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Oct 22, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Jewish food’

The Ultimate Guide to Thanksgivukkah – Part 1

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

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{The traditional Thanksgivukkah menurkey. Yes, really.}

 

A giant inflatable dreidel balloon will make its first appearance on the streets of Manhattan during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The Hanukkah toy is featured in honor of something you may have heard about: this year’s rare overlap of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, dubbed Thanksgivukkah by the Internet population.

People are making a giant fuss over the fact that the first of Hanukkah’s eight-day stretch lands on Thanksgiving Day. The two holidays haven’t coincided since 1918 and won’t again until 2070, say those who know such things. What’s more, the next time the first day of Hanukkah is scheduled to land on Thanksgiving is 78,000 years hence, should humanity survive to that point.

Thanksgiving is already an overload of too much food, but for families who celebrate Hanukkah with traditional fried treats like potato latkes and jelly doughnuts, it will be that much more decadent. A number of chefs, bloggers and crafters have taken to the Internet to unleash their shotgun amalgams of traditional Jewish and Thanksgiving tropes (Have you bought your “menurkey” yet?) to make the holiday a fried, sweet potato-filled, doughnut-y freak show. And many of the over-the-top dishes actually sound fantastic.

Earlier this month, Boston pop-up restaurant Kitchen Kibitz, which spotlights modern Jewish cuisine, offered mash-ups of “traditional Jewish foods with elements inspired by New England’s autumn season: think pumpkin-seed challah, sunchoke latkes with sugar beet and pumpkin sauce, and pecan pie rugelach with chocolate gelt.”

L.A.’s Dog Haus hot dog eateries are offering the Thanksgivukkah Dog, “a smoked turkey sausage mixed with bits of whiskey-soaked cranberries and brown-sugared sweet potatoes, then topped with tater tots – signifying latkes – and drizzled in apple-raspberry compote.” Website Serious Eats dropped the obscene “latke-crusted turkey stuffing fritters with liquid cranberry cores and turkey schmaltz gravy.”

Requisite doughnuts to be found include the savory, such as pumpkin-flavored doughnuts stuffed with turkey and your choice of cranberry sauce or gravy sold by a Manhattan bakery, and the sweet, like sweet potato doughnuts with toasted marshmallow filling. Need chocolate? Gobble up chocolate coins wishing you “Gobble Tov.” And taking the foodie fetish to its natural conclusion, another site has provided a helpful Thanksgivukkah beer pairing recommendation list.

Here at home, local chefs have crafted their own Thanksgivukkah creations, even if some haven’t made it to the plate just yet. The Libertine executive chef Josh Galliano said if pressed into service, he’d contemplate a kugel with seasonal persimmons or an ambitious turducken made with layers of matzo-meal stuffing.

River City Casino & Hotel executive chef John Johnson dreams of turkey Benedict made with a sweet potato latke in place of the English muffin, an apple pie with top crust of a transformed kugel, and mincemeat folded into the dough of a swirled challah. He said he intends to make sage-flavored jelly doughnuts filled with cranberry sauce and served with turkey and gravy this week.

The ever-creative executive chef Liz Schuster of Tenacious Eats said she whips up a challah stuffing for her family turkey that also incorporates Missouri black trumpet chanterelles, roasted shallots, garlic, toasted fennel seed, fresh sage and rosemary. She also wraps turkey legs in fresh sage leaves, turkey bacon and collared greens, then braises them in beef stock before dousing with a demiglace of Bing cherries, apricots, golden raisins and cranberries. The Jewish aspect of the latter dish, she said, is that the turkey bacon and the kosher beef bullion cubes she uses make the entire dish kosher. Schuster also has made a savory root-vegetable bread pudding with a challah base using oven-roasted shallots, mirepoix, caramelized mushrooms, custard and fresh thyme.

She has designs on matzo ball soup made with roasted root vegetables, a challah pumpkin French toast topped with toasted pecans and maple syrup, a baked apple pie with a rugelach streusel atop it, and a wild caprese dish using latkes stacked with cheese, tomato and sage.

