Author Archive for Chaim Szmidt



10
Sep
15

Prime Burger – Brooklyn


True to their word, Prime Burger (1202 Avenue J, corner of 12th Street; Brooklyn, NY 11230 – Tel: 718.521.6164) opened two weeks after its dairy sibling next door, around the corner (Prime Pizza and Shakes).

They opened on Tuesday eve, I first went there yesterday in the late afternoon. I decided to order a sampler of their signature dishes…

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From left clockwise: On the front - Fried Pickles, Fully Loaded Burger, Prime Burger, bottom right - from the Charcouterie items: Dry Salami, Dry Pepperoni and Strawberry Chorizo.

From left clockwise: On the front – Fried Pickles, Fully Loaded Burger, Prime Burger, bottom right – from the Charcouterie items: Dry Salami, Dry Pepperoni and Strawberry Chorizo

I had never seen nor heard of fried pickles and by looking at them I would never have guessed that’s what what they were, but boy were they good! The Fully Loaded Burger – like all the burgers here – is made of 100% natural prime Angus beef. All the burgers are antibiotic and hormone free daily ground 5 ounce rustic ground patties. It comes with griddled egg, beef bacon, onion, tomato, and chipotle mayonnaise. The Prime Burger (comes with lettuce, tomato, onion and a pickle), comes like its Loaded brother with the unique Prime sauce. This sauce elevates the burgers to a new realm of flavors, unequaled by any burger I’ve ever tasted! The charcuterie show definite signs of Chef David Kolotkin‘s influence over the menu, I’ve had these items many times at Prime Grill and I just keep on returning for more, now I just won’t have to go further than a mere few blocks.

Today, Chef Levana who spent the morning cooking at Masbia, invited me to lunch at Prime Burger and here is what we had…

Levana had the Jalapeno Wrapped Bacon (in the back) and a Quinoa Spinach Veggie Burger (in front, which we shared).

Levana had the Jalapeno Wrapped Bacon (in the back) and a Quinoa Spinach Veggie Burger (in front, which we shared).

While I’ve never been a fan of veggie burgers, I must admit this one was truly delicious. Levana loved both burgers. “They are very good!” she said. I had…

Moroccan Lamb Sliders

Moroccan Lamb Sliders

The sliders, were juicy, flavorful, spiced just right! We also shared a very good Kale and Quinoa Salad. We finished off lunch with…

Truly a monster in size!

Truly a monster in size!

…a huge Monster Chocolate Chip Cookie, truly a monster in size and very good; a little less sugar would have made it even better.

Click for full menu, full size.

Click for full menu, full size.

When SYR heard that not only did I eat here last eve, but had lunch with Levana here today, I had no choice but to placate her with a Prime Burger, which she found excellent.

I’ll going in quite often, gentle reader. Will I see you there?

CS

10
Sep
15

Taiglach – Honey Poached Pastry Nuggets


[Leah D. from Miami, sent us the following photo and recipe. It brings back memories from my childhood in Uruguay, when my mother used to make Taiglach every year for Rosh Hashana. CS]

Taiglach – Honey Poached Pastry Nuggets

Makes: 35 nuggets

Teiglach

Ingredients

Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra if necessary
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, plus 2 egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons, vegetable oil, plus extra for oiling
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts and sesame seeds, for rolling

Syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups honey grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

Directions

  1. Prepare the dough. Sift the flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt into a big bowl and stir to blend. Make a well in the center, beat the egg, egg yols, and oil together in a small bowl and pour into the well. Gradually stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture until a sticky dough forms. Turn on to a lightly floured work surface and knead until smooth and just slightly elastic, adding a little more flour if the dough is too sticky. Shape into a ball and refrigerate tightly wrapped for 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. Bring the ingredients to a boil in a large deep pan (to prevent boiling over).
  3. 3 Cut the dough into 6-8 pieces and, on a lightly floured work surface, roll each piece into long thin sausage shapes about 1/2″ thick pieces.
  4. Lightly oil 2 pieces of foil and lay on the surface. Working in batches, add the dough pieces to the honey syrup and simmer for 15 minutes or until rich golden in color and cooked through, If the honey thickens too much, add a little water to thin. Repeat with all the dough pieces.
  5. Put the walnuts and sesame seeds into separate shallow dishes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the taiglach and turn into the nuts and sesame seeds, rolling them with a kitchen fork to coat. Arrange on foil.

