Author Archives: Aly Miller

About Aly Miller

The Emerging Jewish-Argentinian Cuisine of Buenos Aires

The Jewish food renaissance is thriving not only in the US, but also in Argentina, where Jewish-Argentinian chef Tomás Kalika opened his fine dining restaurant, Meshiguene: Immigrants Cuisine, and plans to open another.

Everything about Meshiguene, from its Yiddish name (meaning crazy) to the klezmer band that turns up every Friday night to the menu, is inspired, at least in part, by Jewish and Yiddish culture. According to The New York Times, there’s sous vide gefilte fish, hand made dumplings, pastrami cooked over open fire, and delicious whole vegetables, grilled in Sephardic style, to name a few of their mouthwatering specialties. The place might not be kosher–the pastrami ice cream makes things pretty clear–but for Kalika, it’s still Jewish to the core.

The Times of Israel frames Meshiguene as “part of a broader trend of Jewish — but not strictly kosher — eateries in Buenos Aires, though it stands apart in its sophistication.”

Guefiltefish – Guefiltefest 🤘 #jewishfood #mishiguene #amf2017 #madridfusion #cocinajudia #cocinadeinmigrantes

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If you’ve been enjoying the number of Jewish-inspired restaurants and delis that have cropped up lately, this might sound familiar. Jewish cuisine has captured the imagination and hearts of gourmet chefs everywhere from Boston to Miami.  Jews and non-Jews alike flock to these hotspots, making Jewish cuisine a viable banner under which to open a restaurant.

Kalika blends the Russian and Polish Jewish cuisine that he grew up with, with the Israeli cuisine he learned while working in under Tel Aviv chef Eyal Shani (famous for his whole roasted cauliflower). He approaches Jewish food with French techniques and molecular gastronomy, serving up something familiar and totally novel at the same time.

At his new restaurant, Fayer, he’ll draw on a variety of Jewish cuisines and unify them under Argentinian cooking techniques like open-fire grilling, whose deep smoky flavor permeates every bite. This style of cooking, according to The Times, is what Kalika sees as “emerging Argentine-Jewish cuisine.”

Despite his gourmet approach, Kalika makes it known that “Bubbie’s are better.” Below are some recipes that we think capture the spirit of blending Jewish cuisine with that of other cultures and styles of cooking.

Pastrami Pizza
Cannoli Hamantaschen
Rainbow Cookies
Everything Bagel Sushi
Brisket Tacos
Za’atar Potato Skins
Hawaij Hot Cocoa
Grilled Cheese Latkes

Top 5 Places to Get Lox In NYC

In addition to being a classic Jewish food, lox is arguably one of the most New York-y foods you can get. We have so many great bagel shops to choose from, but, as you might know, not everyone is choosy about their lox. Next time you’re on a mission for the best bagel and lox in town, try visiting one of the five shops below. Each spot has its own curated menu of smoked fish and at least one house-cured lox.

Wondering what the difference is between lox and smoked fish? Our detailed guide to lox spells it all out. Even though lox has become synonymous with smoked fish, lox is brined, and smoked salmon is, as you might have guessed, smoked! Nova lox is brined fish that’s later smoked, and is probably one of the more popular way to top a cream cheese bagel these days.

Read below for the best lox in the city, whether you want it salt-brined or smoked.

Acme Smoked Fish
Acme Smoked Fish is the prolific smoked fish supplier that works closely with many of the lox purveyors (including the ones below) throughout the city. Every Friday, it opens its factory doors to the public, offering tastings and an opportunity to buy the smoked fish at wholesale prices. It not only makes the classics, like belly lox and nova, but also several creative offshoots like pastrami nova and mesquite nova.

Russ & Daughters

For over 100 years, Russ & Daughters has been NYC’s premier appetizing store, specializing in lox, dozens of varieties of smoked fish, cream cheese and salads. Placing your order here is a treat in more than one way — the timeless decor of the store and the friendly staff behind the counter make it an experience.

#bagel #bliss

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Zabar’s

Head to Zabar’s for high-quality smoked fish and everything else you might need on your shopping list! It was originally known for selling smoked fish, and its reputation for selling the best in the city still holds true today.

