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 Persia.
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.
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 the holiday.
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.
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.
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.
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 to commemorate the tiny supply of oil that burned for eight days and nights in the ancient temple — a real miracle.
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.
Never mind your choice of desert island food. Tell me, who’s your desert island foodie?
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is a holiday full of hope and optimism as well as apples, honey and round challahs.
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 own.
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 largest in Latin America. Their ancestors immigrated from Poland, Russia, Syria, Turkey and North Africa in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Most of the immigrants spoke Yiddish, formed settlements such as Moisés Ville and Villa Clara, and became gauchos (cowboys).
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.
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 appeal to tiny palates as a substitute.
The Jewish Journal asked several authors appearing at Sunday's Celebration of Jewish Books to answer a question that, at least for writers, has existential overtones: "If you were stranded on a deserted island, what Jewish book would you want to have with you, and why?"
Garden fresh food.
Shavuot, which marks the receiving of the Ten Commandments by Moses, was often referred to as the Jewish Thanksgiving or the "Feast of the First Fruits," a time when farm bounty and grains were brought to the ancient Temple. The harvest often included wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.
In modern times, Shavuot inspires the preparation of many delicious and traditional recipes that usually feature a variety of vegetarian and dairy foods. Milk, eggs and cheeses of all kinds are used in abundance.
A bridal shower is one of the most joyous parties you can possibly give, and the occasion calls for light, delicious festive foods. This menu offers four of my personal favorite chicken salad recipes. (For a smaller shower, you could serve just two or three.) The French often serve a sampling of different foods and call it a degustation, or tasting, so here's your chance to be both chic and unique.
This year Yom Kippur begins on Friday night and continues until sundown on Saturday. Since many families do not cook on Shabbat, I planned a menu that will solve the problem.
The apple, even more than the bibical pomegranate, has become the symbolic first fruit to be eaten during Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which will be observed at sundown, Wednesday, Sept. 15.
During Rosh Hashanah, tradition calls for a perfect apple to be pared and cut into as many pieces as there are people present. A piece of the apple is dipped in honey and passed to each person at the table before the meal begins to symbolize a sweet and joyous New Year.
On the table at every Passover seder is a plate arranged with foods symbolic of the holiday. Of these, the only one that requires a recipe is charoset.
During the festival of Chanukah, Jews around the world will prepare the traditional foods that represent their individual cultural backgrounds. Families with Eastern European ties will serve fried potato latkes. In Germany, jelly doughnuts called Berliner pfannkuchen are prepared. Italian Jews deep-fry fritters known there as bombolini. In Israel, they make sufganiyot, jam-filled doughnuts, and it is reported that more than a quarter of a million of them are made there every year during Chanukah.
Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins this year at sundown on Friday, Sept. 26. It is a time to gather with family and friends and enjoy special holiday foods.
When I was growing up, two types of food were usually associated with the holiday of Shavuot. There were the dairy dishes -- blintzes, knishes, noodle kugels and, of course, cheesecake. Most of us remember them from our childhood, but they were always laden with cream, butter and cheese, and may not appeal to our diet today.
Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday, and although cooking for Passover requires a lot of preparation, I look forward to it each year. It is a time when our family and close friends join together to share thoughts and exchange ideas as we participate in the seder.
Chanukah, the Festival of Lights, is a time to recall the miracle that occurred more than 2,000 years ago, and celebrate the discovery of the small amount of oil that burned for eight days, the amount of time needed to prepare pure oil from the local olive trees to rekindle the flame. That miracle is the focus of the Chanukah celebration that begins at sundown Friday, Nov. 29. Was it also a miracle that this event occurred at this time, since the months of November and December are the usual time for the olive harvest?
For Rosh Hashana this year, I am sharing three chicken dishes that you can prepare for your family holiday meal. Every family has their own recipe for roast chicken, but if you're looking for something new and different to serve on Rosh Hashana, try one of these.
On the first night of Chanukah, the family always gets together at our home for a special evening. We enjoy lighting the Chanukah candles, eating traditional foods and exchanging gifts.
Dessert is always a highlight of the evening, and this year for Chanukah, I am going to surprise everybody with a special cheesecake. I discovered the recipe on a recent trip to the wine country when we visited the Redwood Hill Goat Farm near Sonoma. After touring the goat farm, we attended a cooking class where the focus was cooking with goat cheese.
Shavuot celebrates the receiving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai and brings with it centuries of food traditions. It is the time when dairy foods are traditionally served, and cheese blintzes are one of the most popular dishes of the holiday.
I absolutely love preparing chocolate desserts for Passover, and now that chocolate is considered a health food, it will give you all the more reason to include it in your Passover recipes. Chocolate desserts are easy to make, and you can create a variety of non-dairy chocolate desserts for Passover that will bring pleasure to everyone.
Two weeks ago I got an actual SOS from a ship. Tova and Rabbi Zvi Dershowitz, en route to the Philippines on the Holland America cruise ship M.S. Rotterdam, were requesting a Persian Purim menu and recipes for the ship's executive chef.
Purim, sometimes called the Feast of Esther, is one of the happiest of all Jewish holidays. It marks the liberation of the Jews from the cruel prime minister, Haman, through the heroism of the beautiful and good Queen Esther. The story states that she was a vegetarian while in the king's court in ancient Persia. Yes, before it was the fashion, Queen Esther was a connoisseur of fruits, vegetables, nuts and grains, but poppy seeds were said to be her favorite. It is in her honor that on Purim, poppy seeds find their way into salads, kugels and pastries.
Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins at sundown on Sunday, Oct. 8, during which time a strict fast is observed.
My husband and I just returned from a trip to Cuba. We were on a cultural-art mission with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and one of the highlights was a visit to Cuba's largest Conservative synagogue, the Casa De La Comunidad Hebrea De Cuba, also known as Patronato.