Archive | March, 2011

It’s almost that time again…

30 Mar

It’s time to start thinking about Passover.  Can you believe it?  Time flies when you’re eating bread, I guess.  There is no better way to ease into the sometimes difficult task of Passover eating than Chocolate Covered Matzoh.  There’s also not an easier way to become the most popular person at a Passover Seder, or a Tuesday night in June (or any other time of the year).  The secret way to truly win friends and influence people is to learn how to make CCM.  Seriously.  Memorize what I’m about to teach you.  Make it for your Seder.  Then?  Randomly surprise people with it throughout the year.  You’ll never be lonely again…or skinny…

This recipe is delightfully simple and easy.  It just takes a few minutes, but the joy goes on forever.  I’m not kidding when I tell you that this dessert can change lives.

What?

4 to 6 sheets of Matzoh…(I use a high fiber Matzoh to feel healthy)

1 cup (two sticks of butter or margarine)

1 cup of packed light brown sugar

1 pinch of Kosher Salt

1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract

1 bag of chocolate chips

1 cup of pecans or favorite nut chopped (optional)

extra Kosher Salt for sprinkling

How?

Pre-heat the oven to 350°F. Line an 11-by-17-inch baking sheet completely with foil.  This step isn’t completely necessary but it’ll make the clean up a zillion times easier.

Line the bottom of the baking sheet with matzoh, covering all parts.  You’ll need to break pieces to fit any extra spaces, which will be annoying because despite being perforated, it does not actually break in straight lines.  Don’t get stressed out about this part.  Like life…making Chocolate Covered Matzoh is a little messy and imperfect.

In a saucepan, melt the butter and brown sugar together, and stir it over medium heat until it begins to boil. Once it has begun boiling, let it bubble for three more minutes, stirring it well. I use a whisk…  It will thicken a bit as it cooks. Remove from the heat and add the salt and vanilla, and then quickly pour it over the matzoh or crackers. You’ll want to spread it quickly, as it will begin to set as soon as it is poured.

Bake the caramel-covered crackers for 15 minutes, watching carefully as it will bubble and the corners might darken too quickly and/or burn. You can reduce the heat if you see this happening.

Remove from oven and immediately cover with chocolate chips. Let stand for a couple of minutes, and then spread them evenly across the caramel using a spatula.  It’s like magic it’s so unbelievably easy.  If you’re using them, sprinkle the chocolate with toasted chopped nuts.  I usually skip the nuts and sprinkle the top of the gooey chocolatey goodness with Kosher Salt.  Trust me here.  The salty sweetness = new bffs.

Once the salt is on, I throw the baking sheet into the freezer to speed up the process.  When it’s solid you’re ready to go!  If you’re short on Matzoh, or (G-d forbid) you don’t have any where you are use saltines.  It’s the same-ish feel…just not necessarily Kosher for Passover.  I’m sorry that there aren’t any pictures of my CCM, I kinda ate it all before I could remember to get out my camera.  Oops.  Now for a run, I guess?

Just in time for Meatless Monday

27 Mar

Oy va voy it has been a while.  Mad props to the bestest co-author ever for taking over the blog for the last week and a half (well, let’s keep it real, 2 weeks).  Anyway, I’m back and I’ve got a back log of recipes so hang on to your hats.

Now, a while ago Jeremy, whose love of all things Oprah might rival Oprah’s own love for all things Oprah, suggested we start a Meatless Mondays section of the blog in honor of O’s dedication to the John Hopkins School of Public Health’s meatless campaign.  It was hard to agree to, what with being married to an Ashkenazi Jewish man weened on chicken bones and schmaltz, but at the end of the day, meat is expensive so we unknowingly support and celebrate Meatless Mondays on a weekly basis.  So, for this post, I want to share one of my most favorite vegetarian/vegan recipe.  It’s simple, it’s inexpensive, it provides leftovers for several days and best of all–it’s delicious!!

Spicy Peanut Noodles with Baked Tofu

 

What??

