A Jewish Puerto Rican Thanksgiving

November 23, 2015

Want to make the ultimate Thanksgiving turkey? That’s bursting with flavor and juicy as all get out? Follow our instructions below.

Thanksgiving 2008 by you.

This is by far the most colorful Thanksgiving plate I’ve ever seen.

So after visiting Guavate, Rachel and I knew that we had to try making Pavochon ourselves, the real Puerto Rican way. This year, it happened that Thanksgiving was only going to be 4 of us — Rachel’s parents and the two of us, so we were assigned to doing the cooking. So if we were in charge, why not mix it up and do it Puerto Rican style?

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Half-Guilt Turkey Cubano

November 26, 2010

Another oldie but a goodie.

Lo-Carb Turkey Cubano by you.

Turkey Cubano made with Toufayan Low-Carb Sandwich Wrap, leftover Pavochon, Pickles, Low-Fat Swiss Cheese, and Hot Vinegar Peppers with a side of Boriqua Slaw. Click on the photo to enlarge.

Every Thanksgiving I look forward to the Turkey Leftover sandwiches — but this year, as we made Pavochon, I decided to raise the Turkey Sandwich to the next level: The Half-Guilt Cubano.

Also Read: Make Your Own Cuban Sandwiches

A legit Sandwich Cubano has to be made with roast pork — but if you’ve got leftover Pavochon, you’ve got the next best thing. Simply get yourself a low-carb sandwich wrap, set down a layer of Pavochon, sliced pickles, low-fat Swiss Cheese, a couple of vinegar hot peppers and you’re ready to go. If you just have regular leftover roast turkey, make some of Daisy’s Wet Adobo and use it as a condiment on the plain turkey. Wrap it up and smash it flat, grab your non-stick frying pan, and coat with a small amount of olive oil. Fry on medium heat for 3 minutes per side until heated through and the wrap gets nice and crispy.

I like these so much I may be making Pavochon full-time.


NJ Dining: Mo’ Pho’ (UPDATED)

September 19, 2010

MoPho
212 Main St, Fort Lee, NJ
(201) 363-8886

Note: While Mo’ Pho’ in Fort Lee remains open, it’s Englewood sister restaurant, Saigon R. closed on August 30, 2010 and re-opened as Simply Vietnamese in nearby Tenafly. For more information on Simply Vietnamese, click here.

As summer comes to an end and the weather starts getting rainy and a bit chilly, I start getting that craving for Asian noodle soups again. There’s no question in my mind that my all time favorite type of noodle soup has to be Pho, the anise-flavored beef bone broth and the national dish of Vietnam.

Northern New Jersey has a couple of notable Vietnamese restaurants, but there is a special place in my heart for Mo Pho, the flagship restaurant owned and managed by Khan “K.T.” Tran, a talented female chef who is carrying out the culinary traditions of her mother, who once catered embassy functions for Southeast Asian dignitaries and heads of state for the Republic of Vietnam.

I’ve been to Mo Pho (and it’s sister restaurant that recently closed, Saigon R.) so many times and K.T. has become such a close friend that I have to admit I am probably unfairly biased towards her food. Overall, her cuisine is not the kind of hardcore (and less expensive) offal-centric, employing weird cuts of meat, Vietnamese street stall food or authentic in exacting detail like Nha Trang in Jersey City,  Huong Viet in Nutley or even Bloomfield’s Binh Duong — this is a more refined interpretation of Vietnamese food more suited to American customers.

Still, when I have a Pho craving, its K.T.’s that really does the trick for me. Her broth is simmered for an entire day and is far more intensely flavored with beef bones than any other I’ve had in the area, including Pho stalls I’ve visited in NYC. It’s not the super clear Pho broth you see at most places; its got a much darker color and is somewhat cloudier due to the residual gelatin, giving the soup a much more satisfying and comforting mouthfeel.

Mo’ Pho’ storefront on Main Street in Fort Lee. Mo Pho now has a new sister restaurant in Tenafly, Simply Vietnamese.

Mo’ Pho’s dining room.

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Latin Extravaganza at the Connors

May 17, 2010

Parties sometimes come together without much of a reason. Our friend Sandi Levitsky-Connor, who we’ve profiled recently with her Jedi-master empanada making skills, decided to have a mega cooking and eating session at her house and invite a couple of friends over. As it was also my wife’s birthday that week, it also became an occasion for eating cake, which needs no excuses at all.

Sandi, who is a fantastic cook, and loves all sorts of cuisines, decided to make this party Latin themed. Dishes from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Trinidad, Peru, Honduras and Spain were prepared, with the assistance of our friends Eric Eisenbud and Efrain Raices from NJ Les Marmitons.

Green plantains. When you see this on a table, you know what’s coming.

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Grillin’ on the Bay 2010

April 3, 2010

There are many things to like culinary-speaking about Brooklyn. It’s a huge melting pot for different cultures and many of New York’s food traditions, and most of the country’s best and most iconic ethnic dishes originate from there.

It has some of the best Pizza imaginable in the entire country and is the cradle of Jewish cuisine as we know it in the United States. Arguably the best hot dog on the planet originated in Brooklyn. And so on, and so on. Brooklyn is America’s premium brand name for ethnic culture.

However, I don’t normally consider Brooklyn to be a huge barbecue town. But last Saturday, my views on this were seriously challenged.

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The Ultimate Potato Kugel

March 27, 2010

by Rachel Perlow

Jason asked me to share my recipe for potato kugel with you all. This is the best potato kugel you will ever eat. It’s a pain in the ass to make, but so worth it. Originally, it was created for Rosh Hashanah in 2005, but I made it for the next couple of Passovers as well. However, since we have started eating more healthfully, I have avoided making it. It is just too damn good, I can’t trust myself to be near it. Let alone making the extra dish to keep at home. Oy!

But please, you make it, enjoy, don’t think about all the carbs and fat, saturated fat at that. Go for it, and think kind thoughts towards me as I go without. Sniff. (Is the Jewish guilt coming through loud and clear?)

I was inspired by a couple of recipes, including one from our dear friend Melissa Goodman, combining them with Jason’s inspired idea to add caramelized onions. And schmaltz. You’ve got to use the schmaltz.

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The Pizza of Affliction

March 26, 2010

Matzah Pizza of Affliction by you.

Ah yes. The Matzah Pizza.

Many gentiles know of Matzah, and that Jews eat it on Passover. However, even those that do know of Matzah and when it is consumed probably do not realize that Matzah is not just consumed during the Seder itself, but for seven days during the entire Feast of Unleavened Bread.

That means if you are an observant Jew, you are stuck with eating this stuff several days after the turkey and brisket leftovers have all been consumed.

While Matzo meal is used for a number of enjoyable culinary applications, such as the beloved Matzo Ball Soup, and Kugels, Matzot themselves don’t rate particularly high on the enjoyment scale on their own.

Oh, there’s Matzo Brei,  but at that point the physical properties of the shitty cracker in question have been completely transmuted into something resembling French Toast.

So Jews have been trying for an eternity to do something ELSE with Matzot. Sometime in the 20th century, American Jews got the idea of using  them  for half-assed salami sandwiches, PBJs and the like.

And then in the 50’s or the 60’s the Matzah Pizza came, which no sane pizza enthusiast would ever put in their mouth or even remotely call a Pizza. Especially since virtually all Matzah Pizzas were made with horrible processed jarred sauces which were Kosher for Passover knockoffs of stuff like RAGU or Pizza Quick.

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