Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hanukkah Gelt Cookies!

A major hit for the under-four set, and also for anyone who loves sugar cookies. They're sweet, uncomplicated, quick and seasonal. Exactly what you want a Hanukkah cookie to be. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar
2/3 cup margarine
2 eggs (or the equivalent in egg replacer)
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
25 pareve chocolate Hanukkah gelt coins

Procedure:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Mix the sugar and margarine until smooth, and add the eggs and wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix your dry ingredients well, and slowly add to your wet mixture. When the dough comes together, rolling the dough into balls and pressing lightly on them to flatten (on parchment paper-covered cookie sheets). Then unwrap a chocolate coin and place it in the middle. Or let a child do this!   

Bake 8-10 minutes, and take out immmediately for a softer cookie, or a little longer for a crispy cookie (Wait until the top browns a little for more crisp cookies). Cool the cookies on racks. With one-inch balls, you will yield approximately 25 cookies. For smaller balls, many more. I made a variety of sizes so that the chocolate gelt pieces would fit. Enjoy. A freilichen Hanukkah to all!

*If you don't wish to use immediately, the dough can also be formed into a log, placed in plastic wrap and refrigerated for an hour or overnight, or even frozen. When ready to bake, the dough can be sliced with a sharp knife into sugar cookies.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Interviewing Chef Kiko Sante, New Executive Chef at Mocha Bleu

Had a very interesting chat with Chef Kiko Sante, an Italian chef who, over his three decades working in America, has worked at several pretty legendary restaurants in Manhattan, including the Rainbow Room, Orsini and Tino's. He has now transitioned to as executive chef for the Glatt kosher restaurant, Mocha Bleu, in Teaneck.

Check out my interview! Enjoy!

http://jewishlinkbc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5321:mocha-bleu-debuts-new-executive-chef-menu&catid=160:business-spotlight&Itemid=572

Sunday, October 5, 2014

All-of-a-Kind Family Novels Reissued to Inspire a New Generation

I know this isn't food per se, but I learned of some of my favorite Lower East Side foods from these wonderful books... Such a pleasure that we get to re-read them with our children.
Many of the avid fiction readers among us were inspired by great books we read as young adults. Novels we read as older children and teenagers can often deeply affect one’s future understanding of life, history and relationships. One such example of a beloved book that stayed with young American Jewish girls was All-of-a-Kind Family. Sydney Taylor’s series about five sisters who lived in turn of the century New York, was published in the 1950s, and taught many kids about the nature of their grandparents’ childhoods on the Lower East Side. For the second half of the 20th century, All-of-a-Kind Family was the most recognizable and widely-known series about American-Jewish children.
This past summer, Lizzie Skurnick, editor-in-chief of Lizzie Skurnick Books, an imprint of Ig Publishing, began reissuing the four out-of-print sequels of All-of-a-Kind Family. The first two, All-of-a-Kind Family Uptown, and All-of-a-Kind Family Downtown, were reissued in June and July, and More All-of-a-Kind Family and Ella of All-of-a-Kind Family will be available this fall. The original title has never gone out of print.
“Those books were very important to me,” said Skurnick, in an interview with JLBC. Skurnick explained that she first began resurrecting out-of-print Young Adult (YA) fiction for a column she wrote for the online magazine Jezebel, which discussed a lost YA title in each entry. “They were literary classics,” she said. “I turned 35 and I suddenly realized how important these books had been to me. I realize they had formed so much of my notions of history. For example, I learned so much about the Lower East Side from All-of-a-Kind family.”

Monday, September 29, 2014

Teaneck Tween Chef Eitan Bernath to Compete on Chopped

Such a pleasure to interview young foodies!
Teaneck–For the last year or so, the Bernath family of Teaneck has been keeping a huge secret. A custom-made Choppedchef’s jacket was hanging in oldest son Eitan’s closet. The 12-year-old Yavneh student would soon be on national television, as part of the first-ever kids episode of Food Network’sChopped. But finally, the secret is out. His episode will air on Tuesday, September 30 at 10 p.m.
“It was actually a very stressful 6th-grade year for us, because we were constantly in training and we couldn’t tell anyone,” said Sabrina Bernath, Eitan’s mother. Eitan beat out close to a thousand other 5th and 6th graders to win the right to compete, and had six months to prepare for the challenge. The show filmed last April; Eitan is now in 7th grade and preparing for his bar mitzvah.
Read the rest of the article here: 
http://jewishlinkbc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=5026:teaneck-tween-chef-eitan-bernath-to-compete-on-food-networks-chopped&catid=150:news&Itemid=562

