What's Kosher at the Zoo?
We assigned our roving reporters (Shaya, Sara, Rivky, Bracha and Tehilla Scher) to The Maryland Zoo during Chol Hamoed Passover with a mission to find the kosher animals. Armed with their cameras and a picnic lunch - Shaya took the lead and filed this report!
The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is a great place with many interesting animals. Here are some of the animals we scoped out:
In order for an animal to be kosher, it needs to have hooves that are totally split. At the zoo, there were a number of animals with split hooves. The goats in the goat corral at the zoo were a good example. We enjoyed petting and brushing their fur while getting a close-up, hands-on look at their hooves. Another feature of kosher animals is that they chew their cud. Whenever they eat, the swallowed food comes back to their mouth and the animal chews it again. Additionally, an animal may not be eaten if there is no tradition passed down from generation to generation concerning its kosher status.
Although not known by many people, giraffes are kosher animals. The reason giraffes are not eaten by Jews is that there is no tradition passed down about them being kosher . We had a very good view of these beautiful and amazing animals at the zoo. In fact, the zoo offers a giraffe encounter station where you can feed a giraffe and the giraffes are close enough to pet, although we couldn’t do this- zoo rules. Also not commonly known, deer and gazelle are kosher. The Maryland Zoo includes the African gazelle and sitatunga, a kind of deer found in Africa. We enjoyed viewing all of these animals at the zoo.
Many animals at the Maryland Zoo have kosher diets. Here are a few of them. Each penguin eats one pound of anchovies, a kosher fish, every day. Of course, all herbivores have a kosher diet. We fed the giraffes a bunch of acacia browse, a type of plant. But flamingos have a very non-kosher diet. They eat shellfish, fish, worms, insects, algae, seeds, and plants. At least the plants are kosher! In fact, Flamingos get their pink color from the shrimp they eat!
At the Maryland Zoo, a variety of animals have horns. Could you use them for a Shofar?
1. A rhinoceros is not kosher so you can’t use its horn for a Shofar.
2. A warthog is also not kosher so its horn can’t be used. Also, a warthog’s horns are not really horns. They are overgrown teeth and are actually tusks.
3. A gazelle is kosher so the horns are kosher for a Shofar.
4. An elephant is not kosher and it has tusks, not horns, like a warthog.
5. A goat is kosher, so its horns are kosher.
6. Even though a cow is kosher, its horns are not kosher shofars. This is because the Torah describes the cow horn as a keren instead of a shofar.
I had a very enjoyable time visiting the Maryland zoo with my family. The animals are a true reflection of the diverse creatures that exist in all parts of the world. It would be a shame slaughtering them to eat. Instead, come to the Maryland zoo to see all these amazing wonders of Hashem.Add a comment
Passover Guides-OU, cRc, Star-K, COR, Kashrut.com
The OU has released its 2016 Passover guide. Click HERE to see ordering information. If you are an OU member and you already receive OU's Jewish Action magazine, the guide was mailed along with the Spring issue of Jewish Action. Online Passover information which includes information from the 2016 guide is available on the OU website at https://oukosher.org/passover/. Also, the OU free mobile device app gives you access to this information as well as providing interactive information on food items.
The CRC 5776-2016 Guide to Passover is available on line here. The cRc free mobile app has an interactive Passover 2016 section which includes:
- Food Items
- Health and Beauty
- Non-food items
- Nutritional Supplements
- Tevillas Keilim
The Star-K 2016 Passover Directory Abridged Web Edition is available here.Star-K Abridged Passover Directory
The COR Passover 2016 Kosher Corner issue is available here.
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Click HERE for Kashrut.com Passover 2016 information.
Parve Hamantashen Revisited
A hamantash is a piece of pastry first and foremost. The dough that forms the famous triangle is just as important as the filling.
You want the crust to be notable. Have I got a dough for you! It is parve, it is easy to work with and it will spark your mouth’s interest.
It is made on the shoulders of the mighty halvah and its cousin tahini. Halvah and tahini have a long storied history of being used in baking.
I would be the last to say that I was an originator. I have just continued that conversation. Once the dough is made, all those “hats” need filling.
