Thursday, September 14, 2006


I've been blogging way too much and I have other things to do, so I'm going to have to take a few months off. Shanah Tovah!

Kosher Cooking Carnival #10: Sweet New Year Edition

Previous Carnivals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

On Today's Menu:
Holiday Recipes
General Recipes
Menus and Anecdotes
Kashrut Issues
New Blog
Next KCC

Holiday Recipes
Actually, there weren't many submissions geared specifically toward the holidays, so here are some of my own recipes:

Foolproof Matzo Balls One of the secrets DH inherited from his mother
Italian Style Pot Roast A special brisket recipe for special occasions
Sweet Potato Apple Tsimmes Vastly superior to the carrot-and-prune variety
Flourless Honey-Pecan Cake Great for those with wheat or gluten sensitivity -- and everyone else, too
Indian Rice Pudding An exotic ending to a holiday meal
I also noticed this interesting-looking recipe on
Chicken With Apples and Honey According to the food editor, it's a year-round favorite, and not as sweet as you'd think.

Here's another delicious-looking brisket recipe from Doug Behrman:
Nanny's Brisket

1 4-5 lb. brisket(1st cut only)-contact your local lender for current mortgage rates
2-3 large onions
onion powder
garlic powder
salt & pepper

Grate onions in food processor until slightly liquidy
rub both sides of brisket with spices -don't be stingy!
slather both sides with onion puree
put in roasting pan and add water to come 3/4 way up side of brisket(NOT side of pot!)
roast at 350 for 3-4 hours until soft but not falling apart.
you won't be sorry.

Finally, two recipes involving pomegranate from Norman's Steak'n Burger (27 Emek Refaim, German Colony, Jerusalem*):
Chicken in Pomegranate sauce

1 large chicken, quartered
3 tbs olive oil
1 onion chopped
250 g coarsely chopped walnuts
4-6 pomegranates
The juice of two lemons
1 tbs sugar
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large heavy skillet brown the chicken pieces quickly in hot oil. With a slotted spoon, remove the chicken and in the same skillet saute the onion until nicely browned. Add the walnuts and continue to saute over low flame, for 2-3 minutes longer.

Cut the pomegranates in half, scoop out the seeds and discard the pith. Place the seeds in a blender and blend for 3-4 seconds and then strain the juice into a bowl, pressing to squeeze out the juice. (This should yield about 1 cup of juice).

Pour the juice into a skillet, add the lemon juice, sugar, 2/3 cup of water and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a bare simmer, stir, return the chicken pieces to the skillet and cook, uncovered until the chicken is very tender (45 minutes to 1 hour).

Taste and correct the seasoning with more lemon or sugar to taste. If the sauce is too thick, thin with a little water. Serve piping hot. Enjoy!

Pomegranate Ices

1 cup sugar
1 cup pomegranate seeds, lightly crushed
6 tbs lemon juice
Mint leaves to garnish

To a saucepan with 4 cups of water add the sugar, and boil for 5-6 minutes, stirring regularly. Remove from the flame and let cool. Refrigerate until the syrup is lightly chilled and then add the pomegranate seeds and lemon juice. Pour the mixture into ice cube trays and place in the freezer.

When the mixture is half frozen, stir well and then stir again every half hour until you have stirred the mixture 4 times in all. Pour the mixture into individual sherbet or dessert cups and let freeze solid. Transfer to the regular refrigeration compartment about 10 minutes before serving, and serve garnished with mint leaves. Enjoy!

General