Archive for September, 2012

30
Sep
12

NTD’s 5th International Chinese Culinary Competition – Kosher Round


Thursday morning past started out as a dreary, uninviting rainy morning, soon the sky brightened just in time for the Kosher round of NTD’s 5th Annual International Chinese Culinary Competition in Times Square to get underway as scheduled. Elan Kornblum, the founder, publisher and editor of Great Kosher Restaurants Magazine more than ably organized the kosher competition round in conjunction with New Tang Dynasty Television.

The event was held in the pedestrian mall on Broadway between 46th and 47th Streets in Manhattan. There were quite a few old friends and recognizable faces from among the foodies in our community, most notably event planner extraordinaire, Nelly Rosenking (from NellysList.com), Dr. Alan Bronner from Jack’s Gourmet Kosher (manufacturers of superb sausages, unequaled in the kosher world!)

At the sound of the gong, the competition started… (Left: Zhong Lee, NTD President; Right: Kean Wong, Host)
Photo by: Elan Kornblum

Four chefs from kosher restaurants were pitted against each other … the passion for food, the fierce competitiveness were soon apparent…

Chefs in action
Top photo by: Nelly Rosenking (NellysList.com)
Bottom photo (Elan Kornblum)

The dishes ranged from fish, to spicy chicken, tofu and more.

Some of the dishes made by the competing chefs…
Photos by: Elan Kornblum

Thecontest entries were superbly delicious, as the chefs showed off their expertise, their unique understanding of the subtle flavor nuances of the ingredients necessary for a great kosher Chinese cuisine.

Combine the drama of the competition, the pyrotechnics indigenous to Asian cuisines, the pageantry of 5,000 years of Chinese history and the reverence Chinese pay to great chefs and you have all the ingredients for an unforgettable experience. This culture filled culinary event, clearly proved that the more food fashions, fads, tastes, evolve over time they always – invariably – stay within the parameters of rich tradition.

CS

Sukkot starts this evening, why not enjoy a nice Chinese dish in the Sukkah?

Chag Same’ach!!!

25
Sep
12

Reflexions on Erev Yom Kippur…


Often, the most mundane occurrences, even small (or major) annoyances, can trigger a moment of introspection, can bring on a time for thought on how we interact with others, on how we truly relate to Hakadosh Baruch Hu

Granted, timing could have been better, but tight scheduling compelled me to shop mid-morning Erev Shabbat (before Rosh Hashana) for essentials I needed for the Chag. I found parking close to the discount supermarket, a minor miracle in post summer Brooklyn. I hadn’t been there since their recent renovations; surrounded by cases of merchandise and vegetable stands, I had to ask for guidance to the new entryway. The store looked bigger, but as chaotic as ever. I hope that they still plan to reorganize the space, but were just too busy getting ready for the holiday crowds to implement a more shopper friendly environment.

There were more workers than usual, mostly busy restocking shelves. The nearly empty meat department, I carted to first, was a big disappointment. Prices were definitely higher; no more family packs of chicken breasts for $3.99 per pound, and none of the usual sales I used to count on. Chaval!  I bought what I needed and headed to check out. I had a case of 7oz cups, a case of baking tins and about a dozen other items.

Every aisle was packed with anxious ‘got to get home to cook’ shoppers lined with overloaded carts (May Hashem miraculously continue to provide!) all the way down to the fridge section waiting to check-out.  With not nearly enough check-out stations and a poor configuration afoot, tempers were a little testy. I went to the back of the long express checkout – 12 items or less – line with my 2 cases and close to 12 items, and was assaulted with variations on a theme chorusing:  “This is the ‘express’ line, you’re on the wrong line!!!!” With a smile and a promise of checking out no more than the allowed twelve items and finally got a consensus that a case, though internally many, constitutes no more than1 big item and I was graciously permitted to stay.

Every new person arriving to stand on line however, began a fresh verbal barrage on my apparently over- filled cart. One petite fire-brand of a woman arrived with two items declaring that she would not go to the back of the line, because no one was following the rules and she was justifiably going to cut the line before her turn with her two puny little items in tow.  I said nothing, but the chorus certainly did, and the woman became more passionately entrenched in her position to cut the line of food carting transgressors  justifying her position of entitlement with the sins of others and the general theory that when mayhem abounds counter-bedlam is sanctioned.