Enjoy  them, they are delicious!!! Ktivah vechatima tova!

Leah D.

07
Sep
15

Tuna Burgers with Wasabi Mayo


Having spent most of last week in the hospital, having gone in to the ER on Monday for what I thought was simply dehydration only to find out it was more serious, having survived on Palace Caterers fare, occasionally interspersed with some truly delicious chicken soup and meat balls – prepared and given to me by the ladies of Bikur Cholim – I couldn’t wait to try out some new dishes (new for me, at least).

Although over the last few years, I’ve tried some fish and slowly changed my mind on their edibility, I have never become a fan. A notable exception – however – has been tuna ever since I first tried it at Levana’s home. Since it’s time for me to start cutting down on red meat – rather unfortunate for a lifelong hardcore carnivore – I thought I’d try some Tuna Burgers…

I found an interesting recipe in a paperback titled: Not Your Mother’s Weeknight Cooking, by best selling James Beard Award winning author, Beth Hensperger published in 2008 by Harvard Commons Press and adapted it.

Tuna Burgers with Wasabi Mayo

Serves 4

Photo by: Eksite Photography - photo between pages 118-119

Detail from photo by: Eksite Photography – photo between pages 118-119

Cooking Method: Stovetop
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: About 10 minutes

Ingredients

WASABI MAYO

  • 3 green onions (white part and some of the green), cut in chunks
  • One 1/2-inch chunk fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons wasabi sauce
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise

TUNA

  • 3 green onions (white part and some of the green)
  • One 1 and1/2-inch chunk fresh ginger
  • 1 1/4 lbs tuna steaks, dark spots trimmed away
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick)cold butter, cut into chunks (use margarine if you do not want a dairy version)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • Few grinds of freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 round sesame seed-topped buns
  • Butter lettuce leaves for serving

Directions

  1. To make the mayo, in a food processor, add the green onions and ginger; pulse to finely chop. Add the soy sauce, wasabi sauce and mayonnaise. Process until smooth. Remove to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate until serving.
  2. In the food processor, toss in the green onions and ginger; pulse to chop. Cut one-quarter of the tuna into  1/4-inch dice and place the rest in the food processor with the butter (or margarine); pulse to combine the butter and tuna; do not overprocess. Place in a bowl and add the diced tuna, soy sauce, sesame oil, and pepper.. Shape into 4 equal size patties.
  3. Split the and toast the buns, set aside.
  4. Preheat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Place the patties in the pan and brown quickly on one side, about 3 minutes. Turn over with a patula and brown the second side to the desired degree of doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes., leaving the center moist and reddish for medium-rare.
  5. Slather the toasted buns on both sides with the wasabi mayo and top with butter lettuce leaves. Place the burgers o the buns and serve immediately.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!
CS

27
Aug
15

Prime Pizza and Shakes (Brooklyn’s Pizza da Solo)


I’ve been waiting for almost 2 years for this pizzeria to open up in my neighborhood, finally – yesterday – Prime Pizza and Shakes (1202 Avenue J; Brooklyn, NY 11230 – Tel: 718.521.6141 – entrance on 12th Street) opened. I’d always hoped it would be at least, similar to the SONY building’s Pizza Da Solo in Manhattan (between 55th and 56th at 550 Madison Avenue), and it didn’t disappoint! Prices and sizes are more in line with Brooklyn’s demographics; quality, taste, freshness still live up to the high standards of Joey Allaham‘s other eateries.

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Putting my Magherita in the oven...

Putting my Margherita in the oven…

Last evening I couldn’t wait to try them out, the whole day I’d been salivating at the thought of tasting their pizza… I ordered a simple Margherita which comes with San Marzano tomato sauce, homemade mozzarella, basil and parmegiano cheese…

It looked delicious, it smelled delicious, it tasted... delicious!

