Archive for the 'SYR' Category

03
Apr
12

Passover Recipes on The Kosher Scene


Since we started this blog, in November 2009, we posted some excellent Passover recipes. Here, to help you find them all, we bring you the links. To help you with more recipes that only require very short and easy preparations, we will post (tomorrow) a video of the incomparable Lévana preparing three easy dishes to be enjoyed anytime during the eight days of Pessach or any other time of the year. Our recipes feature both gebrochs and non-gebrochs recipes to fit every taste, every need.

Pamela Reiss‘ offers us her superb Turkey Pineapple Meatballs. Eran Elhalal, owner/Chef at the celebrated non-kosher Saro Bistro in Manhattan’s Lower East Side presents us a succulent Pesach Almond-Pistachio Cake, that serves 12.

Chef Laura Frankel, of legendary Shallots fame and now head of Wolfgang Puck‘s kosher division treats to her Chocolate Mousse with Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Poached Halibut in Olive Oil and Parsley Sauce with Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Check out Chicken & Vegetable Croquettes and Stuffed Portabellini Mushrooms, you can’t help but love them!

Fish lovers… Chef David Kolotkin‘s Passover Chilean Sea Bass will completely seduce your palate!

For brisket recipes look at Passover Brisket Recipe or Chef Emeril Lagasse’s Passover Brisket.

If you want a twist on the traditional brisket, check out Lévana‘s award winning, oft reprinted Passover Brisket Recipe.

Chef Jeff Nathan, shares a recipe from his cookbook Adventures In Jewish Cooking, Veal Chops Milanese with Tomato Salad and Arugula.

My co-blogger SYR regales us with her mom’s superb Drum Cookies

One of my daughter in law’s makes this Rolled Chicken


Oyyy is this good!!!

And this year, so far we’ve posted Geila Hocherman‘s recipes (Cinnamon chicken tajine with prunes and apricots, Mina and Pignoli Cookies or her ) and her food and wine pairing videos with Costas Mouzouras from Gotham Wines and Liquors. Check them out, we know you’ll love them as much as we did! And don’t forget that you you can eat healthy, good food like Bonnie Gilger‘s Matzo Stuffed Chicken Cutlets.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

06
Jan
12

Orchideä, Revisited


One of the delights of the Chanuka holiday is that it’s not complicated by Shabbat like restrictions, making travel and friendly get-togethers all the more versatile, recreational and enjoyable. Since I miss most of the regular Rosh Chodesh gatherings with friends, I especially welcome this warm chilled time of year to visit with friends and family.

Towards the end of ChanukaCS and I had brunch at Orchideä (4815 12th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11219 — Telephone: 718-686-7500) with our dear intimate friend, gourmet extraordinaire, Lévana. The tables were packed with clients; a confluence of Amit women, tables filled with young families, friends and business associates. Lévana and I had been to an Orchideä brunch a while back, when she made several suggestions to Mazal, an Orchideä partner with Ofer Cohen, which were happily implemented.

The Salad Bar got restocked twice while we were there...

We enjoyed an expanded salad bar and sushi assortment.

The Sushi Boat, in between refills

Hot main dishes included veggie and cheese stuffed manicotti (perfectly, deliciously, done!!), teriyaki salmon, herbed fish-balls, sautéed vegetables and ziti with vegetables.

CS' salad choice...

Lévana commented: “The yardstick of a good restaurant is good soup, good coffee and good salad”. On this particular visit, the soup was not up where we expected it to be and the coffee started out a bit weak, everything else – however – looked and tasted fresh and delighfully flavorsome. After voicing our concerns, Mazal, most generously served us a round of cappuccinos that were far improved.

Beautifully presented, supremely tasty!

Then we partook of an incredible delicacy… a lovely delicious dish of skewered striped bass teriyaki on a bed of shredded beets and carrots accented with baked garlic; a most chromatic artistic presentation. Like a welcoming crackling fireside hearth kinking out winter’s chill, our conversations were dear, cozy and hard to leave. But, with its beautiful decor, its aromas, its great food, its good service and attentiveness to customer’s suggestions Orchideä is always hard to leave!

