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,


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Easy Egg-Free Pancakes

Most egg-free pancake recipes don't really have nutritional content, so I am happy to have made this for my daughters (one of whom is allergic to eggs). It contains milk, oat bran, and whole wheat pastry flour, so it packs a nutritional punch even though it tastes just like regular pancakes. I hope you enjoy them as much as my girls do.

Ingredients:

1 and 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all purpose flour -- don't substitute regular whole wheat flour)
1 tbsp baking powder
1 cup whole milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1 and 1/2 tbsp water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp oat bran

light butter (salted)
canola spray

Procedure:

Combine all ingredients and mix only until combined. Heat a non-stick pan or griddle with canola spray and a generous pat of light butter, to a medium-high heat. When the butter bubbles, drop 2 or 3 tbsp-sized dollops of batter and wait until the sided start to bubble, indicating readiness to flip. Cook briefly on the other side and remove from heat. They cook very quickly. Serve immediately with maple syrup, honey brown sugar and/or fruit.


Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Dairy Mexican Lasagne With Spinach, Corn and Black Beans

I love this easy, spicy casserole. It has Mexican flavors with the comfort food feel of Italian lasagne. I can make a pan or two at a time, and either freeze one, to have a fabulous dinner on hand for another week, or to deliver to a friend.

Ingredients:

1 and 1/2 boxes lasagne noodles (I use and recommend the lower carb Dreamfield's brand)
2 cups reduced fat or low fat cheese, shredded

For spinach filling:

2 cups frozen spinach, thawed or 4 cups fresh
2 cups ricotta cheese, part skim
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
1 cup cooked black beans, rinsed
1 cup whole kernel sweet corn

For Sauce layer:

1 large onion, diced
2 large cans (15.5 oz.) tomato sauce
2 large cans (15.5 oz.) diced tomatoes in juice
1 bottle salsa or enchilada sauce
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp onion powder
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp chili powder
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

Combine spinach ingredients and mix well. For sauce layer, carmelize the onion and then add the rest of the ingredients, and simmer for 15 minutes to one hour. Cook lasagne noodles to package directions.

Line two lasagne pans or baking dishes with parchment paper. Spoon sauce to the bottom of both pans and layer with noodles, followed by the spinach filling, then a thin layer of cheese. Cover with lasagne noodles, then sauce, then spinach, and repeat until lasagne is on top followed by sauce, then cheese.

Bake at 350 for one hour until bubbling. The casserole freezes well but takes a long time to thaw.