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July 2, 2010

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JULY 2, 2010 Getting into a veggie-happy frame of mind By Louise Fiszer j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California I recently had the pleasure of introducing Mollie Katzen. our guest speaker at the annual Congregation Kol Emeth fundraising brunch in Palo Alto, Calif. It brought back memories of how hosting a vegetarian for dinner used to strike sheer terror in my carnivorous heart. But vegetarianism (or the meatless movement) has come a long way since then. Thanks in part to Katzen and her first groundbteaking book, "The Moosewood Cookbook.'" gone are the clays of soggy vegetable stews laden with indigestible mystery beans topped with rubbery cheese. An abundant variety of vegetables and fruits available in neighborhood stores and farmers markets makes it inviting and easy for lhe cook to experiment with exciting new vegetarian dishes. Today I feel completely at ease preparing a meatless meal tha ESCARC From Ingred 2 medJ 1 Tbs. I tsp. 1 tsp. salt :is neither spartan nor dull. LE WITH GARLIC AND GOLDEN RAISINS lollie Katzen's"Vegetable Dishes I Can't Live Without" 'ents: um heads escarole (about 10 oz. each) .xtra-virgin olive oil lnsalted butter (optional) ainced or crushed garlic 1 to 2 Tbs. golden raisins Preparation: Trim bottom 1/8 inch from base of escarole. Separate leaves; wash in cold water and spin dry in a salad spinner. Coarsely chop. Heat large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil and swirl to coat pan. Add butter, if using; melt. Stir in garlic. Add escarole. Sprinkle lightly with salt. Tffrn with tongs a few times. Cover and cook about 5 minutes. Turn a few more times, replace cover, and cook until escarole wilts to about half its initial volume. Stir in raisins. Cook uncovered 5 to 10 minutes, turning often with tngs, until most liquid evaporates. Serve hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 4 WHOLE GRAIN SPAGHETTI WITH EGGPLANT, CAN- NELLINI BEANS AND OLIVES Ingredients: 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil ] onion,.chopped 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes 1 28-oz can Italian tomatoes, coarsely chopped 2 Tbs. tomato paste 2 Tbs. Elsa balsamic vinegar 1 tsp. dried oregano 1 15-oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained 1 cp kalamata olives, pitted and halved PAGE 17A salt and pepper I lb. whole grain spaghetti, cooked and drained 1/2 cup chopped parsley Preparation: In large skillet heat oil. Cook onion, pepper, garlic and egg- plant until soft, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes and tomato paste and simmer 10 minutes. Stir in vinegar, oregano, beans and olives. Simmer I minute and taste for salt and pepper. Toss with spaghetti and sprinkle with parsley. VEGETABLE BROTH Makes about I quart Ingredients: 4 cups cold water I onion, quartered 3 celery stalks with leaves, cut into 2-inch pieces 2 carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces a few sprigs of parsley and dill 3 cloves garlic 6 mushrooms, quartered salt and pepper Preparation: In medium saucepan combine ingredients. Bring to boil, reduce heat, simmer 20 minutes. Strain. Taste for salt and pepper. Store in freezer for use in future recipes. Serves 4. Reprinted by permission from j. the Jewish news weekly of Northern California. Here are food rules to follow By Ro5 Eshman Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles Among the major gifts of the Jews to humanity--the idea of one God, the Bible and Ten[ Commandments. individual rights and human equality-4--there is also this: finicky eating. Nowadays, we take for granted the idea that when we sitwith others to eat. someone is going to announce what he can or can't put on his plate. There's the "I don't eat red meat" announcement," the moi, e spei:ific "I only eat fish and chicken," the au courant "I don't do wheat" and the flip- all-the-cards, pass-the-salad "I'm a vegan." Jews started this. The laws of kashrut, the specific set of dietary restrictions set forth in Leviticus, ensured that Jews couldn't just eat what's on the menu. While their neighbors gorged uninhibitedly on porky forcemeats, Jews refused. For Jew haters, what their dinner guests didn't eat became their defining characteristic. "This disdain for pork and even more so for lard exacer- bates the hatred of their neigh- bors. who consider it a desire to denigrate what is for them the most desirable and precious part of the animal," writes the anthropologist Claudine Fabre-Vassas in,"The Singular Beast: Jews, Christians and the Pig." The derogatory word for Jews who pretend to be Chris- tian, Fabre-Vassas points out. was marrano, which literally means "young pig." Whatwas