Tofu Prep (You want to marinate the tofu for at least 20 minutes before you bake it so let is marinate while the noodles cook)

– One package of extra firm tofu

– 1/2 cup soy sauce

– 2 tablespoons of Frank’s Hot Sauce (natch)

– Dash or two of ginger powder

Preheat oven to 350

Take the tofu out of package and wrap in a few paper towels.  Give it a good squeeze in order to remove all that excess water.  You want to make sure to get out as much water as possible so that the tofu can absorb all that soy sauce goodness.  Let the tofu sit on paper towel.  Put the soy sauce, hot sauce and ginger into a bowl and stir.  Next, put the cubed tofu into the sauce and make sure the sauce covers the tofu as much as it can.  Cover the bowl and refrigerate while you prepare the peanut noodles.

Noodles!

3 tablespoons of olive oil

3 bulbs of garlic diced

3 carrots sliced into thin rounds

1 cup of broccoli florets

3 -5 scallions chopped

a bunch of cilantro

1 package of sobu noodles

Spicy Sauce

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

1/2 cup tahini

1/4 natural peanut butter (I like a combination of both)

1 tablespoon honey

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice or wine vinegar

1/4 cup of hot water

Hot sesame oil, chili-garlic sauce, or other hot sauce to taste

HOW??

Put hot water on to boil to cook the noodles.  While waiting for water to boil, heat medium-sized skillet with olive oil on medium-high heat.  Add garlic to the skillet; turn heat down to medium.****  Add carrots to skillet and sautee until soft.  Add the broccoli and sautee with carrots until very bright green.  Meanwhile, add noodles to the boiling water and proceed as directed by the package.  Once vegetables and noodles are cooked (and drained) put in one giant bowl.  Meanwhile, beat together the tahini/peanut butter mixture, sugar (I use honey and you could use agave nectar or maple syrup as well), soy sauce, and vinegar. Add a little hot sauce and the sesame oil; taste and adjust seasoning as necessary. Thin the sauce with hot water, so that it is the consistency of heavy cream. I like to add cilantro and scallions to the mixture at this point. Finally, toss together the noodles and baked tofu.

****If your tofu has been marinated for 20 minutes, but on greased baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.  Make sure to turn over at the 10 minute mark.

 

 

Tomato Soup for the Soul

24 Mar

So, I make a lot of soup.  What can I say?  I’m obsessed with single pot meals.  They’re easy to clean up and since I’m the wife in this relationship (ie head housekeeper) the easier to clean up the better!  I hate cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes!  Therefore?  Soup it is.  Though, I’ve got to tell you, this Chicago weather is zig-zagging from hot to cold so fast I can’t get out of my winter soup making phase.  Seriously.  Two days ago I was outside jogging in shorts.  Today?  Snow flurries.  Who can keep up with this mess?  It’s best to just pretend that the snow is here to stay (at least in the kitchen).  Say what you want about snow, it inspired me in the cooking department today.  Is there anything better than tomato soup?  Yes!  The grilled cheese, tomato and avocado sandwiches you make to go with it!

Today I got all fancy and pulled out my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks for inspiration.  I found what looked to me to be a cure for my “why won’t the winter go away blues.”  She calles it pappa al pomodoro.  I call it the best damned tomato soup I’ve ever made.  Please give this one a try.  I promise you won’t be disappointed.  It’s super simple and beyond delicious.  Besides who doesn’t want a soup made with bread?

What?

1/2 cup olive oil

2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)

1 cup medium-diced carrots (3 carrots)

1 fennel bulb, trimmed, cored, and medium-diced (1.5 cups)

4 tsp minced garlic (4 cloves)

3 cups diced ciabatta bread

2 28oz cans Italian plum tomatoes

4 cups vegetable broth

1/2 cup dry red wine (I used Cabernet)

1 cup chopped basil leaves

HOW?

Heat the oil in a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, fennel, and garlic and cook over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, until tender.  Add the ciabatta cubes and cook for 5 more minutes.  Place the tomatoes in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade and process just until coarsely chopped. Add the tomatoes to the pot along with the vegetable stock, red wine, basil, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1.5 teaspoons pepper.  Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and allow to simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes.  Once the soup is nearing the 45 minute mark?  Get out your whisk and let out your frustrations.  Give her a good whisking.  You’ll break up some of the tomatoes and bread. I hope you have some parmesan handy because you’re going to want to sprinkle it generously in your bowl.

Seriously, y’all.  This one is a keeper.  As for your grilled cheese sandwiches?  You’re on your own!

xoxo

So what! Who cares!

