Category Archives: Jewish Women Who Rock

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

“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 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 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

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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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 or 212.613.8115.

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Treat Yourself To Miriam Sandler’s New CD This Rosh Chodesh

The Tifereth Sisterhood proudly presents: An inspiring evening featuring singer/songwriter, Miriam Sandler, as she launches her new CD, “The Solution”. Miriam is long standing member of the Passaic community and has dazzled countless Jewish women of all ages with her contemporary “kosher” entertainment. Miriam’s personal expression through her original music was inspired by a relentless search for Truth, and a life-changing decision to pursue a life of values, holiness, and spirituality. Join us as Miriam tells her unforgettable story of sharing the stage with the music industries top megastars and why she gave it all up. Guest appearance by Soprano, Elana Tal In addition to featuring Miriam’s original music, there will also be a beautiful boutique, delicious dairy hor d’oeuvres and a Chinese auction. Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009. Doors open at 7:30 p.m., concert begins promptly at 8:30 p.m. at the Tifereth Israel, 180 Passaic Avenue. Tickets $12 for students and $18 for women.

My Connection To Miriam

Have you ever been so affected by somebody that you just had to let that person know! That happened to me a little more than 8 years ago when a couple of my very close friends introduced me to a Baale Teshuva, Miriam Mendelkorn, now Miriam Sandler. I was on my own journey of transformation, and a vision like Miriam and her beautiful vocals were just what I needed to see. Not just because she was beautiful (she toured with Gloria Estefan for 10 years, you know what I mean) but she spoke so beautifully about why she let go of the lifestyle as a traveling performer and embraced the serenity of Shabbos.

 I was never a professional singer and dancer, but like Miriam, I’ve always been Jewish. There is a time in life when we question our purpose and ponder our future. For Miriam, a week full of crowded theatres and roaring fans had only taken her soul so far.  She studied the beauty and signifigance of a Jewish lifestyle and decided to channel her talents in that direction.

As a female singer with a beautiful voice, she had made the committment to sing only for women. I know what you’re thinking, and until I learned the reasoning behind this committment, I was thinking that as well. How crazy, how limiting, she sabatoged her career, etc. The truth is, she gained so much more. Why did she make this committment?

In her journey, as with many other Baale Teshuvat, there are so many beautiful customs, rituals, laws, and prayers that are introduced to our existing lifestyles(Tzniut, Shome Negiah, Kol Isha, Kashrut, etc.). Not everybody agrees with all of these, some not at all. However, for many, it is just what was needed to make present in our own lives. As a Jew, we have automatically built in our souls the potential to live our lives giving it our all. For me, it completed my thoughts, made sense of my concerns, and gave me a higher authority to turn to during unfortunate circumstances (illness, fear, loss). I personally had the opportunity to study some of the sources behind the rituals and customs. I said, “sign me up for the program” and I was hooked (a one month program became six months). I understand that this is not for everyone, and that’s okay. If I was friends with you before I became an Observant Jew, I am still friends with you now. An Observant Jewish lifestyle and the very strong foundation it provides  is what I needed to live the best life I possibly could.

My entire family thought I had lost my mind, especially when I wouldn’t eat out at our favorite Italian Bistro. One of the laws I had embraced early on in my journey was Kashrut . It just made sense to me, and I actually felt the changes both physically and mentally. The truth is, I had found the roadmap to living my potential and I was staying on course.

Okay, so why can’t women sing in front of men. The following source behind Kol Isha, a womens voice, may not be for you, and that is okay. While I was searching for a source that would make most sense about this issue, I came across the below source. It made perfect sense to me, to singer/songwriter Mriam Sandler, as well as many other Converts around the world.  

Shemuel said: the voice of a woman is ervah (sexually exciting), as the verse says: (Song 2:14) for your voice is sweet and your appearance attractive. (Talmud Berakhot 24a)

Okay, are you still with me? Why does this sit okay with me? Isn’t the luring tranquility of the female voice why both men and women listen to their ipods or blare their speakers at home? The truth is that I wouldn’t ever thought about this until I was taught about it a few years ago.  The reasoning behind Kol Isha is both exclusive and offensive to many women. For me, I felt even more grattitude towards a woman blessed with a beautiful voice. Just imagine what her husband must have thought the first time he heard her voice? I’ve heard from some women who had shared their beautiful vocals their husbands for the first time. They were in tears. It was so beautiful to them, and it had meant so much that it was only for their listening pleasure. I found a quote online that described this revelation quite well. In his post, Kol Isha Today, Rabbi Harvey Belovski, Rabbi of the Golders Green Synagogue in London,  wrote:

In a desensitised world, kol ishah seems quaint, almost absurd. Yet it enables us to understand just how delicate our level of awareness should be. It is a tragedy that most men today claim to find nothing erotic in a woman’s singing voice, something that is natural and healthy. Observing kol ishah is one way to rekindle lost sensitivities, enabling us in turn to invest more of ourselves in our special relationships.

I hope that we all can find our center and value the beauty that is within our own soul.

Listen to my interview with Miriam Sandler on the Jewish Shmooz Network. Our interview begins at 15 minutes into the show.

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