Category Archives: Treif food

Kosher Shitake Bacon is Delicious on Almost Everything

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A few weeks ago, I was craving some cooked greens like my Mother used to make when I was a little girl. I’ve never actually made greens myself but I purchased a bunch at Wholefoods Market and headed home to find a recipe. I remember my mom’s greens being delicious and when I started looking at recipes, I realized why. Most of the greens recipes included the secret and non-Kosher ingredient – Bacon. Ugh. When I narrowed my search by looking for vegetarian greens recipes, I found a wonderful trick for turning a veggie into a yummy substitue for bacon. FitSugar features a Smokey Collard Greens with Shiitake Bacon recipe that includes a way to bake Shitake mushrooms until they are slightly crisp and very bacon-like.

I called my hubbie and asked him to stop at the store on his way home to pickup some Shitake mushrooms. The slight problem we discovered is that these mushrooms are expensive, around $14 a pound at Wholefoods, but he found a small package of them for $4.99 so we figured it was worth a try.

I cooked the greens that night for dinner, along with the Shitake bacon and my whole family is in love. This recipe is out of this world and a must for Kosher-keeping bacon lovers like myself. Since then, I’ve made the Shitake Bacon to use with several different meals. Here’s just the recipe for Shitake Bacon:

3/4 pounds shiitake mushrooms, cut into thin strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. Pour olive oil and salt over mushrooms and stir to incorporate.
  3. Spread in single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes until dehydrated, but still pliable.

Last night, I made a creamy, cheesy mashed potato soup from the April 2012 issue of All You magazine, which called for 4 slices of bacon. Instead of the real bacon, I made the Shitake Bacon recipe above using a 4 oz package of mushrooms. Once the soup was ready, I sprinkled the mushrooms and chives on top of the soup for a filling, kosher meal … probably better in winter than during a hot, Texas summer but hey, what can I say, I was having a rough day and needed some good, old fashioned comfort food even if it was the same temperature as outside. This soup and “bacon” did the trick.

Have you found any other good bacon substitues you’d like to share? So far, the Shitake mushrooms are my favorite but I’m open to new suggestions. I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Kosher Cooking!

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Turning Treif Recipes into Kosher Meals

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I’m not what you would call “Kosher from Birth.” I only started keeping Kosher a few years ago. Before that, I was happily enjoying all of the Southern cooking I could stand including a lot of the food called Treif by the Kosher crowd. For those of you who aren’t in the know about Treif, the definition is as follows according to on About.com Treif derived from the Hebrew word teref which means torn, and originally referred to non-kosher meat only. In Exodus 22:30 it is written “Do not eat meat from an animal torn in the field.” Thus Jews were forbidden to eat meat from an animal that was torn or mortally wounded. Over time the meaning of the term treif expanded from one category of non-kosher meat to anything non-kosher.

When I think of Treif, I think of shrimp, crab, lobster, fried chicken when the batter is made with milk (mixing meat and dairy), chicken sour cream enchiladas, bacon, and just about any meal I’m used to making from my favorite Southern Living Cookbooks.

I first heard the word Treif when I was attending a Judaica studies class. We were taking a snack break during which each week, a class member took turns bringing yummy treats to eat. Fortunately, I was not assigned to bring food during this particular week because an attendee found a bag of cookies on the table that was not Kosher. She immediately started yelling – “TREIF, TREIF, Someone brought TREIF!”

While I understood the seriousness of the crime, I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at how crazy this attendee sounded. To this day, I still yell out those same words any chance I get. If my husband is with me, he laughs too because he knows the joke. Others however, not so much.

Over the years, I’ve amazed my family with my ability to find ways to still enjoy my favorite Treif foods but in a Kosher way. Each recipe is a new challenge, and I’ll admit that as a resident of Dallas … where Kosher food is not abundant … I spend a great deal of time driving from store to store to find one unique, pareve item that I can use in place of a dairy one or a substitue for some other Treif item that isn’t Treif but still tastes like the Treif version. Each week is a searching, shopping, cooking adventure for me. And I know I can’t be alone.

Hopefully I can share some unique Kosher food concoctions with you, and you’ll share some with me as well. Together we can make this Treif world fit for any respectable Kosher keeping citizen.

Happy Treif Kosher Cooking!