Tag Archives: south florida

Four Questions with Ricky G.

10 Aug

Ricky G. with a Filet Mignon

If you live in North Miami Beach and you keep kosher, chances are you’ve shopped at Jacob’s Classic Market.  And if you’ve bought meat at Jacob’s, then you’ve run into Ricky G.  You know him by his signature black leather fedora, collared shirt with tie and that gold butcher’s knife that dangles from his neck.  But, most importantly, you know him because his cuts of meat are fantastic.  Every piece of meat that comes into the store comes in whole and is butchered and packaged by Ricky and his team.  From his signature pargiyot stuffed with sausage (which he makes himself—I bought two after the interview) to his favorite cut, filet mignon, Ricky G., is not only an all around fantastic person he’s a fantastic butcher who loves his craft.

Homemade Sausage (that's beef y'all).

“Wherever there’s meat, I like to cut it.”

Born and raised in New Jersey, an 18 year-old Ricky took a job working at a meat packing warehouse called Empire (no relation).  When he first started at Empire his knowledge of meats and butchery wasn’t the greatest.  As Ricky puts it, “My boss would ask me to fetch some lamb and I would run around the place not knowing what I was looking for.”   By 1984, Ricky had made his way down to Florida and took a job at Albertson’s as well as Century Kosher, the local kosher grocery store which was conveniently across the street from Albertson’s.  His shift at Century Kosher ran from 4AM – 2PM and at Albertson’s his shift ran from 2PM – 11PM (and this was during Passover y’all).  Needless to say, the man was tired. One of those gigs had to go and it was Albertson’s that got the ax, so-to-speak.  From there on out, this Italian boy was a kosher butcher for life.

The 4 Questions:

1. JH:  So Ricky, what is it about kosher butchery that got you hooked?

RG:  When I got into kosher butchery at Century Kosher, I was in awe at what kosher did with the merchandising.  At a regular grocery store, they take the chuck and they just grind it.  All they do is grind it.  In a kosher grocery store, we take the chuck and create every kind of variety you can possibly think of.  The meat merchandizing is amazing!

2. JH:  What’s your favorite cut of kosher meat?

RG: Filet mignon!  People think that kosher doesn’t do filet mignon but I’m here to tell you we do and it’s delicious.  A traditional filet mignon is taken from the thigh, near the cyatic nerve, which is a no-no in kosher eating.  As a kosher butcher, I create a filet mignon from the center of the rib eye.  I trim the fat—-it looks and tastes like a regular filet mignon.

3. JH:  What do you think of the chain grocery stores in South Florida, i.e. Winn-Dixie, getting in on the kosher scene?

RG: I welcomed them into the store with open arms and tried to give them a few pointers when they came into our store to do some research.  They don’t have the knowledge to do the kind of butchering I do so I’m not worried about it.  They don’t really know what they are doing.  Their people are sitting in the back Googling ‘kosher’. 

4.  JH:  If you had to do any other job, what would you do?

RG: I’ve done construction, brick laying and carpentry.  I love my job but, if I had to do any other job, I would continue hitting the kids’ party scene as Barney.  I did that for ten years.  My son dressed as Baby Bop and my wife did the sound.  I love kids and I love working with people so it was a great job.  

The Meat BEFORE Ricky's Got to It

Even Vegetarians Couldn't Deny That Smile!

Soup in Summer

1 Jul

Ready for Devouring

I know what you’re thinking.  This crazy woman lives in Miami.  What the “H” is she doing making soup in June in Miami!?!?!?!  Has all that new hair-coveringbeen constricting the common sense the good Lord gave her!?  Well no.  Here’s the thing.  Folks in South Florida (and the majority of the South) over air condition their environments during the summer.  I mean I do not leave the house without a sweater or hoodie of some sort because guaranteed, when I leave my house, whatever my destination is it will be completely freezing for the entirety of my stay at said destination.  Even though I was born and raised in air-conditioned Hotlanta, I am just not used to all this AC.  And then, as fate would have it, a giant box of organic fruits of vegetables came into my possession.  I thought I was inquiring about a CSA share but as it turns out, I was buying into an organic shoppers club and 5 minutes after my inquiry I was walking away with a giant box of fruits and veggies.  Inside that giant box were two leeks.

Leek

At the time, I must confess, I had no idea what they were.  Heck, the guy who I bought the box from told me it was celery root.  But, as it turns out, it was leek! And wouldn’t you know it, my husband has randomly been craving potato leek soup so with a combination of the cravings of a husband, the surprise of leeks and the onset of a cold due to an intense use of AC, I made a pot of potato leek soup.  But not just any potato leek soup, I made the best pot of soup we have ever eaten.  I mean, it was delicious.  So, it may be summer but I’m telling you, if you come in contact with a leek, grab some potatoes and a giant pot and get cooking!

What?!

I ended up halving the recipe and we still had leftovers so the recipe below will serve 4.  This is a very hearty soup.  My recommendation is to serve with a nice arugula salad with some parmesan shavings and a nice lemon/olive oil dressing.

  • potatoes, peeled and cut into roughly chopped pieces
  • 3 leeks, whites only, thoroughly washed
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 quarts vegetable stock
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 ounces (1/2 stick) melted butter
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shaved parmasen for serving
  • Chopped green onions for serving

Before the Blending

How?

In a large pot, place potatoes, 2 of the leeks (reserving the rest), celery, regular onion, bay leaf and chicken stock and bring to a boil, about 15-20 minutes. Continue to boil until potatoes are very soft. Whisk flour and butter in small bowl with a fork to make a roux for thickening the soup. Add the remaining leeks, roux, cream, fresh thyme, and salt and pepper. Remove bay leaf. Using an immersion blender (or in batches in a blender or food processor), blend soup until smooth. Pour into a medium pot and simmer for 5 – 8 more minutes until soup has thickened.  Serve with parmasen and green onion on top.

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