Archive for the 'kosher chefs' Category



21
May
10

Pizza, Pizza!


Since I was a kid, pizza has always been a favorite. Laura Frankel, has been one of my favorite Chefs since I discovered Shallots, years ago here in New York, on the very location that is currently Solo. Now I found an interesting recipe by Laura Frankel, a perfect summer dish, could anything be better?!?

GET YOUR DAIRY ON

Pizza Rustica is a traditional Italian savory pie. The name means “rustic pie”. Traditionally served cold-this delicious pie is perfect for Shavuot or any time you want a light lunch or dinner. Plan to make the pie one day ahead to allow plenty of time to chill the pie completely.

4 large egg yolks and 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
2 pounds whole milk ricotta (look for deli style-hand packed. It is rich, dense and slightly sweet)
8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes
½ cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
½ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped fresh basil
1 recipe pastry dough (recipe follows)
Egg wash: 1 egg lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water

Directions

1. Position a rack on the bottom third of the oven, and preheat to 375 F.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, ricotta and Parmesan cheese, mixing well. Add the mozzarella cubes
3. Remove the pastry dough from the fridge. If it is too hard to roll, let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. Roll out the larger piece of dough on a lightly floured surface into a 16-17 inch round. Transfer the dough to a 9 or 10-inch spring form pan. Gently press the dough to fit the inside of the pan and the sides. Trim the overhanging dough to about 1-inch. Save the scraps for patching up any holes.
4. Spoon the filling into the dough-lined spring form pan.
5. Roll out the remaining piece of dough into a 12-inch round. Place the dough over the filling. Pinch the edges together to seal, and fold the edges of the dough inward and crimp with your fingers or the tines of a fork. Brush the egg wash over the entire pastry top, and cut several slits in the top to let the steam escape.
6. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the pie comes out clean and the crust is golden brown, about 60-75 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and set on a cooling rack. Let pie cool for at least 20-30 minutes before refrigerating until chilled all the way through.
8. Release the pan sides and transfer pie to a platter. Cut into wedges and serve.

Dough for Pizza Rustica

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
2 sticks (1 cup) very cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
4 large eggs, beaten lightly

Directions:

1. Whisk the flour, sugar, salt, pepper and zest together in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times.
2. Add the cold pieces of butter into the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is broken down and the mixture resembles a coarse, sandy meal.
3. Drizzle in about half of the beaten eggs and pulse several times until the dough holds together when pinched. Process a few more seconds, until the dough forms into one big clump. The dough should be smooth and soft, but not sticky. If it looks crumbly or dry, add a few drops of water or cream. If it’s sticky, add a tablespoon or two more flour.
4. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and form into two disks, one about 1/3 larger than the other. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.

I don’t know about the rest of you, but my mouth is already watering…

CS

18
May
10

What Gives a Food Critic the Right to Critique?


Granted, CS and I have a combined prandial gastronomic, collectivistic consumption spanning nearly a century (we make no admission of time exceeding that!). Coincidentally, we were both blessed with superbly critical, highly skilled, culinary genius in the kitchen – parents of Polish and Hungarian descent respectively. They tolerated nothing but brilliance and excellence from their gifted, savant, miraculous offspring of the Diaspora and post Nazi oblation – instilling in us not only superior minds and egos endowed by birth, as well as a natural hunger for all things good. Our generation was brought up with the assumption that somehow we were born with inalienable rights to judge and critique the handiwork of our peers but never our parents. Both of us share the uncanny experience of every patriarchal inquisition into our lives and all critical moments predicated with the always relevant questions: “What did they serve?”, or “What did you eat? Was it good?”

The locus of kosher restaurants we’ve marked collectively through the various stages of our lives is equally impressive. From family style restaurants, to fancy upscale dating restaurants, from cafés for momentary pondering or perusal to married dating eateries, circling back to family restaurants and some of us back to dating restaurants again… we’ve done them all! The Shabbos tables we’ve set and served along with the tables we’ve guested at – often with suffered grimaced smiles of approval conceding to our napkins the putrid memorial – or being imparadised by occasional sensational dishes provided by our hosts! The trials and tribulations of experimental dishes imposed on our loving families without dis-ownership or dis-membership is legendary.

