Category Archives: Kosher food

Don’t miss this culinary adventure in Israel with Susie Fishbein

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COOKING with SUSIE Fishbein

Cooking with Susie Fishbein during the 2014 Culinary Tour

If you are a regular reader of Kosher Treif Cooking, you know that I’m a bit of a groupie when it comes to Susie Fishbein and her cookbooks. All one has to do is examine a few pages in my copy of Kosher by Design Picture Perfect Food for the Holidays and Every Day to know that the recipes are well loved and used often.

When I first began keeping Kosher, I knew nothing about how to cook Kosher food or really even how to cook Jewish food. I’m from the South so the majority of my cooking involved fried chicken, biscuits and gravy, meat loaf made with my old treif friend pork, and just about anything else that could be deep fried or mixed with cheese, butter and heavy cream.

And I can’t lie – making the switch to Kosher wasn’t easy. I relied heavily on Kosher by Design to help me make the transition, and I loved that a lot of the recipes reminded me of my old, comfort-food way of life. Susie does an amazing job of making Kosher food that is outside the standard Jewish-fare box, and her cookbooks gave me the idea to explore ways to make my old treif favorites into Kosher meals.

So why am I telling you all of this?

Because I just learned about an amazing trip – The Susie Fishbein Culinary Tour to Israel – and wanted to share it with you. I sadly cannot make the journey myself due to work commitments but am keeping my fingers crossed that I’ll be able to attend next year.

In the meantime, I’m hoping some of you can attend the trip and tell me how awesome it was to cook with and explore the wonderful Kosher food in Israel with Susie Fishbein : ) Here are some details:

Highlights:

  • Learn creative cooking techniques from acclaimed author Susie Fishbein
  • Meet with top Israeli chefs and participate in culinary workshops
  • Explore the tastes and smells of Israel’s wonderfully diverse markets
  • Discover the flavors of Jerusalem including a halva tasting workshop
  • Experiences culinary diversity and ingenuity in Israel
  • Stay in some of Israel’s top hotels and spas, including the opportunity to upgrade to the new Waldorf Astoria in Jerusalem

Best of all in my opinion, get to cook with and learn from Susie Fishbein!

Plus, all attendees will receive a copy of Susie’s latest cookbook, as well as a special, personalized book that includes everything you learn on the trip.

2014 Culinary Tour with Susie Fishbein

2014 Culinary Tour with Susie Fishbein

I hope you can attend this great trip and look forward to hearing about your adventures.

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

Kosher Food in Barcelona, Spain Part 2

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Kosher Schnitzel Barcelona

We recently visited Barcelona for the second time and were so disappointed to discover that two of our favorite Kosher restaurants from our last visit are either gone or no longer Kosher.

Delicias restaurant, which was our favorite, is no longer Kosher, and Shalom kosher restaurant has closed.Maccabi Barcelona

We were left with one Kosher restaurant in Barcelona called Maccabi on Ramblas, which is in a great location, and I’m not sure why we didn’t try this place during our last trip but we ate there several times this trip : )

The top picture is my almost completely devoured plate of Schnitzel, which I enjoyed several times while in Barcelona. Neil had the beef kabob and steak. Zoe had pasta with plain red sauce and also meat sauce, which was really good.

MaccabiApologies for the blurry photos. I think I was enjoying the Spanish red wine a little too much.

One small complaint is that Maccabi charged extra for each pita, even when you ordered hummus. This fact drove us a bit crazy cause, come on, if we order hummus, we’ve got to have pita to go with it right? The owner’s explanation was that the hummus was the main thing … or something along those lines.

Overall, I’m glad Barcelona still has a Kosher restaurant, but the atmosphere at Maccabi is not as relaxed and friendly as our favs from last year. All of our meals there felt rushed and chaotic but the food was very good and definitely worth it if you find your Kosher self in Barcelona.

If you are not strictly Kosher and OK with eating vegetarian food, last year we told you about a great Vegan Falafel booth located in Mercat de La Boqueria.

