Archive for the 'food' Category
Last evening on the The Kosher Scene at 8:00pm (Eastern Time), I had the privilege of talking to cookbook author and Cordon Bleu trained Chef Geila Hocherman. Her book, Kosher Revolution is coming out on the 23rd of this month, but can already be pre-ordered on Amazon.com. Having examined an advance copy I can testify that not only is the photography a delight for the eyes, but the quality of the recipes will make even the most casual observer’s mouth water.
Having met Ms Hocherman on previous occasions, having heard her talk about food and life and general, her passion for those subjects is obvious. If you look at her picture on the right, taken from her book, her joie de vivre, her love for her work is all too apparent. In real life she comes across just as lively and vivacious as in the photo, with an infectious joy and dedication to everything she does.
Next week we will post our review of her book including one of her recipes with a beautiful accompanying photo. Meanwhile, you can listen to our archived interview from last eve with Chef Geila here and our Wednesday interview with David Mintz, here.
Since he was very young, Haim Dadi knew what he wanted to do. His parents had a restaurant in Israel and whenever he visited their place – as a child – he loved the hustle and bustle, the aromas, the sounds of the patrons. He is currently Chef/Partner of 18 Restaurant on 81st Street and 2nd Avenue. I’ve watched and followed him through every area of his restaurant and – as amiable as he is outside the cooking area – it is in the kitchen that he truly comes alive as he cooks, as he talks to his staff, as he experiments with more delicious ways of preparing his fare.
I spoke to Chef Haim recently to find out what makes him tick, what it is that spurs him on. Twenty five years ago he opened his first restaurant in Beersheva with his brother, serving mostly shawarma and a few other grilled items. Three years later, he arrived in New York and opened his first venture in Forest Hills – Tel Aviv Haktanah, though very successful he did not get along with his partner.
He left for a place in Manhattan called Shelanu, which eventually evolved into Mr. Broadway. It started out with a limited Israeli menu, yet considering the demographics in and around its location, it did not work too well. Over a period of seven years they slowly introduced various new types: deli, Chinese, shawarma and sushi. With the addition of all those cuisines Mr. Broadway, soon had one of the largest menus in Manhattan. With very moderate prices and the rich selection they expanded over the years and became a very successful venture, a fixture of the New York kosher Scene.
About a year ago, Chef Dadi was ready for bigger challenges. Together with Sidney Cohen he opened up 18 Restaurant on the premises of what used to be the high end Turquoise. In spite of the high quality of its servings, Turquoise had become a victim of the new recession.
Walking into 18, with its turquoise wall and aquarium, opposite an antiqued stone wall and red fixtures, gives the impression of an upscale expensive place. A quick look, however, at the menu immediately dispels the notion of “expensive.” The food served here is of higher quality than at his former place and in the year since they’ve opened they managed to gather a faithful following that fills the restaurant every day at lunch and dinner. The sushi is superb, and coming from someone who never touched fish until two years ago, someone who never thought he’d ever taste sushi, you can take it as very high praise indeed. I can never resist ordering Chef Haim’s Yemenite Meat Soup, or his juicy hamburgers. He doesn’t serve exotic dishes, instead he specializes in a wholesome array including Eastern European, Mediterranean, sushi and deli selections. He envisions 18 as a purveyor of high quality food at reasonable prices and… the concept works!
As a young child, Haim Dadi had a dream; as a man, he’s made the dream concrete!
This past Wednesday, The Kosher Scene Radio Show did a live broadcast from Nargila Grill (1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10028; Tel: 212.535.3700).
Nargila Grill is a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean type restaurant, the decor authentic Middle Eastern, with softly piped in music to match.
After the show we all enjoyed an incredibly delicious meal consisting of assorted Mediterranean salads, beef, lamb, and chicken kabobs. Each type of meat was done in a variety of styles and came on multiple skewers, each more succulent than the other!)
We are going back next Wednesday, to do another live show and to enjoy the owner’s mother’s Bukharian cooking. She comes in once a month to prepare some real delicacies. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Why don’t you join us at: Nargila Grill (1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10028; Tel: 212.535.3700), next Wednesday evening? We’d love to meet you and we know you’ll love the food! We’ll leave the light on for ya. May we have the pleasure of seeing you there?
