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Jewish Journal

Judy Zeidler

  • Recipes: Smoked salmon sandwiches, chocolate paninis and more

    2 weeks ago

    Baby boomers have childhood memories of eating all sorts of comfort foods: meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, french toast and tuna sandwiches.

    Over the years, though, Julia Child and the Food Network did a lot to change these food habits, and...

  • Recipes: Summer flavors, savory pastries and rich cheese tarts

    3 weeks ago

    Let’s have an outdoor summer party! 

    Whether you have a tennis court, a swimming pool or a great lawn for playing croquet, now is the time to invite friends over for a fun-in-the-sun celebration and an alfresco meal. Or you can take your party to the park.

    At our annual summer...

  • Going green for Passover

    April 10, 2014 | 7:34 pm

    The mainstays of a traditional Passover seder, celebrating the Exodus of the Jews from slavery in Egypt, tend to be a carnivore’s dream: gefilte fish, chicken soup with matzah balls, stuffed turkey and lamb shanks.

    Today, though, more and more families are planning a vegetarian...

  • Cooking with wine for Passover

    April 2, 2014 | 2:19 pm

    Wine is an important part of the observance of Passover — at least four cups are poured during the seder service. I’m sure we all have noticed how our wine tastes have changed since childhood, when only the sweet, syrupy wines were available.

    But these days, our family and...

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  • Celebrate Queen Esther with chocolate

    March 12, 2014 | 11:50 am

    Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim tale, was quite a woman. Not only did she outwit the evil Haman and save the entire Jewish population of Persia, she did it all as a vegetarian. According to tradition, when she moved into the palace, she became quite a party girl but limited...

  • Eight chefs’ new Chanukah delights, one for each night

    November 21, 2013 | 1:13 pm

    This year, Chanukah and Thanksgiving coincide: Chanukah is celebrated for eight days by candle-lighting, gift exchanges and eating foods fried in oil, an ancient custom, commemorating a miraculous event at the Temple in Jerusalem, while the Thanksgiving meal reminds us of our...

  • High Holy Days food: How sweet it is

    September 4, 2013 | 4:06 pm

    Honey adds special touch to Jewish New Year

    Brownies

    Honey Chocolate Fudge Bars. Photos by Dan Kacvinski. Food coordinated by Judy Zeidler

    The use of honey for Rosh Hashanah symbolizes a sweet year and dates back to biblical times, when refined sugar was unknown. Its sweetness adds a...

  • Let them dat (honey) cake

    August 28, 2013 | 12:40 pm

    Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is considered a High Holy Day, but it’s also a happy holiday, full of hope and optimism.

    I am always impressed by the fact that food plays such an important part during one of the most sacred of Jewish holidays. The traditional foods — apples,...

  • Empty nest, full fridge

    July 19, 2013 | 2:00 pm

    My son Paul and his wife, Amber, were the original baby boomers, graduating from college in the ’80s, getting married and raising four children. 
     
    They both love to cook, and when their kids were growing up, they always ate family dinners together, every night.  The only rule...
  • Shavuot inspires dairy recipes

    May 8, 2013 | 11:50 am

    Shavuot celebrates the receiving of the Ten Commandments and the arrival of the spring harvest. But, for food lovers, it is noted for the array of dairy foods that are served — delicious combinations of cheese, sour cream, milk and eggs. Also in abundance are “stuffed” foods, such...

  • The art of Passover baking [RECIPES]

    March 13, 2013 | 6:38 am

    Passover, the Festival of Freedom — also known as the Festival of Unleavened Bread — is celebrated for eight days. Over the centuries, Jewish cooks have produced a rich array of foods for the Passover holiday, and desserts are an especially important course of the meal. 

    No...

  • A vegetarian buffet to celebrate Queen Esther [RECIPES]

    February 13, 2013 | 8:40 am

    What makes Purim so special? Maybe it’s the heroic story of Queen Esther. Whatever you decide, it is still one of the happiest of all Jewish holidays. Filled with accounts of bravery, it tells the story of Queen Esther and how she helped defeat the wicked minister Haman in ancient...