Apples, dried figs, prunes and apricots are calling out to me. I answered that call and present my own musings.
Parve Sweet Pastry Dough Ingredients
¼ cup ice cold water
3 extra large egg yolks, checked
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup vegetable shortening
½ cup sugar
½ cup vanilla halvah, packed like brown sugar
1 tablespoon tahini, stirred, creamy
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 lemon, zested (optional)
flour for rolling
1 extra-large egg, checked
3 tablespoons tap water
Yield: about 45 hamantashen
This dough is made in a standing mixer with batter hook attachment.
Prepare the ice water: in a measuring cup, add ½ cup cold tap water and toss in a couple ice cubes. Set aside.
Prime the other ingredients.
Pry the packed, measured halvah out and place into a microwaveable bowl. Microwave for 15 seconds to soften. Set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together over the standing mixing bowl.
Place the sugar, egg yolks, softened halvah, tahini, optional lemon zest into the bowl.
Attach the batter hook. On medium speed blend ingredients until crumbs are formed.
Discard the ice and pour off all but a ¼ cup of ice water.
Pour in the water and add in the lemon juice. Blend all the ingredients together just until a dough is formed.
Remove the finished dough. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before use.
This dough can be also be wrapped in parchment and then sealed in plastic this way for three days, or keep frozen for about two weeks.
Line baking pan(s) with silpat mat(s) or parchment paper.
Make the egg wash. Beat the egg and the water together.
Cut the dough in half. Refrigerate other half.
Preheat oven to 350 ºF (convection when available).
On a liberally floured work surface. Roll the dough out to ¼ inch thickness. Dust the surface with flour as necessary.
Use a 3” round cutter or a drinking glass to cut out as many circles as possible. Place the dough circles on the prepared baking pan(s).
Reform scraps and repeat.
Chill the circles until firm- about 30 minutes.
Make more circles with the other half of the dough, or seal and refrigerate or freeze.
Remove the chilled circles from refrigerator. Brush the top of each circle with egg wash.
Place a tablespoon of filling in the center of each circle.
Fold in the sides to form a triangle. Pinch the dough to enclose the filling.
Brush the entire surface of the each pastry with egg wash.
I like to shower each piece with sugar, it adds crunch. It’s up to you.
Bake the pastries in the center rack of the oven until golden brown on the edges. About 20-25 minutes.
Cool on the baking sheets for 5 minutes; then transfer to wire racks to cool completely.
1 tangerine: peeled for the zest
1 cup pitted prunes, well packed
¼ cup tangerine juice
¼ cup sugar
Use a vegetable peeler to zest the tangerine. You want the zest, not the white pith.
Place the peels into a saucepan. Cover the peels with tap water. Bring to a rapid boil then drain. Repeat two more times.
Cut the remaining naked tangerine in half. Squeeze out the juice. You need ¼ cup of juice. Add water if necessary. Set aside.
Place the prunes, tangerine peel, juice and sugar into a microwavable bowl. Seal with plastic wrap.
Cook for 2½ minutes.
Plop and scrape it all into the standing mixer and purée.
Scrape into a jar or container. Refrigerate.
Filling Ingredients (yields about 1½ cups)
1 cup dried brown figs, stemmed, well packed
¼ cup water
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons rose water or rose syrup
optional: 1 tablespoon dried rose petals: plucked and checked
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Place the stemmed figs, water and sugar into a microwavable bowl. Seal with plastic wrap. Microwave for 2½ minutes. Remove.
Pluck the optional rose petals.
Scrape cooked figs and all into the standing mixer. Add the rose water or syrup, lemon juice and optional rose petals. Purée. Taste, add more rose water or syrup to suit.
Scrape into a container or lidded jar.
Apple-Raisin Filling (yields about 1½ cups)
3 large golden delicious apples; peeled and diced
¼ cup yellow raisins
¼ cup water
¼ cup sugar
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Peel, core, slice and dice the apples into smaller pieces- about 4 overflowing cups.
Combine the apples, raisins, water, sugar and cinnamon stick into a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves.
