

Step 4
– Add green peppercorns.
Step 5 – Add Creamer and Demi Glace, reduce ‘til slightly thick.
Step 6 – Swirl in some margarine cubes without boiling sauce (optional).
Step 7 – Arrange plate and pour sauce over meat.

The aroma will conquer you. Just surrender and enjoy the taste!

CS

RELATED POSTS

Cooking Lamb at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts
Luscious and Pareve Lemon Bars
The Center for Kosher Culinary Arts

04
Mar
10

Pam Reiss’ Passover – A Kosher Collection


Pamela Reiss works with her parents catering business and store in Winnipeg, Canada. By her own admission she’s not a trained Chef, yet judging by this book, the lady can cook!!!

I’ve seen quite a few Passover cookbooks over the years, some very good, some mediocre. This one is excellent! It shows imagination, understanding of the subtle nuances of flavor and has so many delicious recipes.

Among my favorites is the Spinach and Zucchini Soup with the Matzo Ball. For the Mains I have a tough time choosing between the Black Currant Miami Ribs, the Old Fashioned Beef Flanken, the Brisket with Onion Gravy, the Slow Cooked Brisket with Tomato Sauce, or the Pineapple Turkey Meatballs. For desserts there are quite a few that could become my new favorites, among them any of the variations of Crème Brûlée

Pineapple Turkey Meatballs

Serves 6 – Meat

To make a lighter version, I’ll often use ground turkey or chicken as a substitute for beef in meatballs. But this recipe was created with turkey in mind — I think the sauce works well with turkey, but don’t let that stop you if you want to try it with chicken or beef!

Sauce

28 oz. | 796 mL canned whole tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp. | 10 mL fresh ginger, minced
20 oz. | 565 g canned pineapple chunks, with the juice
2 oz. | 55 g brown sugar (¼ cup | 60 mL)
3 Tbsp. | 45 mL tomato paste

Meatballs

1 ½ lbs. | 680 g ground turkey
1 large egg
5 oz. | 140 g yellow onion, peeled and finely minced
(1 small)
1 tsp. | 5 mL fresh ginger, minced
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tsp. | 5 mL salt
¼ tsp. | 1 mL black pepper
2 ¼ oz. | 65 g matzo meal (½ cup | 120 mL)
2 Tbsp. | 30 mL cold water

Preheat the oven to 350°F | 175°C.

Put the whole tomatoes with the juice into a mixing bowl and use an immersion blender to puree. Add the rest of the sauce ingredients and stir together.

In another mixing bowl, combine the meatball ingredients and mix well.

Ladle some sauce into the bottom of an oven-safe baking dish.

Form the turkey mixture into balls the size of large walnuts — you should get about 24.

Lay as many meatballs as you can on top of the sauce in a single layer and pour some sauce over them.

Add the remaining meatballs in a second layer and add the remaining sauce, spooning it on and making sure that all the meatballs are covered.

Cover the dish with a lid or aluminum foil and bake for 1 ½ hours.

Remove from the oven and serve or chill and reheat for serving later.

The book’s title refers to Passover but, frankly, with so many delicious recipes it’s a book for all seasons. Ms. Reiss has taken heimish cooking to new heights.

You can obtain the book directly from her website, amazon.com or Eichler’s in Brooklyn

CS

04
Mar
10

Ceres Juices


I like juices, almost all juices. Ceres produces some of the best I ever tasted, I recently picked up their 1 liter cartons of Youngberry, Apricot, Mango, Papaya and Litchi. I was amazed at how close to the fruits’ real flavor they tasted. Turns out they are all 100% fruit juice, they have 0% of either saturated or trans fats. and they are very rich in vitamin C providing 100% of the recommended daily adult requirement per serving. I usually get their Fruit Medley (I didn’t this time) in addition to the Vitamin C, it also supplies 100% of Vitamin A’s recommended daily requirement. Each carton gives 4 8ozs servings, Ceres Fruit Juices use Tetra Brik aseptic cartons; these sealed cartons give the juices a shelf life of 12 months, once opened they must be refrigerated and they taste best if consumed within 5 days of opening.

