Archive for the 'Eran Elhalal' Category

07
Oct
10

An upcoming wine tasting


Avi Ashman, president and founder of  Israeli Wine of the Month Club has announced its next wine tasting:

What: French Styled Wine from King David’s Valley — Ella Valley Vineyards

When: Thursday, October 28, 2010 7:00 PM

Price: $36.00 per person

Where: Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.) 6th Floor
New York, NY 10018

The beautiful Ella Valley, the site of the first TKO (David vs. Goliath) is now the home of a young and efficient winery nested among quality vineyards. The French trained winemaker Doron Rav Han continues the ancient wine making tradition in the Valley — biblical wine making facility was discovered near the winery recently — and produces some of Israel’s better wines.

Sit back, relax and join other wine lovers at the Israeli Wine of the Month Club’s interactive wine tasting experience.

What is interactive wine tasting?

* Several wonderful Israeli wines will be explored. Cheese, crackers and fruit also served.
* A panel of our Sommeliers/Wine Critics will describe each wine and guide you in exercising your palate tasting them
* You will be encouraged to voice your opinion about each wine and write elaborate notes — be Robert Parker, Tom Stevenson or Daniel Rogov for a night… Every opinion counts !
* We will collect everyone’s tasting notes and distribute them via a newsletter. The newsletter will also include professional tasting notes as well as detailed descriptions of the wineries, and more…

When? October 28, 2010 at 7PM
Where? Quint, Miller & Co.
34 West 38th Street (between 5th & 6th Ave.)
6th Floor
The buzzer on the ground floor (on the right side of entrance door), # 6

How much? $36 at door
RSVP by October 27, 2010 (space is limited)

RSVP to this Meetup:
http://www.meetup.com/Israeli-Wine-Lovers/calendar/15030400/

I’ve been to some of these tastings and I always found (here, here, here and here) the wine selection superlative; the cheeses and fruits specially chosen by Chef Eran Elhalal have invariably been a perfect complement to the potables. I’ll be there, gentle reader, will you? Just come over and say hello!

When you sign up, why not let them know that you first saw it on this blog?

CS

05
Sep
10

Yom Tov Recipes – Rib Roast


[Chef Eran Elhalal, has repeatedly delighted us with his recipes and his encyclopedic knowledge of cheese types, wines, etc. Once again he follows that trend with this superb yom tov recipe. He constantly surprises us with the subtle variations, to the tried and true, he introduces and the truly rewarding results. CS]

Who’s Afraid of a Rib Roast?

Roast beef is the perfect entrée for an end of summer feast, and Rosh Hashana is that feast! A well prepared roast is both festive and rustic , simple to make yet impressive.

I chose to prepare a rib roast for this year’s Rosh Hashana because the forecast is for a hot day and roasts along with all other dry cooking methods yield a lighter result than proteins prepared using moist cooking methods ( Stews, Braises, poached meats…) which we prefer in the winter.

Many home cooks fear the large roast, for no other reason other than the fact that they had made a disastrous one at some point and do not want to waste an expensive piece of meat, or be embarrassed at the dinner table by a tough, overcooked dry result.

Now, a great roast is easy! It is all about high quality ingredients and following the guidelines to a tee . No shortcuts please!

The best kosher cuts of beef used for roasting are : Tenderloin /Fillet (only the front end) and the Rib (bone in , boneless, rolled), the deboned cuts are also referred to as Striploin (American market term or Entrecote ( French term).

Ingredients:

1 Rib Roast, bone in and trussed. Make sure you know exactly how much your cut weighs.

1 bunch Thyme

2 Tbsp oil

Salt

Coarse ground black pepper

Preparation:

1. -Rub salt and pepper all around the roast and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

2. -Remove from the fridge and allow to reach room tempo , about 1 hour. The result will be much more tender that way.

3. -Preheat the oven to 450 F.

4. -Place the meat over a layer of Thyme sprigs in a roasting pan.

5. -Drizzle the top with the oil and put in the oven for 15 minutes. This gives the initial sear that seals the pores in the meat, keeping it beautifully moist inside, and also caramelizes the meat (called: Maillard Reaction – starches turn to sugars when they reach 310 F), which yields that sweet charred flavor we love!

6. -Continue to roast for 12 minutes for every Lb. This is why the uncooked weight is important. ( Example : For a 5 Lb Bone in Rib roast you would need 15 minutes+ (12 mins*5Lb)= 75 minutes toal).

7. -Remove from the oven, cover loosely and allow to rest for 10 minutes above the oven before slicing. Resist the urge! This allows the juices to redistribute evenly in the meat .

Enjoy!

Eran Elhalal (crossposted from eranelhalal.com)

29
Aug
10

Fish N’ Chips


[Eran Elhalal, regales us yet again with one of his delicious recipes. SYR tested it last night and loved it. CS]

Comfort food is what it’s all about! What is comfort food, you ask? It’s fun food, heart-warming food, food that brings memories of warmth, memories of times past. Interestingly enough most comfort food stems from poverty. Creations relying on inexpensive cuts of meat/fish, and the cheapest ingredients available. There are countless examples: American Soul food,Mac&Cheese, Meatloaf, Rice & Refried beans (also Latin Americas’ protein supplement), Hummus & Fava Beans (the North African protein supplement), Pasta,etc.

