Category Archives: Gluten-Free

Legendary Chef Jacques Pépin To Host The 4th Annual Manischewitz Cook-Off

cookoff_top_enterGrand Prize Winner Receives $25,000 Prize Package

I was just at Kosherfest 2009 last week in Secaucus, NJ, and I have to start my diet all over again. That should be the worst news, but there really were so many new and healthy kosher food and beverage products; MimicCreme, a non-dairy and non-soy gluten-free blend of cashews and almonds cream substitute, Brain Toniq, which touts itself as the only non-caffeinated “think drink” designed to increase mental focus, function and clarity, Kosher Valley offers kosher turkeys and chickens raised without the use of antibiotics or animal by-products, and are free to roam in a humanely-raised, stress free environment. Then there were the classics that we grew up with, like Manischewitz which now has an -natural Ready-To-Serve Broth with no MSG. That’s progress. You can also test out your cooking creativity at the 4th Annual Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off. I’ve included more information about the all-natural Broth and cooking contest below. By the time I finished this article, I already had an idea, hopefully you will too!

SECAUCUS, NJ (October 2009)—Just in time for the holiday season, The Manischewitz Company announces the launch of the 4th Annual Man-O-Manischewitz Cook-Off, a cooking contest designed to encourage home cooks to challenge themselves in preparing a kosher meal using the new Manischewitz all-natural Broth, made with real chicken and beef. The contest encourages home chefs to experiment with different ethnic foods and to think of preparing a Kosher inspired meal as part of that experience, in the same way people enjoy preparing Japanese, Italian, Mexican, Chinese and other popular ethnic cuisine. Entrants will compete for a chance to be crowned the “King or Queen of Kosher” and win the $25,000 grand prize package including GE Profile kitchen appliances, cash and more. Five finalists will win an all-expense paid trip to NYC to compete live on March 18th at the Jewish Community Center of Manhattan. The contestants will be judged by an on-site cooking panel consisting of food media and other culinary experts. This year the cook-off will be bigger and better than ever with legendary acclaimed chef, Jacques Pépin as the celebrity guest of honor who will act as MC, head judge and award prizes. Pépin is one of America’s best-known chefs, widely recognized as the host of eleven acclaimed public television cooking series and the author and publisher of twenty-six cookbooks. He is also a founder of The American Institute of Wine and Food (WIWF) and has been the Dean of Special Programs at the French Culinary Institute (New York) since 1988. “I am thrilled to be a part of the 4th Annual Manischewitz Cook-Off!” said Chef Pépin. “I always encourage people to experiment with new types of ethnic cuisine and products.” Chef Jacques Pepin has created some exciting recipes using the new Manischewitz Broth which will be available in the recipe section of www.manischewitz.com.

“Over the past three years over 10,000 people across the country, spanning all ethnic backgrounds, have shared some amazing recipes.” says David Yale, President and CEO, of The Manischewitz Company. “As the leader in the kosher market, we pride ourselves on our wide range of specialty products that inspire cooks of all types to create exciting kosher inspired recipes.” Just-in-time for the Cook-Off, The Manischewitz Company has added a new line of ready-to-serve broths to its extensive portfolio of kosher products, giving you additional items to add to your creative recipe! New Manischewitz Broth starts with a recipe, not a formula, and is slow cooked in small batches. Filtered water is added to all natural ingredients and real kosher chicken and beef stock to deliver that homemade taste. Manischewitz Broth is packaged in a 14 ounce, easy open, pop-top can or a 32 ounce easy to pour reusable carton and is available in three flavors: Chicken, Reduced Sodium Chicken and Beef. Look for these wholesome broths in the kosher and soup section of supermarkets nationwide. Suggested retail price for the can is $1.69 and $2.99 for the carton.

