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We all love challah: fresh challah for Friday night dinner, challah slathered with butter, challah French toast. But have you heard of kubaneh?
Kubaneh is a uniquely Yemeni Jewish bread that is traditionally slow cooked overnight from Friday to Saturday to enjoy Shabbat morning. Yemenite Jewish immigrants brought it to Israel, and now it is creeping its way onto the American food landscape. I first tasted it at a pop-up hosted by food writer Adeena Sussman and Israeli chef Gil Hovav a few years ago in Manhattan, and now it is featured on Nur NYC‘s menu.
Kubaneh is a buttery, flaky, pull-apart bite of carb heaven, though I have yet to try my hand at baking it myself (next baking project!). We have a delicious recipe for kubaneh with grated tomato dip from Carol Ungar’s book, and the New York Times recently featured this recipe from Breads Bakery.
I am so excited to see this sacred and delicious bread getting the attention it deserves.
The post The Yemenite Jewish Breakfast Food You’ve Probably Never Heard Of appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
Are you a fan of Wegmans yet? If you’ve never heard of Wegmans, let me enlighten you a bit. It’s a family-owned regional supermarket chain that was started in 1914 in Rochester, N.Y. Since then it has expanded throughout Western New York and into Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia, currently with over 90 stores and more opening in multiple locations in coming months.
I’ve had many friends over the years wax poetic about what a great supermarket it is, which I never really understand until I visited. It’s true: It’s pretty awesome. Its bakery is top-notch, it offers a beautiful, un-cramped shopping experience (thank you, suburbs), and it is completely up on trends: An entire section in its produce department is devoted to spiralized veggies and finely chopped veggies for easy dinners. The only other supermarket where I have seen this is Whole Foods, yet Wegmans prices are far more akin to a normal (affordable) supermarket.
And of course, most importantly, Wegmans carries an impressive variety of Jewish foods and kosher products. Here were some of the most exciting finds from my recent excursion. Please note: I visited the Wegmans located in Woodbridge, NJ . Products will vary from location to location.
Wegmans’ bakery section has everything from classic chocolate chip to decorated sugar cookies. But it is also carrying several varieties of rugelach (uniquely spelled rugala here) including poppy seed — a somewhat rare flavor I didn’t expect to find so far away from Brooklyn or other traditional enclaves.
Gorgeous, glossy loaves of challah are ready for your Friday night dinner or Sunday French toast needs made fresh at its own bakery.
Wegmans really outdoes itself with the variety of cream cheese and lox options. Flavors like honey pecan, vegetable, scallion, lox, blueberry and strawberry cream cheese conveniently located adjacent to the fresh bagels, as well as a wide selection of lox and lox spreads.
No reason to have dozens of cream cheese flavors without house-made bagels. All the flavors you would expect, plus my personal favorite: salt bagels.
I’ve never been so overwhelmed by a selection of hummus. Not only does Wegmans carry national brands like Sabra, but it sells its own line of hummus in flavors such as roasted eggplant, sweet potato and cilantro jalapeno.
Chopped liver and herring aren’t exactly suburban supermarket staples, but there they were, right next to the lox and honey pecan cream cheese. Wegmans apparently really wants you to put out an appetizing spread to make even your bubbe proud.
Tabbouleh is a classic Middle Eastern salad made with bulgur, tomatoes and a high ratio of chopped fresh herbs. It’s easy to make, fresh, delicious and healthy too, making it a much-beloved side dish around the world.
Instead of classic bulgur, we wanted to try a version made with quinoa, which is high in fiber and protein. This the perfect vegetarian dish to serve for summer cook-outs, Friday night dinner, easy take-along lunch and even Passover.
It’s so easy to make — watch below and get cooking!
Wedding presents can be tricky to choose, that is if you don’t want to just stick some cash in an envelope. But cookbooks can be a thoughtful gift for newlyweds who like to cook, aspire to cook or just love cookbooks.
There are no shortage of Jewish cookbooks to choose from online or off bookstore shelves. In fact, there are so many Jewish cookbooks it can be overwhelming to pick from so many delicious-sounding options. Here is a list of some of the most beloved, and trusted cookbooks for any new couple, no matter if they love Israeli food, keep a vegetarian diet or plan to host big holiday dinners.
