Archive for April, 2011

29
Apr
11

Marred by Overpreaching…


Anyone with a smidgen of intelligence, anyone who has ever used the grey matter that Hakodosh Boruch Hu gave him/her, realizes that in this age when animals are raised much faster than nature intended them to (with the help of various chemicals added to their foods), red meat consumption has to be cut down. Even yours truly, carnivore to the core, admits it. Thus, I welcomed Roberta Kalechosky’s books when I first heard of them. While I never intended, nor intend, to abandon my preference for meat I was looking for healthy tasty alternatives.

When I got The Vegetarian Shabbat Cookbook by Roberta Kalechofsky and Roberta Schiff and The Vegetarian Pessach Cookbook by Roberta Kalechofsky, I expected to find some great recipes that would lessen my interest in meat dishes. Instead, while I found some intriguing possibilities I also found myself barraged – specifically in the Passover book – with anti meat sophistry based on often made up statistics (even if Ms. Kalechofsky quotes others), out of context quotes and even horribly misquoted quotes. The Vegetarian Pessach Cookbook (published in 2002) spends the first 20 of its 72 pages preaching against eating meat in terms that misunderstand – or purposely obfuscate the intent of – the religious texts she quotes and bringing politics as a reason for ceasing our consumption of meat. I could go on, but I see little point in continuing to discuss the all too often shrill tone of the author’s polemics.

In The Vegatarian Shabbat Cookbook, (published in 2010) a far more attractive tome, far less shrill and more than three times the number of pages than the earlier one, there are some good recipes. Whether she has matured in her thought in the eight years since she published the Passover book, whether she studied Dale Carnegie‘s How to Win Friends and Influence People, or whether her co-author – Roberta Schiff – served as as a tempering foil, she has curbed down her anger and her politics. What emerges instead is a far more sensible book with some interesting possibilities for those who would vary their diets and veer away from constantly eating meat. While none of the recipes got me very excited, unlike other cookbooks we reviewed on this pages, some are definitely not bad and here’s one I intend to try:

Roasted Root Vegetables With Wine Sauce

Preheat Oven to 375 F

  • 3 golden beets scrubbed
  • 1 turnip, scrubbed, but not peeled, if organic
  • 2 parsnips, scrubbed, but not peeled, if organic
  • 2 large potatoes, do not peel if organic
  • 3 carrots, scrubbed, do not peel, if organic
  • 3 medium or 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 shallot cloves
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons of a good prepared mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/3 cup red or white wine
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
Bring a large soup pot to boil.
Cut all the vegetables into large chunks and put the chunked vegetables in to the boiling water in three or four batches. Boil 2-4 minutes for each batch. Take each batch out and drain.
Put the olive oil in a large skillet. Mix wine, mustard and cumin. When oil is hot (but not smoking), add the mixture of vegetables to the oil.
Add the root vegetables and the sliced shallots and garlic. Stir-fry until golden at the edges. Combine wine with the mustard and cumin and add to the pan. Add salt and pepper.
Transfer to a roasting pan and roast for 45 minutes. Turn over every 10-15 minutes.
They should be golden and crispy.
Serves 6-8

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

28
Apr
11

Wine and More… Wine!


Aside from the Arba Kossot on both sedorim, whenever there are large festive gatherings wine is sure to flow. This year I partook of a great collection of potables that showed how far kosher wines had come since the days of my youth, when the choices were extra sweet and even sweeter. No longer were these wines just from Jewish vintners, but many wineries – already renowned around the world – joined the fray and produced kosher versions of their best sellers. What entails making a wine kosher? Not – as the old joke went – adding a few cups of sugar per bottle, but merely following the standard process under rabbinic supervision.

I was privileged this year to taste various superb wines from around the world (which I picked a few days before Passover at Gotham Wines ans Liquors, 2517 Broadway; New York, NY 10025-6934 Tel: 212.932.0990) including some from well known wineries that have already made their mark in the world at large.

During chol hamo’ed and the last two days of Pessach, when there were large numbers of people, both at my oldest son’s home in Lakewood (NJ) and at my oldest daughter’s in Providence (RI) I tasted some superb wines which I brought from New York. In the photo above we have a Barons Edmond & Benjamin de Rothschild 2007 Haute-Medoc, Binyamina, 2006 Odem Ruby Series Syrah, Mount Hevron 2003 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and a Jonathan Tishby 1999 Special Reserve Merlot.