18 Mar

I learned this week that you really should follow the recipe rule.  What’s the recipe rule, you say?  Well, there’s this old adage that you should follow a recipe exactly as it is written the first time you make it.  Don’t haphazardly add things.  Don’t get too creative.  You want to see if you can make the recipe correctly.  You want to make what they’re trying to get you to make.  I didn’t do that.  The results weren’t terrible.  They weren’t even bad, but I didn’t make what I was supposed to be making.

I love soups, stews and chilli.  I can’t get enough of ’em.  I enjoy the way you basically throw a bunch of things into a pot and then eat them a few minutes later.  It’s fun, messy and delicious.  I found a Minestrone recipe that I wanted to try.  I’ll give you the recipe and then tell you how NOT to make it.

WHAT?

1.5 lbs of lean stew beef, cut into bite-size cubes

2 tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 large carrot, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped

2 quarts beef stock

1 cup spaghetti sauce

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 14 oz can beans, drained, rinsed

1 28 oz can tomatoes, undrained

1 tbsp dried mixed Italian herbs

1 bay leaf

2 cups frozen mixed vegetables, thawed

1 cup elbow macaroni

Tabasco, salt, and pepper to taste

HOW?

In an 8 quart or larger Dutch oven, sear the meat in oil over high heat until very brown.  Remove beef from pan; pour iff excess fat and oil.  Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until tender, stirring around the bottom and edges of the pan.  Add the stock, browned meat, spaghetti sauce, garlic, beans, tomatoes, herbs, and a few grinds of fresh pepper.  Bring to a boil then cover and reduce heat to a simmer for about two hours.  Stir occasionally.  Add more water if needed during cooking.  Add the vegetables and the macaroni and cook another half hour.  Check the seasonings, salt, pepper and spice it up to your liking.

Now…this is a really simple recipe.  There’s not a lot of work involved here, right?  Right!  What did I do?  For starters I’m not in love with red meat.  I try to avoid it when I can.  I fried some ground turkey and used that instead.  I also substituted chicken broth for beef.  These things didn’t hurt the recipe.  I mean, I guess it’s weird that I used two different birds but I that didn’t bother me as much as the idea of using turkey meat in beef broth.  There should be a Kosher law about that.  Maybe there is and I’m being a huge jackass.  Whatever.  It sounds gross.  Through…it’s probably delicious.  The broth is where it all began.  The recipe calls for 2 quarts of broth.  I couldn’t figure out from the broth available to me at the store how much 2 quarts would be.  I know.  I’m ridiculous.  I just got the biggest size I could find after doing math in my head and said to hell with it.  It’d be close enough.  I was 2 cups short.  This didn’t bother me at the time.  Ha!  Then?  Then I looked at my bag of macaroni noodles.  When was I ever going to use all this pasta?  Never.  So?  Instead of the ONE CUP of pasta?  I threw in the whole bag.  It’s like 10 cups of pasta.  Two seconds later?  Almost all of the liquid was gone.  Why?  the pasta had soaked it all up.  I was staring at a bowl of what I’ll now call Italian Chilli.  It’s delicious.  We’ve been eating it all week, but it could have been better.

Always follow a recipe as written the first time you’re making it.  Well, I kinda believe that.  At least I learned something.  Do whatever you want.  So what!  Who cares!

Shabbat Shalom!

It’s Cookie Time, It’s Cookie Time, It’s Cookie Ti-iiiime

14 Mar

$1 to the person who can name the AWESOME 80s movie this post’s title derives from.  We’ll give you a hint—it’s actually a song in the glorious movie.

Filling Planning

Ok, moving on–we’re less than a week from Purim so clearly, Jewhungry spent some time baking hamantaschen on Sunday.  Now, for those who don’t know, hamantaschen are a triangle-shaped cookies with delicious fillings (usually jelly-filled but can be anything from poppy-seed to prunes).  The name hamantaschen comes from the hat worn by the villan Haman as found in the Book of Esther (one of five megillot).   Purim is a fun holiday yes–one is supposed to drink until he/she cannot tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys–however, it also has a really great story to it that folks can relate to and some of this jewhungry writer’s fondest memories from Israel come from dancing in the streets of Nachla’ot at Purim time.  But I digress–hamantaschen are good y’all, real real good.  It seems that most Jewish cooks don’t have one set hamantaschen recipe unless they inherited one from their mother that just sticks with them.  I’ve got an adorable mother-in-law who changes hanukah cookie recipes every year so I have to assume it’s the same for the hamantaschen. Now, the challenge with hamantaschen is keeping those bad boys sealed at the triangle points.  Our advice is to use water.  Water on raw cookie dough is like Elmer’s glue–it sticks.  Just keep a little dish of water by your side while forming the cookies and you’ll be all good.  Oh, and remember, a little goes a long way with the filling.  It’s a natural inclination to want to shove that delicious cookie pocket with as much jelly-love as possible but you got to SLOW YOUR ROLL.  That cookie will explode and become pizzataschen if you don’t tread lightly with your fillings.  Trust us, we know.

