Archive for May, 2011



12
May
11

Shavuos Contest


Last year we announced The Kosher Scene’s First Annual Shavuot Cheese Cake Contest, as a result we received 21 recipes by the time it was over. We realize that not everyone is a baker so this year instead of cheesecake we are announcing a Shavuot Best Dairy Recipe Contest. It need not be a cheescake, it can be anything, BUT cheese must be one the ingredients.

Last year’s winner got the following cholov Yisroel cheeses from N&K some of whose products we’ve reviewed on these pages (here and here):

Stack 108 slices stack White American, 16ozs. Mozarella chunk, 8ozs. Muenster chunk, 8 ozs. Cheddar chunk, 6ozs. Muenster slices, 6ozs. Swiss slices, 6ozs. Processed Pepper Jack slices, 8ozs. shredded Pizza Cheese, 8 ozs. shredded Chef's Blend, 12 Mozarella Cheese Sticks

You may not like to bake, but you may like to cook up a storm of delicious dishes for Shavuot, so please, send us some of your best recipes to:

KosherScene@gmail.com

We’ll publish the most mouth watering ones with the author’s name and the winner will receive a selection of cheeses from N&K to rival last year’s prize. All entries must be emailed by Monday, June 6 of 2011. We will announce the winner on Monday the 13th of June. Send us your best recipes, don’t be shy. Even if you think other readers may send in better ones, try anyway, don’t let your modesty keep you from winning. Your family will be proud of you, other readers will thank you. We can’t wait to see your best efforts, our mouth are already salivating.

For last year’s delicious winning cheesecake recipes, check out: and the winner is…

CS

11
May
11

Tonight’s Radio Show – Puah Institute


Our guest – last Wednesday – was Aaron Ritter, president and founder of the Kosher Wine Society. We spoke about Israeli wines and his recent tour of 16 Israeli wineries and the 100 wines the tour participants tasted. If you missed it, you can hear the archive right here: A Conversation with Aaron Ritter.

This evening we turn away from our usual food and wine discussions. The Kosher Scene, as you know, covers every aspect of the kosher lifestyle. Our talk this evening will be about the Puah Institute. What is the Puah Institute?  As their web site puts it: “Puah Institute, under the guidance of Rabbi Menachem Burstein, provides counseling, referrals and support, free-of-charge, to all those seeking professional help. Our discreet and caring counselors possess a unique synthesis of pastoral wisdom and specialized training in modern reproductive medicine. Professional Puah supervisors certify the genetic integrity of fertility treatments worldwide.” Their counselors cover every facet from halacha to women’s health, to men’s health, to intimacy issues and more.

We will be talking to Rabbi Gideon Weitzman, Director General of the Puah Institute in Jerusalem, and Mrs. Leah Davidson who runs Puah‘s American offices. We will discuss how the organization came about, some of various places on the globe where they have offices and what services they provide.

Please listen to this informative show (which we pretaped this morning) about an Israeli organization providing free counseling to couples around the map. Please listen this evening, we will be on at blogtalkradio from 8:00pm – 8:30pm Eastern Time. If you know anyone who could be helped by this organization, or would like to help out, please tell them to listen in to tonight’s show.

RELATED POST

Puah’s 20th Anniversary Dinner

09
May
11

Chicken Tajine


This recipe is a delicious meal all by itself and it’s made in one pot, there is less cleaning and it’s an easier dinner to prepare. What could be more satisfying than the delicious aromas of healthy cooking wafting through the kitchen, especially when it’s all done with little effort? There are many versions of this dish; last eve some Moroccan friends, visiting from Israel, came over and this is the variation I made.

Chicken Tajine

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp olive oil.
  • 1 onion, cut into small wedges
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 lb chicken cutlets
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 8 oz zucchini, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 3 oz portobello mushrooms, chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato sauce
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth (see CS’ Chicken Broth)
  • 10 oz chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup dried apricots, chopped
  • 1/3 cup prunes, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dates, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions
  1. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook for three minutes, stir frequently.
  2. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 5 minutes. until all sides are seared.
  3. Add the cumin and the cinnamon sticks after the first 2 1/2 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle in the flour, stir constantly, for another 2 minutes.
  5. Add the zucchini, the bell peeper and mushrooms. Cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  6. Blend the tomato paste with the chicken broth, stir into pan, bring to a boil.
  7. Reduce heat and add the chickpeas, apricots, prunes, and dates. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until chicken is tender.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Garnish  with chopped cilantro or parsley (I used cilantro) and serve immediately.
We paired it with with a Willm Gewurztraminer 2008. With fresh flowers and citrus on the nose, flavors of pineapple, honeydew, lychee and apple with lots of honey on the finish. This is a dry white but with a subtle hint of sweetness on the tongue, elegant rather than big and bold,  it is clean, refreshing and with just enough acidity to accentuate the sweetness of the dish. A marriage made in heaven!
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy! We did.
CS
05
May
11