As an added bonus, this year’s event will benefit Jewish American Heritage Month (JAHM), a national month of recognition of the more than 350-year history of Jewish contributions to American culture. Updates on JAHM will be available on http://www.Manischewitz.com shortly and will continue through the end of JAHM on May 31, 2010. The Manischewitz Company is the official corporate sponsor of JAHM, and will work with the JAHM steering committee to drive awareness of events and programs. How it works The Manischewitz Cook-Off invites U.S. residents 18 or older to submit an original, easy-to-prepare entrée. All recipes must be original, kosher, include a new Manischewitz Broth product, have no more than a total of eight ingredients and be prepared and cooked in one hour or less.

 For official contest details log onto http://www.manischewitz.com and complete the official entry form and submit your recipe online. You can also enter by mail by sending your recipe entry to: Manischewitz Cook-Off, c/o BHGPR, 546 Valley Road Upper Montclair, NJ 07043. All entries must be received by January 31, 2010 For more information, prize details, rules and regulations, log onto www.manischewitz.com.

To inspire you for Cook-Off try this delicious chicken dish: POT OF OLIVE OIL BROTH POACHED CHICKEN WITH ARTICHOKES AND TOMATOES Ingredients: 1 whole chicken, cut up 3 tablespoons olive oil 1 1/2 cups onions, diced 1 1/2 cups celery, diced 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped 42 oz Manischewitz® Chicken Broth (3 cans) 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, chopped 2 bay leaves 2 cans artichoke hearts, drained and halved 2 whole tomatoes, chopped 1/4 cup fresh basil, cut into thin strips Preparation: PREPARATION: 1. In a large stock pot sear chicken skin side down in olive oil; remove. 2. In same pot, sauté onions, celery and garlic. 3. Add Manischewitz® Chicken Broth, thyme and bay leaves; bring to a boil, then reduce heat 4. And chicken. 5. Simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked and tender, skimming off any fat or broth that comes to the surface; add water if necessary to keep chicken covered. 6. Remove chicken and set aside on serving platter. 7. Skim off any remaining fat or froth; add artichokes, tomatoes and basil; simmer briefly. 8. Serve with chicken. Serving Suggestion: Strain 1 1/2 cups of stock and add to 1 1/2 cups of couscous for a quick side dish. NUTRITION INFORMATION • Servings per Recipe: 6 • AMOUNT PER SERVING: • Calories (kcal): 709 • Total Fat: 47g • Cholesterol: 226mg • Total Carbs: 24g • Dietary Fiber: 9g • Protein: 50g

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Customers Sample What’s In Store for Rosh Hashanah at Costco in Far Rockaway

One of my weekly activities is to take my toddlers to Costco in Far Rockaway and replenish some of the staples in our cabinet. You know the items, Kedem Grape Juice, Empire Kosher Chicken, Milk, Eggs, Seltzer, Cheerios, Quaker Oatmeal, and Canola Oil, just to name a few. While we cruise the isles, we are tempted to try the array of food samples in our reach. In the kosher consumer world, sampling food is more than just an all you can eat buffet. The box of the item must be checked for a hechsher, or kosher certification, before the food can be consumed. If I am not familiar with the kosher certification of an item, I always request the packaging in order to ensure that the proper kosher certification is on the product. This is where Costco differs from all other main stream retailers. The people that provide the samples at Costco in Far Rockaway are familiar with the word and the meaning of kosher. I was so impressed by this concept that I have since cancelled my BJ’s membership entirely.  Why is Costco so into the kosher consumer?

I found out that the person behind the kosher friendly staff at Costco is Adam Self, general manager of the Costco on Rockaway Turnpike for the past three years, and a veteran of half a dozen other Costco stores in New York and New Jersey. Adam has tuned into the requests of the kosher consumers and he isn’t even Jewish. He is very aware of the benefits of kosher food products whether the consumers are Muslim, Christian, Vegetarian, Lactose-Intolerant, or Gluten-Intolerant. As the kosher mommy blogger and advocate for kosher food, I just had to introduce myself to Mr. Self.