It looked delicious, it smelled delicious, it tasted delicious…

No tomato compares with the San Marzano variety. With its superior, rich tomato flavor and meaty interior, this is the classic variety for superb canning and paste making. Many of the world’s top chefs consider San Marzano the best sauce tomato on earth.

Today, for lunch I went back and ordered a pizza I’d never tasted before. I wanted to try something different, I wanted to see what made Chef Giulio Adriani tick, so I ordered his favorite, The Montanara. This is a fried dough pizza…

Frying the dough for my Montanara...

Frying the dough for my Montanara

Once the dogh was nicely fried, it was covered with the ingredients that make a Margherita

Incredible what frying the dough, does for the taste.

Incredible what frying the dough, does for the taste.

As scrumptious as my last eve’s Margherita was, The Montanara was so much better! No wonder it is Chef Giulio‘s favorite.

So, what could possibly be wrong with having such a great pizzeria in the neighborhood? That’s easy… I’m becoming addicted! I will be returning again, and again, and again!

CS

12
Aug
15

Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse


Yesterday afternoon, SYR and I thought it was time to find out what’s behind all the buzz about Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse (397 Troy Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11213). Was it justified?

We ordered one and three quarter pound of their smoked brisket and a pound of their smoked turkey…

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My plate

My plate

For sides we took the House Slaw and the French fries. Both meats  tasted smokey, tender, juicy and very flavorful yet distinctly different. By 5:30 the place was full, with no place to sit. We took our order with us; when we sat down at SYR‘s place and looked around the available wines, we found a Covenant Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Its perfectly balanced tannins – soft, ripe and lush – give way to a richly layered blend of anise, cassis, blackberry, chocolate and spice flavors. The perfect meat, the perfect wine!

We heartily recommend Izzy’s Brooklyn Smokehouse, and we’ll keep on returning again and again!

CS

06
Aug
15

Irving’s Barbecued Burgers


After officiating as Rabbi at the Hudson Valley Resort and Spa on Shabbos Nachamu – for Flakey Jake‘s program I spent a few days with my dear friends Irving and Regina Schild (check here, here, here, here, here, herehere, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and many more), at their summer home, on Pennsylvania’s bucolic Lake Wallenpaupack and stayed there until last evening.

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Looking down at the lake, from the living room window... The boat dock to the left belongs to the Schilds...

Looking down at the lake, from the living room window… The boat dock to the left belongs to the Schilds…

The osprey has landed! - One of the local denizens...

The osprey has landed! The osprey has landed! – One of the youngest local denizens just got back from flight training, with its parents, as a smaller sibling looks on…

Is it posing for a formal portrait, or begging me to throw it a bite?

Is it posing for a formal portrait, or begging me to throw it a bite?

Irving’s Barbecued Burgers

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
Scrumptiously delicious, tender and juicy!

Scrumptiously delicious, tender and juicy!

Directions

  1. Slightly saute the chopped onion in canola oil, until just transparent.
  2. Mix all the ingredients well, by hand; avoid over-mixing. With a light touch form 6 patties no more than one inch thick each.
  3. Brush the grill and coat with oil. Grilled the burgers directly over the the heat for 6 to 7 minutes for medium-done (about 150 F, on an instant read thermometer, and slightly pink in the center). Flip once.
  4. Serve while hot.

The aroma and the taste were just undescribable with mere words!

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!!

CS

29
Jul
15

Tahini Sauce and Black Tahini and Beet Hummus


I recently came across two of De La Rosa‘s Organic Tahini products…

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DLRTahini

Each product comes with a recipe for preparation. The light colored tahini features the following recipe:

Tahini Sauce

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup De La Rosa Tahini
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 garlic cloves, crashed
  • Salt as needed

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

Easy and delicious!

My favorite recipe however came with the Black Tahini (which I’d never seen before)

Black Tahini and Beet Hummus

Blackhummus

Ingredients

  • 4 medium beets, roasted, peeled and cubed
  • 1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained & rinsed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
  • 2 tablespoons De La Rosa Tahini
  • 3 tablespoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon De La Rosa Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 medium garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons De La Rosa Organic Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons parsley leaves, chopped

Directions

  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

The taste was different, but delicious!

