Tag Archives: Pomegranate

Do This! Kosher for Passover and Brooklyn Bound

Kehilath Yakov Matzoh Bakery

Kehilath Yakov Matzo Bakery

Most of the people I know are preparing for Easter. Pulling out baskets, polishing their patent leather and froofing their Sunday frills. But there is another important holiday approaching — one less sugary and pastel-colored — Passover. Even after living in NYC for 12 years, I realized I don’t know a lot about Passover traditions, so asked my friend Avi to lead me into the traditional Jewish neighborhoods of Flatbush and South Williamsburg, Brooklyn for a peek at and bite of Passover preparations.

 First Stop: The Pickles Guys

With pretty much everything pickled from cucumbers to watermelon {yes, watermelon!}, and freshly grated horseradish that will clear the worst sinus congestion, The Pickle Guys is your stop for the ultimate condiment spread. For those who don’t want to jump a train for the full Jewish tour, you can also find an outpost on the Lower East Side.

Keep Hands Out of Barrels

Please Keep Hands Out of Barrels

New pickles, 1/2 sours, 3/4 sours, full sours, hot new pickles, hot sour pickles -- something for everyone

New pickles, 1/2 sours, 3/4 sours, full sours, hot new pickles, hot sour pickles — something for everyone

The spoils

The spoils

Next Up: Eichlers — the Barnes and Noble of Judaica stores

An essential stop for bestsellers like The Easy-Shmeezy Guide to Yiddish and the essential cooking reference, Kosher by Design — Teens and 20-Somethings. Cooking for the Next Generation. I pretty sure Julia Child had this on her bookshelf.

Easy-Shmeezy

Easy-Shmeezy

Please buy this for me

Please buy this for me

And then to the Whole Foods of Kosher Food — Pomegranate.

An entire aisle dedicated to Matzoh! I’m told Shatzer Hand Shmura Matzohs are the best and so that’s what made its way home with me. And here’s an exciting secret I learned while browsing the Kosher aisles: for those of you that like Coca-Cola made the European way with sugar, instead of our American corn syrup version, corn products cannot be consumed during Passover, so you can get your hands on the real Coke for a limited time if you visit a Kosher specialty store. Look for this yellow bottle cap. Ahhhh!

Matzoh!

Matzoh!

Matzoh spoils

Matzoh spoils

Lunch break: David’s Restaurant

Flatbush is home to more middle eastern Jews, so I felt right at home ordering a platter of some darn good falafel, hummus, babaganoush and fluffy warm pita. Great stop to recharge and I’m told the Yemenite Soup is not to be missed — sadly, it was not going to be ready for another hour so we did miss this. Just another reason to go back.

David's Falafel

David’s Falafel

Subway ride to South Williamsburg >> Kehilath Yakov Matzo Bakery

South Williamsburg is a much stricter Orthodox Jewish community — think Payot, long black coats and hats — so I had to try to dress the part with a long dress, tights and covered arms. Regardless of how respectfully I dressed, I was clearly an outsider.

To say I felt like I was intruding on Santa’s Elves on Christmas Eve would be an understatement. This Matzoh bakery was executing at full-steam with 47 men each handling a specific task. It was Henry Ford’s assembly line of Matzoh {see first photo of this post}. The water guy, the mixer, the divider, the rollers, the transporters, the hole-punchers, the bakers. A process that must be completed in 18 minutes according to the Torah and that follows strict guidelines of cleanliness — and apparently does not include a woman standing in the corner overseeing this. Word to the wise, don’t show up a week before Passover and expect a tour with a smile. It was not well-received that I wanted a peek into the inner workings of the Matzoh process. But what few glimpses I did capture {and the brief explanation Avi was able to coerce one of the workers into sharing} were fascinating — and helped me to understand why these provisions cost $25/lb. This is not your ordinary grocery store-matzoh.

The Matzoh Inspection

The Matzoh Inspection Rack

 

Matzoh Man

Matzoh Man

Final Stop: Gottlieb Restaurant

It was a long, but memorable day. One that could only be capped off by a refreshing Dr. Brown’s cream soda, a plate of cholent and some noodle kugel. If you’re looking for an authentic kosher Jewish deli, this is your place. Forget about Carnegie or Stage Door. Hop on a train {arms and legs covered} and come here. Do it all.

Gottliebs Deli

Gottliebs Deli

 

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recipe goodness :: best butternut squash and green apple soup

Fall is my favorite time of year. The air has a slight chill and smells of damp leaves, the colors have a vibrance that puts spring blooms to shame, and the farmer’s market is flush with the fall harvest eager for roasting up a cozy meal to share. Some of the most spectacular veggies made their way to the market this weekend, so before I jump into my favorite fall soup recipe, I just have to share my bounty: Easter Egg Radishes and Graffiti Cauliflower

Fall Farmer's Market Bounty

…leeks, butternut squash and granny smith apples.

Butternut Squash Soup Inspiration

I’ve made this recipe so many times, I’ve lost count. The base of the soup is courtesy of Michael Chiarello, but I’ve made a few adjustments that make this one of the best bowls of butternut squash soup I’ve ever had. The sweetness of the squash and apple is enhanced by the subtle spice from the chili and pepper, but what really adds a memorable, unexpected contrast is the slightly tart pomegranate that bursts with each bite and the salty melt-in-your mouth fluffy popcorn.

Best Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Prep Time: 20 mins | Cook Time: 1 hour
Serves 8

Squash Soup
2 TBS unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sliced leeks, white parts only (~1 large leek)
1 TBS minced garlic
6 cups peeled and roughly diced butternut squash (~1 medium squash)
3 cups peeled and roughly diced apples (~2 large apples)
3 tsp Toasted Spice Rub, recipe follows
6 1/2 cups chicken stock or 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium chicken broth mixed with 3 cups water
Sea salt
Pomegranate, deseeded
1 bag microwave popcorn

Toasted Spice Rub
Note: the spice mixture makes enough to fill an empty spice container to use in the future and make the soup even quicker next time.

1 TBS coriander seeds
1 TBS black peppercorns
1 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup pure chili powder (about 1-ounce)
2 TBS kosher salt
2 TBS ground cinnamon

In a small heavy pan over medium heat, combine the coriander seeds and peppercorns. Turn on the exhaust fan, add the red pepper flakes, and toss, toss, toss, always under the fan. Immediately turn the spice mixture out onto a plate to cool. Put in a blender with the chili powder, salt, and cinnamon and blend until the spices are evenly ground. If you have a small spice mill or a coffee grinder dedicated to grinding spices, grind only the coriander, pepper, and chili flakes. Pour into a bowl and toss with the remaining ingredients.

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat, and cook until it turns nut brown. Add the leeks and cook until slightly softened, about 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute briefly to release its fragrance. Add the squash and apples, raise the heat to high, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables begin to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Toasted Spice Rub and cook briefly to toast it, about 1 minute. Add the stock or broth-water mixture, bring to a simmer, and partially cover. Adjust the heat to maintain a gentle simmer and cook until the squash and apples are tender, about 40 minutes. Transfer in batches to a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat to serving temperature, and season with salt. Divide the soup among bowls and garnish each portion with some of the pomegranate and popcorn. Serve immediately.

Roughly Dice Peeled Squash and Apples

Slice Leek and Mince Garlic

Saute Leeks and Garlic Until Soft

Stir Until Caramelization Begins and Add Toasted Spice Rub

Add stock, simmer partially covered for 40 minutes and then blend until smooth. Garnish with Pomegranate seeds and popcorn kernels. Serve immediately.

The Best Butternut Squash Soup

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