I actually found Mr. Self exactly where an excellent general manager of a store should stand and that was near the kosher food section. He was engaged in a conversation with a kosher consumer when I politely introduced myself to him. I had so much to say, but my two year old had decided that she wanted to climb out of the shopping cart and do some of her own shopping. In my brief schmooze with Mr. Self, he had invited me to today’s kosher sampling event with representatives from major kosher brands. The event, which will be going on until Thursday, September 17, features kosher brands such as Gabila’s, Natural & Kosher, Geshmak, David’s Cookies, and Schick’s. The samples were plentiful and the company representatives both informative and friendly. It wasn’t just the Jewish customers filling up their carts with food for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah meals. All types of customers were delighted with the samples and filled up their shopping carts with kosher organic cheeses, kosher potato salad, knishes, kugels, and desserts. You could see the appreciation in their faces. Keeping customers educated about healthy food options is exactly what Mr. Self had achieved today. You don’t have to be Jewish to love kosher food, you just have to be conscious about what you are eating. That is the best thing that retailers can do for their customers, after all, they don’t call it customer care for nothing!

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What’s Cooking and What’s Not Cooking In A Kosher Kitchen

What do I, a kosher mommy blogger, a Rebbetzin from Boro Park, and a Mashgicha-a female Mashgiach- from Albany, NY, have in common? I was hungry for information on kosher food certification processes and the laws that make them kosher. These women, some of them from generations of kosher kitchens and some of them that just wanted to increase their own personal kosher curiosity. Last week, I spent the entire week with 24 of these incredible women at the OU Advanced Kashrut Seminar For Women and had an in depth look at “what’s cooking” and “what’s not cooking” in kosher cuisine today.  Rabbi Grossman, Director of OU Kosher Education, organized this opportunity for women after he had received requests from over 80 women for such a seminar last year. The week long seminar addressed the areas of kosher food management such as checking lettuce for insects (we did find one on our lettuce); baking bread (challah); blood spots in eggs; meat and dairy control; identifying and purchasing kosher fish and chicken; and becoming an educated kosher consumer.

The seminar also included a couple of field trips to OU certified factories, hotel kitchens and food service establishments.  It is incredible the amount of detailed processes, check lists, and quality control required for working in a large kosher kitchen or an OU certified factory.  I was so impressed by the OU kosher rabbinic staff – both those who are based in the OU office (rabbinic coordinators) and those who work outside (rabbinic field representatives) – and their extensive knowledge of animals, natural history, chemicals, medicine, and Halacha (Jewish Law) in their areas of concentration.  

I have been kosher for less than a decade, but after this course I can’t understand why anybody would not choose to keep kosher.  You don’t have to be a Jew or even an Orthodox Jew to benefit from kosher certification. In fact, Phyllis Koegel, OU New Business Development/Marketing Associate, shared some information on kosher consumers that I found most interesting. According to Mintel Market Research, “Kosher Foods Market – US Report,” January, 2009, The U.S. Kosher Marketplace is growing steadily.  According to the report, nearly 80% of All Kosher Food Sales are Outside of the “Traditional” Jewish Market. These markets include Muslim, Seventh Day Adventists, Vegetarians, and Vegans. Mintel also discovered that general consumers believe kosher food is safer, healthier, and better. Then there is the consumer with Dietary Restrictions such as Lactose, Shellfish, and Gluten Intolerant. This research confirms my personal opinion that consumers don’t have to be Jewish to love kosher food. However, if they are health concious consumers with food nutrition as a major priotity, Jewish or not, this is something we can all agree on. Still not convinced?

You can bring a world expert on kashrut — one of the Rabbanim and Mashgichim of the Orthodox Union — to your institution to share his expertise. Arrangements may be made for small adult groups to visit OU headquarters for an in-house session, seminar or shiur with an OU rabbinic expert. For more information, contact Rabbi Eliyahu Safran at safrane@ou.org or 212.613.8115.