Every Jewish kitchen should have at least one of Joan Nathan’s cookbooks, if not several. And classic Jewish holiday dishes from the queen of American Jewish food is an absolute must.
This classic book by Jewish food legend Claudia Roden may not have fancy photos on every page, but it’s a book of deep substance, history and deliciousness whose recipes are researched and perfected. Anyone who is interested in Jewish food will want to devour it from start to finish.
The flavors and spices of Israeli cuisine can be exciting, and overwhelming. But Janna Gur’s first cookbook provides an education on the origins of Israeli food itself as well as dozens of perfect classic recipes from basic hummus to green Persian rice, stews, babka and more without sending readers off on a never-ending ingredient treasure hunt.
Michael Solomonov’s award-winning cookbook is part storytelling and part mouth-watering recipes that any newlyweds will be excited to tackle together.
This book brings the traditional recipes and flavors of traditional Syrian cooking to life with personal stories and beautiful photos. There are delicious recipes, but also a fascinating history of the Syrian Jewish community.
Leah Koenig’s stunning cookbook offers the perfect guide to modern yet traditional dishes, with beautiful photos, creative twists and truly trustworthy recipes. This book would nicely complement one of the more classic books on this list for a perfect gift set.
Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern’s goals have always been to bring New World sensibilities and flavors into Old World foods, like gefilte fish, kugel, challah and other Jewish classics. Their cookbook, like Leah Koenig’s Modern Jewish Cooking, is a perfect new-meets-old book that is beautiful, clean and the perfect gift.
Jewish cooking isn’t just about the food: it’s also about hosting and welcoming guests into your home. Ina Garten not only provides an education in ingredients and cooking, but how to host a meal from start to finish with simple, perfect recipes.
This enormous volume offers more than 825 recipes from around the world, which is sure to keep even the ambitious new cooks busy for some time.
Mollie Katzen’s vegetarian cookbook has been a classic in Jewish kitchens since its release over 30 year ago for good reason: The vegetable-forward recipes are simple, healthy and perfectly complement Shabbat meals, holiday dinners or everyday eating.
For the vegan couple in your life, this book offers unique recipes for Hanukkah, Rosh Hashanah, Passover and everything in between.
The post The Best Jewish Cookbooks to Give as a Wedding Gift appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Stanley Ginsberg whose second cookbook is called The Rye Baker: Classic Breads from Europe and America. Several years ago he also co-wrote Inside the Jewish Bakery: Recipes and Memories from the Golden Age of Jewish Baking, and so it was clear: Stan and I had a lot of bread to talk about. But after a few minutes chatting about flours, challah and yeast I quickly understood how complicated, and interesting, rye bread can be. And so I wanted to learn more, and I thought you all might to learn a little too.
The easy answer is that a rye bread is “Jewish” if one could routinely find it on the shelves of the bakeries that anchored Jewish neighborhoods in New York Boston, Chicago, Miami, Los Angeles and everywhere else eastern European Jews settled. Usually, that bread was some variation on the light, caraway-seeded ryes or the dark, artificially-colored pumpernickels that most people think of as “Jewish.”
But there’s also a more complex and nuanced answer as to what makes a rye bread “Jewish.” That’s because, as a matter of historical fact, wherever in Europe Jews established communities they adopted the local breads – perhaps modified slightly to reflect the strictures of kashrut. And so the dark, sweet-sour ryes of Lithuania are really every bit as Jewish as the light caraway ryes of southern Poland and Ukraine. The rye breads that managed to survive the journey to America were those that best lent themselves to American conditions, namely, low-percentage ryes that took advantage of the low cost and easy handling of the abundant wheat the European Jewish bakers found when they arrived here. The high-percentage ryes that represented the taste of home for Jews from Lithuania, Belarus and northern Poland all but disappeared from American bakeries by the end of World War Two.
I grew up eating rye bread, so you could say it’s in my genes. I also enjoy foods with strong and distinctive flavors, and rye really offers that: a traditional rye bread gives me an intense and complex flavor profile that combines sweet, nutty and sour. It’s very different from most wheat breads.