Ceres Juices: Apricot, Litchi, Mango, Papaya, Youngberry

The Youngberry was first produced in 1905 and released in 1926 in the US. Not much is grown of it on these shores anymore but is cultivated intensively in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. I found it very refreshing.

The Apricot is a fruit that has been known since mankind’s earliest days. Records show that as early as the year 502 of the Current Era apricots were already used in the treatment of tumors, in 17th century England apricot juice was used in the treatment of tumors and ulcers. There are records that as early as the year 502 of the Current Era apricots were already used in the treatment of tumors, in 17th century England apricot juice was used in the treatment of tumors and ulcers. In John Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi it is discussed as an inducer of childbirth. When I was a volunteer at Kibbutz Lavi during the Six Day War, in 1967, we spent a lot of time working in the apricot fields and it became one of my favorite summer fruits.

The Mango has been growing in India for thousands of years and from there it spread to other frost-free countries. In some cases the tree can still grow fruits even after 300 years. The fruit is naturally very sweet, its juice is a bit thicker than most, but when served chilled it’s very refreshing.

The Papaya originated in Southern Mexico though it’s now cultivated in tropical countries in every continent. Green Papaya is used a lot in Thai cuisine. Papaya is marketed in tablet form as a cure for digestive problems. Ceres definitely tastes great and together with their Litchi these two are about to become favorite juices.

The Litchi – sometimes spelled lychee – fruit contains, on average, a total 72 mg of Vitamin C per 100 grams of fruit. About nine litchi fruits would meet an adult’s daily recommend Vitamin C requirement. But above all I find this a delicious fruit… and I’m in good company. During the Tang Dynasty it was the favorite fruit of Emperor Li Longji (Xuanzong). The emperor had the fruit, which was only grown in southern China, delivered by the imperial messenger service’s fast horses, whose riders would take shifts day and night in a Pony Express-like manner, to the capital. I found the juice very refreshing and mildly but pleasantly aromatic.

They are made in South Africa, certified with a Star K and are kosher for Passover as they bear a P, they also carry the kashrus certification of the Capetown Beth Din. All five of these flavors proved superb!

CS

02
Mar
10

Cooking Lamb at the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts


Just over a month ago we spoke about the Baking and Pastry Arts course at CKCA, now we turn to their Culinary course. I recently attended a session given by Chef Avram Wiseman – one of two Senior culinary instructors. This particular session dealt with cooking lamb.

Chef Avram Wiseman

Chef Avram demonstrated various techniques for preparing lamb.

Covered in pastry

With potatoes Anna

CKCA’s students prepared lamb in a variety of ways over two days. The ones I was lucky to sample had a captivating aroma, great taste and were very juicy and tender.

Chef Avram has graciously shared his recipe for Asian Lamb Chops:

Asian Lamb chops

Yield: 2 portions

Ingredients:

6- Single cut rib lamb chops
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon shredded ginger root
1 Tablespoon finely minced garlic
3 tablespoons honey
3 oz. low sodium soy sauce
3 Tablespoons chicken stock
¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil
3 scallions cut ¾ inch bias cut (white and green)
½ Teaspoon Cracked peppercorns

Procedure:

Season the lamb chops with the cracked peppercorns according to your taste. Lightly coat the chops with canola oil. Heat a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan. Place the lamb chops in the hot pan and quickly sear the lamb over high heat. Turn the chops and sear the second side. Cook until lamb is nicely golden brown. Remove chops from pan. Reserve some melted lamb fat in the pan. (If lamb chops are double cut or extra thick they may be placed in the oven for 7-10 minutes)

Place the ginger and garlic in the pan. Add a drop of oil if needed. Cook over high heat. Add the honey before the garlic burns! Continue cooking and let the honey bubble up and begin to color. Add soy sauce and de-glaze the honey. Add chicken broth. Return the chops to the sauce and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the sesame oil and scallions and mix well. Serve immediately.

I tried the Chef’s recipe at home, besides tasting at CKCA, it came out great. I loved it!

Next week will be back with CKCA’s Culinary course taught by Chef David Ritter, he’ll be sharing his recipe for Steak au poivre  (Peppercorn Steak).

CS




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