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BBQ fever is taking the country. Jewish communities all across the country are gathering their carnivorous men and women to dedicate a Sunday to the precious and delicate, low-and-slow art of the perfectly smoked brisket. Whether you’re looking for your local BBQ festival, or want to plan your summer road trip around Jewish BBQ events, then you’ve come to the right place.
This guide outlines the 12 BBQ events (two are taking place in Cincinnati, OH) that will be hosted by Jewish communities this summer. Five of them are officially sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society, which means they are held to the highest standards of judging and follow the same format as traditional BBQ circuit events.
June 25, 2017 – KCBS Sanctioned
After attracting more than 500 visitors in its first year, Congregation Nusach Hari B’nai Zion is proudly hosting its second annual BBQ competition in June. St. Louis offers cash prizes for the Grand Champion and the winners of each category. The St. Louis competition attracts teams from across the country, with a team called “Five Dudes and a Vegetarian” representing Chicago and one called “SephardiQ” representing Kansas City.
June 25, 2017, August 6, 2017 – Sanctioned,
Cincinnati is playing host to not one but two BBQ events this summer. The first, taking place on June 25th, is the Inaugural River City Kosher BBQ Cultural Event, a perfect chance to enjoy brisket and chicken without the competition. All proceeds from the River City Kosher BBQ Festival will support Northern Hills Synagogue and the community projects it supports. The second event for Cincinnati is the Cincinnati Kosher BBQ Cook-off and Festival, the city’s first foray into the competitive kosher BBQ circuit. Like St. Louis, the Cincinnati cook-off is offering cash prizes to winning teams. There are also opportunities to sign up to judge the event for those who can commit to becoming KCBS-certified.
August 20, 2017
The second Columbus Buckeye Kosher BBQ may be the only kosher BBQ festival to feature a rock-climbing wall and inflatable obstacle course. Award-winning pit master Max McGarity will be selling ribs, drumsticks, chili and more. Musical guest Bill Foley, will provide entertainment. This event is a celebration of kosher BBQ, but it’s not a competition.
August 27, 2017 – Sanctioned
The Hava Nagrilla Festival, Philadelphia’s first sanctioned BBQ event, is hosted by Men’s Club of Temple Beth Hillel-Beth El and will include live music, a pickle-eating contest, balloon artists and mechanical bull riding. The event will also feature a craft beer garden. Ari White of Wandering Que, and the 2016 Brisket King of NYC will be offering Texas Style BBQ for purchase. James Beard award-winning chef, Alon Shaya from New Orleans will also make an appearance as a guest judge.
September 4, 2017
The Las Vegas BBQ Festival, hosted by the JCC of Southern Nevada, is in its fifth year. As at the Memphis competition, food is not the only thing being judged. Best team name and best booth are also up for the taking. Of particular note is that children ages 7-12 can compete in the Kids Que competition where teams will be judged on their ability to make, form and cook hamburgers.
September 4, 2017
The Charlotte Kosher BBQ Championship features a BBQ festival, pickle-eating contest, watermelon-eating contest, live music and concessions from Sauceman’s Bar and Grill available for purchase. In addition, the event is asking guests to donate two cans of food for the Jewish Family Services Pantry.
September 10, 2017 – KCBS Sanctioned
The Kansas City festival, now in its sixth year, attracts upward of 4,000 visitors each year. As one of the top 10 cities in the U.S. for BBQ, Kansas City has risen to fame for its dedication to “Burnt Ends” which are made from the ends of smoked brisket, smoked on hickory wood and served with a liberal amount of a tomato-based BBQ sauce. In previous years, Kansas City has played host to celebrity judge, Simon Majumdar, of Food Network’s Iron Chef and Cutthroat Kitchen.
October 22, 2017
The fifth annual Atlanta Kosher BBQ Festival is hosted by the Hebrew Order of David International and raises funds for charitable causes. Last year, the festival hosted 25 teams.
