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What is Cooking Jewish?

Contact Judy at judy@cookingjewish.com                                   

Cooking Jewish is tradition—heirloom recipes passed down through the generations. Cooking Jewish is devising modern spins on old classics. Cooking Jewish is preserving memories as we create new ones. Cooking Jewish is cooking from the heart, a memory in every bite.

And you don't have to be Jewish to cook Jewish!

There are very few dishes that can be exclusively called Jewish. Wherever Jews have wandered, they have incorporated the cuisine of their neighbors into that serendipitous amalgamation we think of as "Jewish food."

We are the ancestors of the coming generations and the keepers of memories for our children. We treasure our heritage as we create new traditions.

Food and family, family and food....I can't think of one without the other. Let's eat together, celebrate together, and enjoy!

Vibrant foods flavor the Passover feast

The Orange County Register, April 17, 2008

Two new cookbooks offer traditional and fresh looks at the holiday menu.


When Sarine and Murad Kattan left Aleppo, Syria, in 1947 for their honeymoon in Italy, their thoughts were of love and their future in their beloved homeland, where their family and the larger Jewish community had lived and flourished for centuries.

Back in Aleppo, the announcement of the United Nations partition of Palestine fueled the already smoldering atmosphere of anti-Semitism, setting off pogroms (organized massacres) that virtually extinguished all Jewish life, erasing centuries of this rich, thriving culture.

Find recipes for Chicken Soup With Asparagus and Shiitakes, Served With Roasted Fennel Matzo Balls and Braised Brisket With Thirty-Six Cloves of Garlic from Jewish Holiday Cooking when you read the whole story. For Stuffed Eggplant with Quince recipe from Aromas of Aleppo click here and for Candied Coconut with Pistachios click here.

It does so matter how you slice it!

Last Thankgiving for the first time I had the most beautiful platter of neat turkey slices. I followed this video from the NY Times.


The man is a genius!! End of turkey hassles! The only thing I did differently (and it actually worked even better) was I removed the drumstick first and then held on to the thigh bone and slid my knife down that bone to remove it with no meat on it. Then it was a simple matter to remove the thigh - whole! Slicing boneless meat is a breeze! We will never carve a turkey on the bone again! My platter looked just as great as his! We should have taken a picture!

Thanksgiving tips from famous chefs

I met chef Annie Miler of Clementine (across from Century City, 310-552-1080) and award-winning pastry chef Sherry Yard of Wolfgang Puck’s Spago in Beverly Hills (310-385-0880) a few years ago at a gala fundraiser for Women’s Chefs and Restaurateurs (WCR). I couldn’t resist the opportunity and asked them to give us some tips for the holidays.

“Thanksgiving is about cooking with your friends and family, not about being one person performing,” said Miler. “That’s what makes it stressful. Relax!”

The day prior to Thanksgiving is the single busiest day of the year for Clementine, she noted. “I always have a set of family members here before Thanksgiving and Christmas to help pack gravy and get the orders out. For our own dinner I could just order from Clementine, but this year my mom wants to make everything herself. After days of packing gravy she may decide to order!”

“Desserts like apple pie and pumpkin pie always taste better the next day,” observed Yard, “so why not make them the day before. And this will free the oven to let the turkey spread its wings!”

She also suggested measuring and prepping ingredients for dishes that need last-minute attention the night before.

Try a trifle for an easy, but showy dessert, she suggested. “Buy some gingerbread cake and layer it with whipped cream – fold in candied ginger – and sprinkle the cake with a simple syrup made with brandy or Jack Daniels.”

For an easy take on Miler’s hors d’oevre, serve bruschetta: roasted balsamic onions on toasted French or Italian bread slices.

Sherry Yard’s intense and velvety chocolate ganache is the basis of so many memorable desserts from truffles to mousse. For her “It” tart, pour the ganache into tart shells and top with tiny grapes that have been rolled in melted chocolate (no need to temper), then dusted with cocoa powder.

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Sat, 11/23/2013 - 10:14am.

What about the leftovers???

You’ve done it again, haven’t you? It’s Thanksgiving and you’ve made way too much food. Again. That beautiful bird getting its final basting today will be tomorrow’s turkey mole or turkey pot pie. The bones will become a hearty soup, and by next week your family will be singing in chorus, “Oh, no, not stuffing and sweet potatoes again!”

Every leftover will find a home, but where will the cranberry sauce end up, in the disposal?

If you’re like me and can’t stand waste, here are some fresh ideas for recycling today’s gleaming red relish into tomorrow’s tasty treats.

