photo: Natalie Woyshner

photo: Natalie Woyshner

Contributed by Katy Morris

How does a non-Jewish, half-Mexican, half-Japanese, treyf-loving chef become the first ever kosher “cheftestant” on one of the most popular TV shows in the country?

I didn’t pick kosher, kosher picked me,” he claims.

Chef Katsuji Tanabe of L.A.’s premiere authentic Mexican kosher restaurant, Mexikosher and recent winner of Food Network’s Chopped, made it through the first round of Top Chef last Wednesday eve. 

On the eve of the premiere, I asked him to Tell Me More.

 

First off, why KOSHER?! You are not even Jewish!

I have a famous quote, “I didn’t pick kosher, kosher picked me.” Having a young family now makes it much easier for me to own a kosher business, as I have come to cherish the Sabbath for the time that it allows me to spend with my family and friends.  This luxury is typically non-existent in the restaurant world. As to cooking kosher, it is quite honestly what keeps me interested and challenged on a daily basis.

 

How have the challenges you faced growing up helped shape who you are?

When I lived in Mexico, we enjoyed a very comfortable lifestyle.  When I moved to Los Angeles, I had to work much harder than the average person and dedicate myself to my career, just to once again achieve that status that I enjoyed early in my life.  Just being a cook was never going to be enough.  It forced me to focus upon my craft and culinary technique very early on in my career, rather than chasing television shows.

MexiKosher Chicken burrito, photo: Natalie Woyshner

MexiKosher Chicken burrito, photo: Natalie Woyshner

 

I’m sure you have gotten plenty of interesting reactions when people find out you are half-Japanese, half Mexican, non-Jewish, but kosher. What were some of these reactions?

When I first began cooking kosher, they assigned two Jewish kosher supervisors to watch over me, because they did not believe that I could possibly be adhering strictly to kosher regulations.

People oftentimes think that this is a joke, but the kosher community has pushed me to not only succeed, but to be the best chef that I can be.  It is the loyalty of my regular customers that has kept me cooking for the kosher community, rather than simply taking the simper path of opening a regular restaurant in Los Angeles.

It has become my “calling.”

Tuna and Halibut Ceviche. photo: Natalie Woyshner. Recipe below.

Tuna and Halibut Ceviche. photo: Natalie Woyshner. Recipe below.

 

TOP CHEF -- "Sudden Death" Episode 1201 -- Pictured: Alvara "Katsuji Tanabe" Soto -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

TOP CHEF — “Sudden Death” Episode 1201 — Pictured: Alvara “Katsuji Tanabe” Soto — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

 

You are about to be the first ever kosher chef on one of the most popular reality TV shows in the US. Tell us what you are thinking! 

 First, it was impossible for me to cook kosher for Top Chef.  I am very proud of my kosher status and I speak of it often on the show, but the show was not equipped for this.  And honestly, it is my lifetime of playing hockey, not another cooking competitions, that gave me a competitive edge for these shows.

TOP CHEF -- "Boston's Bravest and Finest" Episode 1202 -- Pictured: (l-r) Greogry Gourdet, Dougie Adams, Keriann Von Raesfeld, Katsuji Tanabe, Joy Crump -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

TOP CHEF — “Boston’s Bravest and Finest” Episode 1202 — Pictured: (l-r) Greogry Gourdet, Dougie Adams, Keriann Von Raesfeld, Katsuji Tanabe, Joy Crump — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

Much of the success on these shows depends as much upon mental strength as culinary talent, and I thrive in competitive environments.

Pictured: (l-r) Katsuji Tanabe, Todd English, Padma Lakshmi -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

Pictured: (l-r) Katsuji Tanabe, Todd English, Padma Lakshmi — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

Can you tell us a little about your involvement with the Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters of Los Angeles?

I have a young daughter and another on the way, and I wanted the focus of my charitable affiliation to include children in some way.

JBBSLA offered me the chance to work directly with the kids with healthy cooking classes, and it was good chance to offer them some much needed attention in the kosher community.   They are an amazing organization that happens to be celebrating their 100th Anniversary this year. The timing couldn’t have been better for us to form a partnership, so that I could use my fifteen minutes from Top Chef to benefit our community.