Every country has its own array of comfort food, Fish N’ Chips are The British Empires’ greatest contribution to the culinary world! Well… that may be debatable, but it’s definitely the food for which English cuisine is most famous. It became popular in South-East England and London in the early 1800’s. They were even referenced in Charles Dickens’, “Oliver Twist” (published 1838). The first recorded Fish N’ Chip shop was opened between 1860-1865 by one Joseph Malin in London. Selling for Nine Pence in the 1800’s, it soon became the quintessential poor man’s food.

Trawling (pulling nets through the water behind the ship), which became the main fishing method in 19th century England, made fish abundant and thus inexpensive. Along with the fact that potatoes could be farmed on almost any soil and could survive the British Isles’ harsh winter, fish and potatoes became the perfect choice for the hungry working class.

Fish N’ Chips shops and carts are still the main British working stiff’s lunch or traditional Friday night dinner.

Traditionally served wrapped in newspaper, the fish is beer battered and deep fried with the fries. It is then drizzled with malt vinegar or onion vinegar (the vinegar used for pickling onions). Classically a Cod family fish is used (Cod, Haddock, Pollock, Hake), these are lean white flesh fish that are found in great numbers in the Atlantic Ocean.

I developed this recipe while doing my very first stint as Chef, at UnWined, in Manhattan’s Upper West Side:

Photo from: SugarMama Baking Company blog

Fish N’ Chips

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients:

3 lbs Cod fillets cut to 2 oz pieces
salt & white pepper to taste
oil for frying (for best results use peanut oil – it has the highest smoking point)
2
lemons cut to wedges

Batter:

2 cups flour
1 tbsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tsp oil
1 bottle (12 fl oz) beer – (I use toasted lager!)
2 egg whites whipped to soft peaks
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Chips:

3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut to battonettes (1/2 inch wide finger shaped)
cold water to cover fries (keeps potatoes from oxidizing and maintains crispness)

Directions:

  1. Sprinkle yeast over the warm water and let stand until fully dissolved.
  2. Mix flour, salt and sugar and make a well in the center. Add the yeast mixture, oil and beer and stir to combine only. Gently fold in the egg whites.
  3. Let stand for 1/2 hour until the batter becomes frothy.
  4. Pat the fish fillets and season.
  5. Heat frying oil to 350 degrees F. Drain well and fry potatoes, only to cook through – no color! Fry in batches! Set aside.
  6. Reheat the oil to 400 degrees F (the cold batter will make the oil temp drop initially).
  7. Dip the fish in the batter and fry. Add the fries for the last 2 minutes to color and crisp up.
  8. Toss the fries in a mixing bowl with salt.
  9. Serve with malt vinegar and lemon wedges .

Enjoy it folks, enjoy!

Eran Elhalal

06
Aug
10

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! – Part 3


[My good friend, Eran Elhalal, gives us the third and last part of his Intro to Cheese.

Eran Elhalal is a chef/Entrepreneur working in Manhattan. An Honors Graduate of the  Culinary Institute of America,  Eran was Executive Chef of two Manhattan restaurants in the past few years and consulted several others. He began educating customers about food and wine pairing and cheese in 2007 while working as the Chef at UES’s BarVespa.

These days, Eran talks about food and wine pairing as the chef for the panel of Meetup, a wine club, dedicated to introduce and educate the American public about Israeli wines. Photos: courtesy of Eran Elhalal.

Not every type of cheese described below is, so far, made for the kosher consumer. That situation, however is changing fast as various distributors (here and here) and manufacturers are constantly introducing new and delicious cheeses into the kosher market. CS]

“How can you be expected to govern a country that has 246 kinds of cheese?”
Charles de Gaulle

Trying to Categorize Cheeses

There is no one set of rules by which to categorize the world’s cheeses. After thousands of years of cheese-making , we still are unable to agree on one set of rules, and here is why:

  • Some factors are very difficult to quantify – for example the classification relying on smell. Detection and rating vary from person to person depending on how accute their sense of smell is. No one category can address all types and nuances. For example, Classification relying on rind alone, puts hundreds of cheeses with no rind in the same category.
  • Another example is classification by aging, it would put a Danish blue cheese and a Farmhouse Brie in the same category. Traveling between different categories- Cheese is a living thing. Every cheese is released with a certain fat content and certain water content. As the cheese ages these percentages change due to water evaporation. Hence, the same triple creamed cheese , tastes much more pungent a month after you bought it! Moreover, a cheese that was classified as Semi-hard like a dutch Gouda will turn rock hard as it ages.

Knowing this, we can now learn to pickout, describe and appreciate cheeses using the more common categories for classification:

Queso Manchego - Spanish sheep's milk cheese, has a wonderful and unique bite to it

 

 

Texture

Classification determined by water content:

  • Very soft – 80 % water, spoonable, includes most fresh cheeses like Cottage cheese, Chèvre, Labane.
  • Soft – 50 %-70% water, spreadable, includes the double and triple creamed cheeses (Brie, Camembert, Robiola, Taleggio, Colummiers…), but also some Feta cheeses (cow’s milk mainly).
  • Semihard – 40%-50% water, sliceable, includes Edam, Gouda, Manchego.
  • Hard – 30%-50% water, very firm and dense, includes Parmigiano Reggiano, Pecorino, Piave, Ossau, Iraty, Mimolette
  • Blue -40%-50% water, a classification within the semi hard group of cheeses, may be sliceable, spreadable or crumbly, includes all blue veined cheeses, like; Valdeon, Cabrales, Roquefort, Gorgonzola

