PJFF Film: “Shalom Italia”

Directed by Tamar Tal Anati (the award-winning director of “Life in Stills”), “Shalom Italia” is filled with humor, food and Tuscan landscapes. This charming and poignant documentary, in Hebrew and Italian with English subtitles, straddles the boundary between history and myth — both equally pivotal in forming our individual and collective identities.

During World War II, Emmanuel, Andrea and Bubi, three Italian Jewish brothers, spent several of their formative years hiding in a man-made cave built by their father in the Tuscan mountains while the Nazis occupied Italy. Seventy years later, Bubi, the youngest of the trio, gathers his brothers for an unforgettable family reunion in the hopes of rediscovering the mysterious cave that saved their family from being deported to the camps.

Retracing their steps and their intimate experiences during the war, the brothers, now as different as can be, bond and deliberate over the veracity of their memories, sharing hearty conversations and equally robust Italian meals along the way. From early morning breakfasts to a late night Shabbas feast, the food of their homeland evolves into the centerpiece of Bubi, Andrea and Emmanuel’s adventures through Tuscany. Facing the limitations of their imperfect memories and the physical setbacks of their aging bodies, the brothers resolve to accomplish their goal, come mozzarella or prosciutto! Joking and arguing aside, these kindred spirits spend countless hours trekking through the thick Tuscan forest to create a new memory, one that will serve as the basis for a brotherly bond that will remain for the rest of their lives.

Guest Speakers: Post-film Skype interview with Andreas Anati and Ruben Anati, two actors in the film, as well as with Tamar Tal Anati, the film’s director

Special Event: Film followed by discussion, as well as by an Italian brunch organized by Gran Caffe L’Aquila and inspired by the cuisine featured in the film (dessert and wine included with ticket)

Buy tickets here.

Jewish Heritage Festival

Congregation Hesed Shel Emet in Pottstown, PA presents its 2nd Annual Jewish Heritage Festival – Sunday, May 22, 2016 from 11 am – 5 pm.  The Festival features kosher favorites such as brisket, corned beef, hot dogs, knishes etc.  We also offer dairy favorites such as kugel, lox and bagels, and blintzes.

Admission and parking are free. Enjoy entertainment for kids by Music Monkey Jungle, and for all ages – back by popular demand – Klezmer with Class.  Rabbi Ira Flax will offer Torah Talks and Jack Wolf will present a history of the Jewish Community of Pottstown.

Vendors and crafters will also be on site, as well as a robust basket raffle, and lots of goodies to take home from our bake sale.

 

Philadelphia Jewish Film Festival: ‘In Search of Israeli Cuisine’

A portrait of the Israeli people through food, “In Search of Israeli Cuisine” is a mouth-watering documentary that follows Michael Solomonov, the James Beard award-winning chef and restaurateur behind the Philadelphia dining establishment Zahav, as he returns to his homeland to discuss his culinary heritage.The screening will be followed by a conversation with Solomonov and director Roger Sherman, moderated by the senior editor of New York Magazine’s Grub Street, Sierra Tishgart. After the talk, Solomonov will be signing his cookbook, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking, during a separately ticketed book signing/reception featuring hummus by Dizengoff (and other tasty treats) and Israeli wine.
Cost
$15 (film and post-film discussion)
$30 (film, post-film discussion, reception and book signing)
$60 (film, post-film discussion, reception, book signing and copy of the cookbook)

“The Modern Kosher Kitchen” by Ronnie Fein

Recipes in The Modern Kosher Kitchen Book-Kosher-Kitchenby Ronnie Fein offer gourmet training wheels for the aspiring Kosher cook. In our lifetime a revolution has taken place in Kosher recipe books and cooking. The bland kosher recipe books on the shelves of all-too-many Ashkenazi parents and grandparents were also problematic due to high fat and sugar content.

For those unaccustomed to the pedal-to-the-metal spice revolution of our times, The Modern Kosher Kitchen offers opportunities to explore creative contemporary additions such as Siriracha sauce (a chili sauce named after the coastal city of Si Racha, in Chonburi Province of eastern Thailand), that helps kosher cooks to bridge the bland/sweet divide.

For example: White Bean and Vegetable Hurry-Up Salad

  • 1 can (15 oz or 425 g) white beans
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced thin
  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and chopped
  • 1 cup (130 g) frozen peas, thawed
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup (15 g) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup (24 g) chopped fresh mint
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup (60 ml) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste

Rinse the white beans under cold running water; let drain and place them in a bowl. Add the carrots, avocado, peas, onion, parsley, mint, cumin, and cayenne pepper and toss to distribute the ingredients evenly.

Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice. Toss again to coat the ingredients. Taste for seasoning and add salt to taste. Let rest for about 15 minutes before serving.

Yield: 6 servings

Serving Suggestions and Variations: Use chickpeas or black beans instead of white beans; use any cooked chopped green vegetable (such as broccoli, green string beans, thawed frozen lima beans, or edamame) instead of peas.

And secure many happy dining comments at your meal by making halibut or salmon on the grill and serving atop:

Spicy Marinated Pineapple

  • 1 whole pineapple
  • 3 tablespoons (60 g) honey
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon (15 g) siriracha
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) lime juice
  • Kosher salt or Maldon sea salt
  • Mint, for garnish

Cut the leaves off the pineapple. Remove the outer fibrous rind. Cut the peeled pineapple in slices about 3/4-inch (1.9 cm) thick. Set aside in a single layer in a pan. Heat the honey with the vegetable oil and siriracha in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the ingredients are well mixed. Add the time juice. Pour over the pineapple slices. Coat the pineapples slices on both sides and let marinate at least 1 hour (and as long as 12 hours). Preheat an outdoor grill to medium (or use a grill pan or the oven broiler.) Grill the slices for about 4 minutes per side or until well glazed and tender, brushing occasionally with some of the honey mixture. Serve sprinkled lightly with salt. Garnish with fresh mint. You can make these ahead and refrigerate. Serve at room temperature or reheat to warm in a pre-heated 350°F (190°C, or gas mark 4) oven for a few minutes.

Yield: 4-6 servings.

Serving Suggestions and Variations: Grilled, speed pineapple lens monumental flavor to mild main-course foods such as fish and chicken.

Your family and guests will delight in the evolution of Kosher cuisine, combined, as has been the case throughout Jewish history, with the elements of the cultures among which Jewish people dwell. I bought our sriracha sauce at an International Market while visiting family who live in Passaic and it’s available on line, too. The Modern Kosher Kitchen by Ronnie Fein definitely and deftly adds spice to life!

Fight BDS: Buy From Israel

The anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which calls to divest from Israel, to boycott Israeli products and academics, and to attack Israelis and Jews, is gaining strength every day.
One meaningful way that we can all fight back is by supporting Israel financially, one purchase at a time.

Whenever I celebrate an occasion here in the U.S., I make it more special with purchases from Israel. By purchasing Israeli products, I support Israel’s domestic economy and its international image, and get to share the bounty of the country of my birth.

If you order Israeli products from Amazon through the links in this article, The Philadelphia Jewish Voice gets a percentage of the sales, so we can support another good cause at the same time!

I invite you to join me in investing in Israel.

Israeli products

 

Homemade Raw Butterfingers

Nestle's Butterfinger. (Photo: Evan Amos.)

Nestle’s Butterfinger. (Photo: Evan Amos.)

butterfingers-1

Homemade Butterfinger.

— by Challah Maidel

Healthy butterfingers are candy bars that defy all logic. They are perhaps one of the most underrated chocolate candy bars in the market. Many people claim that they are palatable and nothing more.

My homemade raw butterfingers have the same toffee-like crunch as do the commercialized butterfingers, but unlike the original version, these butterfingers candy bars are whole grain, high in iron, and completely void of high-fructose corn syrup. Plus, the filling does not stick to one’s teeth as much.

Learning how to make homemade butterfingers is not a far stretch from making homemade snickers bars. The methods are quite similar and the flavors are comparable.

This vegan butterfingers recipe does not get any easier. Unlike many vegan butterfingers recipes, mine does not require any cooking. Peanut butter and peanuts are recommended for this recipe, but you can use almonds and almond butter if you have a peanut allergy.

Ingredients for 8 to 10 bars:

  • 1 1/2 cup of bran flakes, corn flakes, or dried white mulberries. (You can use rice cakes, although the texture would not be as authentic.)
  • 3/4 cup of peanut or almond butter
  • 1/2 cup of pitted, soaked  dates
  • 1/3 cup of chopped peanuts or almonds
  • 2 tablespoons of agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt
  • Bittersweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Pulse the bran flakes, corn flakes, or dried white mulberries in a food processor until crumbly.
  2. Add the remaining six ingredients and pulse until large, sticky clumps form. Add more agave or syrup if the dough is not holding together.
  3.  Pour the dough and spread it out evenly onto a prepared 8×8 pan.
  4.  Cover and freeze for 15-20 minutes, or until firm.
  5.  In the meantime, melt chocolate chips, in a microwave or over a double boiler, and set aside.
  6.  Remove the dough from the freezer and cut into bars while they are still in the pan.
  7. Gently pour melted chocolate over each bar.
  8.  Return them to the freezer and freeze for an hour before serving. Store them in the freezer if you wish to retain their crunchiness.