 

TOP CHEF -- "Boston's Bravest and Finest" Episode 1202 -- Pictured: Katsuji Tanabe -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

TOP CHEF — “Boston’s Bravest and Finest” Episode 1202 — Pictured: Katsuji Tanabe — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

How do your kosher customers respond when using unusual, authentic ingredients like cactus leaves?

The kosher community, especially the younger generation, is watching all of this food on television now, and they are demanding that they be able to enjoy these food items as well, while remaining kosher.  In my experience, our customers have been very open and receptive to anything new and interesting that we’ve offered, including recently brain, tripe, and other ingredients that you would normally never see in the typical kosher restaurant.

 

We’ve seen that in kosher restaurants, chefs tend to go either meat or dairy – but often times Mexican food is thought to necessitate both. How have you gone about exploring non-dairy substitutes?

Interestingly, there is a big difference between authentic Mexican cooking and Tex Mex.  In our traditional cooking in Mexico, we use very little cheese or dairy, so the provided a natural extension to then make this authentic cuisine kosher. I do use a good soy cheese on my burger, and sometimes, thanks to molecular gastronomy, I can re-create cream based items that are kosher, but never to use in my own Mexican foods.

 

Backstage pass to MexiKosher's salsas.

Backstage pass to MexiKosher’s salsas.

You seem to put your salsas front and center. Which is your favorite?

Salsa could be considered a “mother sauce” in Mexican cooking; and Chile Guajillo is the mother of all salsas. Fifty percent of a classic taco is the salsa, so it is not just out front in my restaurant, it is very much in the forefront of the cuisine.  We are always experimenting with friends and family to come up with new flavors.

 

TOP CHEF -- "Sudden Death" Episode 1201 -- Pictured: (l-r) Ron Eyester, Adam Harvey, Melissa King, Mei Lin, Gregory Gourdet, Stacey Cogswell, Mikhail "Mike" Patlazhan, Rebecca LaMalfa, Keriann Von Raesfeld, Joy Crump, Dougie Adams, James Rigato, Alvara "Katsuji Tanabe" Soto -- (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

TOP CHEF — “Sudden Death” Episode 1201 — Pictured: (l-r) Ron Eyester, Adam Harvey, Melissa King, Mei Lin, Gregory Gourdet, Stacey Cogswell, Mikhail “Mike” Patlazhan, Rebecca LaMalfa, Keriann Von Raesfeld, Joy Crump, Dougie Adams, James Rigato, Alvara “Katsuji Tanabe” Soto — (Photo by: David Moir/Bravo)

 

Be sure to tune into Bravo’s Top Chef Season 12 on Wednesdays at 10pm ET/PST to follow Chef Katsuji Tanabe in this addicting competition for culinary victory. We wish Katsuji all the best!

 

Thank you to the Top Chef contestant, Katsuji Tanabe, for sharing this Tuna and Halibut Ceviche recipe that proved a success in the show’s audition.

Tuna and Halibut Ceviche

Tuna and Halibut Ceviche

This recipe was generously shared by Chef Katsuji Tanabe, owner of MexiKosher in L. A. He prepared this ceviche as part of his audition for Top Chef Boston on Bravo.

Photo credit: Natalie Woyshner

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy) and fish.

Ingredients

  • 1lb Tuna large cubed
  • 1lb Halibut medium size cubed
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 slice jalapeno
  • 1/4 yuzu juice*
  • 1/4 cup super virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup Sake
  • 1/2 cup cubed jicama
  • 2 tbsp sugar

Instructions

  1. Combine the sugar, sake, one-half of the chopped jalapeños, and soy sauce
  2. Bring all to a boil, reduce temperature and allow to slowly reduce until thickened
  3. Set aside and chill
  4. Salt the tuna and halibut with 1 tbsp of kosher salt, allow to cure for 30 min (covered, in refrigerator)
  5. Mix the fish with yuzu juice, olive oil, jicama, sliced jalapenos and marinate for at least 5 minutes
  6. Plate the bottom of the bowl with a smear of the soy sauce, mix the fishes with jicama drizzle and olive oil
  7. Garnish with fresh cilantro

Notes

*Yuzu is a small citrus fruit that resembles a miniature grapefruit. It is both tart and floral.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/is-this-kosher-chef-the-next-top-chef-ceviche-helps
 

 

 

photo

Leaf and Ardor created this quinoa dish by simmering the grain in brewed Heaven and Earth tea

Heaven and Earth Tea lends an earthy undertone with notes of raisin and cedar.  In this recipe, the floral scent of jasmine is punctuated  by diced apricots and chopped pistachios.