Vegan Falafel

This food establishment is not certified Kosher but it is vegan and run and/or owned by a friendly Jewish woman. This trip, we decided to exchange Thanksgiving Turkey for vegan falafel instead, so we purchased our falafels and then bought drinks from a small store, that has a few tables/chairs outside, directly across from the falafel booth and sat down to enjoy our food. Zoe eating Falafel in Barcelona

Zoe, who normally would not touch anything as exotic as falafel, actually ate and enjoyed about half of her lunch. So I think it’s at least somewhat kid friendly.

Once you are done eating, you can walk through the many vendors’ stands in the Boqueria and marvel at the interesting foods for sale. Lots of treif to admire in this market!

Barcelona is a wonderful city to visit but if you are strictly Kosher, you’ll need to bring along some of your own food. We packed several boxes of mac and cheese, cereals, Nutella, etc. to enjoy while we were there. We also ate a lot of vegetarian food, which I’m thrilled to say seems to be on the rise in this very meat/pork heavy city.

What have been your Kosher experiences in Barcelona or other European cities?

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

Clean Eating Mac and Cheese … without a kitchen

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Kosher Kitchen RemodelThe above picture depicts the state my kitchen has been in for the past 5 weeks.

Makeshift Pantry

The above picture depicts just a tiny sliver of my dining room, which has now become a makeshift kitchen. The large piece of furniture hiding underneath the food, clock and ziplock bags is a piano. Good thing my daughter decided against continuing her piano lessons for now.

 Said kitchen has been in need of a serious remodel for many years so a few weeks of living like a gypsy shouldn’t bother me too much, but I’m just around the corner from being really annoyed. We’ve eaten takeout and sandwiches for just about as long as I can stand, so I decided to try-out this “clean eating” initiative I’ve been hearing so much about lately.

I did a Google search for clean eating and clean food and found many great recipes, including a free download from Eating Well. On Monday night, I decided to skip the fast food and prepare a home cooked meal … without a kitchen. I chose the Sweet Potato Macaroni & Cheese recipe because it seemed easy enough (the microwave was involved) and required few dishes (I’m currently washing my dishes on my front lawn … the neighbors are so proud).

To kick things off, I killed the sweet potato in the microwave. The recipe said to cook it for 7 to 10 minutes. I cooked it for 7 and what came out looked like an old leather shoe. There wasn’t even anything close to a potato left inside the skin. Yuck.

By this point, I already had the noodles and the cheese sauce cooking (on a griddle lying on my floor) so I didn’t want to throw it all out, but I also didn’t want to buy or attempt cooking another sweet potato.

Cooking mac and cheese without a kitchen

My husband was at the drugstore picking up a prescription so I texted him to bring me home a few jars of sweet potato baby food. And no, it wasn’t as easy as all that. He texted back WTF? And I texted back “just do it.” And then there was more texting about which brand, etc., and even more discussion about the strange conversation he had with the check-out lady.

I finally got the baby food and added it to the cheese mixture, heated everything up (still working from the floor), transferred it all to a disposable pan and broiled it all for a few minutes to brown the breadcrumbs on top. And TaDah: Clean food (sort of) baked on the floor without a kitchen!

Sweet Potato Mac and Cheese

I have to say, it wasn’t half bad. My hubbie even agreed and so did my daughter until she decided, after eating an entire bowl, that she didn’t like it. Here’s a few notes about my version, some of which make the recipe somewhat unclean:

  • As mentioned, I killed the sweet potato so I substituted 3 jars of sweet potato baby food instead. Don’t think anyone noticed. And the baby food was organic.
  • The recipe calls for whole wheat pasta and breadcrumbs. Whole wheat pasta: Check. Whole wheat breadcrumbs: not so much. Plain ole unclean breadcrumbs were used.
  • My daughter hates peas so I added those in last and only on half of the dish. Worked perfectly.
  • I used substantially more cheese than the recipe called for, which might explain why it tasted so great. I used 2 cups to the recipe’s 1 1/4 cups.

Overall, it was a fun experiment and there weren’t many pots/pans/dishes to wash on the lawn afterwards. A win for everyone concerned I’m sure.

Tell me about some weird extremes you’ve taken to cook food during a remodel? I’d love to get some tips and tricks.

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

 

 

The Passover Cooking Frenzy

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I spent the day in a cooking frenzy and thanks to me, my hubbie spent the day in an errand-running frenzy. I kept coming across ingredients I’d forgotten to buy and also thinking of things we needed that weren’t included in my original Passover plan.

