Last evening, once again, Esti Berkowitz and Roberta Scher (unfortunately Roberta was unable to attend) hosted their annual Kosherfeast. This year it was held at the old Streit’s Matzoh factory in the Lower East Side.
We met a lot of old friends and new faces…
Esti Berkowitz and Naomi Stein Nachman welcoming the crowd and opening the awards ceremonies.
Today’s is Tu b’Av (15th of Av), but it is also the yohrtzeit of Nachum Ish Gamzu, and the venerated Moroccan tzaddikRabbi Amram ben Diwan.
The grave of Amram ben Diwan in Ouazzane, Morocco
Last evening, my good friends Raymond and Kim Amzallag hosted a get-together at their home for Rabbi ben Diwan‘s Hillulah. Who was this venerated 18th century Rabbi whose tomb became the site of an annual pilgrimage?
As Kim explained:
Born in Jerusalem, he soon moved to Hebron in 1743 and was sent to Morocco in order to collect donations for the Holy land from the Jewish community there.
He took up residence in Ouazzane where he opened a celebrated yeshiva and had many disciples. After 10 years in Morocco, Rabbi Amram returned to Hebron and, according to legend, entered the Cave of the Patriarchs disguised as a Muslim because it was forbidden for Jews at the time. Someone recognized him and reported him to the Ottoman Governor, who ordered his arrest. Rabbi ben Diwan fled and returned to Morocco, where he was welcomed by the Jewish community of Fez. He is credited with many healing miracles and had at least one son, Rabbi Hayyim ben Diwan. While touring Morocco with Rabbi Hayyim, the latter fell ill and doctors gave up all hope. Rabbi Amram prayed that Hashem take him instead of his son. Miraculously Rabbi Hayyim recovered almost immediately but Rabbi Amram fell ill and died in Ouazzane in 1782.
Lighting a candle to the memory of Rabbi Amram ben Diwan and meditating on one’s personal requests…
His burial place in Ouazzane became a pilgrimage site and is regularly visited, particularly by people who invoke him to heal their illness.
May Rabbi Amram ben Diwan succesfully intercede with Hashem on behalf of everyone who needs a cure of any kind!
Tomorrow, Wednesday, November 16th, at 8:00 pm (Eastern Time) we will be joined by Costas Mouzouras, Manager of Gotham Wines & Liquors and wine-master par excellence. We will talk about kosher wine and how it evolved from being the industry’s laughingstock to where it’s winning international awards in direct competition with the finest wines from all over the world.
Costas hails from Cyprus, where his grandfather was a winemaker. During summer vacations from school, young Costas would help out in the winery. In 1988 he came to these shores to attend Queens College and shortly after, at a friend’s urging, he took a job at Gotham and he’s been there ever since. He first became the kosher wine buyer, at a time when the choices were very limited. As he advanced in rank – at Gotham – so did the quality and the number of kosher wine selections.
In the second half of our broadcast, at 8:30pm, Alessandra Rovati (Dinner in Venice), Esti Berkowitz,(Primetime Parenting), Kim Amzallag, (Director of Marketing for The Jewish Daily Forward) and Shoshana Raff (The Kosher Shopaholic) and Roberta Scher (KosherEye), will join me for a discussion on last week’s Kosherfest 2011. What impressed us, what trends became apparent, where the kosher industry might venture next, how the internet is impacting it all; we will cover these topics and more. Please tune us in at BlogTalkRadio.com/tomorrow at 8:30pm (Eastern Time) for an interesting and informative show. We’ll be wait’n for ya!
We will be discussing next week’s Kosherfest, the new media presence and the impact of bloggers on kosher food trends. Please listen in.
For those of you who missed last week’s Venice – 700 years of Jewish History, tradition and Food with Alessandra Rovati from the Dinner in Venice website and Corrado Calimani from the Venice Jewish Community Board, you can listen to the taped archive here. It was a very interesting and educational show with two very charming people! We discussed the over seven hundred year old Venetian Jewish community, the upcoming 500 year commemorations (in 2016) of the world’s first ghetto ever (Venice’s Jewish Ghetto), the communities traditions and rites as well the food…
Don’t forget to tune in our broadcast tomorrow at 10:00pm (Eastern Time) on BlogTalkradio, with some of the best schmoozers in blogland. We’ll be waiting for ya…
We started the session with an incredible Moroccan lunch feast prepared by Lévana, of course. It consisted of:
Cold avocado cucumber soup
Spicy olive lemon salad
Moroccan tomato salad
Hummus-Tehina with za’atar
Lamb-stuffed artichoke bottoms
Chicken roasted in dry spice rub
Hot and sweet parsnips
Potato, tomato and olive tajine
For dessert she made us:
Spicy nut truffles
Date nut roll
Chocolate espresso bark
Chocolate chip cookies
After the meal we started our discussion, Suzannah Raff put it on video (she will have it up on YouTube soon!), while I taped it for this evening’s radio show. After such a rich, healthy, scrumptious meal you can bet our discussion was lively, entertaining, informative.
