Archive for July, 2012



10
Jul
12

Illustrations, Paintings and Ceremonial Art – A Judaica Auction – Part 3


No auction at Kestenbaum and Company would ever be complete without some art.

There were quite a few art items – in this auction – ranging from illustrated books, to paintings, to kiddush cups, to beautifully written, superbly decorated meguillos and more, my personal favorite among the illustrations was Isidor Kauffman‘s set of color plates of chassidic life… Lot 243:

KAUFFMAN, ISIDOR. Complete set of Sixteen large plates, reproducing the artist’s work. Introductory German text by Rabbi Dr. H. P. Chajes. Each plate individually matted.
Original decorative portfolio, light wear. Lg. Folio

Vienna, 1925 $3000-$5000

As a painter Kauffman’s work is of considerable historical value, they are documents of a time gone by, they bring us aspects of the shtetl that was, a portrait of life forever snuffed out by the Nazi hordes whether in Galitzia, Poland or the Ukraine. With a sensitive, loving eye, Kauffman sought to reproduce every nuance of the people and objects he portrayed. There is life in every face, there is movement in every shape…

While there was certainly better art at this auction, Lot 359 attracted my attention me as the facial expression and pose showed me a Rov struggling with an halachic problem, or trying to find a new insight into a hard sugya. One can almost “see” the thoughts going through the mind of the one painted…

(RABBINIC PORTRAIT). Contemplation. Oil on canvas. signed upper right (undecipherable) Framed 16 x 17 inches.

20th century. $1000-1500

Lot 379…

LARGE DUTCH BRASS CHANUKAH LAMP. Prominent drip-pan encloses cast openwork lamp, the upper-section with for elongated freurs-de-lis, large servant light attached at center over central rectangular plaque with inscription: “For the Commandment is a Lamp, the Teaching is a Light (Proverbs VI:23) 9.5 x 12 inches.

circa 1700. $15,000-18,000

A very beautiful, intricately decorated silver bound prayer book, Lot 398…

SILVER BOUND PRAYER BOOK. Hebrew Festival Prayer-book. Printed in Venice by Stamperia Bragadina in 1750.

Embossed overall with Baroque Style decoration, including swirls and foliage. Upper coverwith central vignette of the sign of the Levite; rear cover of rampant lion aside tree with crown above. Pair of clasps and hinges. Height: 7.5 inches. Kassel 1770.

$4000-5000

Jewish art, whether a painting, whether ceremonial is a document of a time, past or present, that either passed or is fast passing through. It is a silent witness to what was, what is and… what could still be.

CS

08
Jul
12

Gazpacho Soup


In this hot weather what could be better than an easy to make absolutely refreshing soup? We featured a very different recipe for Gazpacho (by Chef Laura Frankel), about two years ago, and I felt it was time to revisit it.

Gazpacho

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces white bread slices, crusts removed
  • 1 pound 9 ounces tomatoes peeled and chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cucumber, peeled, seeced and chopped
  • 5 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 9 1/2 cups water
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 ice cubes, to serve

Directions

  1. Tear the bread into pieces and place in a blender. Process briefly to make breadcrumbs and transfer to a large bowl. Add the tomatoes, garlic, bell peppers, cucumbers, olive oil, vinegar, and tomato paste. Mix well.
  2. Working in batches, place the tomato mixture with about the same amount of measured water in the food processor or blender and process to a puree. Transfer to another bowl. When all the tomato mixture and water have been blended together, stir well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours, but noi more than 12.
  3. When ready to serve, pour the soup into chilled serving bowls and float an ice cube in each bowl.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

05
Jul
12

Prime Grill, Revisited


It never ceases to amaze me how you think you know someone and then you get to experience them under a new set of circumstances, which amplify strengths, or identify weaknesses you had never seen before.  Last Tuesday evening, it applied to our restaurant experience. Chef David Kolotkin (check here, as well) of Prime Grill - a culinary virtuoso in taste and presentation - was refreshingly unpretentious and warm as he personally treated CS and I to a side of Prime Grill we had heretofore not experienced.

It’s through no fault of Prime Grill (60 East 49th Street; New York, NY 10017; Telephone: 212.692.9292) that we had such tunnel vision, in fact it is because their steaks are so consistently fabulous that we gravitate with Pavlovian/Flinstone salivation straight to the beef every time we are there. Last Tuesday was different;  we broke from the habitual to the unexpected and in some cases extraordinary dishes on the menu.

We started with a platter of sushi and sashimi which included lean tuna, yellowtail, organic Irish salmon and Prime Grill roll- grilled yuzo-miso glazed black cod, cucumber, sesame-teriyaki sauce, topped w/tuna & avocado.

The quality and freshness of the fish was so good, it needed nothing more than the traditional ginger wasabi and soy sauce for accompaniment.

When it came to taste enhancing sauces sushi Chef Wibi did not disappoint us with his Yellowtail “Carpaccio” with yuzu ponzu and jalapeno, with togarashi – a citrus based sauce that greatly enhanced the yellowtail.