  • A Brentwood Country Club Chanukah [RECIPES]

    November 29, 2012 | 2:34 pm

    Chef Brett Swartzman is a chef with passion. The Chicago native started working in his parents’ Jewish bakery when he was 10 years old, making bagels, muffins, cookies, challah and sandwiches.

    Chanukah was always a big celebration at his grandparents’ home. Coming from a big...

  • Saluting side dishes

    November 16, 2012 | 2:07 pm

    Thanksgiving is a holiday when American-Jewish families can enjoy the best of both heritages — hearty American food and an occasion to give thanks for their blessings. Food has always been the center of the holiday celebration, and I like to plan an old-fashioned farmhouse menu for...

  • Feasting after fasting

    September 19, 2012 | 11:46 am

    Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a holiday for serious fasting — no food or drink for 25 hours. At the end of the day, our thoughts inevitably turn to what we want to eat at sundown to break the fast.          

    When I spoke with several friends about Yom Kippur foods they...

  • All you knead for a bounty of challah

    September 5, 2012 | 11:10 am

    Dipping freshly baked challah in honey is a tradition observed during the holiday of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. This act combines the Shabbat bread with hopes for a sweet New Year.

    The custom is to serve a round or spiral-shaped challah, one of the symbolic foods eaten...

  • Position yourself for Passover’s traditions

    March 29, 2012 | 3:01 pm

    After many years of reciting the Passover story around our dining room table, we made a major change. My family decided to re-create the seders held long ago. According to the haggadah, when people live in freedom, they can eat in a reclining or relaxed manner.

    We asked our guests...

  • Poppy seed pleasures

    February 29, 2012 | 12:16 pm

    It all began with Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story, who became a vegan when she married King Ahasuerus and moved into the palace. She favored fruits, beans and grains in her diet, and legend has it that poppy seed pastries were her favorite.

    Over time, I have developed...

  • Chanukah fare with international flair

    December 7, 2011 | 12:36 pm

    Around this time of year, I think of my grandmother and the stories she told me about making beef brisket and potato latkes for her first Chanukah dinner in America. She loved to cook, and sharing her recipes from Russia brought her such delight.

    Chanukah, often called the festival...

  • Delizioso: Chanukah with an Italian flair

    November 18, 2011 | 12:09 pm

    While enjoying my favorite foods on a recent trip to Italy, I began to think about Chanukah, even though it was only October. This was a natural association, because the Italians love to prepare foods with olive oil, and the traditional dishes served during Chanukah are fried in oil...

  • Giving thanks deliciously

    October 21, 2011 | 11:39 am

    Whether you call it Thanksgiving or Turkey Day, the holiday is a festive time for American Jewish families to enjoy the best of both heritages — hearty American food and an occasion to give thanks for blessings.

    When it comes to the Thanksgiving menu, I like to plan a lot of...

  • How sweet it is

    September 21, 2011 | 12:20 pm

    Apples, honey and a freshly baked round challah are traditionally served at the beginning of our Rosh Hashanah dinner. The shape of the challah represents unending happiness, and foods sweetened with honey symbolize a sweet and happy new year ahead.

    Just before Rosh Hashanah, I...

  • Break the fast with a buffet

    September 16, 2011 | 3:52 pm

    As the sound of the shofar officially closes the long day of Yom Kippur prayer, people head home a little weary but spiritually uplifted. It has been a tradition for our family to gather upon returning from synagogue for a break-the-fast meal. It began when our children were growing...

  • A honeyed new year

    August 19, 2011 | 2:21 pm

    Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a holiday full of hope and optimism as well as apples, honey and round challahs.

    Many of the traditional dishes that are served feature honey and apples to assure “a sweet new year.” It is said the custom of eating apples, a fruit whose...

  • Summertime picnic

    July 21, 2011 | 6:33 pm

    Summer is a perfect time to share a picnic meal with friends. There is something exciting about eating outdoors, even if you are only heading to the local park.

    We have had season tickets for the Hollywood Bowl for as long as I can remember. Friends meet up with us there and we...

  • Say Cheese: Recipes for Shavuot

    May 31, 2011 | 6:43 pm

    During Shavuot, it’s a custom to serve dairy foods, such as cheese blintzes, cheese noodle kugels, cheesecake and even ice cream. But have you wondered where this tradition comes from?

