Monthly Archives: February 2013

New Pizza on the Block

The Prime Pizza da soloRestaurant Group is really on a roll lately – they are opening a new location for Prime Grill this Spring, changing the menu of Solo from meat to dairy and they just opened their Neopolitan-style pizza spot with Pizza da Solo, located conveniently for the midtown working crowd at 55th and Madison in the Sony building.

Being half Italian, I do consider myself somewhat of a pizza expert. I also worked at a pizzeria during high school, yet another credential which establishes my expertise in pizza consumption. And I have to say, kosher or not, Pizza da Solo was great – super thin crust, balanced flavors and a good selection of interesting topping combos. To achieve an authentic Neapolitan-style pizza, they have brought in Giulio Adriani, pizza exert who is the chef and owner of the Forcella restaurants, to serve as a consultant chef to the pizzeria.

I had lunch yesterday a the pizzeria where I chatted with Chef David Kolotkin who shared that even he can’t stop eating the delicious pizza!

Pizza da Solo features a perfectly simple menu of pizzas, calzones and salads. I got to taste three different pizza varieties while I was there, but hands down the standout was the Pizza al Tartufo Olio, a white pizza with truffle oil and arugula. Their sweet tomato sauce is made with San Marzano tomatoes and their mozzarella and ricotta is made in-house! In case you were worried, Pizza da Solo has separate kitchen facilities from Prime Grill and Solo, as well as a separate mashgiach. All the dairy used is cholov yisroel.

thin crustEver heard of salad pizza? It’s one of my absolute favorites, and their take includes brie cheese, apples, walnuts, balsamic vinegar over a foccacia pizza. They also have a smoked salmon pizza and a piccante pizza, made with ricotta, mozzarella, jalapenos and cherry tomatoes. Not quite so adventurous? Fear not they have classic margherita pizza and marinara pizza too.

Single Jewish ladies in midtown: you should get yourselves over for some pizza ASAP – during the time I was there the clientele was almost exclusively Jewish men.  But maximize your time in line, because even while the place is popular, the wait wasn’t oppressive – the pizza took just 5-10 minutes on average. I’ve waited much longer for a latte at Starbucks.

Overheard from the men next to me? “This is going to be such a hotspot for lunch!” My thoughts exactly.

Posted on February 26, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Ready, Set….Passover!

When I was a little girl and I would spend time with my grandparents, they would be planning dinner while we were still eating breakfast and I never understood it. In fact, it downright drove me crazy! And yet now that I am older, and perhaps even more food-obsessed than they were, I am 100% guilty of this habit as well. Purim is barely behind us, and we are already fully engaged in our Passover planning over here at The Nosher, trying out new recipes and working to put together some great menus and ideas for our readers.

I always start testing Passover recipes in February to make sure I have a few new ones in my arsenal, and this weekend I worked on my new favorite Passover dessert recipe, so stay tuned!

matzah-moralityOnce again we will be posting our Communal Seder and will have a couple of other great features including a giveaway of Aviva Kanoff’s award-winning cookbook, No Potato Passover and a special Q&A and recipe from DGS Delicatessen in Washington, DC.

In the meantime we really want to hear from YOU – are you looking for a particular kind of recipe for Passover? Need help locating kosher for Passover ingredients in your area? Have a great tip you want to share with our readers? Comment on our Facebook page and let us know!

Posted on February 25, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranate Molasses

Yield:
6 servings

Some of the best ideas are made on the fly, and this recipe was one of those. While perusing my local fruits and veggie market I decided it had been far too long since I had made acorn squash – a childhood favorite.

My dad used to roast acorn squash with maSONY DSCple syrup and then let us eat up the the sweet squash with a spoon. But I wanted to try a slightly new spin, and instead of roasting it with maple syrup, I opted to roast it and then finish it with pomegranate molasses and for crunch, some chopped walnuts.

You can find pomegranate molasses in many supermarkets, but if not you can also order it online. Don’t want to buy it? The Shiksa has instructions how to make your own pomegranate molasses!

 

Roasted Acorn Squash with Pomegranate Molasses

Posted on February 21, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Yummy Gluten-Free Hamantaschen

Yield:
7-8 dozen small hamantaschen

gluten free hamantaschen v2Food related traditions like hamantashen are some of my favorite parts of being Jewish. I had to work on this hamantashen recipe for a while, because creating a gluten-free cookie dough that can be rolled and cut is no easy task. But I think I’ve finally got it (don’t skip chilling the dough, it really makes all the difference)!