Meanwhile, feeling the burning heat of guilt for the three extra items,  I laid them quietly to rest in an abandoned cart. I was planning to not include them at check-out, but felt the preemptive move wise under the circumstances. The diminutive, now ferocious, harridan pitched herself before the crowd demanding a supervisor, and the volley of accusations began anew. A woman in the next check-out aisle felt sorry for me, and started putting my items on the belt.  I’ve had this idea floating in my head as a precursor to Rosh Hashana and the Asseret Yimey Tshuvah; how some of us have gone beyond rationalizing to ourselves and others about our behaviors and actions and have moved toward the more intransigent reasoning that resembles Jean Paul Sartre’s existentialist notion of bad faith.

We have convinced ourselves so thoroughly of our own righteousness, that we not only believe the lie, but will fight to the death to protect its integrity; leaving little room for change or subsequent good action. The most difficult people I know are so clear that their positions are ‘right’ even heroic, it would take an act of G-d to move them from their prideful entrenchment.

How can we claim to worship, to honor the Bore Olam when we are so disdainful of His betzelem Elokim? How can an individual believe to be a betzelem Elokim if one doesn’t honor and respect his/her fellow humans first? Thank G-d for Rosh Hashana, for the Asseret yimey tshuvah, for Yom Kippur, and the opportunities to right the real wrongs we have done to ourselves and to others.  As we face a world bent on our demise, may we conquer the sinat chinam extant within our midst, may we learn more tolerance, may we recognize our own bad faith and find ways to love and embrace Klal Yisroel blev echad. Should one resolve to and actually make this changes in one’s heart, inone’s attitudes, inone’s behavior, then next year – as the individual clinically examines the past year’s deeds, he/she will realize that – for a change – one did not have overspetd on the good will from fellow humans and that individual will truly merit a healthy portion of Hashem‘s endless bounty.

SYR

G’mar Chatima Tova!!!

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19
Sep
12

A Conversation with Walter Potenza


Chef, restaurateur, cooking school director/teacher, food historian Walter Potenza (from Providence, RI’s Potenza Ristorante) will be our guest on tonight’s BlogTalkRadio show at 10:00pm (Eastern Time). We pre-taped this evening’s show, on Sunday morning past, in Providence. Our conversation was truly fascinating; Chef Walter is a warm individual, passionate about food and its history, a true artisan in the kitchen, a superb conversationalist, and a great teacher – in spite of never having graduated from any culinary institution.

Photo by: Irving Schild

We spoke about his fascination with Italian Jewish cuisine, with the history of that cuisine, the research involved and the real reason he is so passionate about it.

Meanwhile, in case you missed it, please listen to our talk with Shaya Ostrov, On Dating and Marriage. It was an interesting, illuminating show on something that concerns every parent and every single Jewish person out there.

Please don’t forget to tune us in later this evening, at 10:00pm (Eastern Time), for a great conversation with Chef, restaurateur, food historian and superb teacher, Walter Potenza. We’ll be wait’n for ya!

CS

14
Sep
12

Cherry Heering in Holy Day Dessert…


Considering the great memories Cherry Heering brought back of family simchas as I and later my kids were growing up, considering I discovered it on a kiddush on my very first Shabbat on these American shores, I hust had to incorporate it into the Rosh Hashana meals.

SYR, obliged with two delightful dessert recipes and here they are:

SYR’s Cherry Heering Sorbet

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen cherries, pitted and halved.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Cherry Heering
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Bring cherries, sugar, water, and lemon juice to a slow boil in a heavy saucepan, stirring until cherries are soft
    and liquid is syrupy. Cool to room temperature.
  2. Add teaspoon of Cherry Heering. Blend in a food processor until smooth with minimal pulp.
  3. Freeze with ice cream maker according to instructions, or freeze in containe.
  4. Blend once more in food processor and refreeze in airtight container.
  5. Scoop and serve.

SYR’s Cherry Heering Syrup

Serves 24

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds fresh or frozen cherries, pitted and halved.
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon Cherry Heering
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • Pinch of salt

Directions

  1. Bring cherries, sugar, ¾ cups water, and lemon juice to a slow boil- medium heat, in a heavy saucepan, stirring until cherries are soft and liquid is syrupy.
  2. Stir 1/4 cup lukewarm water and cornstarch in a small bowl until smooth. Pour and stir into boiling cherry syrup. Boil, stirring constantly, until liquid thickens, for about 1 minute.
  3. Cool to room temperature, add 1 teaspoon of Cherry Heering. Store in syrup bottle or container.

The Peter Heering distributor in the US had sent us a bottle of Cherry Heering and a bottle of Heering Coffee Liqueur for Purim; the Coffee Liqueur was finished so I decided to use the last of the Cherry Heering and the results were delicious!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

13
Sep
12

Food and Wine Paring in Style


This past Monday, at Millesime in the Carlton Hotel (88 Madison Avenue, between 28 and 29th, in Manhattan) there was a kosher food and wine pairing event. Adam Mukamal, a lawyer with J.P. Morgan Chase, first came up with the idea and immediately enlisted Seth Weiser, from 67 Wine and Spirits, and Nelly Rosenking, from Nelly’s List, event planner extraordinaire.