    There are many explanations, but I like the theory that, at this time of the year, sheep and...

  • Italian cheeses inspire a unique holiday menu

    May 19, 2011 | 4:27 pm

    It all started with Signora Grazia, an elderly cheese maker in Panzano, Italy. While vacationing in this Tuscan village, just 30 minutes south of Florence, we walked by her farm early one morning and saw the sign that read “Pecorino and Fresh Ricotta for Sale.”

    We hiked up the...

  • Flavors of Israel

    April 25, 2011 | 11:42 am

    My fascination with Israeli food started the first time I tasted a falafel laced with tahini at a little sidewalk cafe in Westwood, near UCLA. Inspired by this simple Israeli dish, I began developing a list of Middle Eastern recipes that grew with each trip to Israel.

    When visiting...

  • More cluck for your passover buck

    April 5, 2011 | 6:16 pm

    I have always enjoyed researching and developing new dishes to serve during Passover, but have you ever heard of Mock Gefilte Fish? Because everyone loves chicken, I am constantly looking for new and different chicken dishes to prepare, and I find that each recipe has a story all its...

  • Passover Argentina style

    March 16, 2011 | 12:06 pm

    In Argentina, although Passover comes in the fall, the celebration is much like that observed by Jews in the United States, and the food is similar to Eastern European dishes, but with a South American flair.

    Argentina has a Jewish population of more than 250,000, making it the...

  • Market fresh soups

    February 15, 2011 | 10:36 am

    Fresh ingredients for a soup are a chef’s dream, and the best place to find them is at your local farmers market — fresh fennel, squash, mushrooms, ripe tomatoes of all shapes as well as root vegetables.

    Our first experience with open-air markets was on a trip to Italy in the...

  • Appetizing oscar night

    January 27, 2011 | 1:56 pm

    It will be a night of glitz and glamour, surprises and speeches. From red carpet hits and misses to backstage interviews with the winners, the Academy Awards is Hollywood’s biggest night. Celebrate the 83rd Oscars on Feb. 27 with an award-worthy viewing party.

    Whether you invite...

  • O, Chanukah! Looking beyond latkes

    November 23, 2010 | 1:20 pm

    When I was growing up in Los Angeles, the highlights of our Chanukah celebration included visiting with extended family — uncles, aunts and cousins — lighting the Chanukah candles and eagerly awaiting the platters of fried potato latkes. In our home, the potato latkes were served...

  • Chanukah’s the time for lots of latkes

    November 19, 2010 | 2:13 pm

    There is something special about Chanukah, a time when all of our children and grandchildren gather from across the country to celebrate the holiday, which begins this year at sundown on Dec. 1. Lighting the candles, followed by family meals, singing songs, exchanging gifts and...

  • Thanksgiving: Let the next generation take over [RECIPES]

    October 25, 2010 | 7:01 pm

    After 55 years of celebrating Thanksgiving in our home with family and friends, our son Zeke and son-in-law Jay announced that they wanted to take over the responsibility for Thanksgiving dinner.

    Our first reaction was to say no, but we reconsidered. Maybe it was time for a change....

  • Celebrate with Simchat Torah favorites [RECIPES]

    September 23, 2010 | 5:15 pm

    Simchat Torah translates as “rejoicing with/of the Torah,” and it is one of the most joyful of all the holidays.

    Congregants sing and dance in synagogues as the Torah is carried around the bimah seven times, and children are encouraged to join in the festivities by waving flags...

  • Dip into honey for new year inspiration [RECIPES]

    August 24, 2010 | 10:00 pm

    Rosh Hashanah, literally translated as head of the year, begins this year at sundown on Sept. 8, ushering in a 10-day period for reflection on the past year and making resolutions for the new one. It is a time when families come together for festive meals and where sweet foods are...

  • Easy cooking for the holidays [RECIPES]

    August 20, 2010 | 5:43 pm

    If you are in a dilemma about what to serve your family for Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, expand your menu options to include dishes that can be served in both the dining room and the sukkah.

    Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 8-10) usually occurs during the warmest days of the year, so I...

  • The Joys of Summer Fruit [RECIPES]

    July 28, 2010 | 7:15 pm

    Whether you are taking a picnic to the beach, a local park or the Hollywood Bowl, desserts made from fresh fruits — peaches, apricots, plums, cherries and all kinds of berries — are a refreshing complement to your summer menu.

    One of the places to find the best summer fruit is...

  • Topanga Days [RECIPE]

    May 26, 2010 | 2:21 pm

    In the early 1960s, we bought a 45-acre ranch with a big, sprawling house in Topanga Canyon, not far from Pacific Coast Highway. The lush panorama seemed to stretch for miles into Malibu. Our rambling ranch house was a dream come true. From our living room, we had a view of the...

  • Celebrate Shavuot with the flavors of spring

    April 28, 2010 | 5:13 pm

    Shavuot marks an important religious event — the receiving of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai.

    In ancient times, Shavuot was also celebrated as a spring harvest holiday, featuring foods gathered from the fields. Today, the traditional dishes we serve combine dairy products,...

  • From Israel with love

    March 24, 2010 | 11:11 am

    Arriving at the crowded restaurant Itzik Hagadol Grill in Encino is like entering the hustle and bustle of Israel. Large groups of happy, noisy people talk at once while consuming platters of wonderful salad dishes and grilled meats that overflow tables.

    Itzik Hagadol Grill opened...

  • Passover prep, unbound [RECIPES]

    February 24, 2010 | 7:24 pm

    Food plays an important role during Passover — from the six symbolic items on the seder plate to those foods avoided during the eight-day holiday, like chametz (leavened grains) and kitniyot (legumes). But the dinner that follows the seder on the first two nights, when family and...

  • It’s a wrap

    January 29, 2010 | 5:10 pm

    While growing up in Jewish Los Angeles, I was exposed to many traditional Ashkenazic dishes — kreplach, cheese blintzes and strudel, to name a few. But it wasn’t until I developed an interest in cooking that I realized most other cultures have similar dishes. Kreplach reminds me...

  • Chanukah in Tuscany

    December 3, 2009 | 4:19 pm

    When we were invited for a Tuscan Chanukah dinner at the home of our friends chef Jeff Thickman and musician Igor Polesitsky, who live in a wonderful villa in the wooded hills of Roveta, just outside Florence, the menu included Italian Potato Latkes, Vegetarian Borshch and Stuffed...

  • Sukkot Sweets, With Etrog’s Cousin

    September 30, 2009 | 3:27 am

    Sukkot, one of the happiest of all Jewish festivals, is a home-centered holiday that actually takes place outside of the home. The festival’s main symbol is the decorated sukkah, a temporary outdoor booth or hut, where Jewish law requires Jews sleep and eat all their meals for...

  • Home for Rosh Hashanah With Chef Todd Aarons [RECIPES]

    September 16, 2009 | 5:10 pm

    What does the chef of Oxnard’s Tierra Sur cook for Rosh Hashanah? Since his kosher restaurant — located at Herzog Wine Cellars — is closed during the holiday, Todd Aarons has the opportunity to create a family meal at home.

    “Rosh Hashanah has lots of foods that are symbolic...

  • Judy and Julia

    September 2, 2009 | 8:27 pm

    The movie “Julie and Julia” brought back great memories of how I met Julia Child in 1978 and how it resulted in adapting her bouillabaisse recipe for a kosher kitchen.

    I had just finished writing my first group of paperback cookbooks for Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm and The...

  • Thinking Outside the Lunch Box

    August 26, 2009 | 3:40 pm

    Coming up with lunch ideas can be more challenging today than in years past. Some schools may elect to forbid peanut butter on campus if a student has a peanut allergy, which removes the old standby of peanut butter and jelly. And almond, cashew or other nut butters don’t always...

  • Celebrate With First Fruits, Italian-Style

    May 20, 2009 | 7:03 pm

    Shavuot, which begins exactly seven weeks after Passover, is a holiday that has a special association with two kinds of foods.

    The first group is a combination of dairy dishes, such as noodle kugels, strudels, cheesecake and, of course, blintzes. Most of us remember these from our...