 

Barney Greengrass

Known as “the Sturgeon King of New York” since 1908, Barney Greengrass is a timeless lunch spot with delicious, house-cured lox. Lox is serves on bagels, in platters, and scrambled with eggs and onions. Have a seat at one of the formica tables, and settle in for some quality people watching as you nosh on your nova.

Shelksy’s

Brooklynites don’t have to schlep to Manhattan to find good lox anymore — they can get it in this cheery Cobble Hill storefront. You’ll find a number of different smoked-fish bagel sandwiches like “Member of The Tribe” and “Brooklyn Transplant” on the menu. It has belly lox and house-cured lox, along with bagels, bialys and plenty of schmears. It also has a delicatessen menu, which features pastrami, knishes and kasha varnishkes. You’re go-to spot for just about any kind of Jewish specialty, Shelksy’s doesn’t disappoint.

 

The Jewish Cuisine of Poland and Russia

Pickled cucumbers, borscht, kasha varnishkes, and knishes are just some of the stick-to-your-ribs foods that Polish and Russian-Jewish Cuisine is best known for. It’s no longer everyday fare, but rather the kind of meal that you cook when you’re craving something to combat the chilliest winter night.

These grainy stews, pickled fishes and soups were dishes developed out of the harsh environmental and political climates of these regions. Driven out of Germany, France and Italy, Jews went eastward to Poland and Russia, where Byzantinian Jews had settled centuries before. They brought with them several dishes that originated in Germany, like challah bread and gefilte fish, and adopted new tastes and traditions as they moved throughout Eastern Europe and Russia.

Though they’re often lumped together, Polish, Lithuanian and Russian Jewish cuisines are actually quite different. Check out this article and the recipes below to find out more!

Lightened-Up Kasha Varnishkes
Borscht
Schav (sorrel soup)
Dill Pickles
Chrein (pickled horseradish)
Blintzes
How to Make Potato Knishes
Cheese Lokshen Kugel
Cinnamon Noodle Kugel

The Best Kind of Roses are Challah Roses

Winter is the perfect time for honing your baking skills and getting creative with hot cocoa or perhaps mulled wine. We’ve been talking a lot about babka these days, but intricate challah, as recently discussed at Food 52, certainly deserves some spotlight, too!

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To make your challah bouquet, prepare your favorite challah dough. After it rises, roll out the dough, and follow a recipe for shaping challah roses. There are a few different ways to approach it — you can fill the roses with a sweet filling, or you can wrap the challah into roses without filling them (above).

If roses aren’t your thing, we’re sure you can twist and shape challah into just about anything — treeshearts, and even birds! We’d love to see what you come up with — just tag your challah creations with @jewishfood and #noshthis.

by SoniaPaladini.it

Challah with Honey and Blueberries by Sonia Paladini (above)
Challah Al Miele from Pepper’s Matter
Honey Rose Challah from Metukimsheli.com (English version at bottom)
Challah Rose from The Kosher Channel
Floral Challah from The Kosher Home on a Budget

Meet the Israeli Chef Now Contributing to the New York Times

Israeli food has officially become mainstream, now that Israeli chef, Yotam Ottolenghi, has a column in the New York Times food section! He made his debut recently in an article titled “Yotam Ottolenghi: Eat Your Sugar.”

You may be most familiar with his cookbooks like Jerusalem and Plenty, but he’s actually no stranger to journalism. He’s worked on the news desk at Haaretz, and has more recently contributed regularly to The Guardian. This is Ottolenghi’s first gig with an American newspaper, which is exciting for many reasons, not least in relation to measurements — you’ll no longer need to translate grams into cups!

In his inaugural post, Ottolenghi revealed that his recipes, which he’ll post occasionally, will focus on “all things baked and sweet.” It’s a bold statement to make in our present sugar- and refined flour-fearing world, but we’re on board! He’s not afraid to use a little sugar, and neither are we! His first two recipes are for Pastry Nests with Poached Pears and Feta and Saffron Cream and Pomegranate and Rose Granita, whose bold fuschia is here just in time for Valentine’s Day or for brightening a snowy winter night.

Photo from Ottolenghi’s Facebook page.