This recipe makes hamentashen that are crispy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside. If you prefer them to be completely crispy, bake an additional 2-3 minutes.

Yummy Gluten-Free Hamantaschen

Posted on February 19, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Hamantaschen Throwdown!

Well I am just tickled to share that I have been asked to serve as a judge at an upcoming Hamantaschen Throwdown, being hosted by Jersey Tribe on Sunday, March 3rd. What a perfect role for me – not only do I get to participate in the most beloved Jewish female activity, judging, but I will also get to taste a variety of Hamantaschen and weigh in with my preferences. There will also be a Persian cooking class as part of the evening, and you may recall my expressed adoration of all things Persian, especially food.

As I have mentioned before, I do not typically like hamantaschen so I hope the contestants will be bringing their A game. The three contestants kindly shared some brief information about their plans for the competition: Hindy Garfinkel, a fellow food blogger at Confident Cook plans to go a savory route while Lisa Radding will be bringing her family’s dough recipe as part of her arsenal.  The third contestant, Christine Broussard, shared a number of unique flavor combinations she is considering for the throwdown. I can’t wait to see what the three bakers come up with as their final product.

For more information about the event you can visit Jersey Tribe. I will be sure to report back with the winning combination and hopefully a new recipe you can add to your own Purim arsenal.

In the meantime, we have a GLUTEN FREE hamantaschen recipe from a guest blogger this week so stay tuned!

Posted on February 18, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Hamantaschen with Ganache and Salted Caramel

Yield:
2 dozen

hamentaschen

As you may remember from my post last year about Hamantaschen…I am typically not such a big fan. The ones I remember growing up with were always dry and crumbly.Until I found my friend Rachel’s Hamantaschen recipe, I had written off the triangle treats entirely.

Last year I made PB & Jelly flavored hamantaschen as well as a s’mores flavor. And this year I am happy to share a new flavor: Dark Chocolate Ganache with Salted Caramel Drizzle.

I know some people are “so over the salty sweet thing;” but I am not. My favorite chocolate will always be chocolate covered pretzels.  And you know what’s better than chocolate covered pretzels? Chocolate covered potato chips. And perhaps the best? The peanut butter filled pretzel bites covered in milk chocolate from Trader Joe’s. But I digress.

I surprised even myself with this recipe – it is really delicious, and both my husband and I could not stop eating these.

My tips:

Rachel’s Best Hamantaschen dough often requires a bit more than merely 1 1/4 cups flour it initially calls for. Also, keep flour-ing your work surface as you go.

Plan ahead – you really need to make the dough and the ganache ahead of time because they both need to chill properly before making them.

Pinch pinch pinch! Pinch those corners, otherwise your filling will spill out and make for ugly cookies.

Hamantaschen with Chocolate Ganache and Salted Caramel Drizzle

Posted on February 11, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Neopolitan Hamantaschen

Yield:
30 cookies

Purim has always beenIMG_6397 one of my favorites out of the many, many Jewish holidays. Dressing up in fun costumes, masks, festive food and drinks. What’s not to love? One of my fondest memories growing up was attending out synagogue’s annual Purim Carnival. They went all out with games, face paint, and prizes all to celebrate Esther saving the Jews from Haman’s plans of extermination. Of course, as a young foodie, one of my favorite parts was the carnival themed food. While others went straight for the popcorn or cotton candy, I was all about the build your own ice cream sundae bar. Oh my. I piled on scoops of strawberry, vanilla and chocolate, rainbow sprinkles and a cherry or two.

Hamantaschen, the symbolic Purim cookie, are a great base for all sorts of flavors. I’ve made Chocolate Dipped Hamantaschen, Hamantaschen Tarts and even Caramelized Onion Hamantaschen. But when it came time to recreate a version this year, I reminisced about my favorite ice cream flavors and went with Neapolitan. A strawberry cookie filled with chocolate and drizzled with vanilla. Why should kids have all the fun?

Amy Kritzer is a food writer and recipe developer in Austin, TX who enjoys cooking, theme parties and cowboys. She challenges herself to put a spin on her grandmother’s traditional Jewish recipes and blogs about her endeavors at What Jew Wanna Eat. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook and watch her cooking videos on Google+.

 

Neopolitan Hamantaschen

Posted on February 11, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

On Valentines Day, Hamantaschen and Jews

photo-7Yesterday I posted our latest guest post featuring a gorgeous Valentines Day themed tri-color cupcake. And while I am not surprised some of our readers took issue with Jews celebrating Valentines Day, nevertheless I wanted to address it.