Heaven and Earth Quinoa

2 servings

This quinoa recipe was developed by Leaf and Ardor Tea Co. It uses their Heaven and Earth tea blend as a simmering liquid for oh- so- easy quinoa.

It would be a perfect entree for vegetarians or an easy accompaniment to fish or chicken.

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy) vegan, and gluten-free.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup water
  • 4 teaspoons Leaf & Ardor Heaven & Earth tea
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, sliced finely
  • 1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, peeled and minced
  • ½ cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 5 dried apricots, diced
  • ¼ cup unsalted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • 2 scallions (green portion), very thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat water to approximately 200° (slightly below boiling). Steep tea in hot water for 5 – 6 minutes (tea should steep to a chestnut brown color).
  2. Add olive oil and sliced shallots to medium saucepan, and sauté shallots over medium-low heat until slightly caramelized/tan in color. Add 3/4 of the minced ginger and sauté for an additional minute.
  3. Add quinoa to sauté mixture, mix in well and immediately add the tea liquid. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to low. Simmer 15 minutes or until water is evaporated.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in pistachios and apricots. Place in serving dish. Sprinkle on top all of the sliced scallions and remaining minced ginger.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/heaven-and-earth-quinoa

 

Originally Posted in “Heaven and Earth Quinoa

Harvest Brew

Talk about seasonal cooking and autumnal inspiration!

Leaf and Ardor‘s Harvest Brew Tea is used two ways in this delicious Maple Glazed stuffed chicken breast recipe. We believe that makes it doubly good!

The uniquely fruity tea blend combines bits of apples, apricots and red currants with rosemary, allspice, cloves and orange peels. The creative duo at Leaf and Ardor then tossed in N. Y. state hops lending an earthiness to the fruity undertones.

Remember to use local maple syrup whenever possible. We love Doc’s Maple Syrup here in CT!

Harvest Brew Roasted Chicken with Mushroom-Apple Stuffing and Maple-Balsamic Glaze

2 servings

Harvest Brew Roasted Chicken with Mushroom-Apple Stuffing and Maple-Balsamic Glaze

Leaf and Ardor Tea Co. used their Harvest Brew tea as inspiration and ingredient for this stuffed chicken recipe. The autumnal fruits and spices in this blend will fill your kitchen with the heady fragrance of fall harvest.

This recipe is kosher and MEAT.

Thank you, Leaf and Ardor, for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 3 tablespoons Leaf & Ardor Harvest Brew fruit and spice blend
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • For the mushroom-apple stuffing:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons shallots, finely chopped
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • ½ teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • ½ medium apple, chopped (we prefer Fuji but any kind will do)
  • For the maple-balsamic glaze:
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • Orange zest, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat water to boiling. Add Harvest Brew blend. Steep 7 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Rinse and dry the chicken.
  3. Pour 1 cup of steeped Harvest Brew over the chicken. Allow chicken to marinate in the refrigerator for approximately 3 hours.
  4. After marinating, drain the liquid and pat the chicken dry. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  5. For the mushroom-apple stuffing: heat olive oil and shallots in a medium-sized frying pan. Sauté until shallots are caramelized. Add cremini mushrooms, rosemary, and thyme and sauté for several more minutes. Add apple and gradually add ¾ cup of Harvest Brew to the mixture. Simmer and let reduce until all liquid has evaporated. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. To stuff the chicken: Cut a horizontal slit through the length of each chicken breast to form a pocket, leaving a ½ inch of chicken around the perimeter of the cut. Fill generously with stuffing and close the opening with a toothpick.
  7. For the maple-balsamic glaze: mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, salt and pepper. Add some of the glaze to the bottom of a baking pan. Place chicken breasts in the pan and pour remaining glaze over the chicken. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes, basting the chicken with the glaze a few times during that time.
  8. Remove chicken from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice crosswise on a bias. Once on the plate, pour remaining juices from the baking pan over the chicken and top with orange zest.
http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/harvest-brew-chicken-with-apple-mushroom-stuffing

 

_MG_0006

Contributed by Melissa Roberts

Served on Sukkot, kreplach (soup dumplings) serve a dual purpose. First, for practical purposes and when served in soup, it’s a warming dish when eaten outdoors on a cool autumn night.