...eating our words

CS has an impressive curriculum vitae – having written many a fine food and/or wine review for well known global publications. I, on the other hand, am more the ‘everyman’, learning through doing, acquiring new skill sets, cultivating and advancing my palate and knowledge as I go along. And now we both sit here… judging others with culinary degrees and years of mastery in the art of Kosher cooking. Yeah, maybe we’ve cultivated our palates enough to judge… certainly as well as the consumers whose attendance make or break a restaurant. Mostly, we are grateful, grateful for the abundance of excellent restaurant choices and fine cuisine that we have been privileged to find and sample. It’s competitive out there and to keep the edge, a fine dining restaurant has to be good. We want a great dining experience and customers want to feel that the money spent was well worth the investment. The mediocre don’t survive for long. There are some food reviews that we’ll never publish, nameless here forever more…

There are many great kosher restaurants yet to review and savor. We love sharing our experiences with you and hope you enjoy sharing with us here at The Kosher Scene. With z’man matan Torah upon us, we would like to wish all our readers a Chag Shavuot sameach! May this time of Torah and harvest bring cornucopian blessings of plenty into your homes and lives.

We’ve collected some great Yom Tov recipes here and here. Enjoy!

SYR

04
May
10

Savor It!


Savor (2925 Avenue P; Brooklyn, NY 11229; Telephone: 718.338.1353), a newly opened dairy restaurant is off to a running start with a superb menu. It features Mediterranean and Asian dishes, each made in authentic, exacting manner without compromise.

A partial view...

SYR and I had the pleasure of eating here, mid-afternoon today. Lior Saiag, the Chef/owner graduated from the New York Restaurant School in 2000 and has since worked at some of the most prestigious eateries in town, under very demanding famous chefs in the city.

Savor represents sort of a coming home, where Chef Lior can provide the frum community with the exacting cuisine standards which, while de rigueur in the non-Jewish world, have not always been present in kosher restaurants. With a more sophisticated consumer, with a clientele no longer content with the standard fare of the past, Chef Lior family is bringing to Savor a rich and wholesome menu.

We started our meal with the in-house made bread and butter.

A light focaccia served on an oak board

SYR followed with Salmon Stuffed with Spinach and Feta, it comes with herbed orzo and a cherry tomato salad.

Salmon Stuffed with Spinach and Feta

The subtle blend of flavors was perfect match. While SYR, never cared for Feta cheese, combining it with with the salmon and the spinach helped her discover a savory dimension she never before experienced.

I had their Chilli Rubbed Grilled Tuna.

Chilli Rubbed Grilled Tuna

It came with buttery mashed potatoes and lemon scented steamed broccoli. The tuna tasted amazingly like a beef steak. As a potato lover, I found the mashed potatoes incredibly delicious and even the broccoli was delectable (my mother would never have imagined I could ever say such a thing about broccoli!).

A great meal at a restaurant with a very nice Mediteranean décor. The attention to detail in the presentation, in the cooking and in the appearance of the restaurant, make it quite obvious that this establishment represents a labor of love, a chef’s dream come true even as it constantly evolves.

CS

Savor on Urbanspoon

09
Apr
10

Lévana’s Recipe


[Lévana Kirschenbaum, the power behind Lévana‘s, the restaurant that pioneered the kosher gastronomic experience paired with wines dry and sweet in New York City, is author of two superb cookbooks:  Levana’s Table, Levana Cooks Dairy Free! and a Book/DVD set, based on her cooking classes: In Short Order. I’m a chocaholic and when I saw this recipe on her website, I just had to quote it here! CS.]