Now if you’ve been regular readers of our blog, you know that we are not from the big fish lovers and I was hoping they’d roll out the big side of beef soon that would set our four stone wheeled skin covered jeep off  kilter, and we were thrown off balance, astonishingly so by the House Smoked Wild Organic King Salmon and by all things a Maryland Style Fish Cake

The salmon circumferenced the poached egg on a crunchy toasted bottom that burst with noble flavors worthy of a king’s fare.

And the Maryland Style Fish Cake a whole grain mustard veloute, black bean & corn salsa- was sapid perfection; delicate, perfectly done! I almost didn’t want to share… fake crab? What’s happening to me?

The Atlantic Salmon Tartar with avocado capers and yucca chips was very tasty, a lovely mingling of flavors, though I would have preferred it served on a toasted or crunchy base.

Salad came next,  Bresaola Carpaccio, thin parchment like rectangles of cured beef filet served with arugula, roasted pepper, toasted pine nuts, shitake chips, crispy onions and a reduced port-wine drizzle. Superb!!! Ahh, the drizzle! That drizzle was especially good

We followed with the beef slider assortment was a mouthful of perfection. Each slider a world onto itself Kobe Beef with Pickled Chips & Ketchup, Moroccan Lamb with Arugula & Mint Yogurt, Brisket with Whole Grain Mustard Aioli, Buffalo Chicken with Fresh Herbs & Spicy BBQ Sauce and Black Angus with Mushrooms and Porcini Aioli. Woooow.

We segued with a Delmonico Steak; it came with tobacco onion rigns and a marrow bone.  CS was aching to remove the tiny fork and suck the bone dry, but… ettiquette prevailed.

Finally we got to the desserts, we started with the Tropical Vacherin

with mango/coconut sorbet, pineapple compote and salty macadamias macarons - my friends I’ve had macarons and I have had macarons, but the macadamia macarons served were in a class by themselves. How can a macaron be as light as air and so densely flavoured, at the same time?!? Only Solo‘s Chef Felenciana knows how!

We followed with their heavenly…

Chocolate Cake.

We finished this royal repast with a Honey and Rosemary Apple Galette…

with rosemary infused honey, savory dough and “butter” pecan ice cream. Delicate tasting, beautiful to look at, the plethora of flavors emanating from this dessert can satisfy just about everyone’s palate.

The Cappuccino was among the best I’ve tasted, a worthy crown to this superb and satisfying meal!

As you can tell by the pictures every dish was artfully presented, engaging all the senses.

During the meal we each had 2 glasses of wine. I sipped a Binyamina Bin Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, while CS had a Goose Bay Pinot Noir 2010.

My Cabernet Sauvignon opened in the glass to reveal black berries, wild berries and blackcurrant. Not a complex wine, but very easy and pleasant to drink. CS described the Pinot Noir, thus: Incredible flavors of black cherry and strawberry with buttery overtones. While neither of the two wines proved to be an ideal pairing, they nevertheless nicely complemented this feast.

Although we didn’t get to taste it, it was already late and we both bursting from all the food, CS could not resist photographing the first ever kosher caviar ever served at a restaurant…

All in all a meal we will long remember!

SYR

04
Jul
12

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Grapefruit Glaze


From Food & Wine‘s: Quick from Scratch Chicken Cookbook:

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Grapefruit Glaze

Simply prepared yet special, those chicken breasts are grilled and basted with
a bitter, tart, and sweet glaze.

Prep Time 5 minutes          Cook Time 20 minutes          Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon grapefruit zest (from about 1/2 grapefruit)
  • 1/2 cup grapefruit juice (from 1 grapefruit)
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
  • 4 bone-in chicken breasts (about 2 1/4 pounds in all)

Directions

  1. Light the grill. In a small bowl, combine the garlic. grapefruit zest, grapefruit juice, oil, honey, salt, and pepper.
  2. Grill the chicken breasts over moderately high heat, brushing frequently with the glaze, for 8 minutes. Turn and cook, brushing with more glaze, until the chicken is just done, 10 to 12 minutes longer. Remove.
  3. In a small stainless steel saucepan, bring the remaining glaze to a boil. Boil for about 1 minute, remove from the heat, and pour over the grilled chicken.

–OoOX0XOoO–

MENU SUGGESTIONS

Since the chicken breasts don’t have a l;ot of sauce, serve a juicy vegetable such as grilled or sauteed summer squash or zucchini alongside.

VARIATION

Grilled Chicken Breasts with Citrus Glaze

Use a combination of citrus juices, such as orange, lemon, or lime instead of all or part of the grapefruit juice.

–OoOX0XOoO––OoOX0XOoO––OoOX0XOoO–

WINE RECOMMENDATION

The crisp acidity, effervescence and moderate alcohol level of a brut Champagne from France or a sparkling wine from California will be perfect with the smoky taste of the chicken and with the high acidity of the grapefruit juice.

–OoOX0XOoO–

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!!!