 

 

Noordhollander Gouda - Yes, there are some delicious kosher variations of this cheese

 

Aging

Length of aging prior to release:

  • Fresh – Un-aged, produced and released, include Cottage cheese, Cream cheese, Chèvre.
  • Brief Molding period – 2 weeks-10 weeks, produced and allowed to take shape in a mold ( tub or basket), or for the rind to bloom, includes Feta, almost all blue cheeses and bloomy rind cheeses (Grayson, Taleggio, Brie…).
  • Aged – Anywhere between 2 months and 5 years, depending on the cheese, produced and allowed to mature until the cheesemaker deems it fully aged and flavored, includes all hard and semi hard cheeses,like; Parmigiano Reggiano, Idiazabal, Pecorino, Cheddar, Gouda

Type of Milk

Classification by what animal produces the milk:

The most common are Cow, Goat and Sheep (ewe), but there are also cheeses made with a mix of milk from different animals, and even cheeses from Buffalo, Moose, Camel or Yak’s milk.

 

Taleggio

 

Smell

Classification by degree of pungency:

A very difficult classification,works mainly for bloomy rind cheeses like – Taleggio, Robiola, Camembert, Brie

Methods of cheese-making

Classification by main cheesemaking traditional methods:

  • Fresh Cheese – Unaged or matured, includes some slightly pressed cheeses(Feta),whey based cheeses that are only strained (Urda, Ricotta) and the spoonable, Cottage, Cream cheese, Chèvre.
  • Pasta Filata Cheese – The curds are cooked, then streched and folded repeatedly before molding or shaping. The cheese is then ready to eat or may be ripened further and even smoked (Mozzarella, Provolone, Paneer, Kashkaval).
  • Unpressed Ripened Cheese – The curds are minimally cut and allowed to drain . They are then ripened with mold or bacteria on the cheese surface (Camembert, Brie, Taleggio…) or using a starter culture that is applied to the surface or inoculated into the cheese (Stilton).
  • Pressed and Ripened Cheese – The curds are pressed before ripening. Examples: Manchego, Idiazabal, Cheddar.
  • Cooked, pressed and ripened – The curds are cooked in whey, then milled, molded and pressed. These cheeses are aged for up to 5 years (Parmigiano Reggiano, Piave, GoudaEdam, Emmental…).
  • Processed – After the initial cheesemaking process is complete (see 2nd part of this series), more milk and emulsifying salts are added, food coloring and preservatives. This yields a very consistent product, yet rather unhealthy. Unfortunately, these cheeses, sold in blocks, slices, tubes and even sprays are the most commonly consumed types in the US. (American cheese, Kraft singles, Cheez Whiz ….and other such varieties of poor excuses for cheese!)

Rind

 

 

Dutch Gouda -Uses an artificial wax rind, to lock in moisture and deepen the flavor as the cheese ages

 

Classification by type of rind:

The rind of the cheese controls the rate of water evaporation from the cheese, oxidation of the surface and escape of gases from within.

  • No rind – The cheese is produced and packaged or at most strained, salted and packed. Includes all fresh cheeses like: Ricotta, Urda, Cream cheese, Feta
  • White mold rind – The mold grows on the surface and is edible. The rind is sometimes brushed away a number of times throughout ripening, so the cheese will develop a thicker rind. The mold is white at first but as the cheese ages it darkens. Includes: Camembert, Brie, Robiola Bosina.
  • Washed rind – the rind is washed with alcohol, usually Marc (Grape pomace Brandy) or wine. The alcohol dries the surface of the cheese and the white bloomy mold turns pinkish/Orange. The rind is moist and a has a slightly grainy mouthfeel, thus it is not usually eaten. Includes Taleggio, Robiola Pineta, Grayson, Pont I’Eveque.
  • Natural dry rind – The rind is in fact the dry outer surface of the cheese. The rind can be brushed, scraped, oiled or wrapped in cloth depending on the desired result. The rind is inedible, types include: Parmigiano Reggiano, Cheddar, Piave
  • Organic rind – Leaves, spices and herbs applied to the surface of the cheese after its made. The reason is to impart flavor and protect from insects traditionally (Fleur de Maquis, Corsican ewe’s milk cheese rolled in herbs & Juniper berries, or Majorero Pimenton – rolled in smoked pepper). another reason is to lock in moisture. Examples include: Valdeon, wrapped in sycamore leaves; Banon, tied in chestnut leaves and tied with raffia.
  • Artificial rinds – Added after the cheese is made. Rind is generally inedible. Includes Gouda, Edam (wax rind), Cheddar (plastic) and ash edible in St. Maure (for example).

So… these are just the main categories. When I describe a cheese, I try to use all the categories that apply most, focusing on the ones that characterize the paricular cheese category more than others.

One last example. Morbier

 

 

Morbier cheese

 

Origin: Comte region, North East France
Milk: Raw or Pasteurized Cow’s milk.
Texture: Semi hard (40 %-50% water), sliceable.
Method of cheese-making: Pressed and ripened,with a layer of ash running through the center.
Smell: mild pungent
Rind: Natural dry rind,brushed for firmness.
Aging; 2-3 months
Fat content: 45 %
Interesting facts: This cheese was traditionally made for consumption by the cheesemakers themselves. Leftover curds were put in a tub, then covered with ash to repel insects, while waiting for additional leftover curds from the evening or the next day.

Eran Elhalal

RELATED POSTS

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! – Part 2

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!

