Archive for March, 2012


Geila Hocherman & Costas Mouzouras – Passover Food and Wine Pairing – Recipes – Part 2

More recipes and video…

French Macaroons

Don’t confuse these glorious, slightly chewy mouthfuls, made from a few simple ingredients,
with the more common coconut macaroons most of us know.


  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 large egg whites from large eggs, at room temperature (ideally, kept out overnight)
  • ¼ cup sugar

Flavoring Variations

  • ½ cup cocoa powder OR 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or the seeds from 1 bean OR 2 teaspoons coffee extract or raspberry extract.

Filling Variations

  • Chocolate ganache (recipe below)
  • Lemon curd (recipe below)
  • Lime curd, substitute fresh lime for the lemon juice
  • Jam, such as raspberry, strawberry, or black currant


  1. First make the macarons. In a food processor combine the almond flour and confectioners’ sugar and process until well combined, 90 seconds. Flavoring: If making chocolate macarons, add the cocoa powder to the blended mixture and stir. If making vanilla macarons with the vanilla bean, add the seeds. Pass the mixture through a fine sieve and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on high speed until they form soft peaks. Reduce the speed to low and slowly add the granulated sugar. Increase the speed to high and beat until stiff glossy peaks are formed, 90 seconds to 2 ½ minutes. If using coffee or raspberry extract, and/or food coloring, add now. Add the almond flour mixture all at once and beat until the mixture is just well combined, about 10 seconds. Do not allow the mixture to get soupy. Check by dropping 1 teaspoon on a flat surface. The mixture should spread slightly, not thin out. Surface marks should dissolve into the batter. If the mixture doesn’t spread at all, give it a few more stirs, and test again.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag fitted with a ¼ -inch tip. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Anchor it at the corners with drops of the mixture. Pipe 1 1/2 – to 2- inch circles onto the paper. To do this easily, hold the bag at a 90- degree angle and squeeze it while keeping the tip stationary as the mixture spreads in a circle. Quickly lift the tip and form the next macaron. Let the macarons rest until their surfaces become dull and a crust forms,
    about 60 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 F. Bake the macarons until the tops are completely dry and the macarons come off the paper easily without any residue, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the macarons while still on the paper to a countertop. Cool and remove from the paper. To fill the macarons, turn them flat side down and pair them by matching size. Place 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of filling on the bottom half of each pair, cover with the top half, and press to form a sandwich. The filling should be visible. Repeat with the remaining macaron pairs. Refrigerate overnight
    and bring to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Ganache


  • 4 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup heavy cream


  1. Grind the chocolate in a food processor. Place the cream in a small glass bowl and heat in the microwave for 30 seconds on high. Stir and heat for 30 seconds more. The cream should be very hot. Alternatively, heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until hot, about 3 minutes. Add the chocolate and stir until melted and the mixture is well blended. Refrigerate, stirring every 15 minutes, until cool and the consistency of frosting is reached, about 60 minutes. If the ganache becomes too solid to spread, microwave it for 5 seconds and stir, or
    beat it in a bowl over hot water for about 30 seconds.

Lemon Curd


  • ½ cup sugar
  • Grated zest of 3 lemons
  • 6 egg yolks
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • 8 oz almond paste
  • 2 teaspoons potato starch
  • 8 oz almond paste
  • 8T margarine, cut into ½-inch dice


  1. In a mini food processor combine the sugar and lemon zest and pulse until combined. Fill a small saucepan 2/3 full of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a nonreactive bowl, combine the yolks, sugar and zest mixture, lemon juice and starch, place over but not touching the water, and whisk until it thickens to the consistency of a loose pudding, about 4 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and add the margarine, stirring to blend. Strain the mixture into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap so it touches the top of the curd, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight.

