Archive for the 'kosher pizza' Category

02
Dec
10

Natural Village Cafe


Warm, welcoming, classy, delicious… these four words give us a faint idea of my impressions of Natural Village Cafe (2 Avenue I – across from Shoprite Supermarket – Brooklyn, NY 11218; Tel: 347.492.5337 or 347. 417.6424). The restaurant is cholov Yisroel and pas Yisroel, with a mashgiach temidi and under the certification of Harav Meir Goldberg of the Va’ad Hakashrus d’Flatbush.

Upscale atmosphere, organic fare, beautiful and healthy in every possible way...

Nina Shapir, who presides over this eatery is truly a fascinating personality, the personal journey that changed her life and motivated her to open this establishment is full of commitment and dedication.

Fourteen years ago, Mrs. Shapir – a very young mother of three – found herself sick and unable to move, unable to cope. It was not a question of being financially overwhelmed, any such concerns were well taken care of. Medical tests and treatments produced no positive results, on the contrary things inexplicably kept getting worse. She met Harav Chay Azoulay, from Herzliya, who told her the real malady was not physical but rather one that affected her neshama. After some thought, trying to make sense of Rav Azulay’s words, she went on a detox diet with the help of healthfood stores, intent on ridding herself of all negative energies. This decision was followed by six very hard weeks before she saw any measurable improvements but soon after she was her old active, curious, intelligent, enterprising self again.

At this stage, Nina decided to help others who, though similarly afflicted, may not be aware of the real source of their health troubles. She went on to study Healing Arts at The School of Natural Healing in Utah from which she graduated. Seven years ago her first organic restaurant opened its doors. Her partner, however, was not frum and it proved frustrating eventually Nina bought her out. In 2008 she moved to the present location which combines her personal philosophy, her exquisite sense of aesthetics and the true love of a foodie for superb fare. She also has an an office adjacent to the restaurant where she treats the many in search of natural healing.

The restaurant sports geometric patterns on its walls and ceiling, with warm earth tones that give us a clue to the owner’s style and personality. Chef Bobby Brabaloni is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America – America’s foremost Culinary School – a fact which becomes obvious when you see the presentation, smell the aromas and taste the wonderful flavors.

My companion and I started our early dinner with a dish of Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed Mushrooms

It consists of white mushrooms with sauteed onions, creamy pesto sauce, melted mozzarella and feta cheeses with a kick of chopped parsley. It was a perfect opener to a memorable meal.

We segued with their Village Pizza

Village Pizza

It came in a sesame crust, red onions, mushrooms, two types of mozzarella cheese and their very own red sauce. I know pizza, I’m a pizza addict and I must confess this one ranks among my favorites. My companion also found it delicious.

Next we had their Salmon Salad…

Salmon Salad

A superbly tasting salad fresh romaine lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, grilled salmon, pan sauteed red inions, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms with a subtle teriyaki sauce. A fitting crown to our meal!

Wholesome food, warm ambience, reasonable prices, a nice bakery on premises… I know I’ll be back again and again.

CS

Natural Village Cafe on Urbanspoon

28
Oct
10

Kosherfest: Day 2


We went back to Kosherfest yesterday and once again it did not disappoint. Interesting products were abundant, a lot of the old classics were improved and there quite a few new ideas as well.

One delicious variation on an old classic was this frozen pizza by Mor Fun Foods

Tastes fresh, not frozen!

Next we passed by Toobro, a distributor of the Golan brand of cheeses, Morning Select, Spreads Instead, Emes, etc., etc., We will, be’ezras Hashem, do a more in-depth review of their products over the next few weeks.

Toobro's portfolio of brands...

Products we got to taste within Toobro‘s lines included a delicious Roaster Garlic and Herbs by Spread Instead. Spread Instead products are succulent blends of gourmet cream cheese, herbs, etc.  Frankly, we couldn’t enough of it… Superb, excellent, delicious… none of these words do actual justice to the taste

Deeeelishious!

Next we visited Lily Bloom’s Kitchen. The owner, Larry Shiller, took his mother’s recipe for delicious macaroons (I’ve never been a fan of macaroons, but these were good!!!), in various flavors: Chocolate, White Chocolate and Raspberry, Chocolate/Almond, Chocolate/Walnut, Chocolate/Peanut Butter, Chocolate/Cinnamon, Chocolate/Cherry, and Chocolate/Orange.

