Vegetarian Dishes Abound at Aladin, Indian Bistro

Manchurian Cauliflower, photo: Chuck Dorris

Manchurian Cauliflower, photo: Chuck Dorris

contributed by Katy Morris

Celebrated Chef Kausik Roy, a culinary expert who has mastered the intricacies of authentic Indian cuisine and has been successfully satisfying the palates of East Village and CT diners for years, has opened the doors of his newest eatery in Fairfield County, Aladin Indian Bistro. When crafting the menu, Continue reading

Tell Me More… about Where your Baby’s Food is Grown

Marna Garden Fresh Baby

I was at the Westport Farmers’ Market when I was offered a sample of  bright orange baby food and I’ll admit that I did not eagerly reach for that puree. But when I learned that those sweet, bright carrots came from an organic farm less than an hour away, I wanted to know more.  Local, seasonal, organic jarred baby food is the brainchild of Westporter, Marna Altman, founder and creative behind Garden Fresh Baby, and I was intrigued. Continue reading

Celebrate

Sweet and Simple in Fairfield, CT

Sweet and Simple in Fairfield, CT

Eat well.

Support local.

Hug your family and friends.

Recognize your freedom.

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Sweet and Simple bakes traditional American treats including layer cakes and specialty cookies. Owner, Michelle Jaffee prides herself on using the highest quality ingredients and connecting personally with her enthusiastic and loyal customers.

Specialty cookies may be ordered in advance and picked up through July 3 or over July 6/7 weekend.  Sweet and Simple will be closed on July 4 and July 5 ’cause bakers need to celebrate, too.

 

Sweet and Simple

75 Hillside Rd.

Fairfield, CT

203-292-8992

click here for more info and hours.

 

Naturally Delicious at the Lime

Malibu Salad with Grilled Salmon

By Camillo Ferrari

The vibe at the Lime restaurant in Norwalk, CT is a throwback to the late 70′s. Square sheets of glass protect faded, striped umber and orange tablecloths and customers’ business cards are wedged between cloth and glass. A smattering of haphazardly framed photos of early 1980′s T.V. icons hang next to kitchen tools and framed notices of events from another era.

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What’s YOUR 4:00?

 

image courtesy of Nothin' But

image courtesy of Nothin’ But

You wonder how you’ve arrived at this hour, AGAIN, without being prepared. It’s not a surprise, after all, that sometime between lunch and twilight you will be rummaging through your bag or desk frantically searching for a snack to satisfy that grumbling.

When that late afternoon craving finally settles in, what do you reach for?

What’s YOUR 4:00? 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

Labor Day Reflections

Labor Day’s signal is loud and clear.

Like Pavlov’s dogs, we respond to the first Monday in September with a wave of sadness as the date proclaims that summer is over. Not so fast!

I’ll take this Labor Day to give thanks to those who advocate for fair wages, better working conditions, and fair trade. Now is a good time to re-state our commitment to honoring those who grow our food with concern for our environment and better nutrition for our families.

I’ve come closer to my food sources this year, through an all organic, GMO free, guaranteed local farmers’ market  in my hometown, in  Westport, CT.  As a result of the  persistent efforts and support of town leaders, a visionary and super smart (and strict) market manager and tireless volunteers, I can now turn to my local (within 120 miles) market for farm fresh deliciousness each and every week. Continue reading

Navaratna, Indian Flavors to Match Memories

contributed by Ronnie Fein

Until recently I hadn’t eaten Indian food for several years, all because my husband Ed and I actually travelled in India and the food was so good I didn’t want to ruin the memory. The food over there was an extraordinary revelation of just how elegant, refined and profoundly tasty Indian cuisine can be. Nothing we had eaten in the States before that trip could compare favorably.

So, when my friend and colleague, Liz Rueven, asked if I would sub here on her blog – she was crazy busy with plans for her son’s wedding – and suggested I review Navaratna, a new-ish,  Indian restaurant in Stamford, CT, I was reluctant.

Well, Indian food is back in our lives, thanks to Navaratna. Continue reading

Lunch From the Garden at Farmer’s Table, New Canaan, CT

This post was contributed by guest blogger, Margie Treisman.

Chef Robert Ubaldo’s small, rustic and cozy restaurant is already known for it’s delicious farm-to-table food. But it deserves special recognition as a haven for Kosher Keepers (who eat veg) and vegetarian foodies in Fairfield County.

Yes, Farmer’s Table, in New Canaan, CT,  offers a full vegetarian menu at lunch and dinner.  This alone merits a shout out.

 What’s more, the choices are both plentiful and delicious. With vegetables sourced from Ubaldo’s own Pound Ridge garden or his brother’s upstate New York farm, John Boy, the vegetarian offerings are fresh, vibrant and bursting with flavor.  On top of that, this chef bakes his own bread in house daily, as well as three homemade dessert offerings (but more on that later).

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