Author Archive for Chaim Szmidt


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.


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!



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…


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!



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.


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


  • 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!


  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!!



Tahini Sauce and Black Tahini and Beet Hummus

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



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

Tahini Sauce


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


  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



  • 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


  1. Blend all ingredients until smooth.

The taste was different, but delicious!

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



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.



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, for a playful look at their products and Ten Acre “village.”

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



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.



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.


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!



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!


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.



Grilled Chicken Skewers With Habanero Chile and Allspice

From Williams Sonoma New Flavors For Chickens – Classic Recipes Redefined, by Rick Rodgers and photography by Tucker + Hossler:GrillChickSkew

Grilled Chicken Skewers With Habanero Chile and Allspice

Allspice tastes of cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg combined. Its warm flavor blends with the fiery heat of habanero chile in this rendition of Jamaican jerk seasoning. The heat is tempered by fresh-tasting green onions, salty soy sauce, and sharp vinegar.


  • habanero chile, 1
  • garlic, 2 cloves
  • green onions, 6, coarsely chopped
  • cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons
  • soy sauce, 1 tablespoon
  • ground allspice, 1 tablespoon
  • dried thyme, 1 teaspoon
  • kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon
  • canola oil, 1/2 cup, plus oil for grilling
  • boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, 3 (about 7 ounces each)
  • red bell pepper,1 large, cut into 1-inch squares


Cut the chile in half and remove and discard the seeds. Reserve half of the chilew for another use (or both halves if you like your food very spicy).

Turn on a food processor and drop the garlic and chile half through the feed tube to chop them. Stop the motor, add the green onions, vinegar, soy sauce, allspice, thyme, and salt. Pulse a few times to finely chop the green onions. With the motor running, add the oil in a slow, steady stream and process until the mixture is smooth.

Cut each chicken breast into 8 pieces each about 1 inch square, to make a total of 24 pieces. Transfer the pieces to a nonreactive bowl. Pour in the marinade and stir to coat evenly. Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours and up to 6 hours.

Soak 6 bamboo skewers in water to cover for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare a charcoal or gas grill direct-heat cooking over medium-high heat. * Replace the grill grate and lightly oil it.

While the grill heats, drain the skewers. Remove the chicken from the marinade and discard the marinade. Thread 4 chicken pieces, alternating with 3 red pepper pieces, onto each skewer.

Place the skewers on the grill, cover, and cook, turning the skewers occasionally, until the chicken feels firm when pressed with a fingertip, 10-12 minute total.

Transfer the skewers to a warm platter and serve right away.

Makes 3 – 4 Servings

* Direct-heat grilling over medium-high heat

Preparing a charcoal grill

Ignite about 2 1/2 pounds of coals and let the coals burn until covered with a layer of white ash. Spread the coals in an even layer on the fire bed and then let the coals burn until medium-hot 20 – 30 minutes.

Preparing a gas grill

Make sure there is enough propane in the tank. Turn all the burners to high heat. Close the cover and preheat the grill for 10 – 20 minutes, then reduce the heat to medium-high.

Enjoy, gentle reader. Enjoy!



Italian Ice

From Country Italian, page 340; published by Publications International, Ltd., in 2001:

Photo from page 341

Photo from page 341

Italian Ice


  • 1 cup sweet or dry fruity white wine
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup lemon juice
  • 2 egg whites


  1. Place wine and water in small saucepan , add sugar. Cook over medium high heat until sugar has dissolved and syrup boils; stir frequently. Cover, boil 1 minute. Uncover, adjust heat to maintain simmer. Simmer  10 minutes without stirring. Remover from heat. Refrigerate 1 hour or until syrup is completely cool.
  2. Stir lemon juice into cooled syrup. Pour  into 9-inch round cake pan. Freeze 1 hour.
  3. Quickly stir mixture with fork breaking up ice crystals. Freeze 1 hour more or until firm but not solid. Meanwhile, place medium bowl in freezer to chill.
  4. Beat egg whites in small bowl with electric mixer at high speed until peaks form. Remove lemon ice mixture from cake pan to chilled bowl. Immediately beat ice with whisk or fork until smooth. Fold in egg whites, mix well. Spread egg mixture evenly into same cake pan. Freeze 30 minutes. immediately stir with fork, cover cake panwith foil, Freeze at least 2 hours or until firm.
  5. To serve scoop Italian Ice into fluted champagne glasses or dessert dishes. Serve with berries. Garnish, if desired.

Makes 4 servings

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



Raspberry – Rosė Sorbet

David Liebowitz is not only one of the greatest food bloggers, but as a Pastry Chef in LA few were his equals, now that he lives in Paris he writes cookbooks, following is one of his easy to make recipes from The Perfect Scoop – Ice Creams, Sorbets, Granitas, And Sweet Accompaniments. The following recipe appears on page 130:

Photo by: Lara Hata, page 131

Photo by: Lara Hata, page 131

Raspberry – Rosė Sorbet

Makes about 1 Quart

Creating a whole book with lots of recipes for sorbets means that you run the risk of using the word “refreshing” too often. But this sorbet is truly the most refreshing of them all, so I saved that word to describe it. Each bite is pure, frosty bliss.

I use a rosė wine that’s not too sweet, with a touch of fruitiness. You could use almost any blush wine that leans toward the dry side as well, though in saying so I risk losing cred in the eyes of wine lovers and oenophiles. Because of the quantity of wine in this sorbet, it will not freeze very firmly in your ice cream machine and will be somewhat soft when you scrape it ou. But don’t worry . When you go to serve it a few hours later, you’ll find it’s the perfect texture, and yes, very refreshing.

  • 2 cups rosė wine
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 cups raspberries, fresh or frozen

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, bring the rosėand sugar to a boil. Remove from the heat, add the raspberries, and let cool to room temperature. Press the mixture through a food mill fitted with a fine disk, or puree in a blender or food processor and the press the puree through a strainer to remove the seeds.

Chill the mixture thoroughly, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

VARIATION: To make Strawberry -Rosė Sorbet, substitute 1 pound fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced, for the raspberries. Press the mixture though a strainer to remove the seeds.

PERFECT PAIRING: Raspberry – Rosė Sorbet is so perfect on its own that you should resist serving it with anything except a handful of luscious raspberries.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!


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