Archive for the 'Lévana Kirscenbaum' Category

16
May
12

The Zen of Kitchen Mastery – Lévana Kirschenbaum at De Gustibus


As Sal Rizzo (Owner/Director of De Gustibus) so succinctly stated, “Levana, you’re very Zen in the kitchen.” He totally ‘got it’! What makes Lévana’s recipes so magnificent is their utter simplicity; like her un-garnished use of wholesome fresh healthy ingredients – roots and all – or opting for basic easy tools like food processors and shallow pots and bowls – that facilitate expedience and functionality in prep, or not overwhelming a dish with too many ingredients, thus silhouetting the key flavors, allowing their fine characteristics to fully emerge. It’s a style of cooking where less really is more.

The sign of a good cook is a good plan”, said the very ‘present,’ in control, Lévana, as she demonstrably zipped through five delicious dishes in well under two hours, all the while providing a virtual wellspring of food tips. (“Peel the back of the celery stalks – then they won’t be stringy and you’ll lose the bitterness.” “Add pepper to your recipe at the very end of the cooking process, – pepper that’s cooked gives off an acrid flavor” ) Lévana‘s immeasurable kitchen wisdom is rooted in 35 years of passion for excellence, unstinting experience and relentless experimenting until utter perfection was achieved; available now in her magnum opus, her new cookbook The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen. “The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen is the culmination of a whole life’s work!”.  “It’s about cutting corners on steps, not ingredients… Everything about cooking is about the mindset.”  How Zen is that!?!

Lévana demonstrated six dishes, contemporary versions of traditional Morrocan cuisine: Chickpea Soup, Fishballs in Lemon Mustard Sauce, Spicy Lettuce Salad with Chick Peas and Preserved Lemon, Hot and Sweet Parsnips, Lamb Stew with Artichokes and Mushrooms, Almond Shortbread Cescents. Each was perfectly balanced, a virtuoso performance of a symphony of flavors. As you can see, the lamb shank recipe below uses onlythree main ingredients and two spices to achieve it’s desired simply delicious outcome.

Lamb Shanks with Artichokes and Mushrooms

All participant got to eat every recipe demonstrated

Ingredients

  • 8 lamb shanks, or 3 1/2 pounds cubed lean lamb stew
  • 2 good pinches saffron
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 2 pounds button mushrooms
  • 2 10 ounce boxes frozen artichoke hearts, thawed

Instructions

Put the lamb shanks or cubes in a heavy pot with water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce to medium, cover and cook 2 hours. Add safron, turmeric and mushrooms and cook for another 15 minutes. Make sure you don’t bruise the artichokes. The liquid in the pot should look thick and creamy. If it is too thin, transfer the meal and vegetables to a serving platter with a slotted spoon, and reduce the sauce on a big flame until it reaches the consistency of maple syrup. Pour the sauce over all. Serve hot alone or with roasted potatoes.

Sal Rizzo is an extraordinary moderator and host. He asks good questions that bring out the best in the great chefs appearing at the various De Gustibus‘ series. It is no small feat to figure out the logistics of featuring kosher chefs and providing kosher food to attendees under strict kashrut standards. Yet Sal and his terrific staff make it look easy, as they provide a stage that features kosher cuisine as an integral component of the best of the international gourmet scene.

21
Jun
11

Live at Nargila – Part 3 – Tomorrow’s Radio Show


Tomorrow we will once again, be’ezras Hashem, be transmitting live from Nargila Grill (1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10028; Tel: 212.535.3700). Why? Because… tomorrow the owner’s mother will be cooking her famed Bukharian dishes.

A corner at Nargila Grill...

With me will be Alessandra Rovati (Dinner in Venice), Esti Berkowitz (Primetime Parenting), Levana Kirschenbaum (Levana Cooks), Kim Amzallag (Kosher Inspired/Mishpacha Magazine), Marlene Mamiye (The Jewish Hostess), and Suzannah Raff (The Kosher Shopaholic).

Another corner...

We will discuss the cultural differences in Jewish foods, how the Jews throughout history were influenced by the local environment, but still managed to keep a strong Jewish tradition. It’s been said that its food defines a people, we will discuss how we adapted ourselves how the Jewish cuisine evolved and is far more than just gefilte fish, brisket and tcholent.

You can tune in to us at 7:30pm (Eastern Time) tomorrow evening at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kosherscene or you can join us at Nargila Grill ((1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10028; Tel: 212.535.3700) for an evening of great talk and superb food. Nargila Grill is under the hasgacha of of the O K Labs.

I can’t wait to be surprised by owner/manager Michael’s mother cooking, I’m sure we’ll likely wash with some lepeshka bread, have some plov (Bukarian rice), or maybe we’ll have some samsa? or kebobs? Hmmnn, my mouth is watering! Oh, what’s the use, I better not think about and just taste whatever delicacies as they come.

So, gentle reader, considering the great food and the low prices we’ll we see you there? Why not come over and say hello?

CS




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