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Pomegranate Celebrates First Birthday This Sunday With Special Events, Promotions & Prizes

450pomegranate-logoWho wouldn’t love to win Two Round Trip Tickets to Israel? Well, you just might have a chance when you celebrate this Sunday with Pomegranate, the renowned gourmet marketplace in NYC.

Festivities Commence August 16-19 with several days of fanfare including special events, promotions, prizes, tastings and a grand prize finale. The events start Sunday August 16, leading up to the one-year anniversary on August 19th. On each day of the four-day celebration shoppers will automatically be entered to win a $500 gourmet shopping spree redeemable at the store. On august 19th, the first 1000 customers will receive a free gift valued at $10. Additionally, any customer that shares the same birthday with Pomegranate on August 19th will receive a $100 Pomegranate gift certificate.

Customers will find yummy tastings, free samples and more throughout the store, culminating with the grand prize award of two round-trip tickets to Israel and a Weber BBQ grill on Aug 19th. (Visit the Customer Service desk for more details.) The opening of the 20,000 square foot store, which runs one block long on Coney Island Avenue in Brooklyn, NY, marked the beginning of a new chapter in the evolution of kosher food. One year ago the store introduced a large variety of upscale and hard-to-find kosher gourmet foods, three kitchens producing culinary inspired prepared foods, the widest selection of kosher cheeses, and kosher fish and meat of every variety, all set within a clean bright store featuring wide aisles, attention to customer service, and valet parking. It had many calling the store a kosher “Whole Foods,” as Pomegranate would change the face of the kosher food shopping experience forever. Saveur Magazine rated Pomegranate ‘one of the top ten supermarkets’ (kosher & non-kosher) in its 2009 review. In addition to incredibly delicious gourmet kosher food offerings, the store sets itself apart by hosting monthly in-store events and culinary demonstrations, often featuring celebrity kosher chefs. Hundreds of shoppers came out this summer to watch noted cookbook authors Suzie Fishbein and Levana demonstrate gourmet recipes, with samples given to all. Eva, an avid Pomegranate shopper, echoed what many shoppers felt as the store approached its birthday: “This is a wonderful store. I love it. I shop here every day. They offer wonderful customer service and I find things here that I can’t find anywhere else.” From the first day it opened its doors, store owner Abraham Banda put his unique vision into practice. “I wanted to transform shopping from a chore to an experience and food from a necessity to a culinary experience,” Said Banda. “Many of Pomegranate’s customers feel that the store has far exceeded my vision. “ After its grand opening in August of 2008, Pomegranate kicked off the shopping experience with complimentary tastings for their new shoppers. Month by month, the new all-kosher gourmet grocery increased their community involvement. In addition to charitable contributions, a summer highlight for many locals was the Pomegranate BBQ, where shoppers were welcome to join in a mouthwatering skirt steak, chicken cutlet, and grilled vegetable dinner courtesy of Pomegranate. The store plans to offer culinary instructional classes, cooking demonstrations and more events in the coming year.

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I Am Going To Enhance My Kosher Knowledge This Summer In NY

Food, glorious food. Yes, it is no secret that I love anything and everything to do with kosher food. On any given day, you will find “kosher” as one of the columns in my tweetdeck.com, which I use to keep up with the twitterverse. If you’re not familiar with this application, please check out tweetdeck.com. It enables me to view every comment that includes  “kosher” in the 140 character comment. It is interesting to see how many people use the word “kosher” to describe the difference between good and bad, for example, this tweet came up recently, “Cutting corners is one thing, but putting water in the liquid soap dispenser when it’s empty is NOT kosher”. While tweetdeck is keeping the kosher tweets up to date, I click over to ou.org and see what is happening with some of my favorite kosher brands, like, Empire Kosher, Sabra, Larabar, Gerber, and Snapple  just to name a few.  There are so many kosher brands that I love, and most recenlty, I fell in love all over again when I read that Gerber has ten great tasting flavors certified by the Orthodox Union (OU): Applesauce, Pears, Bananas, Apple Strawberry Banana, Apple Blueberry, Sweet Potato, Carrots, Squash, Green Beans and Peas. This just in from Empire Kosher, today they announced that they will expand antibiotic free and organic poultry lines. “This is so good to know about, and I totally appreciate the up to date information provided by the Orthodox Union.