Bourbon Chicken


[Bourbon Chicken is a flavorful chicken dish named for the bourbon whiskey ingredient. The dish is commonly found at Cajun, Chinese, and American BBQ themed restaurants. The various recipes includes soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and bourbon in the base, and the chicken is marinated in this sauce.]

Yesterday we cooked with red wine, today we’ll use bourbon. This is a superb chicken recipe from Food.com!

Photo from Food.com, by: Caroline Cooks

Bourbon Chicken

Ingredients

  • olive oil
  • 4 chicken breasts, chopped into chunks
  • 1 red pepper, sliced thinly (about 200g)
  • 1 carrot, cut into sticks
  • 0.55 lbs. broccoli florets
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon ginger, grated
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add to your personal taste.)
  • 1/3 cup apple juice (just over a 1/4 cup)
  • 1/2 cup bourbon (when I use bourbon for cooking, just as when I use wine, I prefer a quality bourbon, something I would normally like to drink, like Blanton’s or Maker’s Mark)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour

Directions

  1. Heat a little oil in a pan, cook chicken in batches, until browned all over, set chicken to one side.
  2. Heat a little more oil in the same pan, add pepper, garlic and ginger, cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring.
  3. Add red pepper flakes, juice, bourbon, water, soy, sugar, ketchup and vinegar, stir to combine, bring to the boil.
  4. Return chicken to pan with carrot and broccoli, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 Min’s.
  5. Mix a little water with the cornflour, add to sauce and stir until mixture thickens.
  6. Serve over rive and sprinkle with green onions.

Yields 4 servings; Prep time – 10 minutes; Total time – 35 minutes


04
May
11

Coq Au Vin


I always liked cooking with wine, there is a certain elegant French flair that wine lends to whatever is made with it. In our quest to find delicious recipes, we came across what promised to be a very savory one on my recipes and it inspired us to make a kosher version:

Quick Coq au Vin

Photo from: myrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 (4-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast or thigh
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 6 cups quartered baby portobello mushrooms
  • 2 cups (1/4-inch-thick) quarter sliced carrot
  • 1/2 cup (1/4-inch-thick) quarter sliced celery
  • 1/3 cup pastrami slices
  • 1 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth *
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
Directions
  1. Combine flour, rosemary, thyme, and salt in a zip-top plastic bag; add chicken. Seal and shake to coat. Remove chicken from bag, shaking off excess flour.
  2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 8 minutes or until browned, turning frequently. Remove chicken from pan.
  3. Add mushrooms, carrot, celery and pastrami to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in wine, broth, and tomato paste; cook 9 minutes. Return chicken to pan; cook 8 minutes or until chicken is done.
Since I only use regular wine rather than “cooking” wine (why impact on the taste of a great recipe with wine you so bad you would’t drink it?!?!?), considering I have just enough left over, I’ll be using a very good Tishbi Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.

*(CS’ Chicken Broth

Yields about 6 cups

Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 pounds chicken pieces with bones
  • 1 large carrot, cut into chunks
  • 2 medium sized onions, quartered
  • 2 celery ribs with leaves, cut into chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon crushed, dried rosemary, 
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2 quarts cold water
Directions
  1. Put all ingredients in a soup pot. Bring to a boil slowly, then  reduce heat.  Skim foam. Cover and simmer for about 2 hours.
  2. Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones. Discard bones; save meat for later uses. Strain broth, discard vegetables and seasonings. Refrigerate overnight. Skim fat from surface. )*
I freeze the unused broth yields for up to 10 days (it will always get used up by then!)
Going through myrecipes.com, I see a nice amount of recipes that can be adpated to make them kosher or can already be made as they are. I plan to come back often for inspiration. Meanwhile… enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!
CS
04
May
11

This Eve’s Radio Show


Last Wednesday, the 27th of April 2011, we featured Sara Lasry Leizerowsky. Mrs. Leizerowsky authored two cookbooks (The Dairy Gourmet and The At Home Gourmet, published by Israel Bookshop), for eight years she owned and successfully operated Tastebuds – a dairy restaurant in Lakewood, NJ. Charming and witty, if you missed our conversation when it aired, you can hear the whole conversation on BlogTalkRadio.