 

 

This year’s hamantaschen recipe is brought to you by Smitten Kitchen.  Now, most folks like to enjoy a parve hamantaschen but Smitten Kitchen had a recipe involving cream cheese so that was DEFINITELY going to happen.**

Ingredients:

Yield: About 22 2-inch cookies

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces cream cheese at room temperature
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Various jams or preserves (we used strawberry and raspberry to which we added white chocolate chips for a nice raspberry/white chocolate mix) or prepared fillings (such as poppy seed or prune pastry or, if you’re SUPER healthy, you can go with Heath bar crunch filling like we did).

How??

Cream butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add sugar and mix for one minute longer, then egg, vanilla extract, orange zest and salt, mixing until combined. Finally, add the flour. The mixture should come together and be a tad sticky. If it feels too wet, add an additional tablespoon of flour.

Form dough into a disc, wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

To form the hamantaschen, roll out the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about 1/4-inch thick. Using a round cookie cutter (3 inches is traditional, but very large; I used one that was 2 1/2 inches), cut the dough into circles. Spoon a teaspoon of you filling of choice in the center. Fold the dough in from three sides and firmly crimp the corners and give them a little twist to ensure they stay closed.  Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

If you are new to baking and you don’t have cookie cutters, find the widest-rimmed drinking glass you have and use that.  If the dough is super sticky you will need to add a bit more flour along the way.  Super sticky dough will not stay together when baked.

 

 

Guest chef Marissa in the Miami kitchen!

 

 

Ready for the oven

 

 

Pizzataschen - a.k.a. exploded hamantaschen that look like pizzas

 

 

 

 

 

 

**Side note: If you visit the recipe on the Smitten Kitchen blog, you’ll notice she comments on the cookies not being kosher if they include butter.  Butter in a cookie doesn’t make it treif (or non-kosher), it just means that they are dairy and therefore not parve and cannot be eaten after meat.

L’chaim!

8 Mar

I’ve spent a lot of time lately trying to figure out a new balance.  Am I doing the right things?  Am I working where I should work?  How can I turn the work I do into a better extension of who I am?  Where can I find more time to write, cook, see friends, perform, exercise, read, be a better Jew, spend time with my husband?  How do I balance everything?  Can I balance everything?  How do I get all these emails written and sent?  How do I get all these bills paid?  How do I turn my life in to the beautiful picture that I’ve always hoped and dreamed that it would be?  Yeah.  Welcome to my inner monologue (panic attack). I’m stretching really hard.  I’m trying a lot of new things.  I gotta say…I’m feelin’ a little worn out.

I decided to deal with my insanity the way everyone else does.  I went to the store, got some produce and some cheese and came home to make a veggie lasagna.  What.  Isn’t that what you do when you’re stressed out?  I find that sometimes when I cook?  I find a life lesson.  Don’t make a face at your computer and call me a cheese ball.  I’m serious.  Well, except for the part where I wanted to come up with something new and exciting to make for you…and I’m much calmer now.

So I started searching through my Paula Deen recipes.  I love turning her sinful southern treats into something that might be a little closer to healthy and totally Kosh.  It took me a minute or two to find something that didn’t use a gallon of bacon fat or some other weirdness.  I thought her veggie lasagna would be perfect, since it wouldn’t require any modifications.

I was running back and forth between the recipe and my stove and the TV (I sometimes over multi-task) and happened to notice that my dog had gotten sick.  Let’s just say that the smell stopped me in my tracks.  Yeah.  I had little surprises all over the house.  Luckily she’s the cutest dog that has ever lived so I can overlook the cleaning I’ll be doing for the rest of the night.  But…I couldn’t stop.  I had pots of boiling vegetables and tomato sauce to tend to!  I made sure Sally was going to live and continued with my kitchen drama.