Whether you are using canned whole berry cranberry sauce or making your own, use it instead of sweetened applesauce in your favorite cake or bread recipe. Try adding some instead of ketchup next time you make meat loaf (1/2 cup to 2 pounds meat). Use the whole berry or the melted jellied mixed with chili sauce for a zippy topping for chicken or meat balls or mix either with some honey or maple syrup (2/3 to 1/3) as a glaze for a roast.

After today’s cooking extravaganza the thought of preparing any of these may leave you breathless. Freeze the leftover cranberry sauce in ice cube trays so you can use what you need later.

To most of us the name Ocean Spray is synonymous with cranberries, and indeed 70% of the world’s cranberry consumption comes from Ocean Spray. Once we had our own Ocean Spray bottling plant right here in my home town, Fullerton. Full story with recipe

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Sat, 11/23/2013 - 9:56am.

My new favorite brisket recipe

Some people – even great cooks – spend their entire lives with only one brisket recipe in their repertoires. Sure, they’ll try the newest crostini or cloufuti, but their brisket is somehow sacrosanct, unchanged through the decades (not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Me, I flit merrily from brisket to brisket as the mood hits. My current brisket du jour – or I perhaps I should say du anne, as I’ve been making it all year – was inspired by a recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Sara Moulton. (And her husband is Jewish, so she should know!)

Here are my modifications (besides some slight changes in amounts of ingredients): I roast the garlic and then add it to the gravy. I use a whole can of tomato paste and have added the onion mix and Saucy Susan. The blender thing is my idea – you get a thicker gravy while still
leaving plenty of onion bits for that homemade look and feel.

I also find with this and other braised dishes that they always taste better the next day. Another advantage is it is much easier to skim off the fat when cold. And while we’re on the subject, don’t hack off all the fat before cooking. It adds so much to the flavor and you’ll get it all later.

Sara evaporates the wine; I don’t do this. I get a ton of gravy, just the ticket, because no matter what brisket recipe I’m making, I’d better do my mother-in-law’s potatoes and carrots or face that close-but-no-cigar look on my husband’s face.

Posted in Submitted by Judy on Wed, 05/22/2013 - 9:31am.

In tune with the past at Passover

My Passover story in the Orange County Register is a tribute to my mom. This is my first Passover without her! You'll find recipes for Salmon Gefilte Fish, My New Favorite Brisket and Passover Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot. Click here or go to OCRegister.com and then click Food.

Mama Hinda's Pesadicke Nut Cake

Molly O'Neill tallks about my Mama Hinda's Passover Nut Cake on www.grandparents.com - a wonderful site, by the way, for all the bubbes (and zaydies too!) For the recipe and story click here.

On Passover dessert can be a sweet surprise

St. Louis Post Dispatch, April 16, 2008
by Judith Evans

Tradition writes the menu at many Passover Seders, the service and meal that marks the start of the Jewish holiday that begins at sundown Saturday.

If grandma started the meal with gefilte fish or chicken soup with matzo balls, you probably do, too. Brisket recipes get passed down through the generations like cherished photos or a beloved aunt's locket.

But when it comes time for dessert, this night can be different. It's a place to stretch, to be creative, to try out new recipes.

"You want to do all of the old, some of the new," says Judy Bart Kancigor, author of "Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes From the Rabinowitz Family" (Workman).

(Find the recipe for Spago Pistachio Macaroon Sandwiches With Chocolate Ganache when you Read the whole story.)

Passover food brings joy to cooks, food lovers

The Tennessean, April 2, 2008
by Nicole Young

Haroset is a fruit and nut mixture. Brisket is a beef cut. And matzoh is unleavened bread, which is bread that has not risen or does not contain yeast.

All these foods can be found on a Jewish table during Passover, a holiday lasting eight days to represent the exodus of the Hebrew people from slavery in ancient Egypt.

This year, Passover begins April 19 at sundown.

During Passover, Jewish followers are not permitted to eat anything that rises, meaning nothing with yeast. But, the holiday is considered one of two big food holidays for Jewish followers.

"It's a wonderful holiday for children and men," said Patsy Wind, a Gordon Jewish Community Center (GJCC) member and West End resident. "The women have a lot of cooking to do. There's no telling how long we spend cooking. It's easy, but it's just time consuming."

Wind, along with about 35 other GJCC members and Nashville residents, signed up for a Nourish Your Mind class on cooking at the center last week featuring guest speaker Judy Bart Kancigor, author of Cooking Jewish: 532 Great Recipes from the Rabinowitz Family. Read the whole story

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