This evening’s guest will be Aron Ritter, founder and president of the Kosher Wine Society.

Aron Ritter started the Kosher Wine Society in 2005. KWS has, since then, risen to become synonymous with the best kosher wine workshops presenting potables from around the world, expert speakers and food and wine pairings, including at such venues as some of NYC’s most prestigious kosher restaurants.

We will talk about the development of the Israeli wine industry, from biblical times, to the beginning of modern development in the 19th century to today. Mr. Ritter will talk about some of the boutique wineries and some Israel’s international award winning wines. We will also discuss KWS‘ upcoming events.

Tune us in here. If you have any questions for Aron, or any comments, we invite you to call in at 714.333.3357.

Don’t forget, The Kosher Scene Radio Show, airs tonight from 8:00pm to 8:30pm, Eastern Time. It will be a very informative evening with a discussion of some of the best kosher wines on the market today. We hope your computers will be tuned in to us, as we look forward to hearing from you.

CS

02
May
11

Yom Hashoa – Holocaust Remembrance Day


I’ve always had mixed feelings about Yom Hashoa, on the one hand it would have been preferable to honor our martyrs on the individual anniversaries if only these were known, on the other hand not only are most death anniversaries unknown, many of the 6,000,000 left no one to even remember them. No one to remember, nothing more than the indelible blood stains on the souls of their murderers, on the souls of those who publicly and privately rejoiced, on the souls of those who turned a blind eye, on the souls of those who perhaps winced and forgot it, on the souls of those who deny history…

As I reread my last year’s post (The Proper Way to Die), my eyes swell up, though I’ve read and heard this story many a time, I doubt I could say anything new here so forgive me for posting it again…

In a world where there are Holocaust deniers, where European cities (in deference to Muslims living there) have decided to do away with Holocaust commemorations, in a world where schools in the UK find it expedient (in the interest of a misguided, pernicious, “Political Correctness”) to ignore important historical facts (such as the Holocaust), I thought I should tell a simple story today Yom Hasho’a – the day that commemorates the Holocaust.

There are 6,000,000 stories of those that died, I cannot tell them all! Many of these are known, some (most, like their protagonists and their families) have totally vanished from the human mind, from any surviving record. Some are stories of unbelievable strength, others are more mundane but all unequivocally show an unconquerable spirit. A spirit that no Nazi power could break, no enemy before, no enemy after can destroy.

This is the Story of Rabbi Zvi Michelson, one of Warsaw’s oldest rabbi’s who at the age of 79, became just another of the 700,000 Jews killed in the death camps of Treblinka.

Early in 1942 the Germans first began their systematic raids in the Warsaw ghetto, snatching Jewish men, women and children from the warrens in which they had been “resettled” and transporting them to the extermination camps.

In the very first of these raids, the Germans aided by Ukrainian soldiers surrounded the house in which Rabbi Michelson lived, shouting through the megaphones that all those inside were to come out into the courtyard. All the Jews in the building obeyed the German command – except for Rabbi Michelson, who refused to budge. Those who would remain in their rooms, he reasoned, would soon be routed out by the German soldiers. Their travail would not last long; they would be gunned down on the spot, and their bodies would be flung into the street. There, chances were that other Jews would find them, pile them upon the carts that creaked through the ghetto alleys to collect the dead and bury them in accordance with Jewish law. Those who would go to the Germans in the courtyard, on the other hand, would be loaded by the storm troopers onto trucks and taken to the death camps. There they would die, too, but not without suffering. Even worse, from what the rabbi had heard, they would not be buried at all but cremated, in violation of the Torah. And so Rabbi Michelson prepared himself to meet death as he felt befitted a man of age and tradition. He put on his phylacteries, draped his tallith (prayer shawl) around his spare body, bolted the door of his room and waited for the Germans to come.

...to be murdered at Treblinka...

But things did not happen the way the rabbi had expected. Yes, the Germans, accompanied by a Jewish ghetto policeman, kicked open the door and burst into Rabbi Michelson’s room. But when the storm troopers saw the old man with the long flowing white beard standing upright before them, stern of countenance and draped from shoulders to feet in his snowy-white, silver -bordered prayer robe, they were immobilized by awe, indeed by a fear, such as they probably never knew before. Years later, the ghetto policeman, who survived the war, was to tell the end of the story. “Why, it is Moses himself!” the policeman heard one of the Germans mutter. With that, the German silently turned and led the others out of the room, slamming the door and leaving Rabbi Michelson untouched.