The 2007 Haute-Medoc was superb, complex, yet delicate; fruity and spicy with blackberry accents, it had a long finish. Mevushal.

2006 Odem Syrah had blackberry and black pepper with floral accents on the nose. Full bodied and well balanced it greatly enhanced the lamb dish with which it was paired. Only 5190 bottles were produced.

Mount Hevron‘s 2003 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon offered ripe raspberry flavors finishing with aromatic spices.

Tishbi 1999 Special Reserve Merlot, aged for 18 months in oak barrels, it brims with blackcurrant, berries and plum flavors and aromas. Exquisite! Out of a limited, numbered edition we had bottle number 5123.

Thishbi 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Limited Edition is an inexpensive wine that tastes far better than its price suggests. It’s a blend of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Petit Verdot. It shows forest berries, blackcurrant, plums, cloves and a bit of green pepper on the nose, followed by sweeter notes of spice and dark fruit on the palate. Moderate tannins complete the rich feel to the long, lush finish. Approachable and decadent.

CAPÇANES 2008 Peraj Ha’abib/Flor de Primavera from Montsant in Spain. Robert Parker rated it a well deserved 90. Made from Garnacha, Carignan and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes, it has a deep ruby/purple color. It was aged for 12 months in French and American oak barrels; it displays sweet blackcurrant notes combined with black pepper. It displays earthy minerals and tobacco on the palate leading to a long luscious finish. Daniel Rogov estimates it will reach its best by 2012 to 2018. I’ve tasted this wine before and through every vintage it seems to get better! Only 1300 cases of 6 bottles each were produced for this vintage.

Borgo Reale 2005 Brunello di Montalcino is made from 100% Brunello variety of the Sangiovese grape. Floral and fruity on the nose, its flavor suggests plums, berries and minerals with subtle hints of coffee and tobacco leading to a long finish. Italy’s done it again!

For dessert we enjoyed Willm 2008 Gewurztraminer and Balma Venetia 2006 Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise.

The 2008 Gewurztraminer is made from grapes that reach their full potential in Alsace. These wines are far above those of produced elsewhere. Served chilled, it exhibited rose petals and lychee on the nose; on the palate its very, very subtle sweetness combined with the perfect amount of acidity to make it very refreshing.

The 2006 Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise displayed glorious notes of peach, grape, apricot, mango and lychee. We also had it at lunch with a selection of cheeses, this past Monday, its sweetness was balanced by just enough acidity to make me feel I had bitten into the actual grape.

Two wines that we finished off before I got a chance to photograph (yes, they were that good!!!) were Barkan 2006 Superieur Shiraz and Psagot 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Barkan was, by far, the best Shiraz I ever remember tasting. On the nose it’s a complex symphony of notes of black cherries, blackcurrant, mulberries, cloves and cinnamon with overtones of coffee, dark chocolate and smoke (typical of Judean Hills wines). It is a full bodied, with a long finish. Winner of France’s Vinalies Internationales 2010 Silver Medal and Israel’s TERRAVINO Mediterranean International Wine Challenge Gold Medal for 2010

Psagot 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, It shows deep black fruit aromas awith generous notes of spicy oak, both the brawn, nicely balanced. On the nose it exhibits blackcurrants, berries and figs, those supported by notes of espresso and roasted Brazil nuts. It was a pleasant surprise and far better than more expensive wines, in fact it easily rated among the best I’ve tasted this Passover.

Next year may we sip the cup of redemption in Yerushalayim Ir Hakoidesh!

CS

27
Apr
11

This Evening’s Radio Show and a Recipe


Right before Pessach we did a two hour show featuring various wine experts and distributors, talking about kosher wines from around the world. It ended with a half hour conversation with Chef Jeff Nathan of Abigael’s.  You can listen to the archived show here.

This evening our internet radio guest will be Chef Sarah Lasry. Mrs. Lasry is Food Editor at Binah Magazine, author of The Dairy Gourmet and The At Home Gourmet. For eight years she owned and operated Tastebuds, a very successful dairy restaurant in the Howell/Lakewood area in New Jersey. You can hear our conversation, at 8:00pm (Eastern Time) on BlogTalk Radio. To talk to our guest, or to comment, you may call in at: 714.333.3357, we will be on from 8:00 – 8:30pm.