Once everything was prepared and in separate bowls (you’ll understand this once you’re making the lasagna) I got a little stressed out about making my layers perfectly perfect.  There’s the sauce and the noodles then the cheese then the veggies then the other cheese and the other cheese.  Are my layers right?  Does it look OK? I kept going.  I built my Kosher Lasagna and tossed her in the oven.  As I tasted my little prize I realized that I had cooked a life lesson.  Stay with me here, I promise I have a point.  There are layers and layers of things.  Maybe you have too many veggies in this one spot.  Maybe there could have been more cheese over here.  Maybe there’s a shit storm happening in your living room.  You just keep going.  You keep building.  Everything works out.  The gifts come eventually.  The important thing is to remember to tressure them when they show up.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
  • 2 cups thinly sliced yellow squash
  • 1 cup thinly sliced carrot
  • 1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1/2 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup sliced fresh basil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cups small cottage cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 oven-ready, “no cook,” lasagna noodles
  • 12 slices provolone cheese, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella

HOW???

Combine zucchini, squash, carrot, mushrooms, onion and peppers with water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain well, and reserve.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, cottage cheese, and eggs. Stir together until smooth.

Spread 1/3 of the sauce evenly over bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish (it can be a clear one…it doesn’t have to be fancy). Place 4 uncooked lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Do not overlap noodles. Spread 1/2 of cream cheese mixture over noodles. Cover cheese mixture with 1/2 the vegetable mixture, more sauce, and top evenly with 6 slices provolone cheese and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers with 4 noodles, rest of the cream cheese mixture, vegetables, sauce, and remaining cheeses. Don’t stress about the layers…you’re making a casserole…not sending a man to the moon.  Place in oven for 35 minutes or until lasagna is hot and bubbling

Let lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Shalom, Y’all!

Rainy Day Cookies

7 Mar

It rained in Miami yesterday.  I mean it REALLY rained in Miami yesterday.  There were big plans for Sunday.  Saturday is for shabbat so we stick in our neighborhood–we sleep, we read, we pray, we eat, we walk–so Sunday is set aside for Florida adventures, which is how Sunday came to be known as Sunday Funday in our household.   There was to be an art walk in Coconut Grove and maybe even a walk around the fancy golf course that sits in the middle of our neighborhood but alas, none of this was to be.  It started pouring as soon as we got onto 95S so we turned around and headed for the grocery store.  So instead of art walks and neighborhood walks this became a day for homemade chocolate chip cookies and a movie.  But not just any movie, mind you, but a really really long movie like, The Lord of the Rings long (which is exactly the movie we watched).  This kind of movie viewing was calling for the yummiest, chewiest chocolate chip cookies the likes of which Mordor has never known. So I scrolled through some of  my favorite food blogs and landed on a delicious looking recipe from Smitten Kitchen.  Luckily, we had all the ingredients. Ok, well, in all honesty, we had half the ingredients. I had to go half butter, half margarine (does that mean the cookies are half dairy, half parve!? Ummm, no) and was a little nervous I was ruining it before I started but alas, what we ended up with was beyond delicious, ifIdosaysomyself 🙂 Here’s the thing–I used kosher salt.  I ran out of regular table salt so I used kosher salt and you know what we ended up with? The perfect combination of sweet with a hint of salty so yummy I think even Gollum would put the dang ring down for a sec and savor a cookie.

Cookie Time

Cookie jar heaven

 

Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended.

3. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.

4. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time (for giant cookies) or a tablespoon at a time (for smaller cookies) onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

5. Bake larger cookies for 15 to 17 minutes, or 10 to 12 minutes for smaller ones (check your cookies before they’re done; depending on your scoop size, your baking time will vary) in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Five Questions for Ari Hart

6 Mar

Ari Hart

Well friends, jewhungry is very thrilled to unveil the first interview, of what we hope will be many interviews, with folks in the Jewish/food world.  As stated in our mission, jewhungry sees food as a connection and what better way to connect than to use this blog to tap into those folks on the ground who are players in what we see as a movement in the Jewish food world.  Maybe movement isn’t the right word but something is definitely brewin’ and we would very much like to be a part of it.  Through talking with everyone from our family, to kosher restaurant owners to Rabbis to professional chefs and folks who just like to cook and/or eat, we want to investigate food (especially, but not strictly limited to, Jewish food) from all angles.