The second reason is more spiritual and symbolic. Eaten on the seventh day of the holiday, known as Hoshanah Rabbah, this is the day the verdicts of judgement delivered on Yom Kippur are sealed. (Yes! Kreplach =Fillings + Sealed in dough.)

process 6

Similar to ravioli or wontons, kreplach are quintessential Ashkenazi Jewish fare. Once a frugal way to stretch leftovers, this filling, which begins from scratch, is nevertheless a snap to prepare, and using thin, delicate wonton wrappers, found in the supermarket’s produce or refrigerated section, are an elegant, easy timesaver.

 

process 1

process 2

process 4

process 5

 

Beef Kreplach

30 kreplach

Beef Kreplach

We used NASOYA brand wonton wraps for these kreplach. The wraps are pareve (non-dairy) and are perfect for making ravioli, too.

Recipe: Melissa Roberts

This recipe is MEAT.

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped (about ½ cup)
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped (about ? cup)
  • 1 celery stalk, finely chopped (about ? cup)
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • ½ lb ground beef (not more than 85% lean)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 (12 ounce) package wonton wrappers, thawed if frozen
  • 1 large egg
  • Roasted Chicken Stock (recipe follows)
  • parsley leaves and snipped chives for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat until it shimmers.
  2. Add onion, carrot, celery, thyme, and ¼ teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened and golden, about 8 minutes. Cool completely.
  3. Add cooled vegetables to a bowl with beef, parsley, chives, remaining ½ teaspoon salt, and pepper. Mix with your hands until combined. (At this point, filling can be kept chilled in an airtight container up to 2 days ahead.)
  4. Fill a 4 quart pot two-thirds full with water and add 1 tablespoon kosher salt. Bring to a boil, then keep at a bare simmer.
  5. Beat egg with 1 teaspoon warm water.
  6. Place 2 teaspoons filling in the center of a wonton wrapper (keep remaining wonton wrappers covered with plastic wrap or a damp towel as they dry out easily).
  7. Dip your finger in egg wash and “paint” the edges all around the filling.
  8. Fold in half by pulling one corner of the square to the opposite corner, forming a triangle.
  9. Carefully press down all around the filling to force out any air and press the edges firmly to seal. Place filled kreplach on a dry kitchen towel and cover with plastic wrap.
  10. Let them rest for about 15 minutes to allow the egg wash seal to dry.
  11. Cooking in batches of up to 10, poach kreplach in simmering water (do not boil) until wrappers are opaque and filling is cooked through, 5 minutes.
  12. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate or dry kitchen towel. (If cooking kreplach in advance, transfer them to a plate and coat them with a little broth, then cover with foil to keep warm.)
  13. Serve kreplach in bowls with chicken stock. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, if using. Serve immediately.

Notes

*Note: Uncooked kreplach can made, kept chilled in single layers in between parchment or plastic wrap in an airtight container 1 day ahead. They can also be kept frozen up to 1 month. Freeze in a single layer, then transfer to a sealable plastic bag.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/soup-dumplings-kreplach-in-golden-broth

Roasted Chicken Broth

about 2 1/2 quarts

 Roasted Chicken Broth

Roasting chicken parts and veggies before simmering them adds depth of flavor and richness along with a beautiful deep, golden hue.

This recipe is by Melissa Roberts.

This soup is MEAT.

Ingredients

  • 3 ½ to 4 lbs chicken wings, necks and backs
  • 3 large carrots, peeled or scrubbed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 head garlic, halved crosswise
  • 4 fresh flat leaf parsley sprigs (including long stems)
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 ½ quarts water
  • ¼ teaspoon black peppercorns

Instructions

  1. Place rack in middle of oven and preheat to 425F.
  2. Put chicken parts, carrots, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, and thyme in a flameproof roasting pan.
  3. Add oil, tomato paste, and 1 teaspoon salt and toss to coat chicken and vegetables.
  4. Arrange in a single layer and roast until golden brown, about 1 hour.
  5. Transfer chicken and vegetables to a 6 quart pot.
  6. Straddle roasting pan across 2 burners, then add 1 cup of the water and deglaze pan by boiling over medium heat, stirring and scraping up any browned bits.
  7. Transfer liquid to pot with water and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered and skimming surface occasionally, for 2 hours.
  8. Pour stock through a large fine mesh sieve into a bowl, pressing hard on and discarding solids. Season to taste with salt.
  9. Skim off any fat that floats to the surface, or even easier, chill overnight, then remove solidified fat from surface.