Try them, gentle reader. I know you will enjoy these products!

CS

28
Jul
15

Ten Acre – Hand Cooked Crisps – The British Are Coming


With five distinct flavors bearing whimsical names like When Chicken Soup Saved the Day, The Secret of Mr. Salt, When Hickory Got BBQ’D, The Day Sweet and Sour Become Friends, and The Story of When Mr Cheesy Met the Onion, Ten Acre – a British potato chips (or “crisps” as they call them in GB) manufacturer – has invaded the American shores.

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10Acre

They are hand cooked, gluten and dairy free delightfully flavored chips. My two favorites were The Secret of Mr. Salt and The Day Sweet and Sour Became Friends, the other 3 were interesting and intriguing as well. Crisper than most American chips, the flavors ranged from spicy (When Hickory Got BBQ’D) to mild (When Chicken Soup Saved the Day).

The invading Brits made sure Brooklyn has enough outlets (over 20!) featuring their products, such as:

  • Pomegranate
  • Moisha’s Supermarket
  • Glatt Mart
  • Moutain Fruit
  • Ocean Fruit
  • Kosher Corner
  • Mittelman
  • Shop Smart
  • KRM

and more. Meanwhile, you can visit their website, http://www.tenacrecrisps.co.uk/ for a playful look at their products and Ten Acre “village.”

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

CS

27
Jul
15

Va Bene – Yes, Any Meal Here Goes Well!


Last Wednesday the 22nd, during the 9 days, my good friend and mentor Irving Schild, and I had lunch at Va Bene (1589 2nd Avenue – between 82 and 83 – New York, Tel: 212.517.4448)- Tevere 84‘s dairy sister restaurant.

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VaBene-2

Irving ordered Fettuccine Alfredo Alla Doppia Crema, house-made fettucine in white sauce. The fettuccine, he said, were cooked just right, the sauce flavorful but not overwhelming. In fact he liked the food enough that he took his wife Regina there, for dinner, last eve when they came back to Manhattan for an overnight stay from their summer home.

VaBene-1

I had the Ravioli a la Giudia, their house-made ravioli filled with artichokes in a delightful tomato sauce. My ravioli were perfectly flavorful and juicy.  Both dishes were generously garnished – in front of us – with grated Parmeggiano cheese.

The right ambiance, delicious food, and fair pricing, make this dairy restaurant one worth visiting again and again… and again!

CS

15
Jul
15

A Tale of Two Restaurants – Variations on a Theme


Last week, SYR and I went to Tevere 84 (155 East 84th Street; New York, NY 10028 – 212.744.0210); just as every time before, we found their Roman fare superb. Whether we had the Carcioffi alla Giudia (Jewish Style Artichokes, one of the jewels of Italian cuisine!), Carpaccio di Manzo, Gnocchi al Sugo di Carne, or Scallopine de Vitello al Marsala, everything was cooked to perfection! The artichokes were crisp and tasty, the beef carpaccio was citrusy and tender in the extreme. The gnochi in meat sauce, were bursting with flavor; the veal, sauteed in wine, with mushrooms  was juicy and delicious. We washed it all down with 2 cups, each of us, of the house red, which happened to be an Ovadia Estates selection, smooth, well balanced and with hints of vanilla and spices, an excellent pairing. Definitely a restaurant to go back to again and again!

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Carpaccio di Manzo - Thin raw cold beef with mixed salad..

Carpaccio di Manzo – Thin raw cold beef with mixed salad..

We tasted a French version of the Carpaccio, at Chagall Bistro (330 5th Avenue – in Park Slope – Brooklyn, NY 11215; Tel: 718.832.9777), on various occasions…

Steak Tartare - Prime beef raw tartare with cornichons, capers, shallots, chives, yolks, mustard and potato chips...

Steak Tartare – Prime beef raw tartare with cornichons, capers, shallots, chives, yolks, mustard and potato chips…

Both dishes are variations on a theme, so similar and yet… so deliciously different.

CS




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