October 22, 2017
Memphis holds the title for hosting the oldest Kosher BBQ festival in the nation. Now in its 29th year, the Anshei Sphard Beth El Emeth Congregation will take place on October 22nd. Trophies will be awarded for the Overall Grand Champion and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the following categories: Best Beef Brisket, Best Beef Ribs, Best Team Name, Best Team Booth and Best Beans. Memphis style BBQ typically focuses on heavy smoking and dry rubs. In this part of the country, BBQ is either served “wet” with a sweet, tangy BBQ sauce or “dry” to emphasize the flavor that goes into the spice rub.
October 29, 2017 – Sanctioned
Now in its third year, the Dallas Kosher BBQ Championship is hosted by Congregation Beth Torah Men’s Club and will take place in October.
November 12, 2017
And the last kosher BBQ event of 2017 will be taking place in Sant Antonio, TX. This event is actually the only Kosher BBQ Festival to include a fish, as well as the traditional brisket and chicken categories. Teams will also be judged on their baked beans.In true Texas style, belt buckles will be awarded to winners. Entertainment will include live music and a Kiddie Corral.
The post All the Kosher BBQ Festivals This Summer, from Vegas to Memphis appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
Labne lovers rejoice — you can now enjoy you favorite, yogurt dip as a dessert. If you love tangy, tart frozen yogurt, you are going to love this easy frozen dessert topped with tahini, silan (date honey), regular honey and/or crumbled halvah.
This labne ice cream is incredibly simple to make, but you will need an ice cream machine to make this recipe. If you don’t want to invest in a vanilla bean for this project (they can be pricey), just substitute with 2 teaspoon good quality, pure vanilla extract.
Watch below to see the simple, how-to video, or keep scrolling for the detailed recipe.
When I want to whip up a quick summer meal that can be made in advance and served at room temperature, I turn to my cast iron pan and farm-fresh eggs.
Serving lunch or dinner on the porch or a city terrace? Serve a frittata directly from the skillet. Heading to the park or beach? Frittatas are sturdy enough to slice and pack in containers and pair easily with chopped veggie salads, sliced melon, seasonal berries, chilled summer soups or crusty bread.
Seek out farm-fresh eggs and seasonal greens at the farmer’s market for the most vibrant color and freshest flavors. For this frittata, I turned to colorful rainbow chard and harissa, the Middle Eastern spice blend, as my inspiration.
Harissa varies from place to place but commonly includes sun-dried chiles (often smoked), toasted cumin, coriander, garlic and mint. Don’t be surprised if you spot flecks of rose petals or bits of dried tomatoes, too. Harissa may be sold in jars as a paste or as a powdered spice.
When making a frittata, consider amping up the seasoning, as eggs beg for bold flavors. Want to keep it mild? Turn to gentler herbs you’ll find in the summer markets or those you’re growing in your own garden. For a Middle Eastern-inspired frittata, consider chickpeas, freshly squeezed lemon and tomato paste as ingredients that will seem familiar but perhaps not in combination with eggs. Be sure to make enough for leftovers.
In this recipe, these tangy Middle Eastern flavors are complemented by the rainbow chard. (Rainbow chard includes Swiss chard, red chard and golden chard.) Swiss chard has an earthy sweetness with a mineral edge to it. For that reason, slightly sweet and tangy ingredients like lemon, tomato paste and goat cheese pair well with it, as they will temper that flinty subtlety.
We absolutely love summer cook-out season: hamburgers (or homemade veggie burgers) salads, hot dogs and all the fixings. Set out some beer, sangria and juice boxes for the kiddos, and everyone is ready to party. So to assist with your party planning here’s our list of absolutely essential, delicious, Jewish-inspired side dishes for your summer shindigs.
Got a favorite recipe? Comment below and let us know!
The older I get, the easier my recipes become. I’ve cooked my share of three-pagers and struggled through dozens of works of culinary art. I’m done with all that.