At the end of the day, I’d completed 6 of the 9 items, plus 1 bonus cake so I’m counting that as a win since I’ve still got tomorrow to finish up numbers 7, 8 and 9.

Here’s the line-up so far and all but one are from Susie Fishbein’s Passover by Design Cookbook because, quite frankly, I’m lazy when it comes to Passover cooking. I love that I can find a bunch of great recipes in one cookbook – it’s my one-stop-recipe-shop to help make my life easier during a very labor intensive holiday:

Tri Color Gefilte Fish

Tri Color Gefilte Fish from Rosh Hashanah 2012 is always a big hit. It’s a bit time-consuming to make and you need to read the entire recipe before starting or else you’ll end up like me today … somehow skipping over the eggs, salt and pepper that needed to be added to the gefilte fish base and then having to figure out how to get them in after the fact. Keeping my fingers crossed that this dish turns out OK this year : ) I also usually make some kind of a horseradish-based sauce to go with this fish.

Meat LogKosher Meat and Potato Roll or as it’s known in my house, the Meat Log. It’s like your Mom’s old-fashioned meatloaf with a hidden surprise inside of mashed potatoes.

We joke about this dish often, but it’s always a hit and it’s always gone at the end of the Seder.

Delicious and somewhat easy to make.

 

Sweet and Sour Meatballs from Susie Fishbein’s Passover by Design cookbook, page 35. I originally found this meatball recipe in Susie’s cookbook for kids, where there are 2 different kinds of meatballs. My family loves both so the Sweet and Sour version is an easy, quick crowd-pleaser for Passover.

Passover Crumb Cake

A hidden Passover Dessert Gem – the Crumb Cake from Susie Fishbein’s Passover Cookbook page 248. This cake looks like dry sand but taste like moist yummy apples, even though there’s not a single apple in it. I couldn’t believe how delicious it turned out last Passover so it’s making a repeat appearance this year. A small amount of effort and ingredients produces an amazing dessert.

Teriyaki Chicken, also from Susie Fishbein’s Passover by Design cookbook, page 124. I have a bit of a love, hate relationship with this recipe. The photo in the cookbook makes the sauce look very dark brown and quite beautiful. My sauce never seems to get that dark. It’s more of a tan color and never as sticky as described in the book. I’m sure it’s user error on my part, and the chicken is still quite tasty, which is why I keep making it but I do wish I knew the secret to the dark brown, sticky consistency.

Slow Roasted Chicken, page 115 of the same cookbook. This recipe is a new one for us. My husband usually makes a slow-roasted chicken using the rotisserie tool on our grill, but since we can’t use it for Passover, I decided to give this oven version a try. I’ll let you know how it tastes after our first Seder. Has anyone made this chicken before?

Purple Cabbage Salad, page 82 of the same cookbook. I make this salad for almost every holiday and when we’re having company for Shabbat. It’s definitely loved and it holds up well over a few days if there are left-overs.

What are you cooking for Passover? Do you have favorite dishes you make every year?

Happy Passover and Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

Fruits of the Vine Mishloach Manot

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Fruits of the Vine Mishloach Manot

I’m about to start a Passover cooking frenzy and realized I never got around to blogging about our Mishloach Manot project, which was both fun and exhausting. My 7 year-old-daughter announced early on that she wanted our gift baskets to include chocolate covered strawberries and the complete package came together from there.

I came up with the idea to use flower pots as our “basket” and my sister-in-law Rosie, suggested we put the strawberries on sticks so they looked like actual flowers. I loved the plan so I went to work several weeks in advance (thank goodness) gathering supplies.

I borrowed the Chocolate Dipped Strawberries recipe from The Shiksa in the Kitchen with one small addition. I added about a tablespoon of Crisco to the chocolate to aid in the melting process. I also broke down and bought an inexpensive double-boiler from Bed, Bath and Beyond. Yes, I know it’s nuts that I didn’t own one, but I’ve never had to melt gallons of chocolate before so a new pan was definitely needed.

Plastic flower pots from Dollar Store

Next, I found cute, colorful, plastic flower pots at the Dollar Store, along with Easter grass, green napkins, and the green blocks of styrofoam used for flower arrangements.

