As part of the national celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month, the National Museum of American Jewish History (NMAJH) hosted Evolution of Jewish Cooking in America, a conversation with Steven Cook, Joan Nathan, Michael Solomonov and Molly Yeh. The event was moderated by food writer and editor Devra Ferst. It was held before a capacity crowd of 230 people, with others tuning in via Facebook. [Read more…]
Philadelphia’s own Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook just published their first book, Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking.
Solomonov and Cook hope to familiarize Americans with some of their restaurant Zahav’s famous dishes. If you loved Jerusalem-born, London-based Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi’s book Jerusalem as much as I did, then this book will be a treat.
The spices and techniques of Israel’s myriad ethnic groups are reflected in the book’s recipes. Familiar Eastern European Ashkenazi foods such as rugalech, kugels and latkes are presented along with more exotic foods such as kibbe and fillo cigars from the Levant. All of these recipes have been adapted to ingredients that are easily accessible to the American cook. Below is a recipe for Zahav’s Ottoman-inspired eggplant salad.
Zahav’s Twice Cooked Eggplant Salad
- 2 eggplants
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup minced parsley
- 6 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons salt
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- Slice the eggplants.
- Sprinkle with salt.
- Allow the eggplants to rest for 30 minutes in a colander.
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet.
- Fry the eggplant slices over medium heat, until almost charred on both sides.
- Place the eggplant in a bowl.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pan.
- Stir in the onion, pepper, coriander, and paprika.
- When the vegetables are soft, add the blackened eggplant and sherry vinegar to the pot.
- Stir for a few minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat.
- Squeeze the lemon into the eggplant.
- Sprinkle the minced parsley into the pot.
- Stir and serve at any temperature.
— by Jennie Hatton
On Wednesday, November 7 at 5 p.m., restaurateurs Steven Cook and Chef Michael Solomonov and owner David Magerman will open Citron and Rose (368-370 Montgomery Avenue, 610-664-4919), a glatt kosher restaurant and catering company. The kosher food will transcend tradition: Chef Solomonov, a rising star who is at the forefront of an elite group of chefs bringing Jewish food to new heights, has crafted a dynamic menu of genre-defying kosher dishes.
“Steve and I traveled across Europe, eating in kosher restaurants from Paris to Budapest, and we wanted to bring that culinary culture to America,” says Israel-born Chef Solomonov, a 2011 James Beard Award winner who catapulted modern Israeli cooking into the national spotlight at his and Cook’s award-winning Philadelphia restaurant, Zahav. “At Citron and Rose we will be reinterpreting the dishes from our Jewish ancestors with modern techniques and fresh ingredients.”
More after the jump.
Working closely with Chef de Cuisine Yehuda Sichel, Chef Solomonov designed a dairy-free menu, in keeping with the rigorous limitations of kosher cooking, eschewing butter and cheese in favor of meat-centric offerings that reinvent classic Jewish dishes. Chef Solomonov’s menu will highlight a variety of the best-known dishes of kosher cooking, including:
- Chopped Liver with sour cherry, chocolate and pumpernickel;
- Mushroom Knish with smoked kasha, tsimmes and carrot-mustard;
- Salmon Gravlax with everything bagel spice, walnuts, radish and smoked bagel;
- Baked Whole Fish en papillote, parsley potatoes, sweet peppers and riesling;
- Roast Chicken, featuring honey-paprika glaze, schmaltzy potatoes and baby arugula; and
- Pecan Praline Challah French Toast with non-dairy coffee ice cream, fried pecans and maple syrup.
Appetizer prices range from $9 to $12; Entrée prices range from $14 to $28; Desserts are $9.
Traditional dishes, such as Sholet, or Cholent, a meat-and-potatoes stew that is meant to be prepared before sundown on Friday and left in the oven overnight to be eaten during Shabbat, the day or rest, are made new with exceptional ingredients: in this case, crispy duck breast replaces beef or chicken, along with confit duck leg, kishke, haminado and flageolet beans.
Executing the menu day-to-day will be Chef Sichel, who has worked with Chef Solomonov at Zahav since 2010. Prior to joining the team at Zahav, Chef Sichel worked in notable kitchens in Los Angeles and Philadelphia. Although he attended culinary school in Israel, his training in kosher cooking began much earlier: at his first restaurant job, a kosher sandwich shop, and in his Orthodox Jewish childhood home in Baltimore, MD.
“I’m thrilled to prepare and serve authentic-yet-original kosher dishes to a new audience,” says Chef Sichel. “It’s inspiring to share the foods I have known my entire life and bring a new energy to kosher cooking.”
To complement the food, the team has created a menu of kosher cocktails, including:
- The Cosmonaut, vodka with beet juice syrup and fresh grapefruit juice;
- The Lower East Side, gin with cucumber and dill; and
- Reb Roy, a twist on a classic Rob Roy with scotch and Manischewitz.
The restaurant will also feature a variety of kosher wines, craft beers and an extensive list of scotches.
Citron and Rose’s central open kitchen will offer diners a close-up look at the kitchen in action. The 75-seat space is divided into two sections, with the bar and chef’s counter, both topped with white marble, separated by a row of windows from the airy main dining room, where comfortable banquette seating is the backdrop for the exceptional food and drink. White subway tiles cover the walls, while stained ebony oak floors, natural wood wainscoting and molded walnut barstools lend a natural aesthetic. Highlights of robin’s egg blue further brighten the welcoming space, and a black-and-white graphic floral motif is echoed throughout, including the 15 seat private dining room, where custom wooden wine racks also cover the walls. Located behind the main dining area, it is perfect for intimate gatherings on any occasion. Weather-permitting, Citron and Rose will open its outdoor seating for al fresco dining.
“We’ve been committed from the very beginning to creating a traditional-yet-elevated dining experience at Citron and Rose,” explains Magerman, a food enthusiast and philanthropist who created the Kohelet Foundation, which supports Jewish day-school education in Philadelphia and across the United States. “This is, in my opinion, the finest kosher restaurant possible.”
The restaurant will be under the kosher supervision of Community Kashrus of Greater Philadelphia. Citron and Rose will follow the every tenet of kosher cooking, including being overseen from open to close daily by a mashgiach and not serving on Fridays and Saturdays, as work is forbidden between sunsets on Shabbat.
Citron and Rose Catering will also include a full-service catering company for on- and off-site events. For any occasion, from bar and bat mitzvahs to elaborate weddings, Citron and Rose Catering will bring the finest glatt kosher cuisine to make any event more special — and more delicious.
Citron and Rose will be open for dinner Sunday through Thursday. Citron and Rose Catering is already available to cater events. For more information, please visit their website and follow them on Twitter @citronandrose. To schedule an appointment with Citron and Rose Catering, please email [email protected].