Chocolate Espresso Mousse

Posted on April 9th, 2010 by Lévana

This will take you about five minutes to prepare, and will knock your socks (and your guests’!) off. And although it tastes sinfully rich, it contains no eggs and no cream. So what’s the secret? The best chocolate, that’s what: Start with real chocolate (no brand affectionately called “heimish”) brand: They contain a smidgen of chocolate and loads of sugar: Who needs it? Get a good brand, even a price club brand will do. I assure you that if enough of you customers will ask your kosher supermarket to carry some good chocolate products, they will be happy to oblige! So, use good ingredients, and taste the difference!

Ingredients:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or grated semisweet chocolate), only the best
2 tablespoons
instant coffee powder
1/4 cup water
2/3 cup pure cocoa powder
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tablespoon brandy or rum (unflavored please)
1 pound silken tofu, drained

Instructions:

In a small saucepan, on a very low flame, place all but last ingredient, and cook, stirring, until melted. This will take about 2-3 minutes (Or microwave 2 minutes). Transfer the mixture to a food processor, with the tofu, and process one full minute, until perfectly smooth. Pour the mixture into 6 to 8 dessert glasses or cups, and refrigerate until firm, 2-3 hours.

Enjoy, my mouth is watering already!!!

CS

08
Mar
10

Cooking Steak at The Center For Kosher Culinary Arts


Did you ever have a perfect steak? I did, when I attended a session at CKCA, (1407 Coney Island Avenue; Brooklyn, NY 11230; 718.758.1339 – they are right above Happy Home Housewares) when Chef David Ritter was teaching class the evening class. Though I’m not a student at the school, like all those present my attention was fully taken by Chef David’s directions and explanations.

This particular session was devoted to making Steak au Poivre (Peppercorn Steak)…

Steak au Poivre

Below is the recipe Chef Ritter has graciously agreed to share with us. As you read, you’ll see how dramatic the very act of cooking this recipe can be:

Steak au Poivre

2 tournedos – Tender Beef Filets – preferably Rib Eye medallions

1½ ozs. Cognac (Brandy)

2 ozs. Non-Dairy Creamer

1 ozs. Shallots – chopped

1-2 ozs. Margarine (optional) cold & cubed

1tspn Black Pepper – crushed

½ tspn Green Peppercorns

2 tblspn Clarified Margarine or Olive Oil

3 ozs. Demi-Glace (or, buy boxed beef stock and reduce it by ¾)

Preparation

Step 1 – Season Filet w/ Salt & Pepper.
Step 2
– Sautée Both Sides in Clarified Butter or Oil.
Step 3
– Remove meat; add shallots & sweat, Deglaze food particles on pan with Cognac – FLAMBÉE!
**(MUST REMOVE PAN FROM HEAT WHEN POURING ALCOHOL INTO PAN)**

Step 4
– Add green peppercorns.
Step 5 – Add Creamer and Demi Glace, reduce ‘til slightly thick.
Step 6 – Swirl in some margarine cubes without boiling sauce (optional).
Step 7 – Arrange plate and pour sauce over meat.

The aroma will conquer you. Just surrender and enjoy the taste!

CS

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25
Feb
10

Purim Recipes


Although today is a Ta’anit Esther – The Fast of Esther and observant Jews around the world are fasting, we also prepare for Sunday’s Purim feast. While looking for inspiration around the web, I came across the following (superb!) holy day recipes on famed Chef Laura Frankel‘s  blog:

I like hamantashen and certainly have eaten my fill of the tender cakey treats. Don’t get me wrong. They are delicious and fun to make. But, they are safe and not at all sexy. So, this year-I want some excitement on Purim. I think I am just tired of winter, the economy and bad news. Time for FUN! Get out your martini shakers, groggers and whatever else you need to put on a splashy and delicious Purim Feast. For dessert-I recommend you pull out those nice hamantashen or do like the Persians and serve dried fruit, nuts and fresh citrus.

All of the recipes can be prepped ahead of time, leaving you lots of time to get your Esther or Mordechai on. Have a Freylich Purim!