Les Petites Fermières plus Organic and Kosher

Naturally Kosher

14
Jul
10

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese! – Part 2


[Eran Elhalal is a chef/Entrepreneur working in Manhattan. An Honors Graduate of the  Culinary Institute of America,  Eran was Executive Chef of two Manhattan restaurants in the past few years and consulted several others. He began educating customers about food and wine pairing and cheese in 2007 while working as the Chef at UES’s BarVespa.

These days, Eran talks about food and wine pairing as the chef for the panel of Meetup, a wine club, dedicated to introduce and educate the American public about Israeli wines. Photos: courtesy of Eran Elhalal. CS]

“Well, and what’s Cheese? Corpse of Milk!” (James Joyce)

The Cheese Series- Second Chapter


How cheeses are made

There are countless nuances to Cheese making, hence, Different countries produce different cheeses , which reflect the country’s Terroir , traditions and even mentality. Each one of the steps in the process is crucial to the end result ,the way the curds are cut will determine the texture of the cheese, the method and quantities of salting will affect aging or ripening.

The first Two steps of cheese making  however , are common to all cheeses. Essentially, cheese is made by extracting the water and whey from milk and allowing the remaining milk solids ( Curds ) to spoil in a controlled environment, monitoring bacterial growth, expansion of molds throughout the cheese and so on…

First step: Collecting and Preparing the milk

Artisanal cheese makers collect the raw milk from their own farm or nearby farms. That is the traditional way and the best one. Travel time , agitation , temperature and cleanliness of the transport vats are highly important factors to the resulting cheese. Much like wine proximity is crucial. The shortest the time between milking the animal and starting the cheese making process, the better.

A word on : Pasteurization

Not all cheeses are made from pasteurized milk, but for the majority of modern cheeses, this is when the process is applied. The milk is typically heated to a temperature of 160o F for 15 seconds or to a temperature of 114oF and held for 30 minutes. Un-pasteurized cheeses are more flavorful because the heat inactivates natural enzymes in the milk that help develop the final flavor of the cheese . Pasteurization also slows down the action of the Rennet , thus prolonging the ripening/aging step in achieving full texture and flavor. On the other hand, pasteurizing makes the flavor of milk homogenous, which large volume producers seek to maintain consistency of flavor from different batches of milk.

I say, that in the sense of depth of flavor and uniqueness, the difference between cheeses from un-pasteurized milk to those from pasteurized milk is the same as the difference between wines which are non-kosher or kosher to wines that are Mevushal (Hebrew for: cooked).

http://aftercheese.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/swiss-cheesemaking1.jpg?w=539&h=405

Second step: Curdling

Raw milk will actually sour and curdle on its own , but this natural method is inconsistent. Pasteurized milk does not sour this way ,so nowadays all cheeses are made by introducing an acid like lemon juice (Citric acid) , or vinegar, but in most cases a starter culture of special Bacteria is used to change milk sugars (lactose ) into lactic acid. The increased acidity denatures the milk protein (Casein), so it separates from the milk water into solid curds when a coagulating agent  (Rennet) is introduced. The protein molecules then lump together to a soft gel. The curds are allowed to settle at a temperature of 70oF-95oF for 30 minutes-120 minutes, depending on the type of cheese being made. Low tempo yield soft curds for soft cheeses and high tempo yields hard rubbery curds used to produce semi hard and hard cheeses.

Third step: Concentrating and processing the curds

First the curds are cut to release the whey . The method applied here will determine the texture and moisture content of the cheese. Softer cheeses are made by minimal cutting of curds and piling them up to drain naturally . Harder cheeses are cut horizontally and vertically to very fine pieces , thus releasing much more moisture that results in a drier, harder cheese.

Some hard cheeses are then heated to temperatures in the range of 100 °F–130 °F. This forces more whey from the cut curd. It also changes the taste of the finished cheese, affecting both the bacterial culture and the milk chemistry. Cheeses that are heated to the higher temperatures are usually made with thermophilic starter bacteria which survive this step—either lactobacilli or streptococci.

Salt has a number of roles in cheese besides adding a salty flavor. It preserves cheese from spoiling, draws moisture from the curd, and firms up a cheese’s texture in reaction to contact with the denatured proteins. Some cheeses are salted from the outside with dry salt or brine washes. Most cheeses have the salt mixed directly into the curds. Salting also slows down the starter bacteria culture, thus contolling the rate of ripening/Aging.

Processing methods:

Cheddaring: The cut curd is repeatedly piled up, pushing more moisture away. The curd is also milled for a long period of time, taking the sharp edges off the cut curd pieces and influencing the final product’s texture. (Hence- Cheddar)

Stretching: The curd is stretched and kneaded in hot water, developing a stringy, fibrous body.(For example: Mozzarella , Provolone , Kashkaval).

Washing: The curd is washed in warm water, lowering its acidity and making for a milder-tasting cheese. ( Examples: Gouda,Edam)

Whey based cheeses: Once the whey has been drained,it can be used to make some cheeses ,without the use of curds.(Ricotta,Urda).