But I still want to serve delicious food that looks attractive, especially when the weather gets warm, the sun is shining and I’d rather be outside on the porch spending more time with my family and friends.
It can all be done, even when you want to serve fancy-looking food. For example, when I have guests over for a Saturday evening or Sunday afternoon, I usually serve hors d’oeuvres before the meal — just a nibble or two. And yes, I could skip the cooking altogether and offer store-bought somethings from the supermarket condiment bar, but I prefer to make my own, like these lox and bagel bites, which have come in handy on numerous occasions. They take about 15 minutes to prepare and look so pretty on a platter that people think you actually spent a lot of time fussing. The recipe is versatile too.
All you have to do is chop smoked salmon (you could use any smoked fish), add some sort of onion (I like the color contrast of red onion but scallion or chives will do), mix in a few drops of olive oil and lemon juice for flavor and enrichment, add a bit of fresh dill (it could be parsley or cilantro).
For a quick pareve tidbit, spoon the mixture directly onto some bagel chips (or use potato chips, crackers, matzah, pumpernickel rounds). For dairy, spread a thin layer of cream cheese (mascarpone, sour cream, etc.) on the chips first. You can make the salmon mixture a day ahead, but finalize the actual hors d’oeuvre up to an hour before serving (longer than that can make the chips soggy).
This recipe doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either. Smoked salmon can be expensive, but when I am going to chop it up like this I buy the “ends” and “pieces” that my supermarket sells for less than half the price of sliced (many stores do that).
That’s all folks. Enjoy the time with people instead of pots and pans.
Of all the current food trends, ancient grains might just be the original. This collection of nutritious whole grains are barley, kamut, millet, teff, oats, freekeh, bulgur, sorghum, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, chia and farro. And just to make the Jewish connection even clearer, all but teff, quinoa, amaranth and chia originated in the Fertile Crescent, which was home to the first Jews — present-day Lebanon, Syria, Turkey Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan and Egypt. These grains are considered “ancient” not only because they originated so long ago but also because their basic structure, taste and appearance has stayed the same since they were developed by the first agriculturists.
In fact, the ancient grains get several mentions in the Hebrew Bible. Farro is one of the earliest mentions, and if you’ve ever had the super grainy Ezekiel 4:9 Bread, you’re probably familiar with the recipe G-d gives to Ezekiel for bread: “wheat and barley, and beans and lentils, and millet and spelt.” In Deuteronomy, the promised land is described as one full of “wheat, barley, figs, vines (grapes), oil (olives), pomegranates, and honey (made from dates) — the seven species whose first fruits we celebrate on Tu Bishvat.
For these reasons, ancient grains have always been central to Jewish ritual and cooking. The annual first offering of barley, for example, is celebrated on Shavuot, when the barley harvest concluded and the first grains of the season were finally ripe for consumption.
Each of the ancient grains gets cooked differently. Check out our recipes below for ideas on how to prepare them.
Ezekiel Bread from Haaretz
Farro and Roasted Red Pepper Salad from Yotam Ottolenghi
Berry Spinach Quinoa Salad
Shavuot, the holiday where we eat lots of yummy dairy dishes is just around the corner. And although I love all the dairy food served at a Shavuot table, my favorite part is being able to have a slice (or two) of cheesecake for dessert. And like many other food bloggers, I love taking this opportunity to create new cheesecake recipes.
Speaking of new cheesecake recipes, with the unicorn craze still happening, we created a unicorn cheesecake!
There really are no rules to making anything unicorn. Everything colorful, sparkly, and exploding with happiness can be labeled “unicorn”.
That’s the thing about unicorn food that I love, it’s so simple to achieve and most importantly, it’s super fun and cheery.
You can dye the cheesecake filling different colors before baking and flavor the buttercream with different extracts like cotton candy or bubblegum.