Crowdfunding a Kosher Vermont Cheddar

Really enjoyed interviewing Mark Bodzin and writing this piece about a new cheddar cheese coming out very soon!
Even visionaries need to have a day job. Mark Bodzin
, who works six days a week at the kosher deli counter at ShopRite in Livingston, is on a quest for delicious cheese. His idea: make an award-winning, aged farmstead cheddar, without animal rennet, certified kosher by the Vaad Harabonim of Massachusetts.
Bodzin, who lives in Highland Park, was born in Detroit and grew up in a kosher home in Rochester. He has also lived in Florida, Texas, Illinois, NYC and Israel. The food style he was exposed to growing up was “classic American”: lots of fish sticks, mashed potatoes and peas, with tuna noodle casserole often making an appearance on the dinner table. It wasn’t until he went traveling to Europe in 1991 that he tasted good kosher cheese.
“I walked into a shop in Paris in the 14th district, and there were racks upon racks of kosher wine, and so much kosher cheese to choose from,” he told JLBC.
Read the rest of the article at:
http://jewishlinkbc.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4178:crowdfunding-a-kosher-vermont-cheddar&catid=160:business-spotlight&Itemid=572

Friday, December 27, 2013

Kosher Thai Curry Paste

It turns out that Thai curry paste traditionally contains shrimp paste, so it's pretty much a no-go for us Yids. I looked but have not yet located any certified versions, and I have a pretty wide array of kosher products available to me at the many kosher stores here in Teaneck. The following is my own version, and it's spicy and mouthwateringly savory. It calls to mind all the Thai flavors (except basil, that goes in later as cooking finishes), and works well as a marinade, as a curry starter or as a sauce. A mortar and pestle or a spice grinder is ideal for mashing all the ingredients together, but that takes elbow grease; the small bowl attachment of a food processor works well also.

Ingredients:

1/3 cup shallots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 thumb-size piece of fresh ginger, peeled, small dice
3/4 tsp dried ground tumeric (or fresh, if you can find it!)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
3/4 inch piece of lemongrass stalk, small dice
1/2 to 3/4 tsp dried chili flakes (I used one small dried red chili)
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 tsp ground bay leaves or 2 kefir lime leaves (optional -- one can also place a bay leave in the curry itself when cooking)
1-2 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp brown sugar
1-2 tbsp soy sauce
2-4 tbsp coconut milk
1 tsp kosher salt (or to taste)

Combine dry ingredients and mash. Add liquids sparingly and process until smooth. Use as a marinade or in recipes. Thai chicken curry recipe to follow.

Friday, December 6, 2013

An Urgent Request To Bring Shabbos in Ten Minutes Early Today

We don't usually write messages like this, but we want to share a personal story with you, and ask you to help us. 

Our close friend, a young mother of three children aged 3 and younger, is waiting at home for her husband, who has been in the hospital at Columbia Presbyterian since just before Rosh Hashanah. The youngest child, an infant, has essentially never been held by his father.  

A strong, energetic young man, a man of business who has given back to this community generously, Ted (Raphael Avraham ben Edis Itka) fell ill almost exactly a year ago and has been in and out of consciousness since then. He has been unable to play with or hold his children. His condition continues to plateau and worsen even as everyone he and his family knows are praying for his refuah shleima.  

Our friend, this morning, on the shortest Friday of the year, started by asking 20 friends if they would bring in Shabbos today ten minutes early, to either learn or spend time with their children in the zechus of Ted's refuah shleima. Her friends, in turn, wish for all the community to do this on behalf of this family that is so dear to us. 

Any extra time that you can spend doing this today would be valued and appreciated. We hope that this will be a way for us to bargain with Hashem to bring Ted back to his wife and children, and to us. 

If you can do any extra tehillim or learning this Shabbos, and are able to do it in the zechus of Raphael Avraham ben Edis Itka, it would be greatly, greatly appreciated. We pray that Hashem will hear this great cry and bring Ted back to us all. 

Please forward or share if you can. Good Shabbos, and thank you,