Many of the top wine distributors were at the event, such as Royal Wine Corporation, Happy Hearts Wine, Allied Importers, Recanati Wines and more. The food was superbly prepared and beautifully presented.

Photos by Tibor Tóth

Food ranged from salmon to beef, to salads, fruit salad and cakes…

The audience fully enjoyed the food and the more than 60 wines…

There were some superb wines that showed how far kosher wine-making has come over the last 20 years; from the laughing stock of the wine world to internationally acclaimed award winning potables in direct competition with the best of the non-kosher world. Among the wines at this pairing there was a whole range spanning from the mid tens to $200 a bottle.

I’ve been to quite a few food and wine pairing events over the years, never have I seen anything quite like this one. Incredible as may sound, the whole thing was planned in a mere three weeks through the herculean efforts of the team under the direction of  genius event planner Nelly Rosenking, who just got back from putting together a similar function for 400 people in Tel Aviv, in roughly the same amount of time.

Great food, great wine, great people, great ambiance, who can ask for more? It just doesn’t get any better than this!

(Next week, be’ezras Hashem, we’ll post our video of this event and more on iFoods.tv‘s brand new kosher channel)

CS

11
Sep
12

Nahmias et Fils’ Moroccan Mahia Liqueur and Legs Diamond Whiskey


Last week I had the pleasure of taking a tour through David and Dorit Nahmias‘ distillery in Yonkers, NY (video to follow). Nahmias et Fils produces a distinctive, delicious, fig based uniquely Jewish, Moroccan liqueur – Mahia – and an un-aged unique white whiskey produced from rye – Legs Diamond.

David Nahmias is fulfilling his lifelong dream of continuing in his family’s footsteps; his father, his uncles, proud descendants from a long line of Moroccan tzaddikim and rabbanim produced Mahia in Morocco, their ancestral home. When Dorit lost her job as a banker, both she and her husband took it as a sign that they should establish the old family business right here in the US. The distillery has only been in production for just over 5 months and its products already appear in stores shelves in the New York area and in various California cities.

As you walk through their facility, while smelling the strong aroma of fermented figs, you feel immediately transported to Morocco, with authentic fabric covered low seats, with wall decorations that light up your imagination and give you visions of life in a more innocent, more beautiful, more hospitable setting, far from the hustle and bustle of New York.

Mahia is a liqueur made from figs and aniseed, it tasted just sweet enough without its sweetness being overpowering. It would go great as an accompaniment to a dessert, to a somewhat salty cheese or just by itself. Both SYR and I, found it delightful!

When I first saw the bottle of white, un-aged, un-oaked, white rye whiskey, I thought I’d be tasting something resembling a strong vodka. In any case, I thought (being used to aged single malt scotches) that the Legs Diamond would not only burn my throat, but probably even burn a hole as it worked its way down the pipes. I was pleasantly surprised when this whiskey made from mashed, fermented and carefully distilled grain, turned out to be incredibly smooth and left me with a hint of sweetness.

Nahmias et Fils will be coming out with more products soon, including aged whiskey, an apple based liqueur and more. If their first two offering are an example of their craft, I can’t wait to sample whatever else they’ll produce!

CS

05
Sep
12

18th of Elul


Today is the 18th of Elul a pivotal date in the history of Chasidut. Last Evening Rabbi Raphael Benchimol of the Manhattan Sephardic Congregation, led those assembled for a festive dinner with inspiring words of Torah including a siyum Mishnayot of the whole Seder Nashim. He spoke of the Hilula for both Rabbi Abdallah Somekh (the teacher of the Ben Ish Chai) and the famed MaHaRa”L of Prague.

Rabbi Benchimol told a story about the Ba’al Shem Tov‘s (whose birthday was on Chai – 18th – Elul) ascent to the Upper Realms where he came upon the chamber where Moschiach rested. When he asked Moschiach when he would come he was told, “Sheyafutzu mayanotecha chutza – When your wellsprings [of knowledge] flow [are shared] outwardly [influence every Jew].” Ever since, the Ba’al Shem Tov‘s revelation, that has become the mission of every chassid.

Rabbi Benchimol was followed by kollel member Rabbi Yanky Raskin

Speaking eloquently and emotionally he told the story of six year old Yisroel ben Eliezer (the future Ba’al Shem Tov) hearing from his father, on the latter’s death bed that he should never have any fears other than fear of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. His life, subsequently, showed that the orphan learned and applied those words well. His love of fellow Jews, his teachings that spread both like fire and fast flowing rivers throughout the world, became the buttresses that sustain the Torah lifestyle even today.

