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November 27, 2015 / 15 Kislev, 5776
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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Recipe: Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Cooking a dish that both meat eaters and vegetarians will compromise on can be difficult.  I was once in a predicament where I hosted someone who neglected to mention that she was a celiac and a vegetarian. Normally, I would prepare something extra for my vegetarian guests but I was only informed about this at the least minute. Suffice to say, this poor girl did not have many options. I tried convincing her to eat some chicken so she wouldn’t starve throughout the entire meal but no avail. A guest leaving hungry is every hosts nightmare.

Most meat eaters I know are reluctant to try vegan dishes, especially those that require tofu. Tofu is persona non gratta  in my household.   We tend to eat vegetarian dishes during the week and save meat/chicken for the weekends, holidays and special occasions. I generally prefer Shephard’s pie made from ground meat. I once ate a vegetarian version using ground soy beef. It didn’t work for me. I came across another version that even the meat-and-potato- types will appreciate. Like any other Shepherd’s pie, this vegetarian rendition is just as filling and plentiful. I made  a sweet potato puree for the topping.  I know people (some of whom are related to me) who have an aversion to sweet potatoes. I like the contrast of sweet and savory flavors combined. If you don’t, however, feel free to use red potatoes, Idaho potatoes, or rustic potatoes. Just omit the cinnamon and ground cloves factor. I used lentils in lieu of tofu.  While lentils need 45 minutes to cook, I suggest that you grant yourself some time to prepare for this dish.

As a professed red blood male and a carniverous meat-eater (that bit was exaggerated although he does like his meat), my husband gave this recipe a thumbs up. In fact, we had to refrain from eating this entire dish.

For this recipe, you will need:

  1. 3-4 large sweet potatoes peeled and diced
  2. 1/2  cup of soy,almond, rice or unsweetened coconut milk
  3. 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  4. 1/2 teaspoon of ground cloves
  5. 1 cup of cooked brown or green lentils
  6. 1 cup of diced carrots
  7. 1 cup of diced celery
  8. 1 cup of chopped mushrooms
  9. 1 large onion chopped
  10. 2 cloves or garlic minced
  11. 1 cup of dry red wine
  12. 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce
  13. 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  14. 1 teaspoon of cumin
  15. 1 teaspoon of dried parsley
  16. Salt and pepper for taste


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Place potatoes in a pot with water.   Bring to a boil on the stove top  then reduce heat to medium to the potatoes continue to simmer. Let the potatoes cooks for about 20 minutes till fork tender. Once the potatoes have been cooked, drain them and add the non dairy milk, cinnamon, and cloves. Using a masher or a hand blender, puree till smooth.  The puree should be a little watery. Set aside.  In a cast iron skillet  over medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of  olive oil. Add in onions and saute until translucent.  Add the garlic and saute for another 2 minutes. Add the carrots, celery, and mushrooms and cook for about 4 minutes util vegetables are fragrant and tender .  Season with salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, cumin, and parsley.  Add the lentils and stir in the Worcestershire sauce. Then pour in the wine.  Cook for another 10 minutes until liquid is reduced. Transfer vegetables to a 9 inch greased baking dish. Spread evenly sweet potato puree over vegetables.  Place the dish in the oven and let it bake for about 40 minutes till the tips of the potatoes turn golden brown. Increase heat at the end of cooking for more browning, if desired. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tbsp of chopped parsley on top of the pie to garnish. Serve hot.

Visit Challah Maidel.

Egypt: Let Them Eat F-16s!

Thursday, January 10th, 2013

David P. Goldman (‘Spengler’) has been chronicling the decline and impending collapse of the Egyptian economy since the end of the Mubarak regime. With the tourism industry decimated, natural gas sales to Israel and Jordan halted by endemic terrorism, crime rampant, etc., Egypt’s foreign currency reserves will soon be gone. Agricultural production is down, and even in good times, Egypt does not produce enough food to feed its 83 million people.