Ketchup. Ketchup is a great equalizer that drowns the flavors of the foods on which it’s inflicted. That’s especially true for a rye bread, where the sugar and vinegar of the red menace overwhelm the natural sweet-sour notes of the bread.
That rye bread equals caraway. In fact, rye has so many faces and flavor elements that to reduce it to that one astringent note is to do it a great injustice. In writing The Rye Baker I attempted to paint as broad and comprehensive a picture of rye’s possibilities as I could. The flavors and textures range from standards like Jewish Deli Rye and Boston Brown Bread to a French rye bread made with hard apple cider, a Polish yogurt rye, an amazing sweet-sour Latvian rye bread and that intensely sour Russian classic, Borodinsky.
On rye? There are a few of them: brisket in any form – smoked, braised or as corned beef or pastrami; tuna salad with a thick slice of tomato, and liverwurst, sweet onion and brown deli mustard.
Dreaming of making your own rye bread at home? Enter below to win a copy of The Rye Baker!
There are three essential things I know about chicken. First, it’s the iconic Jewish Friday night dinner.
Second, although that iconic dish usually means roasted chicken, when warm weather comes I don’t want to be using the oven for hours. I want to keep dinner prep cool, quick and simple. Finally, chicken is like a basic black dress – you can do almost anything to dress it up or down, season it almost any way imaginable and cook it in a multitude of ways, so even if you serve it almost every Shabbat, it need never be boring.
For me, taking these three essentials to mind means using boneless chicken parts and cooking them on the grill. Our family prefers chicken breasts, which I buy (or pound with a meat mallet) to about an inch (more or less) thick. They take 8-10 minutes to cook through. The same recipes (marinades, seasonings and so on) work perfectly well for other bone-in or boneless parts, though the timing obviously needs to be adjusted. If it’s raining out and I can’t grill outside, I use the oven broiler or my grill pan. Timing is the same.
One of my favorite recipes for grilled chicken breasts started out as Bulgogi, the Korean beef dish. I used the marinade with flanken and after one bite I knew it would be perfect for chicken too. Bulgogi marinade is soy-sauce based and also just a bit sweet. Sometimes I add a sprinkle of crushed red pepper or cayenne to give it a bit of heat, depending on my guests’ preference. The final garnish of sesame seeds makes plain old chicken attractive enough for the most festive dinners.
The post Skip the Roast Chicken – Try this Fast, Korean-Style Chicken for Friday Night Dinner appeared first on My Jewish Learning.
You may not know it, but tasty, nutritious food is all around you. Here is a list of herbs and greens that you can find in an urban setting while on your way to grab your morning coffee or your way home from work.
I’ll also emphasize that while urban foraging is a fairly accessible activity that can be done with very little experience, you do want to make sure that you are confident with your identifications, and to also make sure to forage and harvest in environments that are free of chemical/ or anti-weed spray.
Dandelions – Perhaps this is the plant that you picked at some point in your childhood to blow the white puffball of seeds off, before making a wish. Turns out the plant is also incredibly beneficial to our health, and you can find it pretty much everywhere you look. When harvesting dandelion you can eat the roots, stem, leaves, and the bright yellow flower. The leaves are where you stand to gain the most benefit nutrient wise. They are known to be extremely detoxifying, and are great for cleansing your system in preparation for the spring and summer seasons. They are chock full with vitamins, especially vitamins K, A , and C, as well as being a solid plant-based source of calcium. Dandelion leaves are a great base to a summer salad, and provide an excellent bitter kick. If you dry the leaves, they also make for a very cleansing and tasty tea.
Purslane – To many farmers, purslane is a highly invasive weed, which is routinely removed in order to allow for their desired crops to be able to thrive. The plant grows pretty much anywhere there is soil, and grows on all seven continents. Purslane loves sun and heat, so look for this plant during the peak of summer. While commonly attributed an enemy by farmers, purslane is actually an extremely nutritious and tasty super food. It has more omega-3 fatty acids (promotes heart health, helps combat depression, and more) per weight than any other plant on our planet. Purslane is also incredibly high in vitamins A, B, C, and E. Purslane is fresh and crunchy, with a tang and a slight citrus undertone, and I find that purslane is best enjoyed raw, in summer salads with other fresh seasonal produce.