 — Bonus Recipes

Onion-stuffed knaidlach


  • 3 large eggs
  • 5 tablespoons chicken stock or seltzer
  • 5 tablespoons chicken fat or canola oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus additional
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (optional)
  • 3/4 cup matzo meal
  • 1 large onion, cut into 1/4-inch dice


  1. In a small bowl, combine eggs, stock, 3 tablespoons of the fat, salt, pepper, parsley and cilantro, if using. Add matzo meal and blend. Cover and refrigerate at least 3 hours or overnight.
  2. In a medium skillet, warm remaining fat over medium-high heat. Add onions and a pinch of salt and saute, stirring, until translucent and beginning to brown, about 12 minutes. Drain onions on a paper towel and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Reduce heat so the water boils slowly. (Rapid boiling can make the knaidlach break when cooking.) Using wet hands, form 1 to 1 1/2 tablespoons each of the matzo meal mixture into a disk held in one palm. Place 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons onion in the middle of the disc, pinch to enclose, and roll between both hands until a ball is formed. Drop into the water. Repeat with remaining mixture and onions.
  4. When the knaidlach float to the surface of the water, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, 45 to 60 minutes. Remove the knaidlach with a slotted spoon, transfer to soup, and serve.

Photo from Kosher Revolution, page 75, by Antonis Achilleous

Miso-glazed black cod


  • 1/2 cup mirin
  • 1/2 cup sake or dry white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups white miso
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 6 black cod fillets (6 to 8 ounces each), skin removed


  1. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine mirin and sake and bring to a boil. Boil for 1 minute (to cook off the alcohol), reduce heat to medium, add miso, and stir until dissolved. Add sugar, increase heat, and stir until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  2. Dry fillets with paper towels and put them in a gallon-size sealable plastic bag. Add miso glaze, seal and refrigerate for 24 to 48 hours.
  3. Bring the fillets to room temperature. Preheat broiler or place a grill pan or heavy skillet over high heat. Wipe excess glaze from the fillets and broil or grill, turning once, until brown and glazed, about 8 minutes. Transfer to plates and serve.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



Geila Hocherman & Costas Mouzouras – Passover Food and Wine Pairing – Recipes – Part 1

Geila Hocherman, the author of Kosher Revolution, and Costas Mouzouras, the walking wine encyclopedia at Gotham Wines & Liquors, got together to discuss food and wine pairings. Here we post two out of the three part video of their discussion and we bring six of Geila’s recipes, all from her book, except for one:

Cinnamon chicken tajine with prunes and apricots


  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 2 chickens, about 3 1/2 pounds each, each cut into 8 pieces, or 16 breasts, thighs and legs, any
    combination, rinsed and dried well
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed or canola oil
  • 2 large onions (about 2 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch dice
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads, ground, powdered or crushed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, each about 3 inches long
  • 2 cups pitted prunes
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1/4 cup honey


    1. Heat a large skillet, paella pan or large roasting pan, set over two burners, over medium-high heat. Add almonds and toast, stirring, until lightly colored, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
    2. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat half of the oil in the pan over medium heat. Working in batches, add chicken and saute until brown, turning once, about 12 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter and set aside. If the oil or browned bits in the pan have burned, wipe out the pan.
    3. Add remaining oil to the pan. Add onions and saute, stirring, until translucent, about 10 minutes. Return chicken to the pan. Add saffron to stock, and pour over chicken. Add cinnamon, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes. Transfer the white meat to the platter. Add prunes and apricots to the pan and simmer until the rest of the chicken is done, about 15 minutes.
      Transfer the chicken to the platter and discard the cinnamon sticks. Add honey to the pan and cook over medium-high heat until liquid is syrupy and coats a spoon, 15 to 20 minutes. Return chicken to the pan, baste with sauce, cover and warm. Transfer all to a warmed platter, sprinkle with almonds, and serve.