 

 

7 Incredible Ways to Eat Bagels and Lox

It’s National Bagels & Lox Day, and to celebrate this chewy, briny match made in heaven, we’d like to spotlight the many ways in which these two complementary foods can be enjoyed. You can make a bagel sandwich with cream cheese and lox, of course, but, as with so many of our favorite Jewish foods, the possibilities are endless!

If this foodie holiday caught you by surprise, that’s OK — most of these recipes just call for store-bought bagels and lox. And if you’re a vegan, try out our roundup of lox-less bagels and lox! Here are some inventive recipes to get you started:

Smoked Salmon and Goat Cheese Quiche
Smoked Salmon Bagel Bar from What’s Gaby Cooking
Lox Bagel Pizza from Shutterbean
Bagel and Cream Cheese Strata from Food 52
Smoked Salmon Bagel Bites from Rachel Ray (with bagel chips)
Bagel with Wasabi Cream Cheese, Smoked Salmon, Avo and Ginger by Drizzle and Dip
Bagel Quiche from Recipe Girl (this is just dying for a little lox on top)

Best Jewish Food in Chicago

Chicago has always been teeming with Jewish and kosher-style delicatessens and restaurants–you”ll probably recognize some of these if you live there or grew up there. Some of the best noshings are had at old-school delis, or new delis and diners that are nostalgic for the past. There’s also a kosher diner, and a unique kosher butcher that makes the best sausages and hot dogs in town. These places serve up not only classic deli fair, but also several sandwiches, hot dogs, and burgers completely unique to Chicago.

Gino blesses 🙏 each sandwich! #DELIcious 📷 by @knowherechicago

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Manny’s Deli

Since 1942, Manny’s has been serving up Reubens, chopped liver, kishke, kasha and so much more in its old-school cafeteria-style restaurant. The walls of this Chicago institution are plastered with newspaper clippings and memorabilia that prove just how much people love this place.

Milt’s Barbecue for the Perplexed

According to its website, inspiration for this kosher restaurant “comes from Maimonides, the prominent 12th-century Torah scholar. His ‘Guide for the Perplexed‘ addresses questions of philosophy and theology that are still relevant today.” Milt’s is known for pairing barbecue with philosophical lectures. With solid vegetarian options — tofu tenders and a hearty vegetarian chili, to name a few — along with meat fare, this BBQ joint has something for everyone.

It’s called a sandwich . Real turkey . Real corned beef. Real good .

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Eleven City Diner 

This new-school diner is full of nostalgic touches, drawing inspiration from the Jewish delis and casual family restaurants that the owner grew up with. Visit it if you’re craving all-day breakfast, knishes, or melts in the heart of the Lincoln Park neighborhood.

 

Romanian Kosher Sausage Co

No post about Jewish food in Chicago would be complete without mention of Romanian Kosher Sausage Co. Eater Chicago describes it as “a gem that’s been doing things the right way for over 50 years,” one of the most beloved butcher shops in Chicago. In addition to sausage, Romanian makes corned beef, kishke and beef chopped liver, which is apparently the best in the city.

Ken’s Diner, Skokie

This ’50s-style diner has been a kosher destination for over 30 years. It makes several different specialty burgers and a sprinkling of Ashkenazi dishes like chicken schnitzel and pastrami.

The Jewish Cuisine of North Africa

The North African Jewish cuisines of Morocco, Tunisia and Libya are influenced not only by Jewish traditions, but also the Mediterranean and Arabic cultures that surround them. Meals are often centered around vegetables or fish and couscous, and spiced with aromatic spices like turmeric, ginger, hot peppers, cinnamon, paprika, saffron, caraway and cumin.

My Jewish Learning’s article on North African Cuisine covers the specific culinary traditions of Jews from Morocco, Tunisia and Libya. Morocco, for example, is known for beautifully spiced dishes served over couscous, which might be accented with spicy harissa.  Tangiers, a city in Northern Morocco, is different in that it’s more heavily influenced by Spain, with its fish, garlic, onion and tomato dishes. Tunisian Jewish food is stunningly diverse –a melting pot of Spanish, Italian, French and Turkish traditions. Similarly, Libyan Jewish cuisine is the result of an exchange of ingredients and ideas that took place between Libya and Italy.