Blood Orange Martini

It is scary how tasty these martinis are-like you could easily get into trouble with a pitcher of these scary! Oh well, Haman-Mordechai…whatever! just have fun

1 ½ ounces vodka
2 ounces blood orange juice
½ ounce simple syrup
Squeeze of fresh lime juice
1. Shake together and serve. Garnish with blood oranges slices and pomegranate seeds

Persian Meatballs (Kufteh)

This is a great dish for the end of winter. Serve this for Purim as a first course or as part of a Purim feast! Traditionally, the meatballs would not be browned before being poached. As a chef, I think the caramelized crust on the meatballs is essential and gives a great texture and more pronounced flavor. You can opt to do it either way.

2 cups cooked basmati rice
1 cup cooked yellow split peas
1 pound ground chicken, turkey or beef
½ cup finely chopped fresh dill
½ cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
1 cup chopped scallions
2 cloves garlic-chopped
2 large red onions-peeled and chopped
2 eggs-lightly beaten
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin seed
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom

1. Place all the ingredients in a large bowl. Using your hands, mix the ingredients together until well combined. Do not over mix as the mixture will be too tight and tough. Salt and pepper the mixture (I like to take a small amount and fry it to taste if the seasoning is correct).
2. Lightly, shape the meat balls with your hands.(I find that wetting my hands with cold water and using a rolling motion keeps them from getting too packed and tight.) You can store the meatballs at this point covered in the refrigerator for 2 days or freeze them for 1 month.
3. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Lightly coat the pan with olive oil. Brown the meatballs in batches. Remove form the pan and drain on paper towels.

For the poaching liquid

1 16-oz can of canned tomatoes with their juices
2 cups of chicken stock
1 teaspoon saffron threads
Juice and zest of 1 orange
Juice and zest 1 lemon
Salt and pepper

Bring the poaching liquid ingredients to simmer in a large saucepan. Place the meatballs in the pan. Gently poach them until cooked through. Do not stir the pan as the meatballs will break apart.

Basmati Rice
This is a show stopper for any buffet or dinner. The crispy crust on the rice tastes a little bit like popcorn. It is easy to make ahead and can be reheated in the pan in a low oven.

2 quarts water
2 tablespoons salt
1 1/2 cups Basmati rice
3 tablespoons olive oil

1. In a large saucepan bring water with salt to a boil. Add rice and boil 10 minutes. In a colander drain rice and rinse under warm water.
2. Place a 3 quart sauce pan over medium heat. Coat the bottom with olive oil. Spoon rice into the pan, cover pan with a kitchen towel and a heavy lid. Fold edges of towel up over lid and cook rice over moderately low heat until a golden brown crust forms, about 30 to 35 minutes. Invert the pan onto a serving platter. Garnish with pomegranate seeds and blood orange sections.

According to The Jew And The Carrot website, Chef Laura is currently Executive Chef and head of food services at the Wolfgang Puck Kosher Catering and café at the Spertus Institute for Jewish studies in Chicago. She is the former chef and founder of the Shallots restaurants. Mrs. Frankel has training and extensive experience in both savory and pastry kitchens. Before committing herself to her culinary passion, she played both alto and baritone saxophones. She taught and played professionally. She is the author of Jewish Cooking For All Seasons and Jewish Slow Cooker Recipes.

Chef Laura will be giving a Kosher Food Demo at De Gustibus (on the 8th floor of Macy’s) on the upcoming 16th of March.

I’ve eaten many times at Shallots when it used to be located in Manhattan at the atrium of the SONY building’s where Solo is now situated. I definitely can vouch for her succulent creations!!!

CS

21
Jan
10

The Making of a Corporate Chef


Chef David Kolotkin is no stranger to these pages, but every time he reveals more and more about the Chef’s art. This time I went with him to Manhattan’s Union Square Farmers’ Market.