Cover; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until the apples are very tender while stirring frequently- about 10-15 minutes.
Remove from the heat. Use a potato masher or fork to gently mash apples until mixture is very soft but still chunky. Cool completely.
This filling can be made 2 days ahead: just cover and refrigerate.
Apricot Lekvar with Bitter Almonds yields about 1 cup)
½ tablespoon bitter almonds (a.k.a. dried apricot kernels), toasted
1 cup dried apricots, well packed
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup tap water
½ teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Preheat toaster oven or oven to 350 ºF.
Toast the bitter almonds for 7 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Combine the apricots, sugar and water in a microwave bowl. Seal with plastic. Microwave for 2½ minutes.
Scrape the cooked apricots into a standing blender. Add in toasted bitter almonds, almond extract and lemon juice. Purée.
Scrape into a container or a lidded jar.
Lauren Stacy Berdy earned her professional diploma from Ecole de Cuisine, La Varenne Paris, France in 1978, then spent a few years working in Europe before bringing it home. She spent more than three decades as a private chef-caterer. She now resides 130 paces from the beach with her husband in Hollywood, Florida, where she wrote Remaining Kosher Volume One: A Cookbook For All With A Hechsher In Their Heart. This eBook is available on iTunes. Volume Two is well on its way.
Rethinking Sweet Parve
Even with more than three decades of culinary expertise it was always challenging when working kosher as a caterer to create parve desserts. I have tasted many parve cookies, cakes and pastries that are disappointing to eat. They give taste the skip. The fact is that most parve sweets, even homemade ones, have been co-opted by faux industrial ingredients like margarine. Margarine and I have no real relationship. It is like the friend of a friend of another friend. It’s a stand-in replacement. It is really just tasteless oil.
But nothing says that cannot be changed constraints can sometimes teach us more about ourselves. We are not bound by tradition. We do not have to be bullied by ingredients. Maintaining the Kosher standard has less to do with wishful thinking and fast substitutions and more to do with just being in the nature of all things kosher.
My personal take on cooking kosher food is simple. It is valued because it invokes a delicious idea not just an adherence. My desserts are no different.
I have adopted another point of view, a new direction. I want to get the past into perspective. My interest is to start a sweet parve conversation. Think of this as parve ecology.
I changed the way I viewed sweet parve by changing my attitude towards it. I have faith in my skills. They have supplied me with a living for many years.
Our world is filled with wonderful sun filled ingredients, splendid staples like extra virgin olive oil, halvah and tahini.
I would be the last person to say that I am an originator of anything. All it takes is a sudden leap of thought to transform what seems like an elusive subject like non-dairy sweets and make something not only delicious but also memorable. A sideways glance can rotate one's point of view.
It is my hope in sharing these recipes that I help to expand the landscape of tempting parve sweets. Choices abound and many new roads have been explored. It’s all in the laws of succession. Replacement rather than continuity!
Also, I ask you who doesn’t appreciate a delicious cookie.
Recipe:Kosher, parve, dessert, PurimAdd a comment
Wines of the Year
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For the first time ever, Kosherwine.com has released its Top 100 list where the KosherWine.com team selects the most exciting wines of the year from the thousands that they carry. Click here to see the list.
The foundation for Wholly Wholesome was paved in 1972 in Morristown, New Jersey when Bob Wintz began a family business to bring baked goods to consumers. As the years passed and the company prospered, the Wintz family expanded their business and founded the Run-A-Ton Group.
Wholly Wholesome™ was born in 1996, founded by Bob’s son, Doon Wintz. It is a company dedicated to both quality and taste for the ingredient conscious consumer, with products “that taste as good or better than any other baked product in both the natural foods and conventional market”.
As part of the Run–A–Ton Group, Doon Wintz along with his corporate team combined their passion for natural foods and great baked goods, with a commitment to wholesome, yet tasty baked foods and ready to bake products. Wholly Wholesome pie shells are parve.