SYR

03
Oct
11

The Contests, so Far…


Because of many requests, we’ve extended our contests until October 31st. On the Jack’s Gourmet Contest, we are giving away $100.00 worth of Jack’s Gourmet Kosher sausages plus a Jack’s Gourmet baseball cap.

Jack's Gourmet is giving $100.00 in all 5 varieties of their sausages, plus a Jack's Gourmet baseball cap

What do you have to do to win all these? How about sending us your best recipes using Jack’s Gourmet kosher sausages. The contest runs through October 31st, winner will be chosen by Chef Jack Silberstein and Dr. Alan Bronner (Jack’s Gourmet owners) and will be announced on these pages on Monday November 14. send in your recipes to kosherscene@gmail.com. If you care to accompany your entry with a good photo of the finished dish, we’ll feature it right here on our blog. To get an idea of what we are looking for go here, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page you’ll find some interesting recipes, including two of our own.

So far we’ve received 21 recipes ranging from less than mediocre to delicious and creative. We extended the contest as you, gentle reader, requested; why don’t you send those recipes? Show us your creativity!

As for our other contest, don’t forget to send us in your ideas for avoiding the back to school blues to: kosherscene@gmail.com. Why not send us photos of unusual and interesting lunchboxes?

We will publish the best photos and ideas and pick a winner who will receive:

  • 1 carton of juice boxes
  • 1 dozen assorted fruit roll-ups
  • 1 lunch box

Keep those recipes and ideas coming, gentle reader, get to work!

CS

15
Jun
11

Live from Nargila!


The Kosher Scene Radio Show, this evening at 7:30pm (Eastern Time), will be transmitting live from Nargila Restaurant (1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10021; Tel: 212.535.3700). With us we’ll have: Alessandra Rovati from Dinner in Venice, Amy Chana from The Gluten Free Maven, Esti Berkowitz from Primetime Parenting, Kim Amzallag from Mishpacha Magazine, Marlene Mamiye from The Jewish Hostess and Suzanah Raff from The Kosher Shopaholic. Also with us, will be my dear friend Irving Schild, photographer extraordinaire, and possibly my coblogger SYR. We will talk with each of the mom-bloggers about the particular focus of their individual blogs, about the liberating effect of writing, the new contacts and interaction that have resulted, social media in general and – of course – food. We are all foodies, after all!

If you missed our last show on the Wednesday prior to Shavuos, you can hear the archived recording right here. Our guests included Moshe Vogel from Anderson International Foods in the first half hour and Kim Amzallag from Mishpacha/Kosher Inspired Magazine. In honor of Yom Yerushalayim we started the hour with the reading of a very short piece I wrote a few years back (which was reprinted on The Jerusalem Post and on Ynet.com). It was about the first Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day, commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem. I was there when the Old City – Ir Hatika became ours again…

Please listen to us this evening, from 7:30 to 8:30, on BlogTalkRadio/kosherscene, Call us on the air at: 714.333-3357 with your comments, questions or suggestions or join us at Nargila Restaurant (1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10021; Tel: 212.535.3700). We’ll keep the light on for ya!

CS

18
May
11

Hillula d’Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness


Last evening, SYR and I had the privilege to be at Sidney and Tammy Cohen‘s (partners at 18 Restaurant) apartment in Manhattan. We were there to commemorate the Hilula (yohrtzeit, as we ashkenazim call it) of Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness. I had never heard of this custom until I got Tammy’s email last week… How I wish I had known of it earlier in my life!

Among walls covered with portraits of a very young Baba Sali (whose haunting eyes seemed to pierce right through me) and Chagall like paintings, the crowd, the tfilot, the candles, the food, made it all very special…

Dips galore, mashed potatoes, fish, couscous, chicken, beef and more...