Winner of Kosherfest 2010 Best New Product

Next we passed by the Kedem Marketplace pavillion…

Partial views of Royal Wine Corporations huge selection of wines and liquors

Being an unabashed, uncompromising cheese lover, I was truly excited to see Israel’s Seyman company bringing its huge selection of European made cheeses from such famous names as La Cremerie, Coeur de Lion, St. Maure, Bresse Bleu, etc. I can’t wait for them to find an American distributor…

I can't wait for the moment I walk in to kosher supermarket and pick up a Manchego!

Organic Traditions, had some very interesting items:

Cacao Nibs, Vanilla Poda, Goji Berries, dried Apricots and so much more

Finally I was ready for the talk of show, the pièce de résistance, something quite a few celebrities kept on going back to time and again (don’t worry I won’t name you, you know who you are!)… Jack’s Gourmet Sausages.

Dr. Bronner - Jack's Gourmet's co-owner and some of those incredible sausages or what was left of them...

Frankly, there were quite a few more items we loved and we’ll review some of them in-depth over the next few weeks. All in all, we were excited by what we saw and tasted. Kosher is no longer just gefilte, kasha, or brisket, kosher wine is far beyond Extra Sweet Malaga or Extra Sweet Concord… we now have world class selections!

CS

03
Jun
10

Basil – Pizza & Wine Bar


At the edge of Crown Height’s Jewish neighborhood, we walked through the tall glass paned doors of Basil Pizza and Wine Bar (270 Kingston Ave; Brooklyn, NY 11213; Telephone: 718.285.8777). We were greeted by the lovely homey smells coming from their large wood oven, clearly center staged by design, partnered with an open bar and cooking area. Soft relaxing Latin music permeated a high vaulted room adorned with 13 honey jar shaped glass lanterns hanging at variegated heights back-dropped by a glass fronted honey comb wine casement.  Marble top tables and dark rustic wooden chairs filled the room commodiously, seating 45 comfortably.

Partial view of Basil. Clara Perez, the Manager, taking a breather in one of those rare low traffic moments.

The pizza and wine bar opened its doors in late February of this year. Just a few months in, with an extensive gourmet dairy menu created by his predecessor, Chef Adam  (who started his culinary training in Italy’s Costa D’Amalfi – then the restaurant’s sous-chef – was suddenly asked to take the helm as chef de cuisine.  Like the young Luciano Pavoratti in February 1965 – who was asked to replace the regular tenor – in an evening’s fateful  performance (Donizzetti’s Lucia de Lamermoor) at the Greater Miami Opera, young Chef Adam stepped up to the plate prevailing successfully without missing a single high note apparently, for he served up dish after dish of consistently delicious Basil favorites.

We began this, our latest restaurant adventure, with their Wild Mushroom Pizza made with Goat Cheese, Mozzarella and Truffle Oil, we took a side dish of their signature Basil Fries, sprinkled with Fresh Parmesan aside a  Garlic-Truffle Mayo Dip- clearly – not for the faint hearted.  Both were delicious.  The thin crusted pizza dough (made with imported Italian flour) was terrific, as were the wild mushrooms and goat cheese topping. CS predictably downed a respectable number of fries, loving the crispy strips dipped in truffle mayo. We both opted for Tishbi’s Chenin Blanc to accompany our meal. It was perfect for the table fare and the balmy summer afternoon. I had a respectable Arugula and Beets Salad topped with medallions of warm goat cheese sprinkled with pine nuts and a truffle vinaigrette.

CS, gnocchi Gnostic that he is, couldn’t help but devour the Goat Cheese Gnocchi Gratin rich with Tomatoes, Spinach and Parmesan Bread Crumbs. He found it flavorful, authentic Italian Campagna, done to perfection! We sampled three more mains; spinach ricotta dumplings, striped bass, and a saffron risotto.  I went for their Striped Bass, with Charred Fennel, Pea Risotto and Meyer Lemon Cream. Presentation was outstanding as you can see from the pictures below (we had a very, very tough time settling on only three photos of the dishes!).  The charred fennel was set like a sail atop a perfectly cooked striped bass a sea in a gustable green pea risotto. The Spinach and Ricotta Dumplings with Melted Mozzarella were ambrosial- especially with the enfolded Tomatoes  Roasted for 24 hours in Balsamic Vinegar, fennel seeds and just the right touch of chili flakes. Basil buys mozzarella curd and stretches it on location, enhancing the flavor that much more.  The Saffron Risotto with Forest Mushrooms, Grilled White Asparagus, was quite aromatic. The forest mushrooms and white asparagus were savory & toothsome, though at this point we were quite full.