Plantain – Plantain is another plant that commonly makes a home for itself on driveways and sidewalk cracks. It is not related to its similarly named banana-like, tropical plant. Plantain has edible leaves and seeds, as well as serving as one of the best known natural remedies for bug bites and stings. The leaves have anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties, and can be used topically, by breaking up and crushing the plant and rubbing it on bites and burns. Similar to dandelion, it is incredibly detoxifying and is also very high in iron and other vitamins. Plantain leaves are tastiest for salads when they are smaller, earlier in the spring, as once they grow larger they tend to become more bitter and fibrous. The larger leafs act as a great and sustainable substitute to kale, and make for great chips when baked.
Acorns – When you first hear acorn, you tend to think of squirrels gathering their food source for the winter, but acorns are also a very beneficial food for us humans. In fact, they used to act as a dietary staple in many cultures, serving many of the same nutritional needs as grains do. Acorns are a great source of healthy fats, protein, and B vitamins, as well as being very high in magnesium. Acorns are the nuts of oak trees, which are plentiful in most urban settings. After shelling your acorns – which tend to be tougher than most nuts – you will want to boil them in water, in order to reduce their high tannin content. The water will then become incredibly rich with the tannins from the acorn, and can then be applied to the skin in order to help soothe cuts , rashes, or burns. You can then dry and grind your acorns into an acorn flour meal, or add this meal into a mix with other flours. Here are some really creative recipes using acorns and acorn flour.
Nettles – Stinging nettles are another plant that you can commonly find sprouting up in parks and urban gardens. You will want to wear gloves while harvesting them, in order to prevent getting a rash from the acid-filled needles on their leaves. Once cooked or boiled, the nettles will no longer have their stinging quality and will be ready for your consumption. Nettles taste similar to spinach and are great sauteed with a little bit of olive oil and seasoning, and they also make a very healing tea if boiled. Nettles are quite the superfood: they contain over ten times as much calcium as spinach, and are also high in magnesium and vitamin A. Nettles can also provide seasonal allergy relief by acting to reduce the body’s histamine production, which is a key cause of allergy symptoms.
This paid post is brought to you by the Hazon, working to create a healthier and more sustainable Jewish community and a healthier and more sustainable world for all. Learn more about urban foraging and all things edible at the Hazon Food Conference, August 9 – 13 at Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center. For more information and to register, please visit Hazon online or call 800-824-5991 ext 0.
I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that the popular food website called Delish has been featuring a lot of dill pickle recipes: dill pickle ice cubes for Bloody Marys (genius!) and tuna salad on dill pickles (ok, a little gross but I get it) and pickle sliders (cute idea) and even dill pickle juice bread (love it!).
But this week I was deeply disturbed by the latest iteration of pickle obsession from Delish: pickle back Jell-o shots. That’s right — dill pickle juice and whisky-infused Jell-o, served inside a pickle. And this is just taking the pickle one step too far for this pickle purist.
I know that when most people think of Friday night dinner what comes to mind is pretty traditional menu: challah, salad, a roast chicken, some potatoes or kugel and maybe some brownies or cookies to sweeten the end. It’s a solid dinner — no complaints. But I love making a big vegetable-forward, dairy dinner for Friday night from time to time as well. Not to mention, and I hope you’re sitting down for this one: not everyone eats meat. So we wanted to put together lots of vegetarian, Shabbat-friendly recipes to aid your menu planning. Many of these recipes can be prepared ahead of time and are ideal for family-style eating.
Israeli-style chopped salad, typically made with cucumber, tomato, sometimes red onion or peppers and always with fresh herbs and lemon, is about as simple and perfect for summertime (or anytime) as it gets. There’s no cooking involved, and it’s healthy, refreshing and easy to throw together. But even perfection needs a little shaking up once in awhile. The simple salad lends itself well to many interpretations: Add cheese for creaminess and a bit of tangy bite, add chickpeas for added protein or turn it into ceviche for a summer-perfect appetizer or light lunch. Here are five of our favorite ways to enjoy the classic salad.
1. Classic Israeli Salad (with video!)