  • 2 lbs. onions sliced thin
  • ¼ cup grape seed/vegetable oil,
  • 2 lbs. Swiss chard
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • 2 T balsamic vinegar
  • 2 T sugar
  • 2 lbs mushrooms sliced thin- I prefer combination of shitake and cremini or Portobello
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 2-10 0z package frozen artichoke hearts, defrosted and thinly sliced
  • 6 cloves garlic minced
  • Juice of 2 lemons plus zest of one
  • ¼ cup finely diced sundried tomatoes or roasted red pepper
  • ¼-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup stock- chicken or vegetable
  • 8 sheets Matzo


  1. Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9×13-baking dish and line with parchment.
  2. In a large skillet heat ½ of the oil and sprinkle the onions with salt. Sauté until they are translucent. Add ½ of the garlic and pine nuts and toast for 2 minutes. Add the chard and cook down until almost dry. Add the balsamic and the sugar and cook for 2 more minutes. Place mixture in a strainer and let drain.
  3.  Heat 2 more tablespoons of oil, sprinkle with salt and sauté mushrooms with 3 cloves of garlic until they have released all of their water. Add the wine and cook down until all of the moisture has been absorbed. Set aside.

Pignoli Cookies


  • 8 oz almond paste
  • ¼ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pine nuts


  1. Preheat oven to 325○F. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a food processor, combine the almond paste and sugars and process until the mixture reaches the consistency of sand. Transfer to the bowl of a standing mixture fitted with the paddle attachment, or a medium bowl, and add the egg white, vanilla and almond extracts. Beat on medium speed or by hand for 4 minutes.
  3. Place the pine nuts in a small bowl. Next to it place a small bowl of water for wetting your hands. Wet your hands and form 1 ½- to 2-inch balls with the paste mixture, making 5 at a time. Drop them into the bowl of nuts and press down gently so the nuts adhere to the bottom of the dough. Transfer to a cookie sheet nut side up. Repeat, filling each prepared cookie sheet with about 15 balls. Bake until puffed and beginning to color, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool on the parchment paper on a countertop. When completely cool, peel the cookies off the paper and serve.

This post is getting a bit long, we have no choice but to break it up into two parts…

Meanwhile enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



6th Annual Man-O-Manischewitz LIVE Cook-Off

Yesterday, at the Jewish Community Center in Manhattan (334 Amsterdam Avenue @76th Street, New York, NY), Manischewitz held the finals for this year’s LIVE Cook-Off.

The trophy presented to the winner...

Five finalists battled it out, cooking up their winning recipes from 12:15 to 1:15 pm:

  • Jennifer Daskevich, from Los Angeles, CA – Crispy Chicken with Cherries
  • Jacquie Serebranie Kessler, from Lexington, MA – Gnocchi
  • Ronna Farley, from Rockville, MD – Chicken Puff Sandwiches
  • Andrew Dorsch, Scotch Plains, NJ  Torte Vegetali
  • Eric Silberman, Lincolnwood, IL – ‘Mod’ Matza Ball Soup

There were five judges with celebrity Chef Claire Robinson, from the Food Network, as the acting Host and Head Judge, the judges came from such diverse publications as Family Circle, Ladies’ Home Journal, Joy of Kosher, etc…

Jamie Geller, from Joy of Kosher, grading one of the contestants.

Each contestant walked up to the panel and explained what he or she made. Then the judges were served and each graded the dish according to various criteria as I did, when I was in the panel of judges at Kosherfest 2011.

Chicken Puff Sandwiches... ohh, the aroma!

I actually got to taste a Chicken Puff Sandwich, as Ms. Farley had made some extras. Wooow, was it good!

But the top honor went to none other than Eric Silberman, a 20 year old student at Princeton University in NJ, who won the grand prize for his ‘Mod’ Matza Ball Soup. Among his many talents he plays the oboe and piano, he enjoys creative writing and volunteering for various activities.

Eric Silberman, Grand Prize Winner, interviewed by New York's Channel 1...

He walked away with the trophy and $25,000.00. Not bad for a young student who loves what he does!