Women have always been the family member behind the savory soups and fresh baked challah before Shabbos (you haven’t been to my house, it’s my mensch of a husband behind all of that). Soon there will be more women behind the scenes of kosher cuisine.  In fact, the Orthodox Union and Rabbi Yosef Grossman, Director of OU Kosher Education, will be hosting such a program later this summer.

The following description of this course can also be found by clicking this link. I have summarized some of the reasons why I would love to attend this conference. Once I fell in love with kosher food (I am a Baale Teshuva and I started keeping kosher exclusively 8 years ago) I had to inform my friends and family members about what makes food kosher and not kosher. I have tried to explain the technicalities and practices of kosher law, but I was leaving phone calls here and sending emails there, and it was getting way too complicated. I would end up referring people to the Orthodox Union website in hope that they would find information that would answer their questions. Nevertheless, I would have loved to have had more detaisl for them back then. Not to worry, questions concerning kosher food will never cease and I am so thankful that from August 24-28, OU Kosher will offer a special kashrut course specifically geared for women. Baruch Hashem. In the course, according to Rabbi Grossman, participants will enhance their kashrut knowledge and skills by “hands-on” instruction from OU experts, as well as from OU instructional DVD’s in areas of kosher food management such as checking vegetables for insects; Hafroshat Chalah (the separation or tithing of challah); blood spots in eggs; shaylos (or questions) dealing with chickens which should be brought to a Rav for a psak (halachic decision); meat and dairy control; identifying and purchasing kosher fish; and becoming an educated kosher consumer. They will go on field trips to OU certified factories, hotel kitchens and food service establishments which, Rabbi Grossman said, will give participants “an appreciation for the complexities of modern day kashrut.” The students will tour OU Kosher, meet its rabbinic staff – both those who are based in the OU office (rabbinic coordinators) and those who work outside (rabbinic field representatives) – and come away with a heightened sense of how kashrut operates commercially and in the home. “The course will go into the home kitchen as well,” Rabbi Grossman said, “for proper control of a kitchen requires extensive kashrut knowledge.” Rabbi Grossman and his colleagues “have spent much time and thought on how to structure this special week,” he said, recognizing the uniqueness of the audience and determined to provide the best program possible. The course will be limited to about 20 participants, and is intended to serve the needs of “a large spectrum of women.” I just found out today that I will be attending this event!  You can follow me as on twitter as I take in al of this

What does a stay-at-home-mom blogger want this for? There are so many reasons, but most importantly, I would like to be an advocate for kosher food and properly respond to the questions I am frequently asked by my non-kosher keeping friends and family. It’s not you, it’s me. I have committed to a kosher lifestyle 8 years ago, and I’m sticking to it.

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Kosher BBQ At POMEGRANATE Was Smokin’ Hot

450pomegranate-logo450pomegranate-logoThis was just the event I wanted to attend, but you know the saying, “man plans and G-d laughs”.  That’s what happened when my 2 year old spiked a fever at 4:00 in the afternoon and my 1 year old son had a fever soon after. So, here I was at home dreaming about the delicious BBQ and “grilling tips” at Pomegranate in Brooklyn. I was very happy to hear that the event was a big success and over 200 shoppers from near and far tasted some delicious food, presented and prepared by the talented staff at Pomegranate.  