Looking through her latest of cookbook, The At Home Gourmet, I found it well organized and easy to follow. It’s divided in seven sections (Amazing Appetizers, Simple Soups, Zestful Salads, Lazy Lunches, Delicious Dinners, Waist Watchers, Basic Desserts) )and has a well organized Index. Quite a few of its recipes are destined to become new favorites, among them some of the very decadent desserts.

While I’m a carnivore to the core, those who follow this blog also know that any recipe that calls for cheese is sure to get my attention. Therefore, out of the many mouthwatering recipes in this book, I thought the one below would be perfect…

So Cheesy Onion Potato Gratin

  • 1 large onion sliced thin
  • 2 tbsp.extra virgin oil
  • 2 lbs. Yukon Gold potatoes, sliced into thin rounds
  • 2 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Mozarella cheese
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 4 tbsp. melted butter
  • Extra shredded Cheddar or Mozzarella for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a skillet over med-high heat, saute the onions in olive oil until they have browned (about 4-5 minutes). In a sprayed 9 x 13 baking pan, layer the bottom with the fried onions. Then layer the potatoes over the onions, covering them completely and overlapping the potatoes one on top of the other.
In a small mixing bowl, whisk the heavy cream, salt, black pepper and both cheeses together. Pour the heavy cream mixture over the potatoes. In a separate bowl, add the crumbs and melted margarine, mix well and then spread generously over the top layer of potatoes. Sprinkle with a little more cheese and bake the gratin until it becomes bubbly, the top is brown and the potatoes are completely soft, about 20-30 minutes. Let gratin rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! As for me I plan on pairing it tonight with a well chilled Balma Venetia 2006 Muscat Beaumes de Venise… can’t wait!

CS

24
Apr
11

Rolled Chicken


For the first part of Pessach I was in Lakewood, NJ, where three of my children and their families reside. During a break between mincha and maariv on the second evening, the learned discussion somehow veered to foods of our youth, dishes no longer served, since today they would rightfully be considered as “a heart attack on a plate” as my friend put it. We spoke of gribenes, three inch thick matzoh kugel, matzebrei made with oodles of eggs and quite a few more dishes of yore. Oyyy… they were truly delicious. What made them so, what delivered their heavenly aroma was chicken fat!

Gribenes were made by deep frying pieces of chicken skin in chicken fat… Yeap, I can see most of my readers recoiling in horror at the mere thought. Don’t worry, gentle reader, I haven’t touched these in quite a few decades nor do I advocate a return to them. But, I do wonder why – now that we consume far healthier fare – why is it that the percentage of obesity is far higher and the average age for passing on to the next plane has not significantly changed since I was a kid?

Perhaps the reason we were not adversely affected by these killer foods was because I remember the family always going for a walk after a meal, in fact we used to walk a lot. When I grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay, elementary school was a mere two blocks away. After lunch, I’d walk 8 blocks to Yeshivas Machzikey Hada’as. When old enough for secondary, five or six of us from the same neighborhood would walk sixteen blocks each way to Liceo Hector Miranda and after lunch we’d walk another 10 blocks to the mesivtah. Only if it rained did we get a ride.

By the time were getting ready to move to the US, Montevideo got its first school that combined limudei kodesh and secular subjects, it went from kindergarten through secondary. The school’s name, showed the Zionist agenda of its founders. It was called, Escuela Dr. Teodor Herzl… I think, gentle reader, you’ll agree with me that such a name for a purportedly frum school just wouldn’t do today, not in the US! But I digress…

Getting back to food, both my daughters are excellent cooks as are my three daughters in law. Just thinking of some of the dishes I’ve enjoyed during the years makes my mouth water. Yes, the fare they serve is far healthier than what I remember growing up with. I was headquartered at my oldest son’s house, where I enjoyed both sedorim, the plethora of delicious dishes and the aromas wafting from the kitchen into the rest of the house was enough to make even the most satiated person hungry for more. Below, is the recipe for one of my daughter in law’s delicacies:

Rolled Chicken

Ingredients

  • 6 chicken cutlets
  • 1 1/2 cup Duck Sauce
  • 8 large potatoes

Filling

  • 6 potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive oil
  • 2 eggs separated
  • 1/2 cup potato starch
  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes
  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Pound the cutlets until they double in size, cut each in half. Set aside
  2. Peel the the 5 potatoes, boil them and cut in the lenght and cut them again (sideways) for a total of 8 to 10 pieces each. Set aside.
  3. Boil and mash the 6 potatoes for the filling
  4. Sautee the onions in oil.
  5. Beat the egg whites until stiff
  6. Add the egg yolks and sauteed onions to the mashed potatoes.
  7. Fold in the whites.
  8. Add potato starch, parsley flakes, paprika, salt and pepper.
  9. Put some of the potato mixture on each of the cutlets and roll them.
  10. Put the rolled cutlets on two tin pans.
  11. Pour the Duck Sauce over each cutlet.
  12. Take the cut up potatoes and cover any empty space.
  13. Put in preheated 350 F oven, for 1 hour.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!
CS
18
Apr
11

Banging The Drum Slowly


Mom turns 87 this year, ad meah v’esrim. Her pride and joy revolves around her children, grandchildren, home, and her Hungarian rooted cooking. She was the renowned master balabusta of the neighborhood. When she made a Kiddush, everyone came. Her kugels, kishka, holoptzes, homemade sweet cabbage strudel, rum ball cookies, rum mousse, napoleons, chestnut cakesoron-golushkas, kokosh, markosh and diosh were devoured in minutes. Her challas stood tall and statuesquely braided.

I still remember how barbaric her scraping walls of the intestines looked, as she prepped them to be stuffed with gelinglach (lung, rice and lots of pepper), and those sweet breads looking like splattered brain matter, before she sautéed them with mushroom and onions, smelling heavenly- later to become one of my personal favorite delicacies. She made Jewish classics like p’tchah and roasts that melted in your mouth, brust-deckle, tzimmes, Hungarian goulash, and chicken paprikash, and homemade pickles, beets and ugorkashalata (cucumber salad). You name it  she could make it.

I don’t think she ever looked in a recipe book, she measured by eye and taste and what made innate sense to her. She had an uncanny sense for putting together ingredients be it for cooking or baking. Without knowing the chemistry of why she knew how and her tables were overflowing with amazing dishes. And I honestly can’t remember a time when something didn’t come out right, her consistency was truly remarkable. She used to raise thousands for Hadassah and UJA with her luncheons. I remember being floored when all these fancy clad high falutin American women came pouring into our house for her sit down dinner fund raisers. All cultural barriers disappeared as they sat and enjoyed the never ending multi course meals served on Herendi dishes and those blue or forest floral china with the gold accents that are so popular among the Hungarians. The lively chatter and coming together around delicious food in a homey environment was a fabulous success, each and every time. Her Shabbos and Yom Tov meals were no different. Relatives could call up a few hours before Shabbos to say they were coming, and two hours later between the freezer and adding to fresh dishes already on the stove a feastele was ready.

Mom lost cerebellar function close to twenty five years ago, and though it slowed her down, she found a way to continue cooking. It kept her sane, and proved each day that she was still the balebusta of the house. Nowadays, mom’s still at it. She makes the most delicious aromatic chicken soup; you would smell the parsley and dill welcoming the Shabbos malachim into our home every week. The freezer is till filled with plastic containers filled of her golden elixir, in case anybody gets hungry or needs a refuah.

This year she announced that she’s giving up baking. So this past Purim, I baked mom’s markosh and diosh and brought the loaves down and she prepared plates for her few surviving Hungarian friends and close neighbors. One of the delicacies mom served on Pessachwere her drum cookies. I’ve made a batch in her honor and lovingly share them with you now. I warn you, they are decadent and outrageous.

Drum cookies, addictive, delicious...

Drum Cookies

Yields 24 cookies

Ingredients

  • 6 egg whites, at room temperature
  • Pinch of cream of tartar (à la Levana) Or use Kosher for Passover baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 2 tbsp. potato starch
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup finely ground nuts- preferably filberts or pecans, for rolling the cookie sandwich

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.
  2. Whip eggs with the cream of tartar and the salt until fluffy and shiny.
  3. Gradually add the sugar, starch and vanilla, and continue whipping until very stiff peaks form.
  4. Fold in the nuts gently, until thoroughly incorporated
  5. Spoon half dollar dollops onto a cookie sheet lined with foil or parchment paper. you will get approximately 20 -24 drops.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, or a little longer, until the bottoms of the cookies are golden brown and the tops feel firm.
  7. Set aside to cool

Cream Filling

Ingredients

  • 1 stick margarine
  • 1 cup real chocolate melted
  • 1 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee powder
  • 2 tbsp. water

Directions

  1. Whip the margarine in mixer, slowly add the chocolate and the rest of the ingredients.
  2. Chill for an hour before filling.
  3. Spoon about a tbsp. of filling onto cookie ( flat sides of cookie on outside), place another cookie on top and then roll in ground nuts.
  4. Chill before serving.

