Ever since DGS Delicatessen opened its doors in Washington, DC last year, I’ve been following their reinvented Jewish dishes and praising press with interest. I was thrilled to have a chance to speak with Chef Barry Koslow this week about his inspiration and vision for the modern, Jewish deli.
Chef Barry actually started his culinary career working in upscale French restaurants, and had always dreamed about opening a French bistro. As a Jewish guy who grew up in the DC area he realized he had a strike against him: he wasn’t French.
I love that when Barry and his partners began exploring the idea of opening a deli, they wanted to do things differently, set themselves apart from the traditional North American Jewish deli that was dying off. They asked themselves: What should change about Jewish cuisine?
When you glance at DGS’ everyday menu and even their special Passover menu you can see very clearly what Barry is doing differently for Jewish cuisine: the traditional, American-Ashkenazi dishes so many of us grew up with are there, but with exciting, modern twists. For example, their lamb merguez knishes are a unique Sephardi-Ashkenazi hybrid packing a flavor punch.
The signature of DGS is their renowned Pastrami Sandwich, which starts with great rye bread. The pastrami takes 8 days to make with a signature spice blend that is ground by hand, smoked for 6 hours, steamed for 4 hours and then sliced by hand.
What’s up next for DGS? They plan to serve up a GLT this summer: gribenes, lettuce and tomato sandwich. My mouth is already watering….!
Chef Barry also explained that some people have struggled with their versions of Jewish classics, and most others are delighted by the opportunity to visit their Jewish food memories through DGS’ unique versions. Barry shared,
“…people have nostalgia for delicatessen, and we make people rethink this. What we do sparks a lot of debate, but the majority of the people love it. But I think the conversation is important – people need to talk about how it was, and look how we are doing things different.”
When food is not just food, but a connection to heritage and part of a larger conversation about Jewish community and people? Well, then they must be doing something right!
DGS Delicatessen is open 7 days a week, serves lunch, happy hour and dinner during the week, as well as brunch on the weekends. They will offer their Passover menu from March 25th – 31st.
DGS Delicatessen, 1317 Connecticut Avenue, 202.293.4400.
Like the crazy Jewish woman I am, I start researching Passover recipes…well, you might say I research Passover recipes all year long. Passover is my least favorite holiday and so I am always trying to make the week as painless as possible with delicious “non Passover tasting” dishes.
When I came across this recipe from Whole Foods a few months ago I immediately thought: this will be a perfect Passover recipe since I will only need to make one substitution! I hate using matzo meal or other Passover-rific substitutions, so I always looks for those perfect Passover-friendly recipes.
In general I like making pies and cheesecake during Passover since you can easily replace a graham cracker or cookie crust for almonds, walnuts or pecans. In this sweet potato pie recipe, I replaced the gingersnap cookies with almonds. Combined with sweetened coconut and melted margarine or butter – voila! a perfect moist crust that tastes just like a macaroon. The sweet potato filling is light and flavorful, just like a pumpkin pie.
This pie recipe is so good you will make it all year, and THAT is a sign of the perfect Passover recipe.
For the Filling:
2 medium-sized sweet potatoes
¾ cup canned coconut milk
¾ cup light brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp sea salt
Extra coconut for garnish (optional)
For the Crust:
1 cup sliced almonds
1/3 cup shredded sweetened coconut
4 Tbsp melted butter or margarine
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Make a few slits in skin of sweet potato and wrap in tin foil. Roast for 45 minutes or until soft. Allow sweet potatoes to cool slightly.
In the meantime, place almonds, shredded coconut, salt and melted margarine or butter into a food processor. Press mixture into and up the sides of a 9-inch pie dish. Bake 12-14 minutes or until golden. Let cool.
Scoop flesh from sweet potatoes and place into food processor. Pulse until smooth. Add coconut milk, eggs, brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg and process until combined.
Reduce oven to 350 degree. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center of pie is set. Allow to cool.
In a saute pan, toast about 1/4 cup extra coconut on low-medium heat until golden brown. Sprinkle in center of pie as garnish.
It’s that time of year again when we go through cabinets, fridge and freezer searching for chametz and rack our brains on how to use them up before Passover. I love this challenge each year, especially because I usually have a few bags full of leftover challah just waiting to be used in a new recipe.
Bread puddings are often sweet and served for dessert; while stuffing is usually savory and served as a side dish. But I wanted to sort of combine both these concepts and do something a bit different – a savory, dairy bread pudding perfect to serve for breakfast or brunch! And thus, my Savory Breakfast Bread Pudding with Goat Cheese and Mushrooms was born!
Don’t like mushrooms? Use spinach or peppers instead.Serve with scrambled eggs and some fruit for a perfect, rounded breakfast.
4 cups leftover bread, preferably challah
1 cup sliced mushrooms
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 Tbsp butter
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 ounces goat cheese
Cut or break bread into chunks. Grease a 9x9 square pan and place bread into pan.