Rabbi Shalom Sibony followed by explaining the connection between chassidut and Sepharadim.

Rabbanit BenChimol and her kids prepared a delightful dairy repast. Having tasted her cooking before I can attest that this time too the food was worthy of any high end eatery, considering the gusto with which the rest of those in attendance were eating, it was quite obvious they all agreed with me.

Once again, an evening to remember…

CS

05
Sep
12

Shaya Ostrov – Our Radio Show’s Guest this Evening


This evening, on BlogTalkRadio.com/Kosherscene, at 10:00pm Eastern Time (new time!) we will be speaking to Shaya Ostrov, L.C.S.W. He is the author of The Menuchah Principle in Marriage, The Menuchah Principle in Shidduchum Dating and Engagement, and The Inner Circle: 7 Gates to Marriage. For more than thirty years, Shaya has been dedicated to guiding married couple and singles toward creating fulfilling and enduring relationships.

Meanwhile, in case you missed, please listen to our broadcast with Judy Gruen. She is an award-winning humor columnist, author of four books, and self-described unrepentant chocoholic.

Don’t forget to tune us in this evening at at 10:00pm Eastern Time on BlogTalkRadio/Kosherscene, for what promises to be an informative, entertaining, inspiring show.

CS

03
Sep
12

Apple Tart


[Gloria Kobrin, who graced our internet broadcast on August 15th - just a few weeks ago - graciously agreed to share one of the recipes from her Kosher Cookbook app for iPhone and iPod. Gloria shares her recipes and cooking tips on her Kosher Cookbook page on Twitter.com/Koshercookbook, on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/KosherCookbookApp?ref=nf, and on her blog at: www.koshercookbook.blogspot.com. While this dessert can be enjoyed at any time, it acquires special significance during Rosh Hashana. CS]

Apple Tart

Photo by: Gloria Kobrin

Serves 10-12

The sweetness of the apples and vanilla contrasted with the tart marmalade and Grand Marnier baked in a rich crust is spectacular. The extra hand work is worth it.

Ingredients

Crust

  • ¼  pound pareve margarine
  • ½  cup confectioner’s sugar
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 3 tablespoons  ice water
  • 1 ¼ cups flour

Apple Filling

  • 8 large Golden Delicious apples
  • ¼ pound pareve margarine
  • One inch piece of fresh Vanilla bean
  • ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup tart orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier (see comment and substitute)
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • Optional: 3 ounces toasted sliced almonds

Equipment

  • 11 inch flan ring (or quiche pan with removable bottom)
  • Cookie sheet
  • Baking parchment
  • Electric food processor
  • Large skillet
  • Fine sieve
  • Pastry brush

Directions

  1. Line cookie sheet with baking parchment and place flan ring on top of it. Set aside.
  2. Put flour and ½ cup sugar in bowl of processor with steel knife attached. Pulse a few seconds.
  3. Cut ¼ pound margarine into slices and add them to bowl. Pulse again until mixture resembles crumbs.
  4. Beat yolks with water.  Pour this mixture through feeding tube while the processor is running . Turn off processor when a ball of dough has formed. It will be quite soft.  Scrape all dough into the center of flan ring and press it around the ring and up the sides until you have formed a tart shell. Chill for one hour at least.
  5. Prepare apples while crust is chilling. Peel, quarter and core 3 apples. Slice them paper thin by hand or in the processor.
  6. Melt ¼ pound margarine in skillet. Slice the Vanilla bean in half but leave its spine intact. Add vanilla bean to melted margarine. Add sliced apples to pan and stir constantly until apples have browned. Press down on the vanilla bean to make sure that it has released all its seeds onto the apples. Remove vanilla bean.
  7. Remove tart shell from refrigerator. Arrange sautéed apples in an even layer on the bottom of shell.
  8. Preheat oven to: 400 F.
  9. Peel, quarter, core and slice remaining apples thinly. Place these apples in consecutive layers on top of the sautéed ones. Keep layering apples until they are all used up.
  10. Sift ¼ cup confectioner’s sugar over top of tart. Place tart in oven and bake for 45-60 minutes. Watch it carefully to be sure crust doesn’t burn. It will darken considerably.
  11. Place apple tart on cooling rack. Melt marmalade with one tablespoon water (can be done in microwave).  Stir in Grand Marnier. Brush glaze gently over the top of the tart. Sprinkle with toasted almonds if desired.  Chill. Serve tart at room temperature.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS




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