Notes

Note: Stock can be made ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered, 1 week ahead or frozen up to 1 month.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/soup-dumplings-kreplach-in-golden-broth

IMG_9953

Contributed by Melissa Roberts

Kugel is the ultimate Jewish comfort food. Its variations are infinite, and sweet or savory, diet food this is not.

As a centerpiece for a dairy-based post Yom Kippur break fast, sweet kugels punctuate the theme of a sweet year to come. This version has Italian notes, but riffing on a kugel theme is as American as adding canned pineapple to the base, or sprinkling corn flakes on top.

Ricotta and egg yolks, standing in for the more traditional cottage cheese and sour cream, add lightness and richness. Lemon zest and liqueur soaked tart cherries provide a refreshing and sophisticated counterpoint, and the egg pappardelle, is a playful substitute for egg noodles.

Tart Cherry- Ricotta Kugel

8-10 as a side dish

Tart Cherry- Ricotta Kugel

This creamy noodle pudding is a twist on the traditional dairy kugel many of us associate with brunch or a break fast meal. Lemony ricotta and egg yolks dotted with softened cherries provide just enough variation on the theme.

This recipe was developed and contributed by Melissa Roberts.

This kugel is DAIRY.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup orange liqueur
  • 8 ounces (about 1 ½ cups) dried tart cherries
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided, plus more softened butter for greasing dish
  • ¾ lb egg pappardelle (preferably DeCecco)
  • 2 lbs whole milk ricotta
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup whole or 2% milk
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 whole lemon for garnish
  • ¾ teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350F.
  2. Generously grease a 3 ½ quart shallow (2 inch deep) baking dish with some butter.
  3. Heat liqueur in a small heavy saucepan until it just begins to bubble. Add cherries, stir to coat, and simmer 2 minutes, until most of liquid is absorbed and what’s left is syrupy. Remove from heat and let stand 30 minutes.
  4. Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling water seasoned with 1 tablespoon salt until al dente. Drain in a colander, then return to warm pot and add 2 tablespoons of the butter, tossing until noodles are coated.
  5. In a food processor, combine ricotta and ½ cup sugar. Let machine run until mixture is smooth.
  6. Add eggs, milk, 1 teaspoon zest, and salt. Process until combined.
  7. Add to pot with noodles and stir to coat.
  8. Fold in cherries, then transfer to buttered baking dish.
  9. Dot the top with remaining 2 tablespoons butter and sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Loosely cover dish with foil and bake until kugel is beginning to set but still slightly jiggly in the center, about 1 hour.
  10. Remove foil and continue to bake until top is golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes more. Let stand 15 minutes.
  11. Peel large strips of zest from lemon and scatter over the top before serving.

Notes

Kugel tastes best the day it's made, but can be made and kept chilled 2 days ahead. Reheat, covered with foil, in a 350F oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

It can also be frozen up to one month ahead. Reheat (do not thaw) in a 350F oven, covered, until warmed through, 30 to 40 minutes.

http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/creamy-kugel-with-a-nod-towards-italy

Originally Posted in “Creamy Kugel with a Nod Towards Italy

festive challah 2

Breads Bakery, just off Union Square in NYC, was included in the not-to-miss list of best French bakeries in NYC posted on Eater in July.

But wait! Is Breads Bakery French? Israeli? Danish?

IMG_0105

Master baker Uri Scheft was born to Danish parents in Israel, where he grow up. His training and travels took him to Europe where he learned traditional baking techniques and brought them back to Tel Aviv where he had been running LeHamim (bakery and cafe) since 2001. Lucky for New Yorkers, he has been baking sweets at Breads since January of 2013.

Breads immediately gathered a flock of fans who follow the sweet trail down E. 16th St. to enter a pleasure den of irresistible aromas of butter, chocolate, nuts and cheese, oh my!

cheese straws 2

Chocolate babke oozing with Nutella and dark chocolate chips, fruity and fragrant croissants and magnificent baguettes, 100 % rye breads, fig and walnut loaves, flaky cheese sticks are baked throughout the day where racks of rising dough and industrial size mixers are visible just 50 feet from the counter. Unlike most bakeries, Breads bakes throughout the day, guranteeing the freshest, most delectable treats I’ve tasted in a long, long while.