Enjoy!

SYR

14
Apr
11

Passover’s Relevance Today


In the Hebrew calendar year of 2448 (currently, the year is 5771) the Hebrew slaves in Egypt, exited that land under Moses’ leadership. Passover – the Festival of Freedom – has ever since been one of the highlights of the Jewish calendar. With its lengthy preparations, its rituals and the joy expressed at being free, it is unlike any other Jewish Holy Day. Jewish slavery in Egypt ended three thousand three hundred and twenty three years ago, but Jewish history is unfortunately rich in attempt after attempt by various powerful empires (who have since disappeared!) to convert or enslave those accursed, stiff necked, Jews.

In spite of every such try – right through modern times – the stubborn Jew refuses to go away, refuses to convert, refuses to die. Historians are perplexed! The Jew is a total anomaly! Forces far superior have tried their best to destroy him, in vain, only to became themselves little more than the equivalent of a few chapters in learned history tomes. Arnold Toynbee, the late British historian, in his Study of History refers to the Jew as “the fossil of history,” but he is hopelessly wrong… A fossil has been dead for thousands of years while the Jews are and will still be here long after Professor Toynbee will be forgotten, long after the learned Professor ceases to be even a footnote in some book of historical curiosities.

The message of Passover, the longing for freedom, the two thousand years of exile, the praying and crying to return home have paid off. In 1948 (63 years ago!), the State of Israel was officially established by the United Nations. Interestingly enough, Abraham (whom Jews and Arabs descend from) was born in the Hebrew year of… 1948! Was this just a mere coincidence?!?!?

The Jew’s dream of living – once again – in an independent Jewish country may have come to fruition, but the danger to Jewish survival is far from over. The same enemy that threatens to change the face and lifestyle of the West first wants to destroy the Jew, as an appetizer to his final goal of total conquest of the planet. Europe – especially – and the US, have long mislaid their will to fight for their Western values. Europe, the enlightened, has lost its spirituality and with it any reason to defend its lifestyle which has morphed into a search for instant gratification rather than for something of lasting value. Europe, at one time produced great civilizations and empires, it produced immortal works of art, literature and music. But it lost its inner qualities along the way and instead replaced them with emptiness. Its current philosophers, authors, composers do not compare with the masters of yore and – unlike the classics – are unlikely to be remembered within a few centuries from now.

America the mighty, where a strong work ethic and spirituality once propelled it to the undisputed leadership of the free world,  the America that brought to fruition the dreams and longings of everyone thirsting for freedom and a better chance for a happy life, that America, like Europe,  is also badly afflicted with horrible diseases. As a result of a mislabeled, misnamed, liberalism and its associated maladies (all aggravated by an acute case self hating anti-Americanism), that America suddenly moves around like a confused giant, faltering in its way, unfocused in the present, unsure of its future course.

Just as there were some Jews who preferred to stay in Egypt at the time of the Exodus (only 20% of the Jews actually left with Moses), just as there were those who could not imagine the Hebrew tribes would ever form their own independent kingdom, so there are today those who doubt the viability of a Jewish country on Jewish land. Not only are there self -hating “enlightened” Jews inside and outside of Israel, but there are also the doubters and fools who run its government.

The leadership of a country at war, has to do everything in its power to protect its denizens in the most forceful, most efficient manner possible. World opinion be damned, they never have, nor will they ever come to the aid of us Jews at the moment of peril. Looking at Israel’s governments, over the last 20 plus years, one must wonder how pervasive is the horrible malaise that is so prevalent in Europe and other places. Israel was given to the Jewish tribes by Hakodosh Boruch Hu, as promised to Abraham. Instead of vigorously defending their patrimony, instead of vigorously and unequivocally defending the Jewish rights to their own land, today’s leaders bend to the will, to the opinion of the same Europeans who live on soil soaked with centuries of innocent Jewish blood. When in history has appeasement ever worked?!?!? Remember WWII and British PM Neville Chamberlain’s dangerous, foolish, “Peace in our Time” act of appeasement towards Hitler?