Chef David Kolotkin looking at mushroom varieties

We looked at tomatoes, cucumbers and some interesting varieties of mushrooms as the Chef explained about their flavor nuances, how the various types differed from each other. Next we turned to stalls carrying mesclun, arugula, and a few other salad greens. I really got an education today! Before we left the Chef picked up about four pounds of fresh Jerusalem artichokes for The Prime Grill.

But who is David Kolotkin? What makes him tick? He was barely in his teens when his interest in cooking first manifested itself. His mother had taken him to a restaurant where the food was prepared table-side. David watched fascinated and decided right there and then that one day he too would join that profession.

After high school he attended the prestigious Culinary Institute of America from 1991 t0 1993, he then went on to apprentice at the legendary Club 21Club 21 was a favorite meeting place for many of the rich, the famous, powerful politicians and entertainers. After a while he resumed studies at the CIA and returned to Club 21 for another 3 years.

Leaving Club 21, he became sous chef for the Restaurant Associates operated, very exclusive, Trustees Dining Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. From there he went on to to become sous chef at Windows on the World, which occupied the 106th and 107th floors of the North Tower at the World Trade Center.

After 9/11 he landed at The Prime Grill (60 East 49th Street; New York, NY 10017; 212.692.9292). He left in 2005 for his own venture in Miami, it didn’t work out and on his return to New York he worked for famed restaurateur Kenneth Uretsky, whom he knew from his RA days. Mr. Uretsky hired him for his Butterfield 81 restaurant. In 2007 he went back to The Prime Grill. Since then while still primarily at The Prime Grill he went on to became Corporate Chef for Joey Allaham’s restaurant ventures, including Solo and soon to open up Prime Ko, an upscale Japanese steakhouse.

Unlike others in his profession, Chef David is no prima donna, he puts on no airs, is well aware of his self worth without any need to toot it around. He’s totally dedicated to his profession and the people at his restaurants. Is it any wonder that he rose in the ranks?

CS

17
Jan
10

Cutting to the Chase


Chef Chase Sanders, in a snapshot taken by one of his coworkers at The Pasta Factory

Chef Chase Sanders just wowed me! That’s all I can say. The new chef of The Pasta Factory is no stranger to the art of fine cooking, or to The Pasta Factory‘s owner Sol Kirshenbaum.

Both worked together at Levana’s where Chase got a chance to hone his skills as a kosher chef. Chase is incredibly personable, warm, generous and totally without airs. He began his career as a lowly dishwasher eight years ago and worked his way up earning each bench mark by the sweat of his brow, a passion for food that flowed through his handiwork and an uncanny positive attitude that propelled him forward. The man has vision, depth, a contagious enthusiasm, superb creativity, and a great love for his chosen profession.

Totally non-pretentious in his approach to food, Chef Chase explained: “Simple clean flavors- that’s how I like to execute my food.” He was so willing to share the specifics of what went into the dishes that tasted so extraordinary. As though talking about most favored children, he described particular fresh herbs, the cooking by taste and touch, the experimenting that goes into perfecting sauces like his béarnaise without the use of butter, creating modifications in his reduction sauces without sacrificing taste, and about adapting authentic Italian or American flavors to dishes for the kosher kitchen.

Chef Chase, in hands on style, does his own daily shopping for the latest catch in fish, “ I want to know the fish I’m serving.” And so it goes with the other fresh ingredients Chef serves at the restaurant. “I have to feel, smell and taste. I have to use my own senses to get the right mix of textures and tastes for what I prepare.” The Chef summed up his philosophy of good food when he said “Anyone can put three ingredients together, but if you put your whole heart and soul into the preparation, it comes out amazing!” “All my love comes through the knife into the sweet potato!” Well, those sweet potato fries did have that something indescribably delicious about them. That signature “love ingredient” also transmits itself to his staff, as Chef Chase makes a point of keeping everyone tight and close together – working as one to create great service each and every day. We wish him the best of luck as top chef at the Pasta Factory and look forward to see all his culinary visions comes to fruition.

SYR




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