The Joy of Passover Rolls

March 28, 2013

The Passover Roll, as seen above accompanying matzo ball soup, is a bit of a culinary enigma. Prior to having seders with my wife’s family, I had never encountered them before.

My family (admittedly reform Jews) on both sides traditionally would have matzohs during seder, and the kugels, and of course the matzo ball soup. But the idea of having ersatz bread or rolls during Passover was a bit alien to me, and questionably pesadich.

I mean, the whole point is that you are not supposed to eat bread during Passover, right? You’re supposed to want for it.

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An Iced Coffee Primer

August 1, 2012

Here’s a classic OTB post that I thought you would all enjoy — Jason

The summer, now entering  full swing, brings us into the seasonal consumption of cold caffeinated beverages.

have recently been asked about the proper method for making Iced Coffee, as with the current economy being what it is, people now have the desire to drink and make Megabucks-style iced coffee creations in their own homes and workplaces, rather than spend $2.60-$3 per 16 ounce glass in a store surrounded by trendy jackasses using Macbooks and sipping their green tea lattes.

There are a number of ways you can produce very good iced coffee in your very own home, some involving Scientological devices such as “Cold brewing” requiring 8-hour preparation methods, snobbish apparatus such as “Toddys” as well as diluting espresso shots with iced water in order to produce “Iced Americanos’ and the like.

To this, I say, phooey.

Iced Coffee Tutorial by you.

To make really good iced coffee, you will need an inexpensive can of Latino-style “Espresso Coffee” such as Cafe Bustelo, El Pico or Pilon, or an inexpensive Italian-style brand such as Medaglio d’Oro (these are all made by the same company, Rowland Coffee Roasters out of Miami).

These all go for about $2.50-$3.50 for a 10 ounce can or $2.50 for a 10oz brick. If these brands are unavailable in your area, try either Community Coffee Dark Roast (With or without Chicory, this depends on your taste) or Cafe du Monde.

coffee-latino by you.

Latino-Style Espresso Coffees. Cafe Bustelo, Pilon, and El Pico are all  made by Rowland Coffee Roasters in Miami, Florida.

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Latke-Vision: It Sure Beats The Yule Log

November 30, 2010

Here’s an oldie, but a goodie. Happy Chanukah — Jason and Rachel

This last Sunday, Rachel’s family got together and had a Hanukkah party, a week early. We were given the task of making the latkes, the venerable Ashkenazi-Jewish pan fried potato pancakes.

Although I tend to favor Sephardic-style cuisine, Latkes are among my favorite things from Ashkenazi (European) Jewish culture, and I hold them in extremely high regard. Hanukkah isn’t a particularly important Jewish holiday but I look forward to the annual latke frying ritual with great anticipation.

I didn’t grow up on homemade latkes — my mother wasn’t much of a cook and she wouldn’t use oil of any kind in the house because she hated the smell of grease and fried food. Frankly, I can’t blame her. The act of frying latkes will create odors that will linger in your kitchen for several days, and even with the best ventilation will require that your entire house get aired out in order to completely rid your home of the powerful chickeny/potatoey/oniony odor. Don’t let this deter you, however — the rewards are well worth it.

Want to learn how to make latkes? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Podcast #42: Bacon, Lettuce and TomatoCAST

August 18, 2010

Back by popular demand and Saveur.com is our Ultimate BLT post from 2007!

My dear friend Christine Nunn, who helped me with this project has since opened her own restaurant in Fair Lawn, New Jersey — Picnic, The Restaurant, where you can get the Ultimate BLT as an appetizer for a limited time or while summer Jersey tomatoes run out!

Click Here To Listen to the Bacon, Lettuce and TomatoCAST!

Click Here for a Hi-Res Slide Show with More Photos!

Related OTB Post: No Bacon? “P”, L and T

Ah, the BLT. In many ways, it is the ultimate and perfect expression of the sandwich, simple and yet one of the best possible sandwiches that you can eat. Still, the perfect BLT can be elusive, as most restaurants and people do not take the exacting level of care in order to construct the best BLT possible. Skimp on any of the ingredients, or use a component that is substandard in any way, and the entire sandwich fails.

In order to build the Ultimate BLT, one must be committed in Zen-like fashion to go to great lengths to source pristine ingredients. Indeed, an entire afternoon could be spent in trying to get all the right components, at considerable expense. It is neither a cheap nor an efficient affair, but it is well worth the effort.

To build the Ultimate BLT, I collaborated with CIA-trained chef Christine Nunn of Picnic Caterers in Emerson, New Jersey, who came up with some great ideas, sourced some fantastic bread and tomatoes for us and assembled the incredible sandwiches you’re about to see.

Do you want to see how the Ultimate BLT is constructed? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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They Call Her “The Empanada Lady”

April 22, 2010

by Rachel Nash Perlow

As you may be able to surmise, she makes empanadas. Lots of them. All kinds of flavors. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Sandi Levitsky-Connor started out as a friend of a friend. She and her husband came to one of our dinners at Chengdu 1. Then we saw her at another dinner party, and another. More than once, she brought along some empanadas for everyone to taste. These little Latin fried pies are her specialty. I thought she made them just for fun and the love of cooking.

Apparently, she’s got quite a business going. In addition to the empanadas, she does private catering, but she’s really known for her empanadas. I had only tasted her two mainstays of beef with and without spicy jalapenos, but her more creative flavors, like Hummus and an Asian Chicken are as popular with customers, and her kids.

Jason invited Sandi over recently to document the empanada making process. You can make them yourself… It’s not that hard. But if you live in driving range of The Empanada Lady, you may soon find yourself ordering a couple dozen.

Sandi Levitsky-Connor, aka The Empanada Lady, demonstrated empanada making in the OTB kitchen.

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Matzo Brei 101

March 26, 2010

Here’s another classic resurrected for the Chosen People… Foodies. Enjoy.

— Jason

Matzo Brei — some people like to eat it just during Passover, but I like it all year round. To me, it’s the ultimate breakfast food. Both savory and sweet, it combines both aspects of French Toast and scrambled eggs in one package.

The version we are going to do is a savory version which we’ll top with syrup. You can also do a strictly sweet version, but I think the whole notion of that is insipid — you really want the contrast of the savory and sweet together.

The first thing you’ll need to do is take half a box of plain matzos (which you can buy year round), crack them in half, and then half again, and soak them in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes.

Then you want to drain them in a colander so they are just soaked and a little soggy, but not swimming in water.

Are you ready to make the greatest Hebrew contribution to breakfast and brunch cuisine? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link for more.

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Gary Wiviott, Please Let Me Back in the Program

May 23, 2009

gwiv-lowslow by you.

Gary Wiviott’s new BBQ book published by Running Press (which he authored with food writer Colleen Rush) is based upon his popular web-based course on how to master the Weber Bullet smoker in 5 easy lessons. Unfortunately, because I decided to skip ahead to Step 3 after Step 1, he threw my ass out of the program.

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