A hearty Shabbat stew, slow-cooked and ready to serve on Saturday, is a tradition that these distinct cuisines have in common, though it goes by many names. Moroccan Dafina, below, is a great place to start!

Enjoy the flavors of North African Jewish cuisine by trying one or many of the recipes below:

Shabbat Recipe: Dafina, Slow-Cooked Moroccan Stew
Moroccan Fish and Crispy Rice Cake with Saffron Crust (above)
Moroccan Spinach Pie
Moroccan Baked Salmon
Mayim’s Moroccan Salad
Bamia (Okra) with Tomatoes
Shakshuka
Shakshuka with Spinach and Lamb Meatballs
Tunisian Spiced Squash Soup
Moroccan Lamb Shanks with Pomegranate Sauce
Lamb Tzimmes for Passover
Lemon and Herb Roast Potatoes with Harissa Mayo
Debla: Purim Roses
Sfenj Donuts

 

harissa

Kosher Haggis is Big News For Scottish Jews

Haggis, the national dish of Scotland is neither nice to look at nor kosher, but in Glasgow, Scottish Jews can partake in a kosher version of this much-celebrated dish at Scotland’s only kosher deli, Mark’s Deli.

Usually made with lamb organs that are not butchered according to kosher law, haggis is celebrated every January 25 on Burns Night, which commemorates the Scottish poet Robert Burns, who wrote the poem, Auld Lang Syne. You can also find it at fast-food eateries and grocery stores year-round.

What is haggis, exactly? It’s boiled sheep heart, liver and tongue, that’s minced, combined with beef fat, onions and toasted oats. The mixture is then stuffed inside of the sheep’s stomach and boiled. It’s sort of like a sheep-based kishke, if there ever was one. This kind of waste-not dish is one that can come only out of the truly hardscrabble lifestyle of medieval Scotland.

Keren Landmand recently explored the culture of haggis and its kosher reconfiguration in the culture, politics and food journal, Roads and Kingdoms.

Ready for the Ode to the Haggis. #holcombe #dawlish #Burnsnight #haggis #whisky

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Scotland’s Burns loved haggis so much that he wrote a poem about it called Address to a Haggis, in which he labels French ragout and fricassee as “trash” in comparison.  After Burns died in 1796, his friends initiated Burns Night, during which haggis is served and the poem recited.

Today, there are not only kosher renditions of this rich and hearty dish, but also vegetarian and vegan versions. Deli owner Mark Cohen makes his kosher haggis with ground lamb, barley and ground onions. Top with a splash of whiskey (yes, really!), and nosh!

Interested in making your own haggis? Here’s a few recipes that show you how:
Vegan Haggis from Emma’s Little Kitchen (lentils, mushrooms, barley)
Vegetarian Haggis from Great British Chefs (wrapped in cabbage leaves)
New-School Haggis from Babble (made with beef)
Haggis from The Guardian

 

Jewish Foods of India

One of the best things about Jewish food is learning about how it interacts with the customs and cuisines of the places in which it’s cooked. Indian Jewish cuisine is rooted in kosher law and Jewish ritual, and shaped by the vegetables and spices of the region. There’s basmati rice, flatbreads for Shabbat, and coconut curries simmered with plenty of fragrant, bright spices like turmeric, ginger, fenugreek, cardamom and cumin.

My Jewish Learning’s article on Jewish Indian Cuisine outlines the three major Jewish communities in India, each with their own culinary traditions. There’s the Jewish community of Cochin,which dates back to before 1170, the Jewish community of Calcutta, which came from Bagdad, and the Jews of Mumbai, who may have been in India since 175 BCE.

Learn more about the flavors of Jewish Indian cuisine with our recipes below:

Indian-Spiced Cauliflower Latkes with Cilantro Chutney
Curry Coconut Chicken with Split Peas
Indian Carrot-Cardamom Halvah
Saag Paneer with Goat Cheese
Masala Lamb Stew with Creamy Coconut Quinoa
Cochin Coriander-Cumin Chicken from The New York Times
Onion Naan from Bon Apetit
Chapatis (Whole Wheat Indian Flatbread) from Saveur

 

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