When in history has anyone in Christian Europe ever turned the other cheek? Yet that same Europe who never followed its own dogma demands that the Jew turn the other cheek, isn’t that hypocritical? Isn’t that little more than pathological hatred of that stiff necked Jew who refuses to die, who refuses to become a fossil? And yet, Israeli governments – some further than others (I admit!) – are more intent in pleasing the Europeans and liberal Americans than in defending their own people?!?!?

Food symbols of Freedom...

As long as these governments have greater fear of world opinion tha they have regard for their duties as Jews, then perhaps Israel’s hour of redemption has not yet arrived. If Israel is to be no more than a mere Western enclave in the Levant, rather than a proud nation living in its own land of thousands of years, then it may yet again (chas vesholom, sholom vechas, God forbid!!!!) be spit out of its land.

Israel was historically entrusted with a mission, the mission was to become a light unto the nations, a mission that meant fearless pursuit of our values as commanded in the Torah and explained by our Sages. Alas, what we have instead is a country run by political eunuchs with no belief, with no gumption to fulfill their Divine mission. We are about to celebrate Pessach, to commemorate the time the Almighty, Himself, liberated us from slavery and yet… over 3300 years later, in our own country, we still live emotionally enslaved to those who would gladly celebrate our demise.

Yes, we too suffer a serious malaise; we are deficient – as a nation – in our spirituality, in our belief in the Almighty and ourselves. Adapting the mores of other nations, living life in the manner of other nations never worked for the Jew – on the contrary –  it has only led to his getting ruthlessly decimated. Let’s face up to the truth and our responsibilities; we are different, we have a Divine mission! Let us hope that this Pessach we break the chains of spiritual, emotional and intellectual slavery and become truly liberated from our self imposed indenture to others’ bankrupt values. If we do, then and only then, will the West wake up from its complacency and vigorously stand up to those who would take today’s world back to the barbarism of the seventh century of the Current Era.

CS

13
Apr
11

This Evening’s Two Hour Internet Radio Show And a Recipe…


Last Wednesday’s live broadcast from Gotham Wines and Liquors‘ 8th Annual Wine Extravaganza, held at the West End Institutional Synagogue. We had some great guests on that show and made new friends. Unfortunately the .mp3 file got trashed, so we never got a chance to hear it the actual broadcast. Tonight’s show will focus on wine and food. Our guests will be several kosher winery spokesmen and distributors, then at the last half hour we will talk to Chef Jeff Nathan, Chef/owner of Abigael’s on Broadway.

We will discuss the reasons for the 4 cups of wine and other Pessach customs, we will hear about their selections from the various wineries, while Chef Jeff will explain the whole concept of the New Jewish Cuisine, which he made into a wildly successful series on Public Television. We will also talk about his journey to become a successful restaurateur and what Abigael’s is planning for Passover.

Please listen in to The Kosher Scene’s Show, this evening at 6:30pm to 8:30pm Eastern Time,

The first cookbook Jeff Nathan published – in 2002 –  Adventures in Jewish Cooking, included some great recipes that can be made on Passover. Here is one I intend to savor on the last day of Pessach, when I finally do eat gebroks. It will go perfectly with a glass of  Psagot Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Veal Chops Milanese with Tomato Salad and Arugula

In Milan, you’ll find golden-crusted veal chops so big they fill your plate. Before being cooked, they are pounded while still on the bone. This creates wide flaps of meat to allow for more crispy coating that everyone loves. A combination of matzo flour, matzo meal, and matzo farfel is my secret to creating a crunchier crust than is possible with bread crumbs alone. Using matzo also opens up the possibility of enjoying this dish right through Passover week. You will need a very large, 12-14 inch skillet to cook both chops at once. Of course, if you have two such skillets, you can invite a couple of friends over for dinner, doubling the amount of tomato salad.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, preferably 1 red and 1 yellow, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Two twelve ounce bone-in veal chops, about 1 inch thick, trimmed of excess fat
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup matzo flour (also called matzo cake flour)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten with 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 cup matzo meal
  • 1/2 cup matzo farfel
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)
  • 6 ounces arugula, washed and dried, torn bite-sized pieces.
  • Lemon wedges, for serving