BREADS BAKERY may 2014

With a cafe menu that suits vegetarians and healthy eaters, the sandwiches are reasonable priced and include Middle Eastern favorites like Tunisian, Sabich and Baba Ganoush.

Students, residents and tourists wander from the greenmarket and nearby classrooms for their strong coffee fix, salads and treats through out the day.Counters in the front and a smattering of tables encourage noshers to stay a while.

I dare you to not have dessert even if you’ve started off with one of their healthy salads of super fresh greens topped with quinoa, chickpeas or tuna salad.

BREADS BAKERY may 2014

Baked delicacies shift with the seasons (fruity fillings of apples and pears come from the greenmarket, as do veggies for the buttery quiches) and the holidays (I was BLOWN AWAY by a generous gift of hamantaschen delivered by a friend last Purim).

Naturally, Rosh HaShanah treats include plenty of apples and honey. The challenge is choosing between Apple Galette, Safta Cake (Safta= grandmother in Hebrew) moistened with honey and dotted with cubes of apple, pareve (non-dairy) honey cake or Apple Babke.

chocolate babka 1

Did I mention the chocolate babke? 

In case you can’t get to Breads on time for the holiday, consider baking Uri Scheft’s challah. Want some help with braiding instructions? Click here.

Just be sure to add a stop at Breads next time your in the neighborhood. There is NO WAY you will leave empty handed.

Breads Bakery is at 18 East 16th Street, NYC

Hours: M-F 6:30-9 PM; Sat. 6:30-8 PM and Sun. 7:30-8 PM.

Phone: 212-633-2253

Note: Breads Baker is not a kosher bakery. Their menu is vegetarian with some fish items (no shellfish). There are some non-dairy baked goods available. It is the perfect spot for anyone kosher like me.

Breads Bakery offers baking classes although none are scheduled at this time. They will schedule a class for groups upon request.

Anyone want to join me for a baking class at Breads? Leave a comment below and we’ll try to schedule one. Let’s do it!

Thank you, Breads Bakery, for sharing this recipe and all photos.

Breads Bakery Challah

3 challot

Breads Bakery Challah

This recipe was generously shared by Master baker, Uri Scheft, Breads Bakery in NYC.

For non-dairy challah, chose sunflower or corn oil from the ingredient list.

To create round challah, simply follow the instructions for braiding and coil into a circle, pinching dough to close the circle.

Ingredients

    Ingredients for Dough:
  • 6 cups (800 grams) sifted white wheat flour
  • ¼ cup (60 grams) sunflower seed oil, corn oil or melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups (320 grams) water
  • 6 tbsp (80 grams) sugar
  • 3 tbsp 30 grams) fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp (12 grams) salt
  • Ingredients for Glazing:
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Sesame, poppy, pumpkin, sunflower and nigella seeds- chose any or all

Instructions

    Dough Preparation (approximately 15 minutes)
  1. Pour water into kneading bowl and crumble yeast into the water
  2. Add these ingredients in following order: flour, eggs, sugar, salt, oil
  3. Using a dough hook, mix on low speed for 4 minutes to combine ingredients
  4. Increase to medium speed and knead for another 5 minutes until a soft, smooth dough is formed
  5. Remove dough to a slightly floured work surface, and roll into a ball
  6. Proofing (approximately 75 minutes)
  7. Place ball of dough in a lightly floured bowl
  8. Cover bowl with kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let rise for 40 minutes, or until almost double in volume
  9. Divide dough (using a knife) into 3 equal parts, and divide each part into 3.
  10. Roll each part into a 25 cm-long cylinder
  11. Braid each three cylinders
  12. Place the three braided Challahs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper
  13. Cover the Challahs with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 35 minutes
  14. With 15 minutes left until proofing is complete, preheat oven to 425 Degrees Fahrenheit
  15. Once the Challahs have doubled in volume, gently brush the Challah with beaten egg and generously sprinkle with sesame and poppy seeds
  16. Baking (approximately 25 minutes)
  17. Bake for approximately 25 minutes, until golden-brown
  18. Remove from oven and cool on rack
http://kosherlikeme.com/on-the-road/breads-bakery-shares-festive-challah-secrets

 

 

 

 

 

photo: Glenn Scott

photo: Glenn Scott

Chances are great that you will be serving chicken for one of your holiday meal over the next few weeks. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll want it to be a super easy dish to throw together.