Pomegranate Supermarket has been running a cooking demo series called Cooking with Class. Their guest Chef, this past Monday, was award winning cookbook author Susie Fishbein. In a friendly and entertaining manner, she demonstrated three fish dishes.
- Miso Glazed Cod
- Blackened Tilapia or Red Snapper
- Sole en Papillote
She explained how to ensure that the fish, whether filleted or whole, is absolutely fresh as that would guarantee a non fish smelling or fish tasting dish. After each dish was done (and all three were done in minutes!), samples were given out for the audience to savor. Those of you who have been following these pages for a while, know that I’m not a fish fan (until just over a year ago I’d always refused to get near a fish dish). On Monday, like the rest of the audience, I savored these delicious finned creatures… because they neither smelled nor tasted fishy!
Of the dishes demonstrated, my favorite was the second one and Mrs. Fishbein graciously agreed to share the recipe.
Blackened Tilapia or Red Snapper
This dish is an authentic Cajun, mouth-on-fire delicacy. Blackened refers to the spices, not the lack of cooking prowess. If you are worried about the heat, only coat one side of the fish with the spice mixture, although it will still be hot. I like to make a batch of the spices and keep them in a baby food jar so that dinner preparation on this dish (it’s also great on thinly pounded chicken breast) is a snap. If you have a cast iron skillet, it is the way to go. If not, use a nonstick frying pan and get it very hot as well. Warn your guests, pour a big pitcher of ice water and enjoy!
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground white pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
- 1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 4 (6 ozs) tilapia or red snapper fillets
- 4 medium fresh tomatoes, each cut in half, trimmed tops so they seat flat
- sour cream
- Spray a large frying pan or well-seasoned cast iron skillet with nonstick cooking spray. In a flat plate combine the onion powder, garlic powder, cayenne, white pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano and basil. Mix well.
- Dredge each fillet in the melted butter, then coat with the spice mixture in one or both sides. reserve the melted butter.
- If using a cast-iron skillet, get it very hot. If not, heat the frying pan over medium -high heat until very hot but not smoking.
- Carefully place the fillets in the skillet and sear about 3-5 minutes or until blackened. Pour 1 tablespoon of reserved melted butter on each fillet. Flip the fish over and pour 1 tablespoon of of melted butter over each fillet and blacken the other side, about 2-3 minutes. If you only spiced one side the second side won’t get black, just cook the fish through until it’s done. Remove fish to dinner plates.
- Brush the tomato halves with the melted butter and sprinkle with oregano. sear the tomatoes in the frying pan about 3 minutes or until soft. Flip the other side and cook 1-2 minutes longer.
- Serve each fillet with a big dollop of sour cream and two tomato halves.
Yield: 4 servings
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!
Mrs. Fishbein will be back at Pomegranate on Tuesday, March 8, to demonstrate how to cook Grouper and Mahi Mahi and again on Monday, March 14 to demo her techniques for Halibut. Can’t wait to learn from her!
It may be small and unpretentious, but don’t let that fool you. This hidden jewel, Yummy Grill (543 Kings Highway – off East 4th; Brooklyn, NY; Tel: 718.375.7557), serves up delicious food featuring Cavcasian and Israeli cuisines.
Chef/Owner Eli Hizkiyahu graduated, as Chef, from Israel’s famed Tadmore Hotel School in Herzliya. He arrived on the American shores about 19 years ago and made a successful career using food as his canvass. From fashioning Tfillin out of watermelons, to birds about to take off in flight – out of fruits and vegetables, he’s done it all as he travelled the length and breadth of the US plying his trade of food decoration at numerous catered and private affairs. About 9 months ago, Chef Eli and his wife opened up their current venue.
My companion RN and I stopped by for lunch, recently. She started out with a Lamb Soup…
It was nicely presented, spicy and very savory; in fact, it could have served as a complete meal by itself. It contained a few lamb bones, slivers of lamb and rice. Excellent! She described it as perfect comfort food for a winter day.
I started with an Avocado Salad. I have never been a fan of avocado, but the taste of this one was exceptional. Colorful, nicely but subtly spiced, it contributed to change my mind about avocado.