Dreaming of your own sweet potato latkes and challah dressings? Inspired to tackle Thanksgivukkah in your own home? Check out part 2 of our Ultimate Guide for recipes, drinks and even decorating ideas. It’s gets deliciously weird.

-photo courtesy of Menurkey.com

 

 

 

By the Book: Russ and Daughters’ Lox Chowder

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

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Russ & Daughters: Reflections and Recipes from the House that Herring Built, written by Mark Russ Federman, grandson of Russ & Daughters founder Joel Russ, is more than just a book of recipes.

If you’ve ever had a chance to visit Russ & Daughters, located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, you’ll know what I mean when I say that to know Russ & Daughters is to love Russ & Daughters. Federman acknowledges this when he writes, “It has been said that New York has a love affair with Russ & Daughters.” He then goes on to say, “It is equally true that Russ & Daughters is in love with New York and New Yorkers.”

In 1978, Federman took over the famed Russ & Daughters (an “appetizing” store, meaning “the food one eats with bagels” and not a deli, according to Russ & Daughters’ website). In 2009, Federman passed down the family business to a fourth generation of Russes, and in retirement, he decided to write the history of the store and a love letter to the community, the neighborhood and the city.

This book is primarily a collection of anecdotes, but there are some recipes interspersed throughout. Lucky for me, our office has a kitchen; even luckier, our intern Darren Arabie is a trained cook, so he helped me out with this column during one of our busier work weeks. To get us in the mood for fall, we decided on the recipe for lox chowder. Darren even brought his own knives!

 

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Leeks haven’t had the best growing season this year and, currently, they are a bit scarce at the grocery store. In their place, Darren used the ribs of rainbow Swiss chard.

 

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Instead of using heavy cream, we used half-and-half, but the chowder looked a little thin, so Darren thickened it with a flour slurry. Tada! It became the perfect chowder consistency.

 

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With Darren’s help, the vegetables were cooked perfectly, and the smoked salmon added a rich flavor. He also advised me to top the chowder with a squirt of Sriracha, which added just the right amount of heat. Our only tip is to be careful with the salt. Since the smoked salmon already has a high salt content, be sure to use a low-sodium chicken stock and a light touch when adding salt to taste.

Lox Chowder
Courtesy of Russ & Daughters
4 to 6 servings

1 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, diced, white parts only (roughly 2 cups)
2 small stalks celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 large russet potato, peeled, cut into ½ inch cubes (roughly 2 cups)
2 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
¼ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 bay leaf
2 cups whole milk
4 oz. smoked salmon, flaked (use collar and wings if possible)
¾ cup heavy cream
Kosher salt to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Minced fresh chives, for garnish

• Heat the olive oil and butter in a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot over medium heat.
• Add the leaks, celery and carrot and saute until the vegetables have softened, about 5 minutes.
• Add the garlic, potato and thyme and saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes. (Be careful not to brown the garlic.)
• Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and stir well to create a dry roux.
• Stir in the wine, chicken stock and bay leaf, and bring the mixture to a simmer. Simmer until the potato cubes are tender when pierced with a fork, 30 to 35 minutes.
• Stir in the milk and salmon and return the mixture to a gentle simmer (do not boil).
• Remove and discard the bay leaf.
• Stir in the cream and season to taste with salt and pepper.
• Garnish with minced chives.

Reprinted with permission from Schocken Books.

From Martha Stewart to Calvin Trillin, it seems like everyone in New York has their Russ & Daughters story from growing up. What local store or restaurant do you have fond memories of visiting ever since you were a kid? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Russ & Daughters by Mark Russ Federman. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Warren, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of Jewish Home Cooking by Arthur Schwartz. Warren, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

 

 

By the Book: Arthur Schwartz’s Chocolate Babka

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

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Arthur Schwartz’s Jewish Home Cooking: Yiddish Recipes Revisited should be subtitled A Crash Course in the History of Jewish-American Gastronomy. The lengthy introduction goes into great detail about the steady migration of Eastern European Jews to New York City, bringing with them the kosher dishes of their homelands. As Jews assimilated into American culture, those traditional dishes evolved. Most of the recipes in this book were collected from New York deli owners, restaurateurs and ordinary people who’ve put twists on their family’s longtime recipes. The history and evolution of each dishes proved as intriguing as the recipes themselves.