Fourth step : Molding

Most cheeses achieve their final shape when the curds are pressed into a mold or form. The harder the cheese, the more pressure is applied. The pressure drives out moisture ,the molds are designed to allow water to escape , and unifies the curds into a single solid body.

http://lh3.ggpht.com/_YJWbOrG-e-E/S0pxGl9ultI/AAAAAAAABDA/baMEKCzbi0k/Cheese%20Aging,%20Molise%202.jpg

Final step :Ripening/ Aging

Ripening/ Aging is the stage where enzymes and microbes change the chemical composition of the cheese from complex organic molecules to simple ones and transform the cheese’s  texture and intensity of flavor. Temperature and humidity are monitored carefully. Some traditional cheese are aged only in near caves which contain unique molds and yeast which result in a one of a kind cheese. More often, cultures are used, giving more consistent results and putting fewer constraints on the environment where the cheese ages. These cheeses include soft ripened cheeses such as Brie and Camembert, blue cheeses such as Gorgonzola, Roquefort, Cabrales, Stilton, and washed rind cheeses such as Taleggio, Grayson.Soft Cheeses- like Brie, Camembert, ripen quickly and at a lower tempo than hard cheeses. Soft cheeses ripen from the outside in. It is all about controlled spoilage here. Bacteria multiplying too quickly results in uneven maturation of the cheese. High humidity ( usually 80%-95%)is crucial to a moist surface in cheese. The ripening/aging period (called Affinage in French) can last from days to several years. This transformation is largely a result of the breakdown of casein proteins and milkfat into a complex mix of amino acids,amines and fatty acids.

http://www.thomaswalshphotographer.com/_images/Cuisine%20Web%20Photos/Comte-Cheese-Aging.jpg

Eran Elhalal

RELATED POSTS

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!

25
Jun
10

Cheese! Cheese! Cheese!


[Eran Elhalal is a chef/Entrepreneur working in Manhattan. An Honors Graduate Culinary Institute of America,  Eran was Executive Chef of two Manhattan restaurants in the past few years and consulted several others. He began educating customers about food and wine pairing and cheese in 2007 while working as the Chef at UES’s BarVespa.

These days, Eran talks about food and wine pairing as the chef for the panel of Meetup, a wine club, dedicated to introduce and educate the American public about Israeli wines. Photos: courtesy of Eran Elhalal. CS]

Cheese comes in a variety of shapes and types

Cheese: 8000 years in the making!
The first chapter in our love affair with manipulating milk

Cheese is one of the most uniquely varied and refined foods in the world. So meticulously formed and perfected in specific regions, we seek them out by origin and romanticize the process and the people making it. We want our Brie and Camembert to be from Île-de-France, our Gouda from Holland, our Parmigiano Reggiano from the Emilia Romana region in  Italy….

Cheese making’s true origins have long been forgotten, but many countries claiming the honors. Archaeological findings show it being made and stored in clay jars as far back as 6000 BC. There are murals depicting cheese making in Egyptian tombs from 2000 BC .

Cheese is mentioned in the Bible. For example, as David escaped across the River Jordan he was fed with ‘cheese of kine’ (cows) (2 Samuel 17:29), and it is said that he presented ten cheeses to the captain of the army drawn up to do battle with Saul (1 Samuel 17:18). Moreover, a location near Jerusalem called ‘The Valley of the Cheesemakers‘.

Legends about its origins abound, but one of the most commonly repeated themes is that cheese was accidentally discovered in the Mediterranean by an Arab nomad traveling through the desert.

Legend speaks of the nomad about to embark on a long journey on horseback, filling a saddlebag with milk to sustain him while crossing the desert. After hours of riding the nomad stopped to quench his thirst only to discover that his milk had separated into solid lumps and a watery liquid.

The combined heat, agitation from riding and rennets [rennet is a natural complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme (protease) that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The active enzyme in rennet is called chymosin or rennin but there are also other important enzymes in it, e.g., pepsin or lipase. There are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for vegetarian consumption]. The saddlebag, made of an animal’s stomach parts and lining, caused curdling of the milk and separation into curds and whey.

Cheese, cheese, delicious cheese!

The watery liquid, and the floating whey were found to be drinkable, while the curds were edible and nutritious.

What makes some cheeses kosher? First and foremost, the facility producing the cheese has to comply with kosher rules of food handling and preparation-that is obvious! The above legend gives us another reason… Renin, the enzyme that helps fermentation and coagulation, is a meat byproduct and therefore can only be used under certain conditions in the production of cheese, which is a dairy product. Luckily , nowadays, technology has yielded plant based rennets which are used to create styles of cheese we could have before! Some delicious examples of this type are kosher Parmigiano, Grana Padano, Manchego, etc. Yayyyyy!

Eran Elhalal

MORE FROM CHEF ERAN

The Art of Braising

Passover Almond-Pistaccio Cake

24
Jun
10

Cool White Night


Last evening, the Israel Wine Lovers Club hosted an evening of white wines. The wines were made from three types of grapes: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier.

From left to right: Avi Ashman, Rafi Sutton, Eran Elhalal

It’s been said that if Chardonnay didn’t exist it would have to be invented. No other grape, red or white, ever achieved international recognition as effectively as this grape. It possess chameleon like adaptability to almost any climate and terroir. Compared to the rest of its sisters, this grape is a cinch to grow and thrives at both climate extremes of the viticultural spectrum (and in-between!), but unlike so many other grapes it is also very easy to work with at the winery. It’s harvested in almost every wine producing country. If unoaked its taste will remind you of a tart apple, lemon and even pears. When lightly oaked, it brings out the tastes of melting butter, baked apple, nutmeg, oatmeal. When heavily oaked one can taste vanilla, lemon curd, chocolate or woodsmoke.

After Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc is the world’s most popular white grape.  Unlike Chardonnay, which barely has any aroma, Sauvignon Blanc has a very distinctive strong aroma. It’s wine is paler and somewhat light but acidic. One can detect almost any fruit in this wine’s flavors, from sour greens to melon, passion fruit or mango. It often has a very definite black currant hint. It also can bring to the fore vegetable flavors like green peas, asparagus and – occasionally – sweet red peppers. Other times it brings out far more earthy flavors. At times it even shows a faint smokiness.

Viognier is a relatively new grape in the international market, the average consumer may never have heard of it before the early 1990s. It’s often been blended with Chardonnay, but more and more are we starting to see it stand out on its own. It is a great alternative to Chardonnay, with a nice pleasant aroma. Its most obvious flavor is apricot in all its range, you may also detect faint notes of cinnamon, cardamon and ginger. At times it may resemble a honey-lemon lozenger.

Raffi Sutton who used to write for Globes (Israel’s equivalent of our Wall Street Journal) on Israeli wines and later was the editor of an Israeli food and wine magazine, before becoming an investment banker in the US, did the wine presentations. He was ably aided by Avi Ashman – the Club’s President and founder – and Eran Elhalal, a graduate of the presitigious Culinary Institute of America, chef and consultant whose recipes and wine pairings have already graced our pages.

Some of the evenings selections...

The tasting started with a 2009 Dalton Unoaked Chardonnay. This wine was fermented without any barrel influence and aged over the deposits of dead yeast that forms after fermentation. This Unoaked Chardonnay is fruity wine with well-balanced acidity, bursting with citrus and tropical fruit flavours. This particular aging process is known as “sur lie,” greatly enhances the complexity and flavor of the wine.

We continued with a 2007 Binyamina Unoaked Chardonnay. Light golden straw in color, a simple wine showing some citrus and tropical fruits but lacks the crisp minerality one hopes for in an unoaked Chardonnay. Unfortunately I found it past its prime.

The third wine of the evening was the 2007 Domaine du Castel C (Chardonnay) Blanc du Castel. Full-bodied, elegant Burgundy style white, showing citrus, pineapple, green apple, toasted bread and fig aromas. While quite promising this wine was certainly “before its time.” It hasn’t fully matured and the chardonnay flavors were still battling with the alcohol which hadn’t fully blended in. Yet, this white wine was robust enough to be consumed with almost any red meat, thus destroying the myth that white wines should only be paired with fish or delicate white meats.

Next came the 2006 Tishbi Special Reserve Chardonnay. Very fruity, lighter, citrus. it’s a full bodied dry white wine is made grapes grown in the Gush Etzyon vineyards and harvested by hand. This chardonnay carries the exotic aromas of apricot, melon and peaches. Though considerably cheaper than its predecessor I liked it far better!

That fourth selection was followed by 2007 Yarden Odem Chardonnay. Made entirely from Chardonnay grapes grown on the Golan Heights Odem organic vineyads. Barrel fermentation and sur lie for seven months, produced a complex wine balancing fruit and floral notes with hints of butter and vanilla. Chef Eran suggested an unusual pairing for it… Café Brulé!

The sixth selection was the 2008 Recanati Sauvignon Blanc. With Fresh hay and bell pepper notes, typical of fine Sauvignon Blanc, develop and linger in the bouquet. It had an initial bite almost like a sparkling wine. Outstanding when paired with fish, sushi, risotto and grilled vegetables.

Next came a 2009 Tabor Chalk Sauvignon Blanc. Citrusy, pleasant and light, with a bitter aftertaste. It wotld make a great selection for a hot summer day.

The eighth selection was the 2007 Galil Mountain Viognier. It displayed a clear lemon yellow color. The wine is extremely aromatic with flavors of ripe apricot and nectarine set against hint of oak and honey. Well balanced with delicate acidity, medium body and a long, velvety finish.

The last wine was the 2008 Dalton Reserve Viognier. It starts with a certain smokiness, showing intense, vibrant and complex with spice, floral, fig and melon aromas and flavors. Deep and rich with a long, broad finish. Chef Eran suggested pairing it with desserts that are not too sweet. This wine is by far much better than its price range would suggest!

The participants, enjoyed an evening of Chef Eran’s selections of sharp kosher cheeses by Danablue, Gilboa, Shahat, marmalades and grapes. The conversation was great, well worth many a repeat visit.

CS

RELATED POSTS

Tasting Tabor Wines

Benyamina Wines Tasting, Getting Ready for Tomorrow’s Tasting


16
Apr
10

The Art of Braising


[Eran Elhalal is a food consultant, chef extraordinaire (about to become a restaurateur). He is also the resident Chef at the Israeli Wine Lovers Club where his delectable creations, cheese and fruit selections greatly enhance the tasting experience. CS]

More than once, have I listened to my friends complain about a failed attempt at braising short ribs or Lamb Shanks and worst of all, after spending hours preparing,ended up with a dry/stringy/pale/tough piece of meat and finding all that right before the guests arrive.

So, from today onwards, those tales of woe, the agony will end.

Braising is a wonderful way of utilizing the less expensive tougher cuts of meat that usually are not fit for dry cooking methods like brisket, and chuck or cuts that would require a long slow roast like leg of Lamb,lamb shanks and Beef Short ribs . Moreover a braise can be made ahead of time in large quantities , making it a great solution for a big family. In fact, a braise is great the day it’s made, but it is FANTASTIC the next couple of days.