Today’s Radio Show

This afternoon at 5:00 pm (Eastern Time), we will talk with Doris Schechter of My Most Favorite Food on Doris arrived on these shores in 1944 as part of a transport of refugees from Europe and as a guest of President Roosveldt. She eventually opened up My Most Favorite Dessert Company and in time moved her enterprise to its present location where it became a full service restaurant, combining a bakery and a cafe (beautiful and sedately elegant in its theme) – with superb fare – under the name My Most Favorite Food.

Doris is the author of two cookbooks available online and at the restaurant: At Oma’s Table and My Most Favorite Dessert Company Cookbook. She will talk to us about her coming to this country as a young kid, becoming an entrepreneur, cookbook author and succeeding at every endeavor.

Meanwhile in case you missed it, you can listen to the archive of last week’s show with cookbook author Lévana Kirschenbaum. We spoke about her newest cookbook, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen and the concept behind “whole foods,” their health advantage and benefits.

Don’t forget to tune us in this afternoon at 5:00 pm (Eastern Time), we will talk with Doris Schechter of My Most Favorite Food on We’ll be waiting for you!



A Journey Into History, Rare Judaica Auction – Part 3

In the first 2 parts of this series we wrote about seforim, kisvey yad (manuscripts) and letters. Here I’ll mention some of the ceremonial and fine arts that were also auctioned off.

The items commanding the highest prices in the Ceremonial Art category were:

On the left:

Finished maquette. Height 7.5″

Accompanied by: Sketched design, drawn and signed by Wolpert, dated 2/5/73.

Ludwig Wolpert (1900-81) was a Bauhaus trained craftsman and designer who later founded and directed the Toby Pascher Workshop at the Jewish Museum, New York.

It sold for $2,750.00.

At center:

Of classic form, marked on bottom. 19.5 by 14.5 inches


It went for $8,000.00

On the right:

Of ovalform, engraved with name of God on each side, set within shield of leafy clusters. Marked with town “Alessandria.” 4×3 inches


It sold for $5,000.00

The two highest selling items in the Fine Arts category were:

Printed Kethubah, surrounded by gouache borders. Signed “Ze’ev Raban, Jerusalem” in English and Hebrew. 20.5 by 13 inches.

Jerusalem, circa 1940’s

This marriage contract, written in English and Hebrew is set in traditional architectural inspired border. Raban’s kethubah design is comprided of a range oof biblical motifs. At the base is a Jerusalem cityscape, flanked by columns set on resting lions and a biblical passage. The text is bordered on each side by twelve cells depicting the twelve tribes (right) and similarly, the twelve months and corresponding zodiacal signs of the Jewish year (left).

A grapevine and pomegranate design surround a central Boblical medallion appropriately depicting Eliezer – the Bible’s first “matchmaker” alongside the young Rebbeca.

It commanded $6,000.00

A photograph by Roman Vishniac, The Scholar, sold for $3,750.00. As a child of Poilishe Holocaust survivors, as someone who met and spoke with Mr. Vishniac a”h at length, as a photographer myself, this gelatin print – signed by the artist – in a 12 by 10’5 inch format – as well as many of his other shots of a tragically wiped out world, brings me closer to my parents’ roots. The facial expressions of Vishniac’s subjects, the city or village foreground and background bring those moments, those subjects back to life, even if only for a fleeting moment… One can almost hear the street noise, see the movement, hear the subjects’ conversations, read their thoughts….

Among the many items in this auction, we found the well known classic texts and the not so so well known, controversial ones like Azariah de Rossi‘s Me’or Eynaim, lexicons, grammars and more. Alongside them you could find the first Yiddish translations of such works as Onkel Tom’s Kebin (Uncle Tom’s Cabin), Karl MarxDos Kapital – Kritik fun der Politischer Ekonomye (Das Kapital), Charles Darwin‘s Di Opshtamung fun Mentshen un der Oysklaib Beshayces tzu Geshlect (On The Origin of Species), or Baruch Spinoza‘s Di Etik (Ethics, the main work that caused Spinoza’s excommunication by the Rabbis of his community).