I cut the styrofoam blocks into pieces small enough to fit into the bottom of each flower pot and used a hot glue gun to “attach” the sytrofoam to the bottom of the pot. Next, I used hot glue to “attach” the green napkin to the center of the Styrofoam block so that the edges of the napkin “flowered” out to cover and hide the Styrofoam.

I added a bit of the Easter grass and filled each basked with:

A few pieces of Candy
Fun fruit and vegetable shaped erasers ordered from Raymond Geddes
Individual packets of Crystal Light, fruit flavored
Fruit seed packet (watermelon, etc.) purchased at Walmart for .29 cents (sadly, I couldn’t find strawberry seeds anywhere!)

Chocolate Dipped StrawberriesThe night before Purim, I washed 100 strawberries and added them to skewer sticks (purchased in the grilling/outdoor cooking section at Walmart). I melted a lot of chocolate using my double-broiler, dipped each strawberry into the chocolate and laid on a piece of parchment paper to dry.

I also dipped a few of the strawberries into chopped pecans while the chocolate was still soft.

Chocolate Dipped StrawberriesAfter the chocolate had hardened, I melted white chocolate and added to a Wilton cake decorating bag with a small round tip to add the swirl design.

Next, all strawberries went into my refrigerator to chill and stay fresh overnight.

The next morning, I started the assembly process of:

Adding 3 strawberries to each flower pot by pushing the sticks through the napkin and into the styrofoam.
Covering the 3 strawberries with clear plastic bags purchased at Walmart (in the party section, used for party favor bags).
Tying the bag around each set of strawberries with ribbon and the cute tag my hubbie made.

My plan was for the Mishloach to be a “Fruits of the Vine” theme but in the end, everyone was too tired to come up with a cute poem so we ended up with a simple “Happy Purim” with a picture of a chocolate dipped strawberry. Maybe next year we should start with the design of the tag first!

I’ll admit that delivery was no piece of cake. Fortunately, it was a cool day in Texas so nothing melted but a few of the skewers did poke through the top of some strawberries so I had to make some adjustments before deliver. And we had enough strawberries left over to serve at a Purim dinner that evening.

 

All in all, it was a fun process and no treif was involved!

Mishloach ManotHow about you? What was in your Mishloach Manot basket?

Here’s a quick supply list for the approve project:

  • Plastic flower pots (dollar stores)
  • Styrofoam block for flower arrangements (dollar stores)
  • Green paper napkins
  • Hot glue gun and extra glue sticks
  • Easter grass (dollar store or Walmart)
  • Candy
  • Fun erasers or any other fruit-related toy
  • Crystal Light individual drink powder packets
  • Seed packets (Walmart)
  • Wooden Skewers (Grilling section of Walmart or Lowes, etc.)
  • Strawberries
  • Ingredients for Shiksa in the Kitchen Chocolate Dipped Strawberries recipe plus Crisco and chopped nuts if desired
  • Wilton decorating bags plus small round tip (can also try using a zip lock bag with tiny hole cut in edge. This didn’t work for me, but I was also tired and a bit stressed by this point!)
  • Clear plastic party favor bags (Walmart)
  • Ribbon
  • Gift tags

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!

What’s your favorite cooking gadget?

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Favorite Kitchen GadgetsCongrats to Julie for winning my “What’s your favorite and quick go-to dinner?” She recommended pizza made on an English muffin or a pita and also fine egg noodles mixed with butter and shaker cheese. Both sound like delicious and easy options that most kids would happily eat.

Julie’s prize was one fun cooking gadget, but I got kind of carried away when I went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to find the gadget. So Julie ended up with 3 gadgets instead:

A Stainless Steel Wavy Knife from MSC International for fancy fries, fabulous fruit and vivid veggies.

Rocker Garlic Crusher by Joseph Ltd, London – crush garlic by pushing and rocking back and forth over clovers.

Silicone Basting brush.

I also got myself a ProFreshionals Herb Mincer, which I haven’t tried yet but it was too cool to pass up.

Congrats to Julie! Please let us know how you use your new kitchen gadgets.

What about you? What is your favorite kitchen gadget?

Happy Kosher Treif Cooking!