What we sometimes call tough cuts of meat are actually tougher due to the fact that they come from high mobility muscles. To give a simple example – cows stand and graze most of the day, hence their legs, chest and neck muscles are very strong. Strong=Tough!

And now, I’ll take you step by step through the braising process…

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Ingredients

6 Servings

2 1/2 Lbs short ribs /3-4 Lbs if on the bone. Have your butcher cut the meat to 3-4 incl long pieces,1 1/2 -2 inches wide.
1-1/2 cups dry red wine Ingredients
1 cup Apple cider
2 Tbsp tomato paste
1 Lb small red potatoes.If you find large ones,quarter them lengthwise.
2 carrots cut oblique
1 large parsnip sliced thick
2 large onions sliced 3/4 inch thick
2 ribs celery rough chopped
2-3 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
12 black pepper corns
2 Tbsp dark molasses
¼ Tsp smoked paprika
salt to taste
flour for dredging

Method

1. Turn oven to 450F and place a heat proof pan or low edged pot inside. (Earthenware or Pyrex are great for this)

2. Pat the meat dry, season well then dredge in flour. Heat a cast iron skillet or large heavy stew pot. Add 2 Tbsp oil and sear well on all sides. Remove and set aside.
3.
In the same skillet brown the vegetables and remove.
4.
Drain excess fat carefully place the vegetables in the hot Pyrex pan,add tomato paste and mix well with a wooden spoon .We want to coat the vegetables evenly and brown.
5.
Deglaze with wine, then add cider, molasses herbs and spices. Leave 6-8 minutes in the oven so the liquid starts to reduce.

6. Add the meat , taste , adjust seasoning then cover tightly and place in oven.
7. Lower the heat to 275F and braise for approx 5 hours. Check to see meat is very tender. Alternatively you can set the oven to 150F-160F and braise overnight.
8. Cool well in the pan. the best way is to make an ice-water bath in a clean sink or larger pan. Then, lift away excess fat.
9. Remove meat potatoes and carrots gently,discrad of the rest . Portion the meat when cold.( This is important ! ) Reheat the cooking liquid and strain well through a fine sieve.
10. Reduce the liquid until a smooth and thick sauce consistency is achieved. Add the meat and vegetables. Simmer gently in the clear shiny sauce.


(The above photos were taken by Eran Elhalal)

For a wine pairing I suggest a dry full bodied red wine. A big red, to cut through all the wonderful gelatin in the ribs. Try Tzora Judean Hills 2008 or Tabor Mes’ha Shiraz/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2005

Enjoy!!

Eran Elhalal

))–oOooOooOo–((


[I will add two personal favorites to Eran's recommendations:

Château Pontet-Canet Paulliac 2002. A solid wine with berry, currant and mineral character. Full-bodied, with silky tannins and a long finish. Racy. On March 31 2005 the Wine Spectator awarded it 92 points, as one of the top French wines of its vintage year.

Yatir Forest 2004. This wine from grapes grown in the Judean Hills is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot and 6% Shiraz. It's aged for 18 months in small French oak barrels. It has a purple color with a strong bouquet of forest fruits, red currant, blackberry and a hint of vanilla. A full bodied wine with velvety tannins. Tom Stevenson (author of the 2007 Sotheby's Wine Encyclopedia), described  the Yatir Forest 2004 as "the classiest Israeli wine I ever tasted." CS.]

ALSO FROM ERAN’S KITCHEN:

Passover Almond-Pistaccio Cake

26
Mar
10

Passover Almond-Pistaccio Cake


[Eran Elhalal, food consultant, (about to become a restaurateur) chef extraordinaire, brings us a delicious Passover cake recipe and accompanying photos. He provides the gebroks and non-gebroks version. CS]

Pesach Almond -Pistachio Cake

12 Servings

[Gebroks]
The origin of this recipe is the Italian Baci De Dama or Lady’s Kisses, a festive hazelnut cake. I replaced the flour for sifted Matzo meal and based the cake on fresh ground almonds and pistachios, to make it more our own.

Ingredients:

Getting the ingredients lined up

[For the non-gebroks version of this delectable dessert, use potato or tapioca starch instead of the matzoh meal. Make sure, however, that you mix it well with the nuts before incorporating into the wet mixture, or the starch may clump up.]

Cake base:
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups ground almonds
3/4 cup ground pistachios
1/4 cup sifted matzoh meal
5 eggs separated
pinch of salt
Zest of 1 lemon
2 Tbsp oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting
2 Tbsp crushed pistachios ( Garnish)
4 ozs confectioners sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 Tbsp warm water

Method:

1. Whisk egg yolks and gradually incorporate 1 cup of the sugar.Continue until the batter is bright and fluffy.In a separate bowl mix the nuts , matzo meal, oil and then incorporate vanilla and lemon zest.
2. In a separate bowl whisk the egg whites with the salt first, and then gradually whisk in the rest of the sugar until stiff peaks are formed.
3. Fold the egg whites into the nuts mixture gently only until combined.
4. Grease an 8 inch round baking pan.Pour the batter into the pan.
5. Insert into a 350 degree preheated oven , and bake for 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out dry.
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
7. Prepare the frosting by whisking the lemon juice, confectionery sugar and warm water well.
8. Spread evenly on the cake and sprinkle the crushed Pistachios .