once cause for per- secution is now a trend. Thank the Jews for pioneering the right of dinner guests to freely and loudly proclaim what foods are anathema to them. Every host has to cook his or her way through a minefield of special diets, and every guest feels duty bound to announce what particular dish is forbidden on moral, political, physiological or nutritional grounds. Oddly enough, the surest conversation starter at a dinner party is to discuss what people won't eat. All this seems to weaken one of food's sacred powers: to bring people together. Break- ing bread breaks so many other barriers as well. Itawakens us to our common humanity: Seeing others enjoy the same foods we do has to lead to some degree of empathy. If the joy of a good meal is the best way to bring friends and strangers together, why do the laws of kashrut make it so difficult? Many years ago, I was at a high-level meeting between local Jewish leaders and officials from the Syrian government. The hotel wasn't kosher. Syrians ate Chilean sea bass with olives and crusty bread; the rabbis ordered in a prewrapped fruit salad. No bread was broken, no wine glasses raised. The meeting did not end well. It is all so problematic, these walls we erect at the dinner table. You might think the solution is to do away with them, to ridicule or force people into eating what the majority eats. But here the realm of food starts to sound a lot like the world of politics, where it is neither realistic nor desirable for everyone to think the same. There's something useful in_ having the vegan remind us we can make it through life without hamburger, or the Pollanistas force us to remember that the Chilean sea bass we're wolfing down may, in fact, be the last, or the kosher-observant Jew remind us that even our appe- tites must answer to a Higher Authority. It's a burden any decent chef can gladly bear--I do by making sure at least one substantial dish at every dinner party or Shabbat meal is not just vegan, but really good. People who won,t permit them- selves a roast chicken once in a while have suffered enough. That's the host's responsi- bility. What about the finicky guest? I was a vegetarian for 14 years--no fish, no chicken so I have some experience here. Rule No. 1: Communicate. A cook wants to please his guests; if I invited you, I want you to leave happy. So don't wait until the meal is on the table to tell me you'll just be having the seltzer. Rule No. 2: Don't keep sayiflg over and over, "Please don't make a fuss; it's no big deal." If it's no big deal, eat what's in front of you. Otherwise, let the cook decide how big a deal it is. Rule No. 3: If you're kosher, don't expect miracles. Ifa non- Jew is cooking for you--and by non-Jew, I guess I include many Jews--give them clear guidelines and hope for the best. That last point is bound to upset some people. Am I saying a kosher-observant Jew should occasionally eat something made with the right intention but perhaps the wrong utensil? Is it ever permissible to break the kosher rules for the sake of social harmony? Is it ever OK to be a little less kosher and little more convivial? I'm say- ing: Keep an open mind. And when in doubt, remember Levi Eshkol, the prime minister who guided Israel through the Six-Day War. In his new book, "The Prime Ministers," the former aide YehudaAv'ner relates how, just after the war, Eshkol visited President Lyndon Johnson's Texas ranch, trying, for the sake of his nation's survival, to procure American fighter jets to counteract the massive rearmament of the Arab na- tions. It was a hard sell. At the evening meal. Johnson decided to honor his guests by serving birds he had shot that morn- ing. When Lady Bird Johnson saw the Israeli contingent push the main course aide, she was visibly perturbed. She told Avner that her;hief of protocol had assured her birds were kosher. An Israeli guest politely explained the intricacies of kosher slaughter. "But." said the First Lady, "your prime minister is eat- ing them." The Israeli answered that the prime minister must have made an exception to the an- cient laws because the First Family's food was too delicious to resist. Crisis averted. Israel got the planes, and Avner got a lesson on when to keep kosher, and when to eat crow. Rob Eshman is editor-in- chief of the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles from which this article was re- printed by permission. By Ethel Hofman lewish Exponent PHILADELPHIA They traveled by van, car and pickup. From Brooklyn, N.Y.; East Orange, N.J.; and Northeast Philadelphia. The venue? Hava NaGrilla, the kosher barbecue contest held at the Willow Grove Day Camp in Hatboro, Pa. It was a day of entertainment, music and food--lots of it. Sponsored by the philanthropic Golden Slipper Club, the funds are