Who was Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness? The Babylonian Talmud, in Tractate Gittin 56a relates:

As he [Nero] came close, he shot an arrow towards the east and it fell in Jerusalem. He then shot an arrow to the west and it fell in Jerusalem. [He shot] towards the four points of the compass and it fell in Jerusalem. He then asked a [passing] boy, “Tell me the verse [from Scripture] you learned [today].” He [the boy] said, “I will place my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel [Ezekiel 25:14].” He [Nero] said, “The Holy One, blessed be He, wishes to destroy His House and lay the blame on me.” He [Nero] ran away and became a proselyte. From him came Rabbi Meir.”

Rabbi Meir, the descendant of a former Roman emperor, eventually became a staunch supporter of Bar Kochba‘s rebellion against the Romans. Why was he called Meir, when tradition says that his name was either Nahori or Misha? “Meir” means “Illuminator,” as someone who illuminated the mind’s eye of students and scholars alike to give them an understanding of both the Written and the Oral Laws, he came to be known as Meir.

“Ba’al Haness” means “Master of Miracles,” why was that name added to him? It is related that on a certain occasion when a pack of wild dogs ran over to tear him apart, Rabbi Meir cried out: “Eloka d’Meir aneini – God of Meir answer me,” the dogs retreated. The Roman guard of a brothel was about to be hanged for having taken a bribe. He was bribed so as to allow Rabbi Meir‘s wife (Bruriah‘s) sister to escape (while still untouched) from the brothel where the Romans had condemned her to live her life in shame (after they killed her parents, the saintly R. Chananya ben Teradyon – one of the 10 martyrs we mention in the kinot of Tisha B’Av – and his wife). As the noose was tightened around the guard’s neck he cried out, “God of Meir answer me,” the rope tore – to everyone’s amazement – and the guard was saved!

Harav Raphael Benchimol, rabbi of the Manhattan Sephardic Congregation, very eloquently told the evening’s participants that the specific date 14th of Nissan (Pessach Sheini). was a very propitious time for asking Rabbi Meir Baal Haness to intercede in one’s behalf. As I walked around the room, I heard touching, gripping stories of people’s prayers being answered. Even over this last weekend in Providence, RI, I heard one such story…

Rabbi Benchimol: "If you need anything, or if you have lost your way, Rabbi Meir Ba'al Haness will help you find it..."

After Ma’ariv, people lit candles – on a specially set up table – while saying twice, “Eloka d’Meir aneini,” as each silently concentrated on his/her requests…

The emotions, the fervor, were contagious...

Meeting friends and friendly strangers, praying with them mincha and later ma’ariv, listening to the Rabbi’s divrey Torah, pouring out my heart as I concentrated on my personal requests – while lighting my candle – the delicious food, the drinks, made this a very inspiring and enchanted evening. Thank you Sidney, thank you Tammy.

Eloka d’Meir aneinU! God of Meir, answer US all!

CS

18
Jul
10

Survival of the nicest? – The strange case of George R. Price.


As we abjure from physical pleasures for 25 hours this Tisha B’Av, fasting, mourning, deep in contemplative prayer, reading the Kinot and the Book of Lamentations (Eicha), commemorating the destruction of the First and Second Temples and other calamities that befell the Jews, I give you the strange case of George R. Price.

Several weeks ago, I caught the tail end of an NPR (820 am on the radio dial) segment. The piece described George R. Price- physical chemist, population geneticist, science journalist, mathematical and theoretical biologist, a quirky eccentric genius.  He worked on the Manhattan Project, acted as consultant on graphic data processing for IBM, and even worked as a cancer research assistant.