Not only works that had been considered infamous or quasi-infamous, in its day, were among the auctioned lots, but emotional, heart breaking, memoirs were represented as well… Mendel  Beilis‘ (the real life subject of Bernard Malamud‘s The Fixer) first edition of his Di Geschichte fun Meyne Leyden (The Story of My Sufferings), printed in 1925 with a portrait and autograph by the author. Beilis was the victim of a vicious blood libel charge that brought world condemnation of Czarist Russia’s justice system. He was acquitted on October 28th, 1913.

This auction was, for me, truly a journey into history! It afforded me a glimpse into what had been our religious, cultural and artistic life of the past, while helping me understand why in spite of all, in spite of every foe – past or present – our future as Jews is well assured!



A Journey Into History, Rare Judaica Auction – Part 2

Last Wednesday, I found my way to the Rare Judaica Auction at Kestenbaum and Company. The place quickly filled up with eager buyers and observers, I found it fascinating! Among the many items auctioned off there were printed sforim, letters, manuscripts, ceremonial art and more.

The first set of printed machzorim in the US (1837-1838)- Isaac Leeser‘s six volume edition of Siddur Siphtei Tzaddikim sold for$30,000.00.

The catalog describes it:

Siddur Sipfthei Tzaddikim, Isaac Leeser’s comprehensive prayer book, was the first American edition containing the liturgy for the entire year. It contains the original Hebrew text and an original English translation. Leeser marketed his prayer book to audiences both in America and the British colonies in the Caribbean and thus included “A prayer for a Royal Government” and “A prayer for a Republican Government”

Another interesting item that attracted attention was a broadside commemorating the 4th of July:

It commanded $20,000.00; it was printed in 1876 and is the only known copy.

“Dedicated to the People of America on the Centennial of their Liberty, July 4th 1876. On behalf of the People of Israel by Moses A. Schreiber of the 44th Street Synagogue, City of New York.”

A highly original production by Moses Aron Schreiber, Rabbi of Cong. Sha’arei Tephillah, New York. This lengthy ode celebrating the Centennial of American Independence is evenly divided in Hebrew and English and ingeniously rhymes in both languages, while being an exact translation of each other. Following an Introduction, it is set into seven sections entitled: “Taxation; Declaration; Constitution; Immigration; Arts & Sciences; Exhibition and Judah’s Offering”

Written with immense patriotic fervor informed by a passionate religious belief, clearly Rabbi Moses Schreiber’s sense of being a patriotic American is certainly not less than his pride in being an Orthodox Jew.

Another interesting item, that sold for $11,000.00 was:

The first printed edition of the Bible, published in 1515 in Hebrew and Latin by Daniel Bomberg, translated by the apostate Felix Pratensis, sold for $11,000.00. While Bomberg’s intention was to publish the whole of the Old Testament only this book appeared. By 1516-17 Daniel Bomberg realized that he could never sell this to the Jewish market, he therefore printed the first Mikroth Gedoloth TaNa”CH (Biblia Rabbinica), which was auctioned off at $47,500.00.

A fragment of a lost manuscript of Maimonides Commentary on the Mishna

It went for $23,000.00. Written less than 20 years after Maimonides passing, by Saadia al-Addani in 1222 in Judeo-Arabic, it is the oldest known Hebrew codex copied in Yemen.

The Szyk Haggadah commanded $25,000.00, the last Lubavitcher Rebbe‘s letter (written when he was only 23, long before he took over his father-in-law’s position as the revered head of the movement) to the Rogatchover Gaon sold for $30,000.00.

Many items representing our religious/literary endeavors through out the ages, and from many countries were featured in this auction. Many of these revolutionized Jewish thought, many became intrinsic texts elucidating various aspects of Jewish Law, tradition, kabbalah and more… The great, the controversial, the unknown and the unknown were well represented here.