Directions

  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 F.
  2. To make the tomato salad, whisk the lemon juice and oil in a medium bowl. Add the tomatoes, basil, oregano and rosemary and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and let stand at room temperature, stirring occasionally, while preparing the veal.
  3. Place the chops between sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Using a heavy mallet or rolling pin, pound the meaty part of each chop until it’s about 1/2 inch thick, to create chops with a thinner flasp of meat attached to the rib bone. (In Milanese restaurants, the veal is pounded even thinner and wider, but at home, practicality demands that you pound the veal to a size that will allow two chops to fit into the skillet.) Season the chops with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the matzo flour in a shallow dish, the beaten eggs in a second shallow dish and the matzo farfel in a third shallow dish, Coat each veal chop with matzoh flour, then the egg wash, and then the matzoh meal.
  5. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium heat until hot but not smoking. Add the chops and cook, turning one, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Place the browned chops on a large baking sheet. Bake until they feel firm when pressed in the center, 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Just before serving, add the arugula to the tomato salad and mix. For each serving place a chop on a dinner plate and heap the tomato salad on top. Serve immediately with a wedge of lemon.

Just like his other book (which we reviewed) and has become one of my favorites, this one is also chuck full of mouth watering recipes which I can’t wait to try.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

12
Apr
11

Zislick… Woooow!!!


Through the middle of the night and on through the morning, the Zislick Oompa Loompas – at 13th Avenue between 49th and 50th (in Brooklyn’s Boro Park section) – are hard at work, creating the most outrageously splendiforous designer daily- fresh gelatos and sorbets imaginable.

My late morning visit to Zislick, (before the madding crowd of Zislickthusiasts arrived) was like a private invite to a real life Willy Wonka’s Fantasmagorium Ice Cream Emporium. I savoringly sampled every single flavor (sample teaser spoons were awesomely sweet- torturously too small) of each rippling wavy creamy mass, each lick surpassing its predecessor.

Amazing colors, amazing shapes, amaaazing flavors!!! A partial view of the Parve showcase

The sorbets were bursting with flavor; perfect balance of sweet to tangy with a marvelous consistency. I loved all the berry flavors, apple and Parve crusted Napoleon and Belgian Ferrero Rocher- well that is until I tasted the milchig (dairy versions) of the same. Wow!! All you chocolate lovers beware!! It’s insanely addictive and suddenly the crazy frenzied traffic, “Oh where will I find a parking spot on 13th Avenue” will be well worth the agita. I wouldn’t be surprised if they resort to valet parking during peak times.

The diet conscience need not despair, a 4 ounce cup of the Diet Chocolate and Diet Ferrero Rocher is well worth the 80 calories. You’ve just got to try the Cheesecake, the Oreo Cookie, Pistachio, Dolce de Latte, Chocolate Whiskey and so many more. Among the Parve flavors, CS and I loved the Orange, Green Apple,  Lemon Vodka, Mixed Berries, Pineapple and more.

Within the space of a week, we had no choice but to go back twice… just to make sure the flavors were really as good as we first thought. Frankly, after we went back a second time we realized how terribly wrong we were. The flavors tasted even better than we first thought!!!

The first time we went we shared a dish of Belgian Waffles…

Belgian Waffles

…it came topped with fresh whipped cream and, on the side, a scoop each of Strawberry and Mixed Berries sorbet with caramel and chocolate syrup. Heavenly, is a gross understatement!

When we went back again we had a plate of Dutch Pancakes…

Dutch Pancakes

…they were served with caramel, confectioner’s sugar and crunchy nuts, chocolate and strawberry sauce and a double scoop of Strawberry Creme Gelato. We followed it up with their Puffies

Puffies

…covered in Dolce di Latte, with fresh whipped cream, scoops of Oreo Cookies and Coffee gelati and strawberry sauce. All we could say was… wooooow!

“We are the music makers… and we are the dreamers of dreams.” – says Willy Wonka

Well… Zislick has certainly proven to be the supreme frozen dessert maker of anyone’s dreamiest dreams.

SYR

11
Apr
11

Dakshin – Glatt Kosher Indian Bistro


About 10 days ago, we had the pleasure of dining at Dakshin (1154 First Avenue, between 63rd and 64th; New York, NY; Tel: 212.355.4600).

Partial view of the small, inviting, authentic Indian restaurant

The scent of fresh baked naan and superbly blended Indian spices attracted my olfactory senses as soon as I entered this small treasure of a restaurant; like a coiled streamed white scent leading from the kitchen, it beckoned and did not disappoint.