used to send underprivileged children from all different backgrounds to summer camp. Until recently, there was only one major kosher barbecue contest in the country, and that Was in Memphis, Tenn. As Howard Levin explained, "Memphis begat Philadelphia--and Philadelphia begat Birmingham now there are three." In 2009, Levin and Michael Demar inspired by the Mem- phis activities--set to work organizing what was to become an annual event here in Philadelphia. This year, the duo again took on the mammoth job of co-chairing the event. Planning began immediately after last year's inaugural June contest. At meetings throughout the year, these two met with volunteers, pulled sponsors on board, signed up barbecue teams and held organizational meetings. Dr. Waiter Hofman, a certified barbecue judge in his spare time (and who just so happens to be my husband), also helped organize the contest so that the rules and regulations would reflect those of the KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society). Under a tent. tables were arranged with place cards for each judge (for full disclosure, I was one of them). Cold water and crackers helped cleanse the palate between tastings, and a )lentiful supply of unscented wipes was on hand to clean juices and gravy off fingers. Categories in barbecue contests sponsored by the nation- ally rcognized KCBS include beans, chicken, brisket and ribs pork that is! But simply substituting kosher beef for You go, grill porkwon't make a food contest kosher. Everything from grill to cooking utensil to each ingredient used must be certified as kosher.Grills purchased last year from Old Smokey Grills in Texas--were kept solely for this event. Generous sponsors donated other supplies. Genuardi's gave rolls and condiments; Mehedrin supplied the chickens; Canada Dry Delaware Valley offered limitless bottles of water; there was potato chips from Herr's; and the treats for the kiddie contest were donated by Tastykake, with Just Born throwing in candy. The amount of $360 ensured a team's place in the contest. Seventeen teams signed up. The fee also covered the meats, spices for "secret rubs," sauces, and everything needed to barbecue the meats and cook the beans. Michael Demar, the chef for Brock and Co., a food-service group, explained that "to cook a perfect brisket, you have to have have to control the heat and keep it at a low temperature," which is what the teams attempted to do, some better than others. And to make sure everything was strictly kosher, kipah- clad maschgiachs Rabbi Eliasar Admon and his assistant, Avi Zahar, kept a constant vigil at every booth. Booths and team garb were witty and creative. The Jewish Exponent/Inside magazine team "Meat the Press." won first place for "Best Ribs." The assigned smokers and worktables for "BBQ 911: Where's the Fire?" were set up in front of a bright-red, restored fire engine. Then there was " 'BB' Ne- tanyahu and the Mieskeets." And how about"Hog Sameach!" On the judges panel, there was Jeff Nathan, the renowned chef and television host of "New Jewish Cuisine," And his wife, Alison. He is the executive chef of Abigael's, a glatt-kosher restaurant in Manhattan. Myra Chanin, a New York radio personality, author and recognized culinary maven, came with her husband. Alvin. Locally,'there was Daniel Rubin. from The Philadelphia Inquirer, who lived in Berlin for three years and so has an appreciation for international dishes; and Irene Rothschild. food consultant, author, cooking instructor and a member of the board of directors at the Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College. Plans are already under way for a September 2011 Hava NaGrilla to take place before the Jewish holidays. HOWARD LEVIN'S WINNING BRISKET (Meat) Ingredients: 1 whole brisket (12 lbs.), lightly trimmed 1 cup molasses 1/2 cup kbsher salt 1/2 cup coarsely ground black pepper 1/2 cup dark brown sugar 1/4 cup paprika 1/4 cup chili powder 1/4 cup cayenne pepper Preparation: Warm the molasses and then spread it over the brisket. Mix all of the dry ingredients and rub over the brisket. Place brisket in an uncovered aluminum pan. In a 250 to 300 grill over indirect heat, place brisket on the opposite side of the heat source. If you are using wood to smoke the brisket, place in a smoker box or in a pan filled with water directly on the coals. After 2 hours, turn brisket and cook 2 hours more. still uncovered. Turn brisket once more. Cover and cook for 1 hour more. Remove brisket from pan and place on the grill for 30 minutes. Reserve the pan juices. Remove from grill. Let rest 15 minutes. Slice. Enjoy with pan juices. Reprinted by. permission of the (Philadelphia) Jewish Exponent. F l, +T  G #1 Iq 7# T q ,  711] Ir[,IFl]lqlrlllT! I]11 , , ...... r .... TTiTt,-UliP,]lilll I :: ,t-?