We all know that honey is a  key ingredient as we wish all friends and family a SWEET New Year on Rosh HaShanah. The trick, though, is balancing those sweet flavors with enough citrus and herbs so it appeals to those who prefer more savory dishes.

Ronnie Fein, blogger at Kitchen Vignettes and author of Hip Kosher, makes it easy to serve a crowd with this sweet and savory recipe. She balances the honey with citrus and a bit of heat from fresh ginger and sprinkle of cayenne pepper. I am planning on serving this dish to my crowd!

book cover

book cover

Watch for news about Ronnie’s soon to be released book, The Modern Kosher Kitchen (Fairwinds Press). If you love Hip Kosher you’re sure to love this one, too. If you’d like to pre-order it you can do that here.

Roasted Chicken Breasts with Citrus & Honey

4 servings

This easy chicken recipe is perfect for Rosh HaShanah, with it's golden honey glaze balanced with citrus and spices. When you're juggling a lot of other dishes in your kitchen, this is a great recipe to turn to.

Thank you, Ronnie Fein, for your recipe.

This recipe is MEAT.

Ingredients

  • 4 large half bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lime peel
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 medium scallions, finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

Instructions

  1. Rinse and dry the chicken pieces.
  2. In a bowl combine the vegetable oil, parsley, orange peel, lime peel, ginger, scallions, garlic, thyme, honey, and cayenne pepper and mix thoroughly. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken to the bowl and coat the pieces with the mixture. Let marinate for at least one hour in the refrigerator.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
  5. Place the chicken in a baking pan, skin side down. Bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees. Turn the chicken pieces.
  7. Continue to bake for about 30 minutes basting occasionally with the pan juices or until cooked through (a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part will read 160 degrees.)
http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/roasted-chicken-with-honey-citrus

 

Originally Posted in “Roasted Chicken with Honey & Citrus

 

DSC_0693

Contributed by Katy Morris

Pomegranates are kind of like the queens of fall.

Not only are they robed in ruby red, filled with jewel-like arils, beautified with a crown-like head and reputed to be high-maintenance to handle, they have been highly prized for centuries by royals, religious icons and spiritual leaders.  They often grace the Rosh HaShanah table as symbols of righteousness and virtue.  For this month’s Seasonal Snippet, and in anticipation of the  Jewish New Year, we’re focusing on the sweet, succulent and extremely healthy secrets of the pomegranate.

 

Why is it so highly revered?

 

Featured in historic heraldry, religious scriptures, mythology and even momentous works of art, pomegranates are amongst the world’s most ancient foods. It was widely believed that each pomegranate contains 613 seeds, one for each mitzvah, which is one reason we ritually eat pomegranates as the “new fruits” on Rosh Hashanah.

Nowadays, nutritionists and healthy eaters seek out their powerful antioxidant content, but this is actually pretty old news. Ancient natural healers utilized their impressive health benefits for medicinal purposes and that practice continues today. Their healing strengths include protection from the sun, cell regeneration, free radical elimination, inflammation reduction and much more.

 

Where do they grow?

 

Even though New England is not their preferred climate, we locavores don’t need to worry too much because pomegranates’ tough, leathery skin makes them worthy travelers. Much like figs and olives, pomegranates thrive in dry, hot environments like the Mediterranean but are now grown throughout the world; in fact, they originated in Persia (modern day Iran) . I actually have some growing in my front yard in Guatemala!

DSC_0667

What should I look for when buying?

 

You always want fresh, ripe pomegranates that will taste juicy and sweet. Look for fruit with smooth, glossy surfaces free of blemishes (fit for a queen, if you will) that exude that famously red blush. They should feel heavy for their weight, which indicates the inner juiciness.

 

How can I seed them without wearing them?

 

Great question. Now, we are all guilty of creating a bit of a mess when trying to extract the delicious, nutritionally potent seeds of a pomegranate, but it really isn’t as hard as it may seem (do be careful though – pomegranates can stain!).  There are several techniques out there, but here is what we recommend.

 

First, grab a wide bowl (optional: fill it with water as some prefer to deseed while the fruit is submerged) and a sharp pairing knife. Cut off the very end so it can easily stabilize on a flat surface. With your sharp knife, slit the pomegranate’s thick skin into sixths or fourths and then at an angle, cut out the tail or crown looking top. From there simply break it apart and peel off the skin to expose the milky white membrane enclosing the arils. Try to turn the pieces inside out and nudge the seed-enclosed arils into the bowl. A medium-sized pomegranate should yield about a cup.

 

Note that the seeds are carried in arils – those are the red coverings around the seeds. Many people think the arils are the seeds, but this is a misconception. Both are completely edible and healthy, but some prefer just the juicy aril taste and not the crunch of the white seed – it’s purely a matter of preference. If you want to make juice, all you have to do is strike the arils in a bowl with a flat wooden spoon and the juice should come out easily.

 

DSC_0687

What’s the best way to store them?

 

Left whole, pomegranates are fine to leave on the counter at room temperature where they will be fine for up to two to three weeks. If you want to refrigerate them, that will extend their freshness for at least a month. If they give off a moldy smell or appear bruised and weakened, they have probably gone bad. Seeds can be stored in a tightly zipped bag for up to five or six months.

 

 

Pairing tips?

 

Pomegranates are super versatile and can be used in everything from smoothies, wine and beer to salads, desserts and savory chicken dishes. Einat Admony (Balaboosta, Taim and Bar Bolonat, all in NYC, provided this recipe for Chicken with Walnuts and Pomegranates- perfect for Rosh HaShanah).

Keep scrolling to check out more great pomegranate recipes.

 

 

 

Originally Posted in “Seasonal Snippet: All About Pomegranates
Photo: Shulie Madnick

Photo: Shulie Madnick

When I felt a little short on pomegranate recipes in this season of honey, apples and these seedy beauties, I turned to Shulie Madnick, food writer, blogger and photographer extraordinaire. I knew that she would have something big on unexpected flavor combinations and connected to the upcoming holiday of Rosh HaShanah in some way.

How generous is she to share these gorgeous images with me? I KNOW!!

photo: Shulie Madnick

photo: Shulie Madnick

Here’s a great appetizer to serve before your Rosh HaShanah meal. You’ll kick off your celebration by including these juicy sweet pomegranate seeds that we love to include in as many ways as possible. To learn why, click on this week’s Seasonal Snippet.

Click here for Shulie’s adaptation of Ottolenghi’s twist on Baba Ganoush. Yes, friends, this is how food bloggers become virtual friends and share. I feel lucky, indeed.

All photos and recipe belong to Shulie Madnick and are copyrighted and used with permission from Shulie Madnick at Food Wanderings.

 

 

 

 

Corn Salad- Rabbit's Garden (1)

It’s that time of year when effortless cooking reigns supreme.

Between back to school meetings and trying to adjust to the busier rhythms of Autumn, simple is what we need now. Just be sure to jump on this easy Corn Salad before those pyramids of golden ears disappear from your local market.

Consider throwing this salad together as the perfect non-dairy side for just about any dish. Or toss some diced cheese into the bowl for an easy lunch break. It would pair beautifully with last week’s tomato soup for a perfectly paired vegetarian dinner, too.

Thank you Alison Richman and Tonya Monti, Rabbit’s Garden in Aspen, for this perfect seasonal inspiration. Want to know more about having Rabbit’s Garden cook for you while you’re in Aspen? Check out what I wrote about them here.

Grilled Corn Salad with Jicama

6-8 servings

Grilled Corn Salad with Jicama

This easy salad highlights the best of late summer's ripe tomatoes and sweet, crisp corn.

This recipe was shared by Alison Richman and Tonya Monti, Rabbit's Garden, Aspen.

This recipe is pareve (non-dairy) and vegan.

Ingredients

  • 4 ears of corn on the cob
  • 1 large jicama-diced
  • 8-10 leaves each of fresh cilantro, basil, mint- chopped
  • 1 lime-juiced
  • 3-4 Tb. extra virgin olive oil
  • 10-12 cherry tomatoes- halved
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Grill corn for about 8 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Shear corn off the cob and place into a medium sized mixing bowl.
  3. Add diced jicama, sliced cherry tomatoes, and chopped herbs to corn.
  4. Add lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  5. Toss and adjust seasoning to taste.
  6. Serve at room temperature.
http://kosherlikeme.com/recipes/early-autumn-corn-salad-with-jicama

Originally Posted in “Early Autumn Corn Salad with Jicama