‘Tis the season for baking pies! These “bake at home” pie shells and pie crusts are naturally wholicious and a great base for homemade pie filling. Just keep them frozen until you are ready to bake! Or, buy the pie dough and roll it out yourself when you need it. Wholly Wholesome pie shells are "guilt free" and taste homemade. We are longtime fans because the products are made without the use of animal products, artificial ingredients or hydrogenated fats. They are kosher certified OU Parve- and free of artificial preservatives, colors, flavors and sweeteners.
For more information, visit whollywholesome.com
Enjoy this recipe for Chocolate Angel Pie made in a Wholly Wholesome pie shell!Add a comment
Rethinking Sweet Parve
by Lauren Stacy Berdy
My first interest here is to start a sweet parve conversation. Think of this as parve ecology.I changed the way I view sweet parve by changing my attitude towards it. I have faith in my skills. They have supplied me with a living for many years. Even with decades of culinary expertise, it’s always challenging working kosher to create parve desserts.I tasted many parve cookies, cakes and pastries that are disappointing to eat. They give taste the skip, often due to the use of margarine and other faux ingredients. Yet our world is also filled with wonderful sun filled ingredients, splendid staples like extra virgin olive oil, halvah and tahini.
Maintaining the kosher standard should have less to do with fast substitutions and wishful thinking (about taste) and more to do with just being in the nature of all things kosher. A sideway glance can rotate one's point of view.
I also ask: who doesn’t appreciate a delicious cookie?
Lauren Stacy Berdy earned her professional diploma from Ecole de Cuisine La Varenne, Paris, France in 1978, then spent a few years working in Europe before bringing it home. She spent more than three decades as a private chef-caterer.
Lauren resides 130 paces from the beach with her husband in Hollywood, Florida, where she wrote Remaining Kosher Volume One: A Cookbook For All With A Hechsher In Their Heart. This iBook is available on iTunes. Volume Two is well on its way.
5th Annual KosherFEAST Media Dinner
Monday Nov 9th
Kosher Food Industry Innovators and Influencers set to gather in NYC
More than 100 world-renowned kosher food personalities, cookbook authors, chefs, brands, and foodies are expected to meet, eat, greet, and recognize several individuals who have made important contributions to the world of kosher. The event, which is an annual highlight for the kosher media, will take place at T-Fusion Steakhouse in Brooklyn on Monday, November 9, 2015 from 5:30-9PM. Shlomo and Shifra Klein of Joy of Kosher Magazine have arranged and are overseeing a fabulous, innovative 10 course tasting dinner.
This memorable evening will reflect the diversity and reach of kosher cuisine. Attendees will enjoy a sampling of cocktails, new and exceptional wines, along with swag bags filled with food and culinary related goodies. A portion of the evening's proceeds will support a food charity. Special transportation is being arranged.
Register on EventBrite
Early Bird Pricing through October 1st $85 pp
Pricing after October 1st $90 pp
KosherFEAST 10 Course Tasting Menu, T-Fusion Steakhouse, Brooklyn
Miso Caramel, Crispy Tortilla, Popcorn Shoots, Ananas Salsa
Local Fall Vegetables, Ginger, Soy, Lime, Yuzu
Chicken Liver Foie Gras, Orange Muscat Liquid Jelly, Sea Salt, Sugar
Sesame Schnitzel, Fig Marmalade, Lime Foam
Kabocha Squash, Nutmeg Essence, Anise Fried Goat “cheese”
RESERVE CUT STEAK ALA PLANCHA STYLE
Chipotle Cinnamon Dusting, Sake Teriyaki, Crispy Rice Cube
Herb Crostini, Truffle Cream Sauce, Poached Celery
Pulled Brisket, Salami, Marrow, Breakfast Sausage, Tartar, Cornichons
Butler Served, Cinnamon Sugar, Strawberry Ginger Coulis
Warm Mint Hot Chocolate, Coconut Milk, Almond Foam
Saffron Vanilla Glass, Cashew Cinnamon Crumble, Chocolate Orchid Petals
Menu may change due to ingredient availability
T-Fusion Steakhouse - A Culinary Treasure in Brooklyn
T-Fusion Steakhouse is a much acclaimed, unique and creative fine dining destination nestled in the vibrant Marine Park neighborhood of Brooklyn. The glatt kosher restaurant has been serving elegant, seasonal cuisine to loyal Brooklyn customers, as well as regional and international visitors for several years. The T-Fusion staff, led by manager Allison Kahn and executive Chef Daniel Rivera takes enormous pride in excellence of food, beverage and service from inception to completion.