Our first interview is with the passionate and wise, Ari Hart.  Ari Hart is the co-founder of Uri L’Tzedek (Awaken to Justice): The Orthodox Social Justice Movement and a leader of multiple initiatives that bring the Jewish community and the world together to make positive social change. A contributor to the The Huffington Post, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz magazine, and Jewschool.com, he was recently selected by the Jewish Week as one of the 36 “forward-thinking young people who are helping to remake the Jewish community.” He has worked to spread the message of Jewish social justice and responsibility in synagogues, schools and change organizations around the country, from Washington DC to the South Side of Chicago (where Whitney and Ari were once co-workers at the Jewish Council on Urban Affairs).  Ari also just happens to be married to one of Whitney’s old friends, also from the Chicago days, and was kind enough to indulge us over here at jewhungry as our first interviewee.  Ari is currently studying to be a rabbi at Yeshivat Chovevei Torah in New York City.

jh:  What’s the history behind Uri L’Tzedek?

AH:    Uri L’Tzedek (ULT) was founded in 2007 by a group of orthodox social justice activists. We aimed to fill a gap in the Jewish community by inspiring the Orthodox community to fully realize the value of tzedek, justice. We began this work by articulating a traditional, text centered basis from which to engage in local, domestic, and global advocacy and community service projects. Since 2007, we’ve reached 15,000 people across North America and abroad, engaging the entire Jewish community in social justice learning and action.

jh: How did you get involved in the Jewish social justice movement?

AH:    I believed that if Judaism was to be a holy, meaningful force in the world, it had to address the injustices in the world. When I began studying Jewish social justice, I realized I was not alone. I was inspired by the likes of Rav Soloveitchik, who wrote in Halakhic Man that “the actualization of the ideals of justice and righteousness is the pillar of fire which halakhic man follows,” in addition to the hundreds of other great rabbis and Jewish leaders, prophets, and sages who call on the Jewish people to be a source of blessing in the world.

jh:  Do you see a movement of young Jews connecting to their Judaism via food?

AH:    Definitely. The growing consciousness about food and the connections to our bodies, the earth, and other people is happening all around the globe. Baruch Hashem, Judaism has profound things to say about all three! Whether it’s the spirituality of brachot (blessings), the food-justice consciousness of Jewish agricultural laws, food used in religious practice, and much more, folks are discovering the wealth of food-wisdom we posses, and that’s a great thing.

jh:  What is Uri L’Tzedek’s ultimate goal for the kosher world?

AH:    The North American Jewish community has done a tremendous job of ensuring that kosher food is accessible to all who wish to purchase it, pretty much wherever you are. One hundred years ago, that would have been unthinkable. Uri L’Tzedek would like to see that commitment to kashrut continue to grow, while at the same time also ensuring that our food is produced in ways that are “yosher” -ethical. The Tav HaYosher has been a great start – over 80 restaurants have signed on and are being checked to make sure they meet basic ethical standards. We want to see that kind of attention to ethics grow, so that in one hundred years we’ve got millions of Jews who keep kosher and keep yosher.

jh:   What is your favorite family dish?

AH:     Hmmm…. Probably my mom’s shabbat potatoes.   Simple recipe: a squeeze of lemon, some sprigs of rosemary, equal parts garlic and potatoes, drizzle with oil. Bake. Wow.



Rub-a-Dub Chicken

6 Mar

While we’re on the subject of delicious recipes from our mothers, I have to share the love brought to us by Rub Dub Chicken.  Now, technically it is actually courtesy of the New York Times, but, my mother-in-law is the glorious woman who put it together so lovingly so I attribute it to her.  I experienced my first bite of Rub Dub Chicken at my in-laws house during our week of sheva brachot in New Jersey.  I took a bite and was in heaven.  It’s the kind of chicken whose juice you slop up with your challah and everything else you got on your plate.  The sides are just decoration compared to this delectable chicken.  And the best part? It’s the easiest recipe for roast chicken I have ever come across.  It requires nothing but the mixing of spices and well, the rubbing of it into the chicken.  My father-in-law told me that the secret to its juiciness lies in the 2-3 hours it needs to marinate and the brown sugar mixture, which brings out its natural juices.  Whatever it is, its good and is officially a shabbat dinner staple in our household.