The Pomegranate valet parking lot comfortably accommodated the attendees as they watched a live demonstration of BBQ techniques.  Jason Beck, a Pomegranate chef,  while the crowd savored the results. 

Pomegranate is happy to provide our shoppers with the ultimate shopping experience,” says Mayer Gold, Pomegranate’s General Manager. From the time a shopper pulls into the valet parking, they receive an exceptional level of service while being presented with the highest quality and variety of products available. This is a dream come true. Frequent maintenance and re-stocking ensures that the store is kept in pristine condition, while knowledgeable Pomegranate employees roam the aisles in search of customers they can assist. Somebody pinch me! It is so great that Pomegranate gets what the customer wants. 

 From the time Pomegranate opened its doors less than a year ago, they have not only attracted the Kosher Brooklyn community, but shoppers from all over the tri-state as well as varying backgrounds have become regular shoppers. One woman explained that although she doesn’t adhere to the dietary laws of kosher, she still makes the one-hour trip from Brighton Beach because, “Pomegranate carries everything I’m looking for and am interested in.” This makes me so incredibly excited, as kosher food has had a bad rap for way to long. This is just one example of how the kosher food industry has made efforts to “cut the fat” out. 

Keep an eye out for more semi-weekly events from Pomegranate this summer including celebrity chef visits, instructional cooking tips and a one year anniversary event in August. I am so going to be there!

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Kosher Cuisine, What Does It All Mean?

While I was awake in the early hours of Shabbos, I had some great ideas about how to help my friends and family that don’t keep kosher understand my dietary choices. I will be traveling a lot with my family this summer and that means that the conveniences of New York kosher cuisine won’t be as plentiful. So, what is a kosher observant family supposed to do when traveling out of the “kosher zone”?

First of all, it is important to understand the laws of keeping kosher. Some families have been keeping kosher for decades; others have been keeping kosher for a week. Personally, I started keeping kosher in September 2001. Before then, I ate everything and everywhere my heart desired. It was my journey of Jewish re-discovery that I was introduced to the kosher cuisine that would change my eating habits from that day forward. Like many Jewish American families, I associated kosher food with Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur, Bar/Bat Mitzvah, and Passover. It was at those times of the year that the kitchen in my house was taken over by brands like Manischewits and Streits. My mom would “put up” the most amazing chicken soup with the fluffiest matzo balls I’ve ever eaten. The oven would overflow with the smells of brisket, kishke, and tzimmus. My family and I would make our annual journey to the kosher bakeries in Skokie and stock up on honey cake and boubka. I loved these times of the year. Even though I wasn’t raised in a kosher home nor one that kept Shabbos, it was the effort of my family to share these holidays in full force that made me the Jewish mom that I am now.

Even though things are different today and I now keep kosher religiously and observe Shabbos every week, my extended family does not. It doesn’t make me love them any less; in fact I love them even more. I just have to prepare my own food plan for my husband and children in advance. This is nothing new for people that have certain food allergies, suffer from lactose intolerance, diabetes, and vegetarians. Just because I don’t eat your food doesn’t mean I don’t love you!

While the laws of keeping kosher may seem limiting to most people, it made perfect sense to me. It is not as hard or isolating as people think, and it’s even good for you. I have attached some links that I find helpful in my attempt to explain my food requirements to people that feel that I have gone off the “creep end”. I am still the same me, I just eat differently and here are some reasons why:

I stumbled upon JewFAQBlog  a weblog commenting on news and events.  As rabbi/humorist Jack Moline noted, “Everyone who keeps kosher will tell you that his version is the only correct version. Everyone else is either a fanatic or a heretic.” (Growing Up Jewish, 1987).

Kosher Links that will satisfy your kosher curiosity include  The Orthodox UnionStar-K Kosher Certification, and KosherQuest.  Has a member of your family become kosher recently? How has this affected family occasions?

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Filed under BT, Gluten-Free, Healthy, Jewish, JewishShmoozNetwork, Kosher, Pesach