Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey and Red Lentil Soup

Even I, who didn't make a whole bird (just a roast), had a lot of leftover turkey after Thanksgiving shabbos. I was in the mood for something spicy, so I started throwing things and spices in a pot and came up with a really good, really satisfying low-fat soup. It takes under 15 minutes to make but it tastes like you spent hours in the kitchen.

2 tsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped finely
1 head celery, diced
3 large carrots, diced small
3 (or more) large slices white meat turkey, torn into small pieces
1 cup cooked chickpeas
1 and 1/2 cup dry red lentils
2 tbsp Indian curry powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp hot chili powder or hot paprika (or to taste)
1 tbsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp kosher salt (to taste)
1 tsp black pepper
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley or coriander
10 cups water (or to cover all contents and give a little space for the lentils to expand)

Sweat onions, celery and carrots in a large pot with the olive oil, just until softened. Add the chopped turkey slices, chickpeas and spices. Taste and correct the seasoning to your liking. Then, add the lentils and the water and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes or until the lentils have softened. Turn off the heat and let stand for several minutes. Taste for seasoning (lentils often absorb salt). Enjoy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

My Kosherfest Highlights

Well, I'm home and resting (as much resting as I can do while chasing after my 10 month old twins) after a tiring two days at the world's most influential kosher food show, Kosherfest 2011, which took place at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ.

No matter how blase you are about kosher food, there is always something different or new to see at Kosherfest, most often not in the booths that contain scads of deep fried samples of frozen foods you would NEVER eat at home, but usually in out-of-the-way corner booths, in chance conversations on the show floor and with people exhibiting at Kosherfest for the first time.

My "best in show" is of course always the CKCA or Center for Kosher Culinary Arts booth, which I have had the honor of being associated with for several years since that fateful day in 2009 when I showed up to join the professional program in Culinary Arts. As I tell Kosherfest attendees, I'm a graduate of the program, and in fact, I liked it so much I never left. Just knowing that there is a place in America to learn classic French culinary technique in a Glatt Kosher environment shows how far the kosher world has come since the days of being known for cloying concord grape wine and bottled gefilte fish.

But I digress: since this is my personal blog, I want to take a few moments to mention some of my favorite show highlights:

First-time Kosherfest visitors from the Philippines showed up with an interesting new Passover offering, and since I'm a recipe tester, I was particularly excited about its possibilities. Coconut flour, which is being made by Coconut Republic, is certified kosher by the venerable Baltimore-based Star K, and I was assured by their representative that pre-Pesach packaging will include the Kosher for Passover certification. This opens up a whole world of baking ideas for me. I am looking forward to testing this new flour, which not only adheres to Passover non-leavened requirements, but is also purported to be high in fiber, gluten-free, cholesterol-free, transfat-free, and low in digestible carbohydrates. In the near term, you can look forward to me sharing many new baked recipes for cakes using coconut flour.

Jack's Gourmet is a very new company that took the kosher world by storm last year, debuting its first gourmet kosher sausage offerings only at Kosherfest 2010. This year, their Jamaican Jerk Chicken sausage won one of the Kosherfest new product awards for the category of meat/poultry. The sausage was indeed delicious, and boasted a combination of flavors that I, as a kosher-keeping consumer have never experienced. Spicy, sweet, and 100% yum. Jack's Gourmet also debuted another sausage flavor that got less attention at Kosherfest but was no less noteworthy: the buffalo chicken sausage. You basically had me at chorizo, but then you gave me buffalo wing flavor? I am very impressed and glad that this small company is delivering truly robust flavors. May you go from strength to strength.

Truly the best part of Kosherfest for me was meeting so many other women who also blog, write, edit, spin (cook, craft, cope), and otherwise make a living from the kosher world. From couponkosher.com to busyinbrooklyn.com, to kosheronabudget.com, to kosherlikeme.com, to koshereye.com, to Joy of Kosher, to Jewpon.com to Bits and Bites, to Norene Gilletz, to Elka Pinson, to Jamie Geller to Leah Schapira, and so many others. I am so glad to know you. Knowing you makes the kosher world smaller; somehow friendlier. I think this population of women illustrates just how different a role women play in the kosher scene. Many of us don't work on the production side (unless you're Zelda of Zelda's Bake Shoppe), but we show it off; we interpret it and make it beautiful for the world to see.

Thanks to the Kosherfest team for making Kosherfest 2011 an amazing event and a worthy, important industry gathering.