Alone in his little room, the rabbi could hear the babble of the crowd in the courtyard below, mingled with the raucous shouts of the German soldiers. From his tiny window, he could see the others from his house being shoved into onto huge German army trucks. And a thought far more frightening than death came to Rabbi Michelson. True, he had been granted a a miraculous reprieve. But for how long? When the Germans would recover from their surprise, they would return and shoot him. That is how he would die, and he would die alone. In effect, by refusing to leave his room he had run away like a coward; he had deserted his brethren. Which, he asked himself, was the proper alternative – to die alone, with the chance that he alone might be found by some survivors outside and be given proper burial, or go out to his brethren and be with them on their last journey? Which was the proper way to die?

It did not take Rabbi Michelson more than a moment to make his decision. He turned from the window, adjusted his tallith, and strode from the room. With firm steps, he descended the stairs and marched out into the courtyard. There he joined the others on their way to the Umschlagplatz, the assembly point from where they all were to be taken to Treblinka. He remained a source of comfort and inspiration to his brethren, and when the end came, he shared their fate. He is among the millions who have no graves, but he has a lasting memorial in the annals of valor and uprightness.

(from The Unconquerable Spirit – by Simon Zucker and Gertrude Hirschler)

Being the son of Holocaust survivors (the younger sibling of a brother I never got to meet, killed at age 3 for the heinous crime of having been born a Jew), I’ve heard hundreds of stories of unbearable horrors and indescribable courage, stories that show the greatness and the baseness of human beings, stories that reveal deep character flaws and hidden jewels but… neither can I retell them all here nor would you, gentle reader, bear to read them all. Therefore I chose one story to stand as a monument to all the known ones and all those that shall forever remain buried… like the people who lived them…

Perhaps a better title would have been a Proper Way to Live….

CS

01
May
11

I Like Salads…


For thousands of years salads have been recognized as an important part of a person’s diet. Lest you think that it was mostly peasant fare, let me disabuse you of any such notions, gentle reader. According to hungrymonster.com

Salad dressings and sauces have a long and colorful history, dating back to ancient times. The Chinese have been using soy sauce for 5,000 years; the Babylonians used oil and vinegar for dressing greens nearly 2,000 years ago; and the ever-popular Worcestershire was derived from a sauce used since the days of the Caesar. Indeed, early Romans preferred their grass and herb salads dressed with salt. Egyptians favored a salad dressed with oil, vinegar and Oriental spices. Mayonnaise is said to have made its debut at a French Nobleman’s table over 200 years ago.

Salads were favorites in the great courts of European Monarchs – Royal salad chefs often combined as many as 35 ingredients in one enormous salad bowl, including such exotic “greens” as rose petals, marigolds, nasturtiums, and violets. England’s King Henry IV’s favorite salad was a tossed mixture of new potatoes (boiled and diced), sardines and herb dressing. Mary, Queen of Scots, preferred boiled celery root diced and tossed with lettuce, creamy mustard dressing, truffles, chervil and hard-cooked egg slices.

Salad photos from around the web...

I always liked salads, not only are they delicious, most are also easy to make and the array of colors is almost always a feast for the eyes. In my search for a new salad I came up with this one, inspired by http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Scrumptious-Salad/Detail.aspx:

Insalata di penne, pomodori e formaggio

Ingredients

  • 1 (16 ounce) package dry penne pasta
  • 2 small tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 avocado – peeled, pitted, and cubed
  • 1 (6 ounce) can pitted black olives, chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 cup chopped portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese (I use Fittucci, an Argentinian Regianitto Parmesan cholov Yisroel cheese, distributed by Anderson Foods International. It brings back some of the flavors of my youth…)
  • 1/4 cup basil pesto
  • 2 hardboiled eggs
  • 1 tablespoon of mustard

Directions

  1. Hardboil two eggs
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add penne pasta, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  4. In a large casserole dish, toss the pasta with tomatoes, avocado, olives, sun-dried tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, Parmesan cheese, and pesto.
  5. Place the salad in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, just until warm.
  6. When ready to serve, cut each hardboiled eggs in half, lay around serving dish, add a liitle bit of mustard to each of the 4 eggs and sprinkle each lightly with paprika.
It yields 8 portions or four hearty ones, if you do not plan to eat much else.
Enjoy!
CS



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