The chocolate babka is a prime example of how a simple coffee cake became a luxurious treat. According to Schwartz, the word “babka” comes from “baba,” the Polish word for old lady or grandma. The cake got its name because its original incarnation was “stout and round, just like grandmothers used to be before they went to aerobics class and practiced yoga.” These dry-ish cakes were traditionally plain and served with coffee or tea, but today, Schwartz says their purpose is largely to serve as a vessel for chocolate and sweet stuffings.

 

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He had me at chocolate. This babka is simple to make, but it does require some time. The buttery yeast dough must rest refrigerated overnight, then rest another two hours after the rolls are assembled. Plan accordingly.

 

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Since there’s a generous amount of sugar in the dough and filling, and I’m not one for overly sweet desserts, I used dark chocolate chips instead of the called-for semisweet.

 

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In lieu of a second loaf pan, I tucked most of the slices into a 8-inch round, cinnamon-roll style. Two hours later, they had puffed up against each other in a lovely, chocolate-studded nest.

 

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The end result was definitely still a coffee cake: dry with enough sweetness to warrant a bitter beverage. Though technically included in the dessert section of this book, the coffee pairing necessitates that – like doughnuts or sticky buns – you eat this for breakfast. After all, chocolate in the morning makes the day just a little easier.

 

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Chocolate Babka
Makes 2 loaves

Dough
3 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
A generous ¾ cup sugar, divided
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into tablespoon-size pieces
½ cup whole milk
1 package (about 2 ¼ tsp. active dry yeast)
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp. ground cinnamon, plus more for sprinkling (optional)

Filling
2 cups (12 oz.) semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup walnuts (optional)

• To make the dough, in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine the flour, salt and 3 heaping tablespoons of the sugar. Pulse to blend.
• Add the butter to the flour mixture and pulse until crumbly.
• In a small saucepan, heat the milk over low heat until warm, not hot, to the touch (no more than 110 degrees). Stir in 1 level tablespoon of the sugar and the yeast. Allow to stand 7 minutes, until bubbly and risen.
• Add the egg yolks and yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Pulse several times, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until a ball is formed. Remove the dough and place it in a large bowl. Cover with a clean towel and refrigerate overnight.
• Grease 2 8½-by-4½-inch loaf pans. Flour a work surface and a rolling pin.
• To assemble the babkas, in a stand mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
• One tablespoon at a time, add the remaining ½ cup sugar, then the cinnamon. Beat until the whites form firm peaks.
• Divide the dough in half. Keep one half refrigerated while working with the other. For each half, knead the dough a few times. Roll out on a floured surface to an approximately 22-by-18-inch rectangle. It will be thin.
• Spread the rectangle of dough with half the beaten egg whites to within 1 inch of the edges. Sprinkle evenly with half the chocolate, half the walnuts, and lightly with more cinnamon.
• Turn in about 1 inch of the short edges of the dough rectangle, then carefully roll up jelly roll-style. If the dough is sticking slightly, use a bench scraper (pastry scraper) to ease it off the work surface.
• Slice each roll into 8 even pieces. For each babka, place 8 slices sections in 1 loaf pan, cut sides up like a cinnamon roll, packing them so the edges touch. Cover each with a clean towel and let rise at room temperature for 2 hours. The dough should come up higher than the sides of the pans.
• Position an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake the loaves for 35 to 40 minutes, until light brown. Cool the babkas in the pans for about 5 minutes, then invert them onto serving plates.
• Serve with a serrated blade, or break apart into natural segments.