George R. Price

George Price was also a man obsessed with the apparent altruism found in nature (a term coined by August Comte) and its negation drawn from the Darwinian Theory of natural selection and the survival of the fittest. (Don’t leave just yet, there is a point drawn from the reference.) Unlike reciprocal symbiotic relationships typified by the primate behavior of ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’, biological altruism refers to cases in nature where life forms as divergent as bacteria and dolphins exhibit behaviors analogous to kindness and sacrifice for the greater good. The honey bee, for example, may perform 100 times or more a ‘waggle dance’ -a pin-pointing signal for beehive members to spot food and new nesting sites. Essential for the colony’s survival, it does not directly benefit the waggle dancer worker bee. There are cooperative behaviors found in social insects like bees, wasps and ants; for example, sterile females in the colonies assist reproducing females with their offspring.  The loud squawk of the ‘watchman’ bird alerts other birds to the approach of predators like hawks, giving the flock time to fly off, while drawing the attention of the prey to itself. Wolves, lions and other animals risk their lives hunting prey, bringing back food for other members of their pack. The pelican will provide fish for blind pelicans within their flock. “The Arabian babblers (small birds) dance and take baths together, offer themselves gifts, clean themselves, and sometimes enter into conflict with each other for the privilege of helping another babbler. They may also feed their counterparts” (wiki) Dogs and other ‘sympathetic’ creatures often adopt strays or orphaned animals outside their species. Dolphins support sick or injured animals, swimming under them for hours at a time, pushing them to the surface so they can breathe. Darwin knew of these altruistic behaviors and it is said to have vexed him. Others came up with game theories (see John von Neumann, Oskar Morgenstern, John Maynard Smith) that mathematically tried to quantify, rationalize and find equilibrium (see Nash equilibrium) to behaviors in humans and in animals in which one individual benefits at another’s expense.

George Price, expanded on game theory, and spent years trying to come up with a mathematical equation to express altruistic behavior in nature and how such traits are genetically passed on. Eventually he did, and it became known as the Price Equation. The ability to quantify such an equation actually depressed George Price, for it meant that altruism was now a quantifiable, pre-determined, not chance or willed action, but rather inevitable. He abandoned his deep-seated atheism, coming to believe that it was beyond coincidence, but rather an act of Divine intervention, that led him to such a highly improbable equation.  He obsessively spent his remaining days trying to prove that the human spirit was greater than any random probability or equation; helping the poor, giving all his possessions to street beggars and drunks.  The depletion of his funds to aid the needy, the cruel actions of others, along with his physical/emotional deterioration, resulted in the tragic taking of his own life in 1975.

What struck me so strongly in all of this, was how a heretofore atheist came to see the ‘spirit’ of man to have the powers to dominate above all scientific reason or postulate. That in spite of the pre-programmed altruism in nature, such a brilliant mind could come to cherish the notion of a human spirit capable of willful good and selfless kindness toward others as such a strong driver that man can free himself from his animalistic, limited, determined nature and spirit the cause of something higher than himself.

The Jewish concept of sympathetic altruism whether reciprocal in nature or not is one of the cornerstones of the Jewish people.  The reward system and reciprocal benefits of the world to come is secondary to the obligation of each Jew to act for the well-being of his fellow Jew.  “Kol Yisroel arevim ze laze”.  We are intertwined, arms and legs of the same tree trunk rooted to His will and divine Torah. What affects one affects us all. We are responsible for one another and are obligated in demonstrating kindness and sympathy toward our fellow man, even at the expense of ourselves or possessions.  If altruism is evident in animal behaviors, what can the collective conscious collaboration of man accomplish if his actions and goals are acclimatized for the greater good?

Absorbed in the minutia of our lives and practices, we may become misdirected; missing emotional, physical, spiritual cues of others in our midst or beyond our normal perimeters. The jig of quantifiable causes, ‘meaningful’ actions, or pursuit of golden idols and placards often distracts us. Our ‘on loan’ possessions, tools and talents are by our choosing capable of manifesting sweet harmonics of creation of the highest human endeavors. May we never lose sight of our altruistic capabilities and may we collectively rebuild a binyan adei ad bimhera biyamenu.

SYR

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




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