Heat olive oil and butter in saute pan over medium heat. Add fresh thyme to pan. Saute mushrooms for 3-4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, heavy cream and eggs. Add goat cheese. It's ok if the goat cheese remains in small chunks. Add mushrooms to milk mixture, but remove the fresh thyme.
Pour milk mixture over leftover bread chunks and let sit for 1 hour. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake bread pudding for 35-45 minutes. Serve warm or room temperature. Can be served next day.
The Prime Restaurant 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.
Ever 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.
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!
Once 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!
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 maple 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.
2 acorn squash, cut in half
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp pepper
pinch crushed red pepper
1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix brown sugar, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper. Sprinkle over each half of squash.
Roast squash for 45-60 minutes or until tender.
Scoop out flesh and mash with a fork until desired consistency. If you prefer very smooth, put through a food processor.
Finish squash with pomegranate molasses and chopped walnuts
Food 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.
*Make sure you choose a gluten-free flour that includes xanthan gum (I like Bob's Wonderful Bread Mix or Namaste Foods Perfect Flour Blend), or add 1 1/2 tsp of xanthan gum with the flour.
Cream margarine and sugar on high for 2-3 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, allowing to combine before adding the next.
In a separate bowl, whisk together baking powder, baking soda, salt, and 3 cups of gluten-free flour (and xanthan gum if required). Turn mixer to the lowest speed and add to wet mixture a 1/2 cup at a time, allowing the dry ingredients to be incorporated before adding more. The dough should be soft but not sticky.
Divide the dough into four parts, roll each into a ball, wrap separately in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Dust the counter and the rolling pin with gluten-free flour. Remove 1 dough ball from the refrigerator and cut into circles using a 4 oz. mason jar or small juice glass (if the dough is too sticky to roll out and cut, add additional flour a tablespoon at a time until it is pliable enough). Fill with 1/4 tsp tsp of filling, pinch into a triangle, and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Repeat with remaining dough balls.
Rella Kaplowitz has blogged gluten-free and mostly dairy-free as the Penny Pinching Epicure for the last 3 years. In "real life," Rella lives in Washington, DC with her husband where she specializes in organizational improvement consulting for the federal government.
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!
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.
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.
½ cup butter (or margarine)
¾ cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp milk (or almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp grated orange zest
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
Dark Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy cream
pinch of salt
Rum to taste (optional)
Beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add egg, milk, vanilla and orange zest until mixed thoroughly.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl. Add dry mixture to wet mixture until incorporated.
Note: if the dough is too soft, increase flour amount by ½ cupfuls until firm.
Chill dough for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
Over a double boiler, heat cream and chopped chocolate. When chocolate is mostly melted, lightly whisk until ganache is smooth and shiny. Whisk in rum and salt. Chill for several hours.
Dust surface with powdered sugar or flour to keep from sticking. Roll the dough to about ¼ inch thick.
Using a round cookie cutter, cut out and place onto cookie sheet. To keep the dough from sticking to your cutter, dip in powdered sugar or flour before each cut!
Remove ganache from fridge, and using a teaspoon form about 1/2 inch round balls and place in center of dough. Carefully fold in the edges to form a triangular shape, and pinch the corners tightly to seal.
Bake at 400° for about 7-9 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool completely.
Using a teaspoon or a small plastic squeeze bottle, drizzle caramel sauce back and forth on cookies. If desired, sprinkle with scant amount of thick sea salt.
Purim has always been 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+.
¾ cup sugar
2 ¾ cups flour, sifted
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 cup sliced strawberries
1 stick butter, room temperature
½ tsp vanilla
1 egg plus 1 for egg wash
Red food coloring if desired
Zest of 1 orange
1 cup chocolate nut butter, homemade or store bought
½ cup powdered sugar
few drops vanilla extract
Combine the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
Meanwhile, puree strawberries in a food processer until blended.
Then add in the wet ingredients to the dry: butter, vanilla, 1 egg, pureed strawberries and orange zest and combine well with a mixer. If the dough is sticky, add a bit more flour. If it is dry add a bit of water. Form dough into a large ball and chill for at least one hour or up to overnight.
When you are ready to make your hamantaschen, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and roll out the dough on a floured surface until it is 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick. Use a 3-inch circle cookie cutter to cut circles in the dough. The top of a wine glass works too! Roll out the scraps and recut into circles.
Then take a teaspoon of the nut butter and put it in the center of each circle. Don’t add any more- the filling will spread to fill the cookie, and anymore would just run over the top making for an ugly hamantaschen.
Fold two sides together overlapping at the bottom, and then fold the top down and secure.
Use the white of the last egg as an egg wash to give the hamantaschen shine and help it hold its shape. Then bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown.
Allow cookies to cool.
Mix powdered sugar with vanilla extract and enough water to get a thick glaze. Drizzle over hamantaschen, let harden and enjoy!