8 Expert Tips for Better Grilling

veggies ready for the grill

Contributed by Katy Morris

Local chef and well-known foods educator, Cecily Gans, has shared her top tips for becoming a grilling guru just in time for Father’s Day. Why now? Because we know some dads out there that may agree that a well cooked, moist BBQ chicken on the grill is better than a tie… Continue reading

Cooking Classes Celebrate Spring

photo courtesy of Haven's Kitchen

photo courtesy of Haven’s Kitchen

Thinking about Mother’s Day yet?

Any of these cooking classes would surely thrill the Moms in your life. Participants gain new skills along with fresh recipes to enjoy in the warmer months. And these classes are a blast to enjoy with someone you love.

Search the categories and locations below to find kosher, vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan classes sure to lure you into the kitchens at some of our favorite cooking schools and culinary hot spots in CT and NYC.

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It’s a Sweet Week for Non-Dairy Desserts

 

photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

photo courtesy of Shannon Sarna

Contributed by Shannon Sarna, blogger and content editor at The Nosher.

I hate pareve desserts. Hate. Despise. Abhor. Loathe. Detest. Any other synonyms I missed?

In my culinary endeavors, I am first and always a baker. I love using butter, heavy cream and buttermilk whenever possible. So pareve baking is truly the worst challenge with which I have to contend as a kosher cook. Continue reading

What’s the Skinny on Chestnuts?

chestnut risotto Marcia Selden Catering

Recipe courtesy of Marcia Selden Catering, Stamford, CT

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire… hard not to hum along, I know.  But what’s the skinny on chestnuts? And what about actually roasting them on an open fire?

Chef Robin Selden helped me out here with lots of interesting facts and useful tips in addition to the easy and fragrant recipe for Truffled Chestnut Risotto, below.

Let’s start with that oft referred to “roasting on an open fire”: Continue reading

Stop by THE STAND for Juice and Lots More

B.O.C. breakfast of champions

Contributed by Katy Morris

Their mantra says it all: “Fresh. Organic. Always Animal Product Free.” Actually, it almost says it all… The Stand Juicing Company could also use “locally sourced”, “delicious, nutritious vegan fare”, “all natural juices”, “welcoming atmosphere”, and “energetic, endearing staff” to their slogan to really paint a full picture of what they are all about. AND they serve plenty of tempting food along with their juices. Continue reading

It’s Truffle Season, finalmente. Here’s What You Should Know

tartufi at Brezza

Contributed by Katy Morris

Now that it’s truffle season you may want to know what all the fuss is about. For sure, it’s best to be educated before you consider finishing a dish with shavings of these precious nuggets. That’s wine connoisseur David Lynch (above) checking out the goods before buying them  from a truffle hunter in Alba.  To read more about the many options for vegetarian and kosher friendly pasta and fish preparations in Lombardy, stop back on Thursday to read about Liz’ truffle and wine adventures in Northwestern Italy. 

But first, here’s the scoop on truffles:

 

Do I really have to fly to Europe to experience the indulgence of truffles?  Continue reading

A Fresh Spin on Summer Salads

multi colored beets

As the season heats up and farmers’ markets everywhere suddenly have heaping piles of crisp, rainbow hued salad ingredients to offer, I needed a little jump start to get me thinking about new combinations and uses for all those spicy greens and plump beans. So when I ran across an article about Haven’s Kitchen in the NY TIMES a few weeks back, I promptly registered for a class there,  called  ”All Sorts of Salad”. Continue reading

Brazilian Foodie shares Traditions and Recipes

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By Melissa Roberts

On a recent, chilly March evening, members of the Westport, CT Chabad community were treated to a taste from the warmer shores of Brazil, featuring chef Leticia Moreinos Schwartz.  Leticia, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute in New York and a Weston, CT resident by way of Rio, honed her considerable skills in restaurants, including Le Cirque 2000, La Grenouille, and Payard, and as a writer for magazines such as Saveur and Fine Cooking.

Brazilian and kosher cuisine may not seem a natural pair; in fact, Leticia admitted that keeping a kosher home while growing up in Brazil was difficult for her parents. Kosher butchers, for example, weren’t easily accessible, and overall the country’s Jewish population is small–150,000 in total with roughly 30,000 in Rio alone. Conversely, she recalls Jewish culture, as rich and very much alive, heavily influenced by an Israeli connection.