In Part 3, the final installment of this series, we will cover Ceremonial and Fine Art items.



A Journey Into History, Rare Judaica Auction – Part 1


Meatlless Meat Dishes – Nutritional Design

Faithful readers are familiar with my carnivorous proclivities and hopeless cheese addiction.

When Nutritional Designs, the manufacturers of the Wholesome Cuisine line, approached me to sample their meatless “meat” items, I was underwhelmed with cardboard synthetic anticipation. But in my steadfast discovery and reporting to here at The Kosher Scene on up and coming kosher certified products, I felt obliged to at least sample these pre-flavored meatless offerings.

Some of the boxed products have a multi-step process, but I chose  their easy to follow Sloppy Joe instructions- simply add water to the chopped meat shaped pieces and mix in their seasoning packet. The mixture, once heated did indeed remarkably resemble sloppy joe. The results were tastefully surprising!  As a meat fake-out served piping hot- it was pretty good and looked a lot like the real thing. Wholesome Cuisine‘s Sloppy Joe product, for those that choose a meatless diet, had all the nuance of flavors of remarkably well seasoned meat.

With no preservatives, all natural ingredients, certified as Vegetarian/Vegan, Low Sodium, High Fiber, MSG Free, Dairy/Lactose Free, Egg Free, Nut Free and made from Textured Vegetable Protein  under the kashrus supervision of the OU, it meets the strict requirements of many a specific diet without depriving anyone of the taste of meat.

Frankly, while nothing will stop me from continuing life as a unrepentant carnivore, I do plan to have most of Wholesome Cuisine‘s products and – based on this experience – quite often! They currently line-up includes the following flavors:

  • Burger Bits
  • Beef Stroganoff
  • Chilli Mix with Beans
  • Taco Mix
  • Sloppy Joe
  • Polynesian Vege Sliced Chick’n
  • Polynesian Vege Steak Tidbits
  • Hawaiian Chick’n 
  • Salisbury Delight
  • Sweet & Sour Chick’n
  • Sweet & Sour Vege Steak Tidbits
  • Zesty Cacciatore

Right now, I can’t wait to have the Sweet & Sour Vege Steak Tidbits (before my kitchen becomes fully Passover ready!). You can order these products at their website: You can use them as they are, or you can incorporate them into them into myriad other dishes as your imagination suggests.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



A Journey Into History, Rare Judaica Auction – Part 1

“I will insist the Hebrews have [contributed] more to civilize men than any other nation. If I was an atheist and believed in blind eternal fate, I should still believe that fate had ordained the Jews to be the most essential instrument for civilizing the nations … They are the most glorious nation that ever inhabited this Earth. The Romans and their empire were but a bubble in comparison to the Jews. They have given religion to three-quarters of the globe and have influenced the affairs of mankind more and more happily than any other nation, ancient or modern.”
John Adams, Second President of the United States
(From a letter to F. A. Van der Kemp [Feb. 16, 1808] Pennsylvania Historical Society)

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of visiting the offices of Kestenbaum and Company, Auctioneers of Rare Books, Manuscripts, Fine Art and Vintage Wines. Whether you spent any portion of your life learning, or if you merely just wondered about the chain of history of our sacred literature, this auction will forever change your outlook! To know that the chain is unbroken, like a spine, intact through generations, is affirming and so powerful as if I felt tradition coursing thorough my veins with each turn of carefully preserved page…

I started my journey into seforim history with Daniel Bomberg‘s 4 volume TaNa”CH or Biblia Rabbinica (Lot 71)…

The Catalog appraises it between $50,000 to $70,000 and describes it thus, on page 23:


The first Rabbinic Bible to present the Massorah. The Text of this edition became the standard Massoretic text for all subsequent editions. See D. S. Berkowitz, In Rememberance of Creation (1968) no 166.