Executive Chef Daniel Rivera has been leading the culinary team at T-Fusion Steakhouse for three years. Raised with a diverse cultural influence, Chef Daniel has vivid memories of his mother's Puerto Rican style creative cooking in their Newark, NJ Portuguese neighborhood. Chef Daniel learned culinary technique at the Art Institute of New York City and first dabbled in kosher cuisine as a young teenager. He was featured on The Food Network (2013), previously worked at NOBU 57 in NYC and was Chef de Cuisine at L'ASSO in Nolita.
Rosh Hashanah Décor from MiChicas
Gold glitter sprayed apples lined up on natural log base. Wooden chargers on a crisp white cloth with linen napkins. Each place setting has a bright green apple with a cinnamon stick leaning on it, a placecard with name written on in bright green marker. Glitter gold votives are interspersed throughout the table to add elegance.
MiChicas is a full-service meat & dairy kosher catering company, incorporating elegant and beautiful or fun & trendy decor - all included! These creative ideas were submitted by MiChicas owner Davii Mandel.Add a comment
A Winner from the Iowa State Fair
Chocolate Marshmallow Malt Fair Squares
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Fair Squares are the "official treat" of the 10-day event, according to a spokeswoman from the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation, which sells them each year. The recipe for this year's new flavor: marshmallows, cocoa puffs, malted milk powder, and chocolate chips.
Apples for Cooking, Baking and Noshing
Since many of us are already thinking fall and Rosh Hashana, we’re also thinking apples. Similar to wines and olive oil, different types of apples are best for different uses. NPR host and kosher food writer Eileen Goltz provided the chart below. We keep a copy handy!
An Apple Guide
A very useful guide to apples that will help you make your choice of variety easier and help you gauge exactly how many apples you’ll need to create your culinary masterpieces.
• 1 lb. = about 4 small, 3 medium, or 2 large apples
• 1 lb. sliced apples = about 2 cups
• 1 lb. diced apples = about 3 cups
• 2 medium grated apples = about 1 cup
Apple Tips: When you slice an apple it has a tendency to brown quickly if you don’t use it right away. The best way to prevent this and not use lemon juice (which tends to change the flavor of the apple is to mix a quarter cup of apple juice with a cup of water and pour over the sliced apples. Drain and use when needed.
When you choose your apple look for FIRM and brightly colored apples. Apples do not ripen after being taken off the tree, so the color you see is the color you get. Wash them well.
Types of Apples and What To Do With Them:
• Braeburn Apples: These are usually is orange/red on a yellow color. Delicious raw, in salads, and good in pies, sauces and baking.
• Cortland: Sweet/semi-tart red apple on green/yellow color. Delicious raw; great in salads. Not great in pies, sauces and baking.
• Empire: A green and red apple that has a sweet/tart taste. Delicious raw and, good for pies, sauces and baking.
• Fuji: A sweet, red/pink apple. Delicious raw and great in pies, sauces and baking. Short shelf life.
• Gala: Has pink stripes on a yellow background. A very sweet apple. Delicious raw and salads. Also great for pies and baking.
• Golden Delicious: A sweet, yellow apple that is wonderful for just about everything you want to make.
• Granny Smith: This is a very tart green apple. Terrific for anything you want to make and available year around.
• Honeycrisp: This apple is best raw and ok baking and sauces but not for pies.
• Jonagold: A cross between the Jonathan and the Golden Delicious apple. Sweet and tart combined. Good for just about anything.
• Jonathan: A tart red/green apple. Good for most just about anything you want to make.
• McIntosh: This is a green/ red apple that’s mostly sweet with just a hint of tart. Best raw or in sauces.
• Red Delicious: Sweet and popular; available year around. Best raw- not recommended for baking.
• Rome Beauty: One of my favorite baking apples. Not too sweet and can be used for just about anything.
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