Last week we were plagued by some faulty equipment and technical problems during our live broadcast from Nargila Grill (1599 York Avenue – between 84 and 85th Streets on Manahattan’s Upper East Side). Today I did a makeup broadcast where I summarized what everyone said during the discussion we had on the Jewish cuisine, as a record of our history, dispersion and culture.
After some mild and spicy salads, hummus, and more we were served palov – a Bukharian rice and beef dish. It was delicious but I couldn’t get the restaurant to share its recipe, so I was forced to go online to search for it. Here’s what I found on about.com:
Bukharian Rice – Plov
My 12-year-old son, who is by far our family’s pickiest eater, came home from his friend’s house singing praises about this amazing rice dish. The song went something like this, “It was the most delicious dinner I have ever eaten in my whole life!” Of course I immediately called Ilanit for the recipe. I was happy to discover he was talking about a rice, chicken, vegetable combination prepared in one pot. Without further ado, enjoy Ilanit’s Bukharian Rice recipe.
2-3 pounds (1-1.5 kilo) boneless chicken breast, cut into small bite-size squares
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 1/2 cups rice
1/2 teaspoon salt rice
3 1/2 cups boiling water (enough to cover the rice by 1/2 inch or 1 cm)
1. Heat oil in a pot. Add onions, and then carrots. Stir in the sugar. Cook until the onions are translucent.
2. Lay the chicken on top of the onions and carrots. Don’t stir in order to maintain a layer of vegetables and a distinct layer of meat. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken. Cook the chicken, gently turning the pieces over in the middle, until the chicken turns white.
3. Add rice on top of the chicken. Don’t stir because the layers of vegetables and chicken should remain undisturbed, but distribute the rice evenly over the chicken. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add boiling water. Turn the heat down to low and cover.
4. After about 15 minutes, scrap down the sides and poke a few holes through the rice to the bottom of the pot with the handle of a wooden spoon. Cover and cook for another 15-25 minutes, until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender.
5. Serve in reverse order of the layers. Put the rice, then the chicken, then the vegetables onto the plates.Yields: 6-8 servings.
Tomorrow we will once again, be’ezras Hashem, be transmitting live from Nargila Grill (1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10028; Tel: 212.535.3700). Why? Because… tomorrow the owner’s mother will be cooking her famed Bukharian dishes.
We will discuss the cultural differences in Jewish foods, how the Jews throughout history were influenced by the local environment, but still managed to keep a strong Jewish tradition. It’s been said that its food defines a people, we will discuss how we adapted ourselves how the Jewish cuisine evolved and is far more than just gefilte fish, brisket and tcholent.
You can tune in to us at 7:30pm (Eastern Time) tomorrow evening at: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/kosherscene or you can join us at Nargila Grill ((1599 York Avenue – between E. 84 and E. 85th Street – New York 10028; Tel: 212.535.3700) for an evening of great talk and superb food. Nargila Grill is under the hasgacha of of the O K Labs.
I can’t wait to be surprised by owner/manager Michael’s mother cooking, I’m sure we’ll likely wash with some lepeshka bread, have some plov (Bukarian rice), or maybe we’ll have some samsa? or kebobs? Hmmnn, my mouth is watering! Oh, what’s the use, I better not think about and just taste whatever delicacies as they come.
So, gentle reader, considering the great food and the low prices we’ll we see you there? Why not come over and say hello?
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).
From left to right: Esti Berkowitz (Primetime Parenting), Alessandra Rovati (Dinner in Venice), Marlene Mamiye (The Kosher Hostess), Yours Truly, at the controls (The Kosher Scene), Kim Amzallag (Mishpacha/Kosher Inspired Magazine); Suzannah Raff (The Kosher Shopaholic), not pictured - as she spoke to us on the phone - Amy Channa (The Gluten Free Maven) PHOTO BY: Irving Schild
Nargila Grill is a Middle Eastern/Mediterranean type restaurant, the decor authentic Middle Eastern, with softly piped in music to match.
Getting ready to order. PHOTO BY: Irving Schild
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?
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!