Dakshin and its owner Sanjay Bhatnagar are the real deal in authentic Indian cuisine. The menu was jam packed with diverse regional offerings; from the traditional vegetarian dishes of the North down to rich southern region’s fish dishes sourced from the Indian Ocean with a broad selection of poultry, beef and lamb to round off the menu.

Aromatic, delicious, Chicken Naan bread

We started the meal with an unusual Chicken Naan. Pieces of chicken are kneaded into the dough and then baked in Dakshin‘s own tandoori (clay) oven. It transported us to another time, to another realm, we loved it!

With over 13 appetizers to choose from, we let Sanjay and his son pick favorites for us. Mine was Hari Bhari Tikki. This consisted of spinach and potato cakes flavored with fresh chillies, coriander leaves and ginger, grilled on a skillet.

CS had Lasoni Mushrooms, fresh mushrooms sauteed with fresh ginger, tomatoes, garlic and coriander. Both appetizers were served on banana leaves, the traditional Hindu way. A great start, for the surprising flavors yet to come.

We then tasted a Lemon Rice

...cooked in lemon juice, with mustard seeds and curry leaves

…which we left as a superb accompaniment for the mains. While neither CS nor I care much for cauliflower, we both agreed that the Ghobi Aloo (cauliflowers and potato cooked in a mild gravy) was a new experience in taste, one we’ll just have to repeat.

We then shared the Chicken Tikka – breast marinated in ginger, garlic and lime juice, grilled over a slow fire – and Tandoori Chicken…

Tandoori Chicken

…chicken on the bone, marinated in spices and herbs, grilled on a slow fire. Throughout the meal we dipped the pieces in their mint chutney, onion and tamarind relishes, we loved all three! Like being submerged into a bath of jasmine and floating lotus blossoms anointed with hennaed palms and feet.

It was a very different experience for a western palate; it was an unusual but very tasty meal. Now that we are in the final stages of cleaning our homes for Pessach, a time when many start eating out for the next few days, Dakshin makes a perfect place to savor something very different from the usual fare and it’s all reasonably priced too!

They also deliver frozen foods, I’ll have to order immediately after Pessach.

SYR

10
Apr
11

Gotham’s 8th Annual Kosher Wine Extravaganza 2011 and Monday’s internet Radio Special


This past Wednesday, April 6th of 2011, Gotham Wine and Liquors (2517 Broadway; New York, NY 10025; Tel:212.932.0990; Fax: 212.222.3870) presented their 8th Annual Kosher Wine Extravaganza. As always this event garnered great interest from Jewish and non-Jewish segments of Greater New York’s population. SYR and I spoke to people who had come from as far as Westbury, CT, Lakewood, NJ and cities in between.

A very partial view of the tasting room...

Various wine distributors showed off their products, including wines by Tabor, Dalton, Yarden, Recanati, Tishbi, Borgo Reale, Ella ValleyTeperberg, Or Haganuz, Lanzur, Beckett, Jerusalem Hills, Gedeon, Mount Hevron, Cantina Gabriele, Willm, Bravdo, Dovev, Mony, Odem, Baron Herzog, Baron Edmond et Benjamin Rothschild, Teal Lake, Beaume de Venise, Binyamina, Barkan, Pierre Miodownick’s new Domaine Netofa, Gamla, Psagot, Segal, Bartenura, Ovadia Estates, Goose Bay, Cellier des Dauphins, Elvi, Tio Pepe, Hagafen, Elgazi, Psagot, Laurent Perrier, Carmel, Domaine de Castel, Alexander, Yatir, CAPÇANES and more. There was plenty to taste, there was plenty to learn. Selections varied in price from the very inexpensive to well over $100.00 per bottle.

Gotham's Costas Mouzouras, passionately expounding on wine

The Kosher Scene, did a live radio broadcast from the tasting room. Since the archived file got accidentally trashed we will be doing – by popular request – a special two hour show tomorrow evening (Monday the 11th of April) from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Not only will we talk to Costas Mouzouras and some of the distributors but we will talk to Brigitte Mizrahi and Moshe Vogel from Anderson Foods International about their brands of cholov Yisroel and cholov stam cheeses.

Please listen to what promises to be a very interesting show here.

CS

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