Leticia spoke fondly of being educated in Hebrew day schools, and having a strong sense of her heritage through music and song. And while Jewish life didn’t have a huge impact on her cooking, the backdrop of her native country did.

Brazilian food is a varied mix of flavors that reflect an equally diverse and far reaching population. African, Portuguese and Indigenous cultures all have an overriding influence, though other European countries, even Lebanon and India make an appearance, dashes of each exemplified in the dishes Leticia presented in her warm, lively way.

Chef Leticia Schwartz

A side dish featured hearts of palm. The tender trunk of a tree with over 100 varieties in Brazil alone, many of us have seen it in jarred or canned form, nestled in salads. Leticia brought it front and center, sauteed with shallots and parsley, perhaps a nod to France, the palm hearts very Brazilian.

photo:  Leticia Schwartz

photo: Leticia Schwartz

Xim Xim de Galinha, a braised chicken stew in a tomato and coconut based sauce was enriched with ground cashews and peanuts, an African technique, the tomatoes an addition from the New World, the turmeric and paprika nods to India and Hungary, the chopped cilantro at the end, Latino. The sauce was creamy and rich without a lick of dairy. Different and delicious all at once.

The recipe featured here, Guava Thumbprint Cookies, sums up the mongrel nature of Brazilian cuisine perfectly. Guava being indigenous to the country and its tropical climes, the crumbly nut based cookie drenched in powdered sugar reminiscent of a Mexican wedding cookie, the thumbprint, very American. Leticia omitted dairy from her recipes accordingly, easily adapting them to a meat centered meal.

Thanks to Leticia, it was a special lesson in the diversity and flexibility of Brazilian cooking, and how kosher can go beyond familiar borders.

Leticia Moreinos Schwartz  is the author of The Brazilian Kitchen and the upcoming My Rio de Janeiro. To learn more about participating in Leticia’s cooking classes you may contact her at http://www.chefleticia.com/cookingclasses.

Portrait of Leticia: Chia Messina.

 

Guava Thumbprint Cookies

approximately 60 small cookies

Guava Thumbprint Cookies

These fragrant cookies are a specialty of Leticia Schwartz, The Brazilian Foodie. She blogs at http://www.chefleticia.com/

These tasty bites may be dairy or parve (dairy free).

We found kosher guava paste at www.earthy.com. One lb is $7.50.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups lightly toasted walnuts
  • 1¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 sticks ( 1 cup) margarine or butter substitute (such as Fleishman’s or Earth Balance) or unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • Confectioners sugar for dusting
  • 1 cup guava paste
  • Few drops of lemon juice (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Place the walnuts in the food processor and whir until finely ground, being careful not to turn into a paste. Add the flour and pulse until well combined.
  3. Using a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the margarine or butter and sugar together on medium speed, until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add the extracts and beat to blend. Reduce the speed to low, and add the nut-flour mixture, scraping the sides of the bowl, mixing only until it is incorporated into the dough.
  4. Working with a teaspoon of dough at a time, roll between the palms of your hand to form small balls and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheets. Secure each cookie with one hand down at the sheet pan, and use the pinkie of your other hand, or the end of a wooden spoon, make an indentation in the center of each cookie (be careful not to go all the way through). Bake until slightly colored (pale golden), about 15-18 minutes, rotating the sheet at the mid time point.
  5. Remove the baking sheets from the oven, and let them cool for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. When it’s cool, dust with confectioners sugar. Repeat baking procedure with all the dough.
  6. Place the guava paste in a small saucepan and add just a few drops of water to melt the paste to the consistency of jam. Add a few drops of lemon juice to balance the sweetness to taste (optional). You want to fill the cookies while the jam is still warm, so that it sets inside the cookie. Fill the indentations of all cookies with enough warm guava jam to come to the level with the tops. Cool to room temperature.
http://kosherlikeme.com/in-the-kitchen/brazilian-foodie-shares-traditions-and-recipes

Turkish Temptations? Tell Me More!

photo by Debra Somerville

photo by Debra Somerville

I shared an hour on the phone with Moshe Aelyon last Friday afternoon and hung up with a deep hankering for Turkish cuisine.  I had planned to spend the afternoon with him,  chatting in his handsome kitchen while he prepared a distinctly Turkish, kosher style, Sabbath dinner for his regular, weekly client. Continue reading