The first Biblia Rabbinica printed by Bomberg in 1516-17 was edited by the apostate Jew Felix Pratensis and contained the Imprimatur of the Pope. Bomberg quickly realized that these two facts marginalized the Great Bible from the Jewish market.  Bomber therefore employed Jacob b. Chaim ibn Adonijah, newly arrived in Venice (after being driven out from Spain and then Tunis), as editor of the Second Biblia Rabbinica. A meticulous and most knowledgeable Jewish editor, Jacob ben Chaim went to great pains to secure as many codices with a Massorah as possible. For the first time, there was issued a printed Hebrew Bible with a marginal Massorah, which, as hoped by Bomberg, was received with acclaim by the Jewish market. THUS THIS BIBLE MAY BE SAID TO THE THE FIRST JEWISH RABBINIC BIBLE

It comes with Targum Onkeles, commentaries by RaSH”I, ibn Ezra, Kimchi and more.

I stood in awe as I held the second printed edition of the Shulchan Aruch (Lot 185)…

Printed in Venice in 1567 by Giovanni Griffo, with all four parts in one volume and four title pages The final leaf has the signatures of the censors. Dampstained and with yellowing pages, it was rebound in elaborately blind-tooled morocco. Priced at $10,000.00 to $12,000.00

Next I saw the first editions of R. Yisroel Meir Kagan of Radin‘s Chofetz Chaim and Shmiras Haloshon

The Chofetz Chaim was printed in 1873 and priced between $2000 to $3000, while Shmiras Haloshon was printed in 1876 and goes for $1000 to $1500. Both texts are First Editions.

With Pessach just around the corner how could I not look at the Haggadot?

Starting with the magnificent Haggada illustrated by Arthur Szyk (Lot 146)…


Published in London in 1939-40, it has a dedication to King George VI of England, it’s priced between $30,000 to $40,000. The Times Literary Supplement described it as “…one of the most beautiful works ever produced by human hands… Szyk’s Haggadah stands among Hebrew illuminated manuscripts, in a moment of time, for all time, in a class by itself.

From left to right in the above photo:

First edition of Isaac Chayut‘s Siyach Yitzchok, published in 1587 (Lot 102), it goes for $800 to $1200

A series of kabbalistic poems with commentary, all of whose themes relate to the First Night of Passover, including instructions and laws pertaining to the Seder.

On the right, we have an Haggadah with the Abarbanel‘s commentary (Zevach Pessach), printed in 1561 in Rivo di Trento (Italy) by Jacob Marcaria. Marcaria, the catalog tells us, was a physician and scholar who published books in all branches of Judaica, often adding his own scholarly prefaces. It is listed as being in the $4000 to $6000 range

With the hundreds of sfarim and secular books and kisvey yad I saw on display, it was very hard to decide which ones I would include in this first installment. Needless to say, this will be a multi-part series.

Before closing this post and considering the auction is to take place today at 3:00 pm at Kestenbaum and Company (242 West 30th Street; New York, NY 10001 – Tel: 212.366..1197) I can only say that having spent parts of my life learning from some of this very same sforim (albeit in modern editions!), it would be hard for me to understand if at least most of the items are not bought by those who know that their value is far beyond the price they command. It was with deep emotion (which still overwhelms me as I write) that I (and every yid, who spent/spends time learning) beheld this collection… Why? Because the worth of these items lies far deeper than in being early editions, they represent our very faith as Jews, they represent our universal truth, they summarize the values that define us!



The Kosher Scene’s Radio Show for this Week

This coming Wednesday evening (March 21, 2012), at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time), we will talk with Lévana Kirschenbaum about her newest book, The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen. The book was originally published as a paperback in November. While we praised the contents, we were nonplussed with the book’s production. This week the book makes its appearance in a larger, hard bound, format, with easier to read fonts and layout. The photography, by Meir Pliskin, has undergone a huge change as well.