CS

04
Jul
12

Tortilla -Wrapped Round Steak


Another recipe from the Lobel Brothers’ cookbook:

Tortilla-Wrapped Round Steak

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 pounds skirt steak, trimmed about 1 1/2 inches thick
  • 1 recipe Toasted Cumin Marinade *
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 large white onion, cut about 1/2 inch thick
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons Canola oil
  • Coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  • Twelve 7 inch flour tortillas
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Chopped pickled jalapeno peppers
  • chopped cilantro or flat- leaf parsley
  • Baja-style tomato salsa * (optional)

Directions

  1. Put the steak in a glass or ceramic dish and add the marinade, turning the steaks several times to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 4 to 8 hours.
  2. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil cooking spray. The coats should be moderately hot to hot.
  3. Lift the steak from the marinade, letting the marinade drip back into the dish. Grill the meat for 8 minutes, brushing several times with the marinade during the first 5 minutesof grilling. (The oil in the marinade may cause flare-ups). Turn and grill for 8 to 10 minutes longer until medium-rare, or until it reaches desired degree of doneness. Let the meat rest for a few minutes.
  4. Place the onion slices near the outside of the grillaway from the most intense heat, brush with oil, and sprinkle with the pepper. Turn once or twice, brushing with more oil, and grill for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onions are lightly browned and tender. While they cook, wrap the tortillas in foil, place the packet on the outside edge of the grill, and let the tortillas warm while the steak and onions are cooking.
  5. Slice the steak into strips and separate the onions into rings. Arrange the steak, onions, chopped tomatoes, and jalapenos in the tortillas and wrap into a sandwich. Garnish with cilantro and top with salsa, if desired.

* Toasted Cumin Marinade

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Toasting spices enhances their flavors and this marinade, which combines some of the classic flavors of Asia, is wonderful with chicken, beef, you name it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Canola oil
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon toasted cumin seeds (see Note)
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Whisk together all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl until blended. Adjust the seasonings. Use according to the recipe, or cover and refrigerate for as long as 2 days.

Note: To toast the cumin seeds, spread them in a dry skillet and toast them over medium heat, shaking the pan to prevent scorching, for 4 to 5 minutes, or until fragrant. Transfer the seeds to a plate to cool and stop the cooking.

* Baja-Style Tomato Salsa

Makes about 2 cups

This type of salsa, made with fresh with chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, and herbs, is a classic salsa fresca – which means it’s not cooked. Serve this with just about any meat or poultry. We especially like it on burgers.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 yellow or red bell peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 cup cooked corn kernels (see Note)
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeno or Serrano chillies, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Directions

Combine the tomatoes, peppers, corn, scallions, chillies, garlic, cilantro, lime juice, vinegar, and salt in a glass or ceramic bowl and stir gently to mix. Adjust the salt. Let the salsa stand for about an hour to let the flavors blend. Serve or cover and refrigeratefor several hours. Let the salsa come to room temperature before serving.

Note: You can use frozen corn kernels, cooked and cooled. For better flavor, use leftover boiled summer corn, or best yet, grill a few ears over hot coals or roast them in a very hot oven (400 F.) until the huskes blacken, which will take about 15 minutes and require turning several times. Let the corn cool and then slice the kernels from the cobs.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!!!

CS

03
Jul
12

Grilled Chicken Breast and Apple Rings with Maple Syrup Marinade


As we scoured cookbooks and the web for some great grilling recipes for the 4th of July, this one – from Prime Time – The Lobel’s Guide to Grilled Meat by Evan, Leon, Stanley and Mark Lobel - called our attention. It promises to be different and delicious, therefore we felt compelled to adapt it for the kosher cook:

Grilled Chicken Breast and Apple Rings with Maple Syrup Marinade

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in chicken breast halves
  • 1 1/2 cups maple syrup marinade *
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 3 large firm apples, such as Cortland or Granny Smith, cored, peeled and cut into 1″ thick rings
  • Canola oil for brushing

Directions

  1. Put the chicken breasts in a shallow glass or ceramic dish. Pour 1 1/2 cups maple syrup marinadeover the chicken, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and as long as 24 hours. Refrigerate the remaining 1/4 cup of marinade.
  2. Prepare a charcoal or gas grill. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable oil cooking spray. The coals should be moderately hot.
  3. Put the apple rings on a plate or baking sheet and brush on both sides with the remaining 1/4 cup marinade. Set aside at room temperature to marinade while grilling the chicken.
  4. Lift the chicken from the marinade, reserving the marinade. Grill the chicken breasts skin side down, for 25 to 30 minutes, turning with tongs frequently and brushing several times with any remaining marinade during the first 10 minutes of cooking. During the last 10 minutes of grilling, place the apple rings on the outer edge of the grill. Brush with some oil and grill for about 5 minutes. Turn, brush with some more oil and grill for about 5 minutes longer, or until lightly browned on both sides and tender.
  5. The chicken is done when the juices run clear when the thickest sections are pierced with a fork, or when an instant-read thermometer (don’t touch the bone) inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 170 F. Serve immediately with the apple slices.

* Maple Syrup Marinade

Makes about 1 1/2 cups

Real maple syrup gives this fruity marinade just the right sweetness it needs to enhance chicken.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup beer
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons real maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons prepared commercial horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce

Directions

Whisk together all the ingredients in a glass or ceramic bowl until blended. Adjust the seasoning with pepper. Use according to the recipe, or cover and refrigerate for as long as 2 days.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS




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