Purim: merriment, mirth - and good eats!

It has all the elements of pulp fiction biblical style: the foolish king (Ahasuerus), the spurned wife (Vashti), the wicked first minister (Haman), the brave and beautiful maiden (Esther) and her honorable protector (Mordecai). Add to the mix an assassination plot foiled and a people saved...To celebrate our deliverance, sweets are the order of the day.

To read the complete story, see OU's Shabbat Shalom.

Watch me cook on YouTube!

In December I whipped up some hummus and eggplant appetizer with host Henry Tenenbaum on KRON-4 TV - a little Jewish cooking on his Christmas show! So much fun! Click here to watch the segment on YouTube.

For the recipe click here.

Manischewitz Cooking Contest Semi-Finals

Don your aprons, light those ovens and…go!

by Judy Bart Kancigor
OU's e-zine Shabbat Shalom

Thirty contestants in last month’s Second Annual Simply Manischewitz Cook-Off semi-finals chopped, seared and sautéed their way for the chance to compete in the finals, to be held in New York on February 27. The grand prizewinner will take home a $25,000 prize package, including a GE Profile kitchen, cash and READ MORE

Kosher cooking contest winners to compete in finals

by Judy Bart Kancigor
Canadian Jewish News, Thursday, Feb 21, 2008

“While the other kids were playing house, I was playing restaurant,” Evan Levy
of Danville, Calif., recalled. He was one of the semifinalists in the
Second Annual Simply Manischewitz Cook-Off western regional competition
held Dec. 20 at the Hilton Hotel in San Francisco.

Lucky me – I was one of the judges!

“I started very young – I went to Mom’s cooking school,” Levy said. “My READ MORE

Valentine's Day sweets - chocolate! (what else?)

If you’re the type who thinks of the “main course” as dessert rather than the entrée, read on.

Alice Medrich knows a thing or two about dessert. Dubbed the “patron saint of chocoholics” by the San Francisco Chronicle, she is the founder of Cocolat, the legendary and innovative Bay Area pastry company that revolutionized chocolate making from the mid 1970’s to the early ‘90’s. Since then her books have won the coveted Cookbook of the Year and Book of the Year awards from the James Beard Foundation and The International Association of Culinary Professionals three times.

While we know and love Medrich for her life in chocolate, her latest cookbook “Pure Dessert” (Artisan, $35) focuses on our favorite course using flavorful, inspired ingredients, from fresh cheeses and yogurts to Tahitian vanilla, all prepared simply.

Sour Cream Ice Cream. Plum and Almond Tart. Chestnut Tuiles. Jasmine Panna Cotta. If overly sweetened, frilly, gooey desserts are your thing, look elsewhere. The emphasis here is simply flavor.

“The best chefs cook savory food simply, with the best ingredients,” she writes. “Why don’t we make more desserts that way?”

Each chapter offers recipes centered on natural ingredients: milk; grain, nuts and seeds; fruit; chocolate (of course!); honey and sugar; herbs and spices, flowers and leaves; wine, beer and spirits.

Whether she’s brewing jasmine tea for tuiles or caramelizing sugar for honey caramels, this master teacher encourages rather than intimidates with clear, precise instructions. Thirty-one introductory pages guide you through proper techniques, equipment and shopping for ingredients.

The most important tip for a beginner, she advises, is what the French call mise en place, setting out and preparing all the ingredients in advance.

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Mon, 02/11/2008 - 8:05am.

Of Schalets and Cholent and Kugels and Charlottes

Schalet, cholent, kugel, charlotte – any connection?

In my latest column on OU's website I find that one of these favorite dishes is the ancestor of the others. Can you guess what it is? Read the full story.

MY TV debut on NY1!

Watch the video as I prepare Stuffed Orange Sweet Potato Cups with the ebullient Shelley Goldberg, NY1’s Parenting Consultant, and kibbutz about holiday food traditions you can take part in with your children.


Stuffed Orange Sweet Potato Cups

Grandma Sera Fritkin's Russian Brisket

Potato Latkes

Cookin' for Love Malaysian Latkes with Minty Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

Hanukkah Comes Early This Year, And the Potato Latkes Are Ready

My column on OU's web site features easy latkes for Hanukkah. Click here to read it.

A fiery story

One of the area’s more, shall we say, interesting dining establishments recently was not a newly opened theme restaurant or even an established eatery, but the Del Mar Race Track, where thousands of evacuated refugees from San Diego’s raging fires found solace, comfort and more than sustenance.

“The food was great and the experience uplifting,” said Mark Sherman of Del Mar Heights, who got what he termed “our first reverse 911 call” to get ready at about six pm on Monday, October 22, followed by the evacuation order a couple of hours later.

“This was not your New Orleans nightmare,” he said. “About a thousand evacuees at the shelter were all cooperative, supportive, and well managed by the uniformed Army and National Guard personnel.”

The shelter was located under the stands of the racetrack, where, during summer, guests with far less on their minds leisurely stroll through the Del Mar Fair Art Show.

Once inside, the Shermans were directed to the far end of the area reserved for people without pets. “We were assisted to cots carried by a military escort,” Sherman said. “They provided toothbrushes, etc. The pillows, blankets and sheets were all new and still in the package, I think from Wal-Mart.”

The couple got to sleep at about two am and awoke at about six to the smell of fresh coffee. “People were lining up for breakfast,” he recalled, “coffee, fruit, milk, cereals, hot bagels and cream cheese from Garden State Bagels, then trays of Krispy Kreme donuts. My two ‘emergency’ Nature Valley granola bars and the water we brought was a joke. They had enough water to bring life to the desert and enough granola bars, pretzels, chips, candy, and snack food to feed Iraq for a year.”

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Fri, 11/23/2007 - 1:44pm.

Delicious eats in Allentown

As I travel around the country on my book tour, I'm writing my column from the road. Here's my favorite dining spot in Allentown!

If it’s Tuesday it must be Allentown, I thought, as my plane hit the runway. Stop number two on my book tour, but this gig was special, because I would be staying with my oldest, dearest friend.

Arlene picked me up at the airport and said, “Let’s have lunch.” She didn’t have to ask where I wanted to go. Pistachio’s is always my first choice.

Owners Sid and Lynne Stetcher joined us, but this wasn’t the usual meeting of friends. For this column from the road, I wanted to find out what makes this restaurant special.

I asked Sid if I could talk to the chef and was surprised when he informed me, “There is no chef!” Stetcher employs only line cooks and personally trains them himself. “I don’t need a prima donna,” he said. “I have one wife. I don’t need another.”

Having no formal training, Stetcher, a self-professed foodie, claims a natural affinity. “I see it as an art form,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed food, and I’m blessed with good taste buds.”

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Wed, 11/07/2007 - 11:16pm.

Seeker of lost recipes and restorer of dreams

In my latest column on OU's website, I help some nostalgic friends and relatives recreate two cookie recipes they remember from the past.

A&E’s Dog the Bounty Hunter tracks down fugitives and brings them to justice. The History Detectives on PBS search for clues to unlock mysteries of the past. Just call me the Cookery Sleuth, Seeker of Lost Recipes and Restorer of Dreams. Click here to continue.

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