Reprinted with permission from Ten Speed Press

What’s your favorite sweet breakfast treat to pair with your morning coffee and why? Tell us about it in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of Jewish Home Cooking by Arthur Schwartz. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Joe, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of The Mile End Cookbook by Noah and Rae Bernamoff. Rebecca, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

 

 

By the Book: Noah and Rae Bernamoff’s Blintzes

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

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Every recipe in this book has an introduction or short anecdote from one half of the husband-wife team Noah and Rae Bernamoff that started Mile End in Brooklyn, a Jewish deli. Any description of blintzes, knishes or hamantaschen is really nice because it helps gentiles like me understand what the dish is in the first place, why it’s awesome, and if it’s tied to a holiday tradition. There are stories from fellow chefs and artisans in Manhattan and Brooklyn, too, like Niki Russ Federman, the fourth-generation co-owner of the famed Russ & Daughters in New York City. I love the food photos in this book; they make you hungry, and the photos of step-by-step assembly instructions for more complicated recipes are useful.

 

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I decided to make blintzes. I’ve never had blintzes before, but I thought: I love ricotta cheese; I love crepes. Sounded good to me. It was … kind of.

 

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These blintzes are not that sweet. The recipe calls for just ½ teaspoon of sugar, which only went in the crepe batter. The filling had lemon zest, salt, ricotta, butter and egg yolks, and when I rolled it into a crepe and tried it, I felt the filling needed sweetness. I drizzled honey and cinnamon over the top as the recipe suggested, thinking that might be enough, but because the filling wasn’t sweet, it didn’t taste right.

 

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I added 3 tablespoons of sugar and a splash of vanilla to the filling, rolled the rest of the blintzes and topped them all with honey and cinnamon. Maybe I just have a sweet tooth, but the sugar and vanilla made a huge difference, making the ricotta and lemon zest more pronounced.

 

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Noah and Rae Bernamoff’s Blintzes
6 Servings

The blintz is a classic old-world Jewish specialty and a go-to food for Shavuot, when dairy dishes are traditionally served. We like ours with fruit compote, but anything from fresh fruit to sour cream to applesauce will work, especially with a drizzle of honey or a dusting of cinnamon sugar. You can even make a sauce by warming a cup of concord grape jelly together with ¼ cup water.

For the crepes:
4 large eggs
1½ cups whole milk
½ tsp. Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
½ tsp. sugar
¼ cup rye flour
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsalted butter, divided

For the filling and finishing:
3 cups whole-milk ricotta, drained overnight in the refrigerator in a fine-mesh sieve lined with a double layer of cheesecloth
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp. Diamond crystal kosher salt
Zest of 2 lemons
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
Compote of your choice, for serving

Making the crepes
• Combine the eggs, milk, salt and sugar in a large bowl and whisk until the ingredients are incorporated.
• In a separate bowl, mix together the two flours. Sift them into the liquid and whisk until the batter is smooth. Cover and rest the batter in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
• In an 8-inch nonstick skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the butter over medium heat. Pour in ¼ cup of the batter and swirl the pan gently to coat it. Cook until the edges of the crepe start to pull away from the pan, about 2 minutes. Then flip the crepe, cook it a few seconds more, and transfer it to a plate. Repeat with the remaining butter and batter to make 6 crepes in all.

Make the filling
• Place the ricotta, egg yolks, salt and lemon zest in a bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

Assemble and cook the blintzes
• Working 1 crepe at a time, spoon about ½ cup of the filing onto a crepe, fold in the edges, and roll it up snugly around the filling like a burrito. Repeat with the remaining crepes and filling.
• Working in 2 batches, heat half the butter in a large pan or skillet and cook 3 blintzes, flipping once, until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Repeat with the remaining butter and blintzes. Serve the blintzes with fruit compote.

Reprinted with permission from Clarkson/Potter Publishers

What is your favorite crepe filling? Tell us in the comments section below for a chance to win a copy of The Mile End Cookbook by Noah and Rae Bernamoff. We’ll announce the winner in next week’s By the Book column.

And now, we’d like to congratulate Rebecca, whose comment on last week’s By the Book has won a copy of The New Jewish Table by Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray. Rebecca, keep an eye out for an email from the Sauce crew.

 

 

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