Spices ready for rubbin'

Now, because the juice and flavor is so strong and delicious, I highly recommend sides like Israeli couscous and/or roasted new potatoes with some roasted veggies or something like that. Seriously, let this baby be the star of your dinner.  I mean, you wouldn’t put Patti on the same stage as Barbra, would you?  Wait . . . would you!?!?!

Rub Dub Chicken

Ingredients

1 whole chicken (3 1/2 pounds)
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/3 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon brown sugar

Method

Combine all ingredients together. Rub chicken thickly and well all over, under skin too, using the entire rub. Let the chicken sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place seasoned chicken on rack. Roast for 20 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 degrees. Continue cooking, about another 30 minutes, basting with any drippings frequently, until meat registers about 180 degrees? Let sit for 10 minutes before carving.

Sweet, delicious rub dub chicken.

It’s All in the Sauce

5 Mar

I love my mother’s hot wing recipe.  I love my mother’s hot wing recipe so much in fact that when I was a    first year in college, she came to visit me at school for parents’ weekend and her carry-on luggage was in fact a cooler of wings.  Family legend has it that mom got the recipe from a shoes salesman at a department store in Atlanta.  I mean, of course she did.  Who else would have a delicious hot wing recipe but a shoe salesman from Atlanta?  Now, we all know that hot wings are traditionally best enjoyed with a side of blue cheese dressing.  However, when I decided to go kosher the blue cheese had to be left behind.  It was the most challenging decision of my life. I mean, my childhood is scattered with memories of mixing wing sauce with roasted new potatoes, corn nibblets and blue cheese sauce and just loving every second of it.  In fact, I loved the taste so much I used to just snack on side of corn, blue cheese and hot sauce (how is it I’m not 500 pounds?!).  What can I say, it’s the Southerner in me just coming on out.  Anyway, long story short–I love wings and I continue to make them regardless of the loss of blue cheese though this time, I made a little experiment for a dipping sauce that isn’t the real thing but, close enough.

Wings fresh from the grill waiting for their delicious hot sauce.

 

Happy wings swimming in sauce

Ingredients for the Wings:

Family pack o’ chicken wings
Paprika
Kosher salt
Pepper

Wash the wings.  Place chicken wings in a large nonporous glass dish or bowl.  In a small bowl mix together the paprika, pepper and salt. and sprinkle spice mixture over the wings until they are evenly coated. Cover dish or bowl and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.  Meanwhile, get your grill going.  Light a chimney 3/4 full of charcoal. When charcoal is fully lit and covered in gray ash, pour coals out and arrange them on one side of the charcoal grate, keeping the other side empty. Place the wings over the cool side of the grill, cover, and cook until skins are lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Move the wings to the hot side of the grill and continue to cook until the skins have crisped, about 2-3 minutes. Remove the wings to a bowl. Pour the sauce over the wings and toss to coat evenly. Remove wings to a bowl.

For the Hot Sauce*:

1 cup Frank’s Red Hot Original Hot Sauce
2 Table spoons margarine (I like to use Earth Balance but make sure it is Parve and doesn’t have a D by it for dairy if you’re going kosher)
Cayenne Pepper (to taste – add a little at a time)
2 – 3 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce
1 – 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar

Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan. Heat on a low light until margarine has  melted, stirring occasionally. Pour over chicken wings.

*Please note the that recipe for hot sauce will vary depending on how much sauce you want and how hot you want it. I like the tanginess the Worcestershire sauce brings and the sweetness of the brown sugar.  At this point, I don’t measure, just combine to my liking.

Parve Blue Cheeze Dipping Sauce

Dash of garlic powder
1 cup or more of mayonnaise or veganaise (either would work)
Juice of half a lemon
1 Teaspoon of apple cider vinegar
* Crumbled extra firm tofu if you want that chunky blue cheese feeling

Method

In medium size bowl, mix all ingredients except the tofu.

You have to be the judge of this recipe and taste as you go…this is the best advice I can give you. The vinegar and lemon juice give it tang, so use them sparingly. I start out with little splashes (like a teaspoon at a time of each!) and just taste until I achieve the taste I want.

Mix until it’s a nice, smooth consistency.

 

 

Ready for enjoying.

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