When the money runs out, either Egypt will receive massive aid from other nations, or Egyptians will face starvation. Last month, Goldman wrote,

* The Food Industries Association warned Nov. 27 that lack of foreign exchange to purchase food commodities may reduce food imports by 40% during the next several months. Egypt imports half its total food consumption. Upper Egypt already is suffering a drop in food supplies (I presume other than state-subsidized bread) by 40%. Banks are refusing to  provide financing for food imports because importers are already deeply in arrears.
* The Misr Beni Suef Cement company shut five plants due to a natural gas shortage.
* An epidemic of bird flu threatens to destroy Egypt’s chicken population because of a lack of natural gas to heat poultry farms.
Egypt’s government electricity company warned that the provision of power is in danger because government agencies are 15 billion Egyptian pounds (US $2.5 billion) in arrears on their electricity bills.
Gas and diesel supplies at filling stations are down 70% from normal levels since President Mohammed Morsi’s constitutional declarations.
Shortage of fertilizer has cut agricultural exports by 10%, according to the Agricultural Export Council, and it is likely that overall production has fallen by a similar margin.

In thirty-five years of following debt crises in emerging economies, I have never seen anything like this. Latin American economies suffered from hyperinflation during the 1970s and 1980s, but no-one went hungry, because the economies in question all exported food, while Egypt imports half its food. The difference between Egypt and a banana republic is — the bananas.

Egypt is not the only Middle Eastern country facing a crisis — according to Goldman, all of the non-oil-producing Arab countries (e.g., Egypt, Tunisia, Jordan, Yemen) are in trouble. It doesn’t help that rising demand for food from the more functional economies in East Asia has pushed up prices.

While Islamists like to say that “Islam is the solution,” radical Islam is precisely the opposite. Because of its negative effects on women, Christians, the educated middle classes, secular education in general, etc. — not to mention the disruptions caused by violent extremists — Islamism is death to economic success.

Naturally, one ‘solution’ to a problem caused by the incompetence of Muslims is to attack Israel and the Jews. Essam el-Erian, an adviser to President Morsi, recently announced that Jews of Egyptian descent living in Israel should give up their property to Palestinian ‘refugees’ and return to Egypt, since Israel was about to be destroyed.

Unfortunately for him, el-Erian forgot that Egyptians hate Jews even more than they hate Israel, and was forced to resign after the Islamic Jihad organization complained that the re-introduction of Jews would “rot the Egyptian economy” [they should be so lucky as to have Jewish businessmen!] and that Shari’a requires Muslims to kill Jews.

If that isn’t surreal enough, what is the Obama Administration doing in the face of the imminent collapse of the largest and historically most important and powerful state in the Arab world, now ruled by an anti-Western and anti-Semitic radical Islamic regime (which it helped bring to power)?

Why, giving them advanced F-16 aircraft, of course.

Visit Fresno Zionism.

Butter Lovers, Rejoice – Hebrew U Study Shows High-Fat Could Lower Weight

Wednesday, September 12th, 2012

Lovers of butter, rejoice – eating a high-fat diet on a schedule may keep you svelter than eating a low-fat diet at random intervals, according to a researcher at Hebrew University.

Professor Oren Froy of the Agriculture, Food, and Environment department posits that regularly scheduling meals regulates metabolism and reduces weight gain.

The results were published in the academic journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology.

Mice fed a high-fat diet on a fixed schedule for 18 weeks gained less weight than counterparts fed either a low-fat diet on a fixed schedule, a low-fat diet on no schedule, and a high-fat diet on no schedule.

Additionally, the high-fat eaters seemed to metabolize what they ate better, rather than storing the fat in their bodies.

According to Froy, the findings reveal the importance of timing food consumption as a way of preventing obesity.

US Queen of Kosher: “I’m a Jewish Person and it’s the Jewish Homeland, and I Want to Go Home!”

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

With great emotion and to the joy of Jewish foodies throughout the world, the Queen of Kosher cooking is coming home to rule the roast/roost. Jamie Geller is making aliyah and though she used to think that life in Israel was “so not me”, she is now encouraging others to take the plunge, too.

The kosher cooking magnate, mom, and returnee to Jewish tradition made the announcement that she is moving to Israel at the Nefesh B’Nefesh aliyah organization’s June 25 ‘Tweetup’. Since then, Geller has begun to share her experiences with her loyal followers on her ‘Joy of Kosher’ website and in reality-tv-style ‘Joy of Aliyah’ videos.

In an interview with the Jewish Press’s Yishai and Malkah Fleisher, Geller spoke frankly about her opinion of life in the “galus” (Diaspora) and what is driving her to make the move.

“My grandparents survived the Holocaust, and I just don’t feel like they did that so I can live in Spring Valley,” Geller told Jewish Press. “The end is not to achieve it here in America or wherever you may be, and I just feel like I’m a Jewish person and it’s the Jewish homeland, and I want to go home!”

From Highschool to HBO

Geller shared her earliest memory of wanting to live in the Jewish state, remembering a call she placed to her mother during a high school semester in Israel. “I’m not leaving, and if you’re going to make me leave then I’m going to come back after high school, and I’m going to join the army, and I want to live here forever,” Jamie told her mother.

Yet she neither stayed nor donned IDF fatigues after high school as she had planned. “I had that feeling, and it was so strong… [but] by the time I graduated high school, it wasn’t even on my radar anymore. My whole life was just taken up, and I was going to NYU, and I was going to become famous…”

And taken up she became. In just a few years, Jamie had soared to the top of her industry, writing and producing for CNN, Entertainment News, the Food Network, and HBO.

But Israel wasn’t done with Jamie Geller. It wasn’t long before she had a date with a nice young man who told her he wanted to live in Israel. “I was like ‘no way, absolutely not,’ it was almost a deal breaker. I laughed at him – and I was someone who had had those feelings!”

The Persistent Husband

It wasn’t a deal breaker. The couple married, and her husband’s dream of making aliyah did not fade. “My husband has always said – you’re not building a house in galus” and even when they bought their own house, Israel was a frequent topic of conversation.

“I think it was like water on a rock,” Geller said. “We would be Chol HaMoed (interim days of Passover and Sukkot) at Six Flags Great Adventure, an amusement park, and then [my husband] would show pictures of his brother in Hashmonaim… doing a tiyul [hike] in the land… [and it was as if he was saying] ‘it’s Chol HaMoed – what are we doing at Six Flags?’”

But while her husband talked aliyah to Israel, Geller’s career was taking off in America. In 2007, she authored her first cookbook, Quick & Kosher Recipes from the Bride Who Knew Nothing, with her second, Quick & Kosher: Meals in Minutes soon to follow. Now, Jamie publishes the largest online kosher cooking website, JoyofKosher.com, and a top-of-the-line accompanying magazine, Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller.

Saying Goodbye to the Serving Dishes

Yet with all that American success, Geller told the Jewish Press that she is ready to take on the challenges of life in Israel. “I’m not going out of a position of weakness, I’m leaving a 3400 square foot home behind to go live in something double the price that’s half the size, but I’m doing it because I believe it is the right thing and the best thing for our family… I know that I’ll be working extra and double, but it’s a small price to pay to be there.”

Along with the smaller space, Geller does not much lament the little things she will leave behind, including her oversized American furniture and special serving dishes (“ain’t no room for once-a-year serving platters in Israel”, she said in one of her Joy of Aliyah videos). “I don’t think that’s a reason, just because I love blueberries, not to live in Israel. Those are silly to me… that’s not on my top list of worries. I’ve got other ones.”

Daf Yomi

Wednesday, July 11th, 2012

Soul Food
‘It Comes To Include A Fragrance’
(Niddah 52a)

One must recite a berachah prior to eating (berachah rishonah) and another one after eating (berachah acharonah). The mishnah on 51b states that there are some instances where only a berachah rishonah is required.

The Gemara explains that the mishnah is referring to someone who smells a pleasant fragrance. He should recite a berachah (“borei minei besamim”) prior to smelling the fragrance, but not afterwards.

Why not? Rashi (s.v. “reichani”) explains that one berachah is sufficient since smelling only provides a han’ah mu’etes, a limited amount of pleasure.

Quick And Immediate

Alternatively, the Kol Bo (cited by Sha’arei Tziyun, Orach Chayim 216, sk3) explains that there is a time limit within which a berachah acharonah may be recited. The berachah acharonah after eating must be recited before the food is digested. If a longer period has elapsed and a person no longer feels satiated from his meal, he may no longer recite a berachah acharonah. By the same token, a person does not recite a berachah acharonah after smelling a fragrance because the pleasure he derives does no linger. Thus the time limit to recite a berachah acharonahin the instance of a fragrance expires immediately.

No Bodily Benefit

The Me’iri (Yalkut Hame’iri citing Berachos 42b) offers yet another reason. He writes that smell is something that benefits the soul, but not the body. Therefore, one cannot say the berachah acharonah.

This week’s Daf Yomi Highlights is based upon Al Hadaf, published by Cong. Al Hadaf, 17N Rigaud Rd., Spring Valley, NY 10977-2533. Al Hadaf, published semi-monthly, is available by subscription: U.S. – $40 per year; Canada – $54 per year; overseas – $65 per year. For dedication information contact Rabbi Zev Dickstein, editor, at 845-356-9114 or visit Alhadafyomi.org.

The No-Potato Passover: A Journey of Food, Travel & Color

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Good news – having fun with your food is not just for silly kids! Skim the pages of this colorful funfest of food and count the low calories in these carb-lite delights. Even men who “don’t eat green” will probably want to try out the easy to prepare, hearty dishes.

Most of the No-Potato Passover recipes are as casual as the title’s spelling: some include only six ingredients and limited prep time – half to one full hour. They’re good for heart health and waistlines, too.

Full-color pictures in the No-Potato Passover: A Journey of Food, Travel & Color demonstrate the finished products. A graduate of the French Culinary Institute, author Aviva Kanoff blended her food prep knowledge with a degree in studio art from Hunter College. She took photos while collecting delicious, simple recipes native to specific spots around the world. The end result is your way out of the “rut” that Kanoff insists many cooks dig for themselves. Relying on a too-common standby of three to four meals, we tend to bore our taste buds and fellow diners even more at the 24 usually potato-heavy Passover meals. The No-Potato Passover provides an easy way out of the “Not this again?” and “Did we buy prunes?” problem.

Pomegranate Brisket

How much variety exists in this novel approach to Pesach dining? Think Passover Pesto, meaty matza balls, lavender mint chicken and no-bake chocolate mousse pie. Super foods that pack the power of high nutrition with few calories are included, too.

Pesto Chicken Pasta

If you’re like many Pesach cooks wondering what to do with Passover cake meal, you’re in for delicious delights with the desert section. Think “Viennese Crunch” or “Raspberry Shortcake Trifle” among other possibilities. Consider buying two copies of the cookbook so you and anyone looking over your shoulder won’t fight over who’s having more fun with it at any given time.

Chocolate Mousse Pie

The book has only problem: like many others, it doesn’t lay flat when you want to follow a recipe. With a clear plastic cookbook protector, though, this 168-page hardcover stays put without closing itself on the instructions you need. But bless her heart, Kanoff included such intriguing photos of faraway places that you’ll be tempted to flip through the pages. The No Potato Passover: A Journey of Food, Travel & Color is an education into cuisine as the result of topography and geography! Share it with friends and family for a delicious holiday on many levels.

Freeze With Ease

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

           I have received numerous inquiries asking me to revisit my freezer tricks.  It is really important for the homemaker, during this tough economic climate, to be able to stretch her/his food budget.


I meet many people who are simply “afraid” to freeze any food, simply because they have had bad “freezer-tasting” food in the past.  That is a false assumption because the food they ate was just frozen but stored the wrong way.  It’s like trying to make cholent in a frying pan!


You must learn the proper technique and correct storage containers to use for that exact purpose.  In my experience, I have found hundreds − if not thousands − of dollars a year are saved when you can cook, freeze and store food correctly.  Of course, I am not even mentioning the hours you will save in time because you do not have to “waste” time cooking fresh food every day of your life.


             Freezing is simple and the most time-efficient way to preserve foods at home.  It is important to note that freezing does not improve the quality of foods; but when properly done it can preserve most of the quality of the fresh product.  Food stored constantly at zero degrees will always be safe.  Also, if you have an electrical blackout, a full freezer will keep food frozen in your freezer for 72 hours.  Food in a half-full freezer will only stay for 12 hours.


One of my customers did an experiment with her family.  She did it to prove to her husband, who said he would never eat anything that was frozen. It seems he had bad experiences from his childhood years, when his mother would serve frozen, dried-out food to him and his siblings.  She was a working mother with no other choice. She used cheap plastic takeout containers and lots of foil and plastic bags to store the food in the freezer.  These cheaper quality containers are not meant for the vapors and low temperatures that exist in a zero degree environment.  The food would lose its quality and get a “freezer burn,” thereby robbing it of its good taste and appearance.


His favorite food was spaghetti and meatballs.  She prepared the recipe as usual, but instead of freezing the meatballs in cheap containers immediately with the sauce, she used my tricks and saved herself literally hours of time.  Here is the trick:  Separate the cooked meatballs from the sauce.  Line a cookie sheet or flat board with foil.  Foil acts as a conductor and will “quick-freeze” any food sitting on it in the freezer.  Place the meatballs side by side, like rows of cookies, on the foil – minus the sauce. 


Depending on your particular freezer, it may take an hour, more or less, to “quick freeze.”   Place the hardened meatballs in any Tupperware freezer container, tall or flat.  Container shape will not matter.  They will come out individually since there is no sauce binding them together.  Freeze the sauce separately.  Make sure to label the containers on the outside.  Frozen food can look alike.


I had a customer tell me she once prepared a meal using some of her frozen unlabeled stock.   She was sure she would remember what it was. Lo and behold, she said her “soup turned to fish” when it defrosted!


Sauce can be frozen in bulk or in individual, smaller 2-cup Tupperware containers.  (There is a big freezer container sale now in Tupperware until the end of December – so take advantage!)  If you do freeze in larger containers and only need a small amount of sauce for those six meatballs you removed for a child, just run some warm water from the sink over the container.  On a cutting board, slide out the “brick” of sauce. Run very hot water on a sharp serrated knife, and “slice” the amount of sauce you need.  The rest was not defrosted, so you may return it to the freezer safely for later use.  Remember, you cannot refreeze fully defrosted cooked food.


Now back to my customer and her doubtful husband.  She served her family about 85 meatballs over a period of four weeks with the sauce she made a month earlier – and no one knew the difference!  Of course, she cooked her spaghetti and other side dishes fresh each time.


She never told her husband what she did and still now freezes many of her food for her family.  She recently told me she feels like a “liberated” woman!  She has more time to devote to her other interests that she had put off.  Very important to remember: you must reheat the food properly as well.  Tupperware has the most efficient microwave line of products that heat your food evenly and completely. No one can tell it was previously frozen.


The above tricks are just some of the many tips I share in my cookbook, Not Just A Cookbook.   Some of my customers tell me that when they read the book, they “hear” my voice.  I also do “Freezer Class Demos” for my Tupperware customers. 


I will be having a “vendors” table, IY”H, at the upcoming Toras Emes Chanukah Boutique on motzaei Shabbos, December 6. It runs from 6:30-10 p.m.  Please come and say hello.  I will have lots of discounted items, plus copies of my book for purchase.  There will be raffle drawings from the event, and I will be giving a free gift with each purchase!


In my next column, I will continue providing more tips on the proper way to freeze fish, vegetables – and more!


Over 550 recipes and tips are featured in Rochelle’s humorous and entertaining cookbook, Not Just A Cookbook.  It also features many “multiethnic” recipes that were adapted for the kosher cook.  Rochelle’s book examines food around the year by month. What a great gift!  Check out www.notjustacookbook.com for free recipes and to order your copy online, or call 718-258-0415 for store information.  Rochelle has been a Custom Kitchen Planning expert, using Tupperware containers for over 30 years. She is available for cooking demo events, fundraisers, and Tupperware demos.   Go to www.my.tupperware.com/rochellerothman. Call to find out about the super sales for fall. Note: Special book sale − buy 6 get 1 free!

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/food//2008/12/03/

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