Goat Cheese Gnocchi Gratin

Stiped Bass, with Charred Fennel, Pea Risotto and Meyer Lemon Cream

Saffron Risotto, with Forest Mushrooms, Grilled White Asparagus, Peas and Parmesan

We’ll have to come back and meet their pastry chef, Ehud Ezra; word on the street is that he is an amazing talent.  A graduate of the Institute for Culinary Education, he trained at Oceana in Manhattan and was Pastry Chef for several years at Whole Foods (among other prestigious establishments), before coming to Basil, we tasted his Meyer Lemon Ricotta Cheese Cake served with Turkish Fig Puree and Melon. He’s there at 5:00 am preparing his croissants and other pastries, opening for breakfast service at 7:30 am. Chef Adam also treated us to a tasting of his home-made colorful Sorbet Trio and Basil Ice Cream (made from basil, you read it right!). Yummmm!

Sitting on the cusp of this Lubavitch neighborhood, Basil stands at the edge of new cuisine and ambiance territory.  The reluctant humble yet flight worthy fledgling chef and his team run a successful operation with the help of their warm friendly manager Clara Perez, whose respect and reverie for the Lubavitch community is admirable. The convergence of crossed cultures amongst their staff and the harmonious blend of clientele dining together with Basil’s good food its nucleus, is nothing short of chevlei mashiach amazing. The obstacles were many; it shouldn’t work but it does, remarkably so! Some places are just plain blessed that way.

SYR

Basil on Urbanspoon

25
Feb
10

Naturally Kosher


I’ve spoken before of my predilection for cheese, so I was delighted to find a nice selection of cholov Yisroel cheeses from Natural & Kosher.

Cheddar, Pepper Jack, Muenster, Mozzarella and Pizza Cheese

I picked up their Mozzarella (slices), Pizza Cheese (slices), Cheddar (slices), Muenster (slices), Processed Pepper Jack (round slices),

Pizza Cheese (shredded), Mozarella Sticks, Chef's Blend (shredded)

Mozarella Cheese Sticks (for the grandkids), Pizza Cheese (shredded) and the Chef’s Blend (natural Cheddar & Pizza Style Cheese).

I found all of them very good (so did my grandkids!). I used the shredded Pizza Cheese to make myself a 7” personal pizza

'Twas delicious!

It was so good and easy I had to keep on making it for lunch for the next 4 days. Here’s my simple recipe:

CS’ Personal Pizza

2 Natural & Kosher Shredded Pizza Cheese
1 Package Roland Oven Roasted Tomatoes
1
Can of tomato sauce
2 packages (3 in each package) of 7” pizza crusts
Spices: oregano, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, pepper

Cover each Personal Pizza with tomato sauce, sprinkle with shredded cheese and spices; add the oven roasted tomatoes and sprinkle again, very liberally, with shredded cheese and spices. Preheat oven to 450F degrees, when ready to put it the pizza lower heat to 425F and cook for 8 to ten minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is all melted.

As I took the pizzas out of the oven, the aroma was strong and made our mouths water. I used to think I was the fast eating mouth in the west, but these set of 2 grandkids left me in the dust! The Mozarella Sticks didn’t last very long either. I guess they really must have like the pizza and the sticks.

It was fast and easy to prepare. Once upon a time I used to make my own pizza dough as well, I no longer find it necessary these days.

The dish used in the photo of the pizza is part of a set I picked up at Happy Home Housewares (1407 Coney Island Avenue,, Brooklyn, NY 11230; Telephone: 718. 692.2442). It is part of a set I use for milchig dishes, Attractively priced, it’s melamine, easy to clean and with a design based on Gianni Versace’s similar themes.

I’ve been using these cheeses for other recipes, like pasta sauces, omelettes, salads and so on. In each case the results were delectable. Naturally kosher, naturally delicious!!!

CS




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