We then shared a platter of Baby Lamb Chops…
They were tender, juicy and had a very attractive aroma; came with a side dish of mixed Grilled Vegetables, consisting mostly of mushrooms, onions and peppers grilled to perfection.
We followed with a plate of Baby Chicken Kebab…
Tender, juicy delicious, it also came with those superb Grilled Vegetables (we just couldn’t enough of them!). All was served us in whimsically shaped but practical china, a delight to the eye. I washed it down with an Israeli malt. RN finished her meal with a delightful Tea w/Nana (mint leaves), while I had a coffee.
Ample portions, superb flavors, and very reasonable prices… isn’t it time to visit Yummy Grill?
As we said – in the very first sentence – in the first part of this series, the one true rule of pairing food and wine is that such pairings are highly personal. The ethnic/cultural background and, specifically, the food one grew up with are influential on how taste is perceived by the individual. Someone who eats mostly spicy food will taste wine very differently from someone accustomed to more bland foods..
When you enter the differences of each individual’s taste buds into the equation you can understand that what may be a perfect pairing for one person, may not necessarily be so great to another. Rules are, at best, approximations based on the “average” person (read: “the average connoissseur,” often self-proclaimed, instead). I could find no scientific study ever conducted that definitely showed what is the “average” when it comes to taste matters. What is the point of this series, then, if the rules are subject to each individual’s preferences? That is a fair question! The answer is that all we intend to accomplish – here – is to give you, gentle reader, some departure points as you embark on your very own food and wine pairing journey. Just remember that wine should never overpower the food it accompanies but it should complement it.
Once again, winter has shown itself relentless and bombarded us with another big snowfall. Considering that wine can warm the soul and gladden the heart, considering that medical most studies now find the health benefits in drinking 2 daily glasses of wine (like the French do), isn’t this weather just right for sipping wine, especially if paired with a nice soup?
How about a Chicken Noodle Soup, paired with a Pinot Grigio or a Chennin Blanc? Perhaps a Cream of Chicken Soup with a Sauvignon Blanc or a Viognier would fit your preference? Maybe a French Onion Soup paired with a Beaujolais or a White Burgundy? Hmmmmnnn, my mouth is watering already!
Since we are only offering departure points here are some favorite pairings:
Sauvignon Blanc – Light, zesty and citrusy
White Burgundy – Goes well with salmon
Chardonnay – Perfect for rich fish dishes
Riesling – It’s lime/lemon juice flavor make it a nice complement to any fish dish
Pinot Noir – Yes, it’s a red wine, but try it with grilled fish and see what it does!
Beef or steak - Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Shiraz
Lamb - Bordeaux, or almost any Red wine
Poultry - Chardonnay
Fruit – Any Sauternes, Muscat or Riesling (especially Late Harvest)
Very sweet or heavy desserts – I prefer to pair these with a Moscato d’Asti
Pizza – Chianti is the perfect choice!
This does not pretend to be an exhaustive list, it merely reflects pairings I’ve tried and liked.
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!
[An interesting post outlining how food and jewelry interact in the Torah, by a friend and faithful blog reader from Israel. CS]
This week’s Torah portion – Vayeshev – kicks off one of the most exciting stories in the TaNa”CH, the story of Joseph. What many don’t know is that much of it revolves around food and jewelry. The food: Joseph’s first dream, 11 sheaves of wheat bowing to Joseph’s proud bundle. Everything goes south from there. The jewelry: Pharaoh takes off his ring and gives it to Joseph. Everything goes up from there.
But then another food wave comes and brings us down again. The Israelites, living in Goshen in Egypt, are exempt from paying the food tax instituted by Pharaoh at the end of Genesis. They are, after all, Joseph’s family. (Uh oh…) The next Pharaoh avenges this by making the Jews build his grain storage cities by force. Slavery begins.
Jewish history takes another upswing with jewelry, as we literally empty Egypt of every precious metal stone. We are rich beyond our wildest dreams…only to then use it all on a golden calf.
Jewelry takes another turn around when we build the Tabernacle (Mishkan) to Hashem instead, but comes down again at food when complaints stream in about the lack of meat.
The cycle between jewelry and food is indeed an interesting one, with more waves that follow, both up and down, ever repeating. The key is to use them both correctly, in a kosher way and in tune with the Divine purpose for our lives.
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