The post Unicorn Cheesecake Recipe for the Most Decadent Shavuot Dessert appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
Want to take your next cookout to the next level? Make your own homemade hot dog buns and lay out a hot dog bar fit for an American grilling king.
Hot dogs are one of my favorite summer picnic foods, even though I know they are not the healthiest thing to eat. But the good news is that there are so many varieties of hot dogs these days, from turkey dogs to chicken sausage and vegetarian dogs, that you can find something for everyone. And of course, everything in moderation.
Set out classic toppings such as relish, kraut, ketchup, different types of mustard and maybe some less classic toppings like mango salsa, kimchi, sriracha, spicy pickles, grilled pineapple….the possibilities are endless. Pair your dog of choice with these homemade hot dog buns, and I know your guests will be impressed and happily, deliciously satisfied.
What makes these hot dog buns fluffy, light and the perfect vehicle for hot dogs is this super light dough made with mashed potatoes! Use exactly the amount of flour, and then just let your mixer go to town. Do not add additional flour. Make sure you use a high-gluten bread flour.
When you think of a Sunday bagel and cream cheese, you probably envision something that looks like this: crisp, chewy bagels, topped with a healthy schmear of cream cheese, lox, maybe some tomatoes or dill or capers:
But America has gone bagel-crazy in the past few years with every flavor and combination: everything bagel-topped donuts, cream cheese-stuffed bagel holes and croissants, but also some seriously offensive concoctions. And so I set out this week to find the worst of the bagels. Proceed with caution.
Ok, I will admit: this one is actually kind of appealing. I want to eat it, but I am simultaneously horrified. Lucky for me, the mac and cheese-topped bagel (with or without bacon) was only a one-time carb-filled special at Tompkins Square Bagels, not on its regular menu.
Sold by chains such as Bruegger’s and even Fairway market, green bagels only make their bizarre appearance once a year. Which is one too many times for my comfort.
I have only the utmost respect for kimchi, a spicy, fermented cabbage condiment that is practically sacred in Korean cuisine. But I just don’t think it has a rightful place on top of a bagel.
The Bagel Store, which is famous for its original, brightly hued rainbow bagels, features a variety of bagel flavors, cream cheese combos and other breakfast delights. But none is as crazy as a bacon, egg and cheese-stuffed bagel.
I support innovation and even Cheetos on occasion. But those bagels look like a spicy stomach ache waiting to happen. The Bagel Nook in Freehold, NJ is actually churning out all kinds of horrifying combinations (Oreo cookie cream cheese!), in addition to the classic flavors.
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When the sushi burrito made waves, I was excited: I drove, I tried it. And you know what: It just tasted like a really big sushi roll. I can only assume the sushi bagel or donut or whatever you call it tastes the same: like a big ‘ol American disaster of a sushi roll.
I love beets. I love bagels. And I love blue cheese. I just don’t love them all together.
Tahini is certainly having “a moment”.
This ancient condiment is just about everywhere these days – most notably on the sweeter side of things, in treats and desserts. Stuffed into croissants. Turned into cake pops. Folded into brownie batter.
And I love it all.
This savory ground sesame seed paste taste lends an unexpected flavor and texture to so many different kinds of desserts, without overpowering. Even better, it can provide some depth and dimension to otherwise “one note” sweets.
Don’t get me wrong – I LOVE homemade marshmallows – and they are miles above and away from the packaged variety. But, at the end of the day, a marshmallow is nothing more than a pillow of sweet, spongy sugar. Rolled in sugar.
So I knew that it would be the perfect foil for a generous swirl of tahini.
And boy was I right. All of a sudden that “one note” marshmallow had it all going on – and I immediately fired up the stove, roasted a few and sandwiched them with graham crackers and squares of semi-sweet and white chocolate.
Individually wrapped “stacks” of s’mores ingredients are a fun, easy and different dessert to put out at all of your upcoming warm-weather celebrations, barbecues and picnics!