Tag Archives: Judaism

How kosher should we be?

23 Aug

I recently spoke to an old friend who told me her grown son had become completely kosher .As neither of us grew up in a completely observant environment I was impressed by the change in her son.

Then I met him again and we started talking.  I was curious to find out exactly what he considered totally kosher.  According to him eating Glatt kosher meat is all you have to do.  I told him that is just part of it.  when I started keeping kosher over 25 years ago, I started with no obvious combinations of meat and dairy, no shellfish (hard for me to give that up!!) and no pork.  I ate in generic restaurants and the cafeteria at the company I worked for in NY and was very proud of myself for doing that.  Then as a cook/chef I realize they just cooked a cheeseburger on that grill, or a slice of bacon in that pan, ,, what was I thinking??  I started reading books about kashrut. I learned a lot.  Without completely different pots, pans, stoves, knives, cutting boards, and sinks it is virtually impossible to keep kosher in your own home.

 

Some people also think that a slice of plain cheese pizza in a generic pizza joint is OK.  Oh contraire!  Just because a kosher person chooses to keep meat and dairy separate.  most pizza joints have no problems putting meat drippings or actual meat in the tomato sauce to flavor it.  There goes the separation of meat and dairy!! 

 

Then there is the bread and cake.  A generic restaurant is likeliest to lard (pig fat) to get the flakiest pie crust.  They have no reason not to.  Many places will use lard to grease their bread pans as it can be cheaper than vegetable oil and since it is not actually IN the bread there is no need to list in on the ingredients.  Think of that for vegetarians as well!

 

Unless you have a mashgiach on premises in a commercial setting you can’t be sure what you are dealing with.  If you have a trademarked kosher symbol like the “OU” or “OK” or a local organization like the ORB here in South Florida you can’t be sure what you’re getting is kosher.

 

Just my two cents. Tell me what you think.

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Passover Prep. One day at a time

18 Mar

From 2 years ago. this bears repeating.
I am putting together recipes for a client (seder for 14), and my own family (two seder for 3 to 7 people.0

Since my client wants brisket, poached salmon for 5 , gefilte fish, brownies (no nuts!) and many of the usual side dishes, i am checking for the best possible recipes. I also have to plan on containers for each of us, foil pans, heavy duty foil(LOTS OF IT) for the counters as well as wrapping food for the client, parchment paper, special dish soap, a new salt, pepper, sugar, paprika, cinnamon etc.
So many of these staples need to be kosher for passover, extremely detailed laws concerning this….

Got recipes and most of shopping list together, but it is too early to shop. Need to be rid of all chametz. Such a challenge.
More on chametz tomorrow

Pesach Kosher Dinner Menus

8 Jan

I am starting to get calls about catering seders for groups for the Passpver seder. This year (2013/ 5773) Passover begins on March 26th. I am able to prepare food in my client’s home or kosher commercial kitchen. The most requested dinner items have traditionally been turkey or brisket. This year I have have been hearing from people looking at options at a lower cost (also healthier) such as shicken or capon..
I would of course prepare the traditional Seder plates, sides such as tsimmes and potato kugel,appetizer such as as gefilte fish and desserts as well as traditional matzoh ball soup. I have not figured out pricing exactly but we are probably talking about $36/per person with 10 or more people.

Sukkah almost finished!

30 Sep

Thanks to the hard work of my husbsand robert over the past few hours, my sukkah is almost complete.  fortunately, we have a screened in patio at the back of our house wich is eight by 30 and big enough for a crowd or just the 3 of us as needed.

He removed everything and used outdoor clorox a scrubbrush and hose to clean it.  then, he cut down palm branches on our property and asked a few neighbors if he could cut theirs (living in florida makes  this soooo easy) and laid them over a few firring strips on top of our screened in porch! Voila!

Bow i must get shopping and cooking.

Oh maybe an extra table for guests!

 

Keep away the RAIN PLEASE!

Don’t Make a Tzimmes Out Of It! Making Tzimmes is easy!!

10 Apr

Tzimmes April 2012The Jewish expression of “making a Tzimmes out of something” means making a mountain out of a molehill.  Making this dish is not as big a deal as most people think it is.  In fact I made it twice already during Pesach/Passover.

The best part of a dish like this is that it is adaptable.  a liitle more of this, a little less of that and it will be fine,

2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, peeled and chopped

2 -3 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 apples, peeled and chopped (any type)

handful of dried fruit such as prunes, apricots, apples)

water to cover in saucepan

pich of salt

1 to 2 Tbsp honey

potato starch as needed, less than a Tablespoon

2 tsp cinnamon.

Place potatoes etc in saucepan and simmer for about 45 minutes. As it simmers, add a tsp or two of potato starch to thicken.  Taste for sweetness and add more honey as necessary.  Since the dish is pareve/vegetarian it can be served with any meal.  It is traditionally served with brisket or other holiday meal.  This serves about 4 people.  It can be made for many more, just multiply the amounts of ingredients for many more.

Need more info?  call Chef Helen at 561-676-2078 or email at helen@helenshomecooking.com

Passover Preparation Continued

15 Apr

Dinner for tonight was made already.  Turkey meatballs, pasta leftover from last night, lentil soup,  salad, challah, wine . I will pick up some Stella D’oro cookies for tonight and tomorrow.

I cleaned off some of the shelves in the fridge and have little left to save that is chametz.  Still have a lot of fresh fruit.

If you did not already do the sale of chametz or need info on that go to www.chabad.org and look up Passover.  That way any Jew that inadvertently had chametz after thorough cleaning and search, will be ok.  You can also do this with your local Rabbi.  I did this online a week ago.

Chef Helen Gottesman

561-676-2078

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