While the appearance changed radically, while the new book is truly a pleasure to behold, the contents are the same. At the time, my co-blogger SYR wrote:

Though aesthetically the book’s layout is rather ordinary looking, the content is superb. It’s jam-packed with healthy mains, soups, salads, pastas, beads and desserts; aside from the general index, the cookbook includes a Passover index and a gluten-free index, with recipe notations indicating gluten free or gluten free adaptable. The recipes and text reflect a seasoned master chef who poured her culinary heart and soul into this cookbook. All content is meticulously organized and the format though visually lackluster nonetheless delivers the author’s usual witty humor and éclat in a most lively entertaining way.

Truly a hitchhiker’s guide to all things good-for-you and delicious, you’ll get never-ending use out of this comprehensive culinary work. The variations that accompany the recipes are awesome as are the tips and running commentary that weave through the pages. It’s like having a master chef or super balabusta mom right there with you preparing your best. Meir Pliskin’s photographs are tastefully done though the publisher’s cropping and cheap printing is somewhat disappointing. Lisa Young’s nutritional info though not revolutionary in content, serves as a useful reminder of healthy choices.

We will be speaking about the joys of whole food, this book is geared to the cook that wants healthy and delicious fares for her family but who doesn’t much care about the fuss of spending hours preparing the food.

Meanwhile, in case you missed them, please listen to the two shows we did last week: Alec Borenstein – Success Coach, Motivational Speaker and 9th Kosher Wine Extravaganza.

Don’t forget to tune us in this coming Wednesday evening (March 21, 2012), at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time) on We’ll be looking out for ya!



Tuna and Mango Chutney

This past Tuesday evening, I dined with some friends originally from Argentina. They are both from Buenos Aires (right across the shore from where I grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay on the River Plate). The conversation turned to past and present Latin American politics, yiddish culture and religious life. Not only was the conversation great, so were the food and wine…

We started the meal with a superb fish appetizer covered with a nice spicy and sweet chutney… She graciously emailed me the recipe and a photo this morning:

Photo by: Mrs. Lea Bronshtain

Tuna with Mango Chutney


  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 lb tuna steak
  • 1/2 cup crushed corn flakes
  • 1 small dried chilli pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Mango Chutney

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 6 cups mangoes (4 to 5), peeled and cut in 3/4-inch pieces
  • 1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cupginger, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds, whole
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes (hot)

(Mrs. Bronshtain makes the chutney once a year and uses it as needed. Bottled in a disinfected jar it can keep on aging for a long, long time.)

  • 1/2 yellow pepper, diced
  • 1 plum tomato diced
  • chopped cilantro for garnish


  1. In a bowl mix soy sauce, rum and orange juice. Marinate tuna in mixture in refrigerator for 3 hours while covered.
  2. In a second bowl mix corn flakes, chilli pepper, chilli powder, paprika, garlic powder, black pepper, cayenne pepper and cilantro.
  3. Remove tuna from marinade. Pat cereal mixture tightly on fish to coat on all sides.
  4. In a pan, sear fish in hot oil for 2 minutes on each side.
  5. Mix the chutney with the yellow pepper and plum tomato, top fish with this mixture. Garnish with cilantro.

Directions for Mango Chutney

  1. Combine sugar and vinegar in a 6 quart pot; bring to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, until syrupy and slightly thickened, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Stir occasionally during cooking.
  3. Pour into clean, hot jars leaving 1/2-inch space to the top; close jars. Process in a water bath for 15 minutes.

Yields 6 (1/2 pint) jars.

We followed this appetizer with a butternut squash soup, braised short ribs, and a Café Brulé. During the meal we had a well decanted Flecha de Los Andes Gran Malbec 2006 from Argentina (of course!). It is a deep colored wine, with black plum, pepper and licorice, floral notes and a barely perceptible chocolate hint; on the palate it’s well balanced, rich with plum, espresso, pepper and licorice, and leaves you with a long finish. A truly memorable meal!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!


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