Challah Maidel blogs about healthy kosher eating.

A Juicy, Tender Brisket

Brisket by Scottgaspar

Brisket photo by Scott Gaspar.

— by Elana Horwich

Brisket is incredibly easy to make and pretty hard to mess up: You can add a little too much of this, or a bit too little of that, but as long as you have a few basics, all of the flavors will meld perfectly with time in the oven to bring you a delicious, juicy brisket.

The problem with many briskets, however, is that they are either too sweet, too dry and/or too fatty. Furthermore, they can be both too dry and too fatty.

The brisket cut of meat is historically poor man’s food; it cost less than tender cuts of meat like filet mignon, but if cooked long enough will be just as tender.

[Read more…]

Rosh Hashanah Honey Bread From Beta Israel

One of the most exotic foods for Rosh Hashanah comes from the Ethiopian Jewish community, or Beta Israel.

Yemarima yewotet dabo is a special type of bread, sweetened with honey and infused with spices.

The Kaffa province, located in southwestern Ethiopia, is famous for its mountain rainforests covered with coffee trees. This is where coffee originated. The province also has Africa’s largest population of honeybees. These bees produce a very special type of honey, flavored with the nectar of the coffee tree flowers.

The coffee plant is related to the gardenia family, and the honey produced from its nectar is light and aromatic. Ethiopians have historically taken advantage of this abundance of honey and incorporated it into their foods and drinks.

Baking yemarima yewotet dabo is a very ancient tradition. The dabo is baked in a traditional clay pot called a shakla dist. The Beta Israel women are renown for their pottery making skills, a craft which is passed from mother to daughter.

photo (9)In the thatched hut villages of Ethiopia, a fire was started to make charcoal. The dough for the bread was mixed in a wooden bowl.

The inside of the shakla dist was lined with fresh banana leaves. This was to prevent the dough from sticking to the vessel.

After the dough was poured in, more banana leaves were layered over it. Then the pot was tightly covered.

This “Dutch oven” was placed on the hot coals, and then some coals were positioned on top of its lid. After about 30 minutes, the pot was removed from the fire. The banana leaves were peeled off, and the aromatic bread was ready.

In 1984, Beta Israel came to Israel with Operation Moses, and brought their distinctive Rosh Hashanah bread with them. You may bake some honey dabo in your oven.

Yemarima Yewotet Dabo: Spiced Ethiopian Honey Bread

Adapted from What’s 4 Eats  photo (7)

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup organic wildflower honey
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 egg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Place the yeast in a bowl with ¼ cup warm water. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the honey, egg, salt, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and coriander.
  3. Add the yeast mixture to the honey and spices.
  4. Pour in 1 cup of warm milk and 6 tablespoons of melted butter.
  5. Mix in the flour.
  6. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel, and allow the dough to rise for 90 minutes.
  7. Take the dough out of the bowl, and knead.
  8. Shape into a round loaf.
  9. Place the loaf on a cookie sheet covered with banana leaves or parchment paper.
  10. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  11. Allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes.
  12. Bake the bread for 60 minutes.

I chose to bake the bread much as it had been prepared in Ethiopia.

I purchased frozen banana leaves  and followed the package directions. First, I defrosted them for a couple of hours. Then, I rinsed them with cold water, and dried them off with paper towels. This removed the sap and white powdery substance that naturally occur on the leaves.

I lined my baking dish with the leaves, and using scissors, cut them to the desired size. I placed the dough in the baking dish and put it in the oven. As the bread started baking, the banana leaves imparted a smell reminiscent of tea steeping. The leaves themselves are not edible.

After one hour, the dabo was finally ready. I pulled out the golden, crusty loaf, which gave off an earthy aroma. Impatiently, I sliced it while it was still hot. It had a wonderful, moist, spongy texture, with a crackly crust. It was not too sweet, with only a hint of spices.

This bread is delicious on its own, or with more honey, and of course, a cup of Ethiopian coffee.

Melkam Addis Amet: Shanah Tovah!

3 Love Potions for Tu B’Av

By dvdp.tumblr.com

By dvdp.tumblr.com

Tu B’Av, the Jewish holiday of love, is believed to be a fortuitous time to find one’s bashert, or “soulmate.”

Throughout history, people have tried to help move the process along by concocting love potions.

This year, the holiday begins at sunset on August 11. Below are three of the most popular “love potions.” [Read more…]