I did not grow up celebrating Purim, but I did grow up celebrating Valentine’s Day. Each year my dad would bring home a single red rose to my mother and a box of her favorite chocolates from a local chocolatier. He would also bring me a present – some years a fancy box of chocolates with a silk flower on the cover; other years a bouquet of my own flowers; and one year a small gold heart necklace. I loved these small tokens and have fond memories of my father’s simple romantic gesture to my mother.

I understand that for some Jews, celebrating a seemingly Christian holiday feels problematic, and frankly, I am not going to argue with anyone and try to convince them one way or the other.  The amazing Rabbi Mike Uram offers his assessment of whether or not it is problematic for Jews to celebrate Valentine’s Day, so feel free to read his view, or any other that you like.

But what I want to say about this is: many Americans Jews (dare I say – the majority) feel the same way I do and like celebrating “Hallmark holidays” like Valentine’s Day. We are American, and we celebrate American holidays (and Jewish holidays too) even if they sometimes feel silly or superficial because something in these traditions connects us to one another.

I do celebrate Purim now, and can’t wait to dress up with my daughter and husband in a few weeks. And I do love making Hamantaschen, just like I enjoy a good box of drug-store-bought chocolates with a silk flower on top. At the end of the day, I respect all Jews’ choices and traditions and don’t care whether we agree on what those choices and traditions should be; my only hope and expectation is that other Jews will respect my choices in return.

But onto the really important stuff: what kind of Hamantaschen will I be making this year!?

Last year I made PB& Jelly Hamntaschen which were a huge it as well as a s’mores flavor with chocolate and mini marshmallows.  Both these flavors deserve a repeat performance, and I am also thinking about a berries ‘n cream or chocolate caramel flavored Hamanhaschen. Stay tuned for what I cook up this year!

In the meantime check out The Shiksa’s Nutella Hamantaschen and look out for an all-new Hamantaschen flavor from What Jew Wanna Eat, who will be guest posting on The Nosher next week.

In need of THE BEST recipe for Hamantaschen? We’ve got that too so try out this recipe – it’s the only recipe I will use.

Happy celebrating.

Posted on February 7, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Tri-Color V-Day “Cupcakes”

Cook:
16 minutes

Yield:
3-layer 9"x13" cake

In this day and age, it’s hard to create a unique treat without consulting food magazines, blogs and social media sites like Pinterest. Ever since Carrie Bradshaw declared her love for Magnolia Bakery, cupcakes have been all the rage. I’ve always loved making cupcakes, as they are easy to serve, can take on little personalities of their own, and most importantly, I can try one before giving them to anyone else. (You can’t do that with an entire cake!)

For Valentine’s Day, I considered heart-shaped cupcakes or something red-velvet but while more frosting and more sprinkles make everything more delicious, for this project, I wanted to focus on simplicity. Multicolored cakes are all the rag these days, and I love anything pink so I decided to make mini three-layer cakes with fluffy buttercream frosting and a classic cherry heart lollipop to top it off. By definition, these aren’t exactly “cupcakes” but I don’t think you’ll get any complaints.

Brittany Wayne grew up in Weston, CT and enjoyed baking with her parents from a young age. In high school, Brittany completed a year-long independent study on cake decorating, culminating in a three-tiered wedding cake. The teacher who graded the study gave Brittany a D because she didn’t believe Brittany made the cakes she brought in each month. Brittany did make the cakes. You can follow Brittany and her cake creations on Twitter, and Instagram.

slide cake

Tri-Color Valentines Cupcakes

Posted on February 6, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Coconut Rice Cakes

Yield:
20 cakes

SONY DSCA few weeks ago I wrote about a delicious coconut rice cake we tasted while vacationing on the island of St. John. And this weekend I finally got the chance to recreate them! I often make wild mushroom risotto balls, but this was a new sort of rice endeavor. Arborio rice, which you use to make risotto, has a lot of starch and so when you form it into balls for frying, it sticks together very easily. Basmati (or jasmine) rice is less starchy and requires a bit more elbow grease to ensure proper sticking. I like to keep a small bowl of cold water on hand to wet my hands while patting, the same as you might do while forming matzah balls.

This recipe does take a bit of time but it is delicious and something different especially to serve for guests or on a special occasion. And best of all? It’s pareve!

Serve it with a spicy Pineapple Salsa like this one from Two Peas and their Pod or a Mango Chutney like this one from Alton Brown for a lovely appetizer. Or serve it as a side dish along side grilled chicken breast, steak or seared salmon.

Coconut Rice Cakes

Posted on February 4, 2013

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy