Archive for the 'Pastrami' Category


A Conversation with Ted Merwin

TedMrwnAfter a 5 months long hiatus, due to voice issues and more, we will be back this evening at 11:00 pm (Eastern Time) The Kosher Scene Radio Show. Our guest will be Ted Merwin, who is Associate Professor of Religion and Judaic Studies at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania, where he is the Founding Director of the Milton B. Ashell Center for Jewish Life. He writes about Jewish theater, dance, and food for the New York Jewish Week and other major newspapers and magazines.

Professor Merwin is the author of a fascinating new book, Pastrami on Rye – An overstuffed History Of The Jewish Deli. I found it a fascinating read, very informative with just the right amount of nostalgia, a touch of humor and a tremendous love for the subject matter.

The book introduces its subject…

Is anything more emblematic of New York City than the overstuffed pastrami sandwich on rye? The picled and smoked meats sold in storefront Jewish delicatessens starting in the late nineteenth centurybecame part of the heritage of all New Yorkers. But they were, of course, especially important to Jews; the history of the delicatessen is the history of Jews eating themselves into Americans. The skyscraper sandwich became a hallmark of New PastramiYork. But it also became a a potent symbol of affluence, of success, and of the attainment of the American Dream. As the slogan for Reuben’s, an iconic delicatessen in the theater district boasted, “From a sandwich to a national institution.”

The deli became an institution, an institution not only for Jews, but as the book widely attests for many non-Jews as well. Why? As the Introduction continues:

[..]…the pastrami, corned beef, salami, bologna, and tongue that were sold in storefront New York delicatessen became, for a time, a mainstay of the American Jewish diet, taking on a primacy they had never enjoyed in Eastern Jewish culture…

[..]These Jewish eateries were known for the staggering amount and variety of food on display; the delicatessen, in the words of the food historian John Mariani “represented American bounty in its most voluptuou and self indulgent form.” Smoked and pickled meat, from their roots in central and eastern Europe, help a special place even within Jewish “cuisine,” which extended from kreplach (dumplings) and knishes (savory pastries) to kishke (stuffed intestines, also known as stuffed derma)…

My mouth is watering! I can taste and smell it all…

Please listen in this evening to at 11:00 pm (Eastern Time) The Kosher Scene Radio Show for a fascinating conversation about a chapter of Americana and its Jewish roots.

Meanwhile in case you missed it, why not listen to: A Conversation with Beth Warren, MS, RDN, CDN – 2.

We’ll be looking for you, but while we are waiting I better grab some mustard…



Perfect Jewish

Published by Parragon Publishing, UK; 2008

From the dust cover:

The unique flavors of Jewish Regional cooking are brought to life in this fascinating new cookbook. It features an enticing range of 120 recipes from Jewish communities all around the world.

Perfect Jewish is a delightful cookbook by Elizabeth Wolf-Cohen features both Ashkenazic and Sephardic dishes divided into 5 sections:

  • Soups, aalads & appetizers
  • Main dishes
  • Light dishes and accompaniments
  • Desserts, cakes & cookies
  • Breads & pastries
The featured recipes cover Central, Eastern Europe and Russia, Spain, Portugal, the Middle East and North Africa. The selections and the beautiful photos paint a rich picture of our culture adapting itself to the various regions around the world that were graced with a Jewish presence.
The easy to follow, detailed recipes, and the mouth watering photos make this a must have book for every kitchen. It was hard to choose just one recipe out the many succulent selections but I finally decided upon something uniquely American, so we adapted (the original deli recipe calls for Gruyere cheese) the following from the book:

Detail from photo on page 142...

The Reubens Sandwich


  • 2 tbsp margarine softened
  • 4 slices “deli” rye bread
  • 4 – 6 oz cooked roast beef, or corned beef, or pastrami, [or a combination of any of these] thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup sauerkraut, well drained
  • vegetable oil or margarine for frying
  • Pickled cucumbers to serve [yes, there is recipe for these on page 41, if you are truly ambitious!]
Thousand Island Dressing
  • 1 cup bottled or home made mayonnaise
  • 2 tbsp ketchup or chili sauce
  • 2 tbsp seeded and finely chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped pimento
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped sweet and sour pickled cucumber
Following the great emigration of the 1880s, by the 1920s more than 2 million Jews were working in sweatshops. They bought kosher foods from Jewish neighbors and a great Jewish-American institution, the Jewish deli, was born. It served some fantastic sandwiches.
  1. Dressing: Mix the dressing ingredients together in a bowl until well blended. Store, refrigerated, in an air tight container for up to one week.
  2. Spread margarine on to one side of each bread slice. Lay margarine- side down. Spread the center with 1 tbsp each of the dressing.
  3. Divide the roast beef between 2 bread slices tucking in the slices to fit. Divide the sauerkraut and make an even layer over the roast beef. Top with the remaining bread slices, margarine side out, and press firmly to compress the layers.
  4. Heat a non-stick skillet or ridged griddle pan over medium-high heat. Carefully slide the sandwiches into the pan. Press down on on the tops of the sandwiches. Cook for 3 minutes or until the undersides are crisp and golden.
  5. Carefully turn, press down again and cook for 2 minutes, or until golden and the beef is hot. Transfer to a cutting board Cut in half and serve with pickles.
Serves 2
Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!

Jack’s Gourmet – Part 1

Of the delicious products (new and old) I got to taste at this year’s Kosherfest, Jack’s Gourmet sausages rank among the best. With no fillers, no by-products and no artificial flavors their natural goodness makes them a superb choice for a cold winter eve… or any other occasion.

Jack’s Gourmet, the company is the brainchild of two partners. Chef Jack Silberstein and Dr. Alan Broner.

Chef Jack Silberstein, Dr. Alan Broner

Chef Jack graduated  from the Culinary Institute of America (America’s foremost culinary school) in Hyde Park, NY, in 2007. He worked as a private chef aboard a yacht and is a respected consultant with the meat industry. Dr. Broner is a dentist with a popular private practice as well as a professor of dentistry. Dr. Broner has a long time interest in cooking and fine cuisine having attended many courses and cooking demos both in Manhattan (many at the De Gustibus School School of Good Taste) and in Brooklyn. It was, in fact, at one such course given in Brooklyn (by Chef Jack) that the two partners met.

Noting the lack of anything resembling good tasting sausages in the kosher world, they set out to produce them. I can attest they’ve succeeded and deliciously so!!! Not only were they the most popular stop at Kosherfest 2010, but every time I stopped by by I saw most of the celebrity chefs standing in line waiting to get another bite.

Their sausages come in 5 varieties:

  • Mexican Style Chorizo
  • Boereworks (South African style)
  • Sweet Italian
  • Hot Italian
  • Cured Bratwurst

They also produce the best tasting, most aromatic, 1st Cut Pastrami and 1st Cut Corned Beef Brisket, I ever had.

Jack's Gourmet mouthwatering selections

I picked up all these selections last Thursday. After tasting the superb pastrami and corned beef I started that evening’s dinner with rolls made with corned beef, pastrami and bratwurst…

truly succulent!

On Shabbos, I used the Cured Bratwurst as one of the three types of meat (pastrami deckel and cheek were the other two) I put in cholent. The taste, the aroma, were incredibly enhanced. It was one of my most successful experiments and probably the best cholent I ever made.

Well, gentle reader, I guess I’ll have to come back and tell you about the rest of the flavors…



Noah’s Ark

Smack in the middle of Cedar Lane stands Noah’s Ark (493 Cedar Lane; Teaneck, NJ 07666; Telephone: 201.692.1200) this roomy180 ft long eatery sits 190 people comfortably. Established in 1988 by a young Noam Sokolow (who started in the food industry at the tender age of 14), it has grown from a neighborhood deli style place to the largest family Glatt Kosher restaurant in all of Jersey – boasting over 140 different items on its extensive menu.

One of the sit down areas...

Get this- 20 different types of burgers!!  So many mouthwatering choices, ranging from their Lower East Side Burger ( topped with their succulent chulent and kishka), to their Ginormous Burger (a Super-Deluxe 36ozs. mouthwatering grilled burger, topped with LTO – lettuce, tomato and onions – and a side of crispy french fries). CS and I shared their BBQ Brisket Burger, topped with slow-roasted brisket, caramelized onions and their Chef’s Special BBQ Sauce, with a side of sweet potato fries and Chipottle sauce.  A glorious, perfectly cooked, fat, juicy, oversized burger topped with melt-in-your-mouth sauce.  It was thoroughly decadent and delicious!

BBQ Brisket Burger, with sweet potato fries and Chipottle sauce

Noah’s Ark likes to do things up ‘big’. Their portion sizes are huuuuge!.  Last year, as a kick-off event for the Big Apple Games – featuring an Israeli team – they entered the Guinness Book of World records with the world’s largest matzo ball – weighing in at a hefty 267 pounds.

X-Treme Combo Sampler (a very big sized plate!)

What Noam served up for us, was comparably massive, we couldn’t begin to do it justice!  We started with their X-treme Combo Appetizer of onion rings, chicken wings and chicken fingers.   All three were great.  My family happens to love chicken nuggets and these tenders rivaled any of our favorites in Brooklyn.

Nacho Appetizer Salad

We followed with a Nacho Appetizer of chopped salad mixed with Mexican spiced chopped meat, sitting on tortilla chips topped with guacamole and pareve sour cream. I found it far above similar dishes I’ve eaten at other establishments billing themselves as Mexican…

We sampled their deli favorites of Corned Beef and Pastrami on rye.  Both were reminiscent of the old Shmulke Bernstein’s on Essex – hot, fresh, tender, great quality and well seasoned.  All we missed was the side of cole slaw and Guss’s sour pickles.

I chose their popular Large Tossed Salad with Grilled Chicken, one of the many healthy additions made to the menu as their customer base became more health conscientious.

Noam’s got a really simple modus operandi – Give the customers what they want! Though he runs a tight ship with loyal long tenured staff, he claims not to be the boss, “the customers really own the restaurant.”  Noam’s totally customer driven; “If the customers walk out happy, I’m happy!”  Noah’s Ark has evolved with its customers. They, like their consumers, are more sophisticated and health savvy. Their landmark establishment is like a gastronomic family retrospective. Entire families have grown up on this delicious comfort food; sustaining folks from Bris to nuptials. Their Dove Room, celebrating simchas/private parties holds anywhere from 40-100 people at affordable rates of $35-$45 per person.

Whether for corporate or simcha events, Noah’s Ark will deliver platters and meals right to your doorstep. And if you’re on the road, not to worry, Noah’s Ark has full portion travel meals that can be Fed Ex’ed next day to your destination anywhere in the U.S. Hours of operation are M-Th 10-10 fri- 8-4 and Sunday 9:30-10. A great place to take the family; in fact, make it a tradition!


Noah's Ark Glatt Kosher on Urbanspoon

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