A lusciuosly delicious slice

For a truly heavenly gastronomic experience, pair this cake with a glass of  Tzora Or 2006, a delicious wine from one of Israel’s boutique wineries. It is made Made from Gewurztraminer grapes, deep frozen for two months after harvesting. After 24 hours of thawing only the first drips of grape juice will be used for this potable. The gold colored wine is filled with honey and tropical fruits on the nose. Full bodied on the mouth, citrus, pinneaple and a hint of mint.

If this wine is not available, another great choice (more economically priced) is the Carmel Sha’al Gewurztaminer 2006 or 2007, otherwise, any dessert wine will most certainly suffice.

Enjoy!!

Chag kasher vesame’ach – Have a happy Passover

Eran Elhalal
Chef Entrepreneur

18
Mar
10

Sweet Wines Tasting


This past Wednesday evening, Avi Ashman’s Israeli Wine Lovers Club held a tasting with the theme “How Sweet it ISrael”. We tasted and discussed 6 selections.

The wine selection

Jay Buchsbaum, Director of Wine Education at the Royal Wine Corporation, started the evening by talking about wines in general, methods of manufacture and sweet wines specifically. He then took questions from the audience

Jay Buchsbaum sharing his encyclopedic knowledge of wines in all their nuances.

The tasting started with Carmel Moscato di Carmel 2009, a very nice fruity light wine. It’s sweet with hints of peach and citrus. It is meant to be consumed within the first 2 years of production as it doesn’t age well.

Next we had a Carmel Vineyards Selected EmeralRiesling and Chenin Blanc 2009. Drier than the first, most of us agreed that it would have more fair to this bottle had we tasted it before the Moscato. Even so it exhibited some interesting qualities. I would not have classed it among dessert wines, however.

We then tasted a Gamla White Riesling 2007 from the Golan Heights Winery. It tasted better than the previous one, exhibited some floral notes and tropical fruits. It can be enjoyed as an aperitif, would likely do very well in conjunction with spicy food.

Then we turned our attention to Zion Dolev Muscat Hamburg 2009. Made from Musct Hamburg grapes grown in Galilee, it was was pleasantly sweet and silky. A very nice dessert wine, a perfect complement to any pastry.

Carmel Sha’al Gewurztaminer 2006, very flavorful it evoked some exotic fruits bringing to mind the Chinese litchee among others. Produced from gewurtztraminer grape grown in the Sha’al Vineyards, this wine has a lively flower aroma. Sweet with just the right touch of tartness. This wine will taste better as it’s allowed to age.

The last selection was a very unusual wine, Zion Dolev Cabernet Sauvignon Semi-Sweet 2009. Cabernet Sauvignon, is the prime grape used for dry wines. None of us expected the subtle sweetness of this bottle. A superb wine that would go well with more than just a sweet dessert.

Eran's delicacies...

As usual Eran Elhalal, the group’ resident chef, prepared a great selection of cheeses, grapes, and walnuts. This time he also added some very nice desserts to help us pair the wines. Not only were they delicious but they made the wines taste better!

CS




Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 7,650 other followers

Calendar of Posts

July 2014
S M T W T F S
« May    
 12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031  

Archives

Visit our friends at the Kosher Wine Society

Noach: Stranded and Branded

Buy the book…

Category Cloud

18 Restaurant baking baking recipe baking recipes BlogTalkRadio cheese Chef David Kolotkin Chef Jeff Nathan Chef Lévana Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum chicken chicken recipes cookbook authors cookbooks dairy cuisine dairy recipes Esti Berkowitz fine dining fine kosher dining fine kosher dining in Manhattan fine kosher restaurants fine restaurants fish fish recipes Geila Hocherman Gotham Wines & Liquors Internet Radio Irving Schild Jack's Gourmet Jewish history kosher kosher baking kosher baking recipe kosher baking recipes kosher beef kosher beef recipes kosher cheese kosher chefs kosher chicken dishes kosher chicken recipes kosher cookbook authors kosher cookbooks kosher cookery Kosher cooking kosher cooking classes kosher cooking demos kosher cuisine kosher dairy kosher dairy cuisine kosher dairy recipes kosher desserts kosher dining kosher dining in Brooklyn kosher dining in Manhattan kosher dining in NY kosher fine dining kosher fine wines kosher fish kosher fish recipes Kosher food kosher Israeli wine kosher Italian cuisine kosher meat dishes kosher meat recipes kosher meat restaurants kosher meat restaurants in Manhattan kosher Mediterranean cuisine kosher parve recipes kosher poultry dishes kosher poultry recipes kosher recipes kosher restaurant review Kosher restaurants kosher restaurants in Brooklyn kosher restaurants in Manhattan kosher restaurants in New York City kosher restaurants in NY Kosher Revolution Kosher Scene kosher soup recipes kosher wine kosher wines Lévana Lévana Kirschenbaum meat recipes parve recipes Passover Pomegranate Supermarket poultry poultry recipes Prime Grill Royal Wine Corporation Shavuos Shavuos recipes Susie Fishbein The Kosher Scene The Kosher Scene Radio Show Uncategorized Wine

BlogTopSites


<a href="//www.blogtopsites.com/food-drink/" title="Food & Drink Blogs" target="_blank"><img style="border:none" src="//www.blogtopsites.com/v_158881.gif" alt="Food & Drink Blogs" />
<a target="_blank" href="//www.blogtopsites.com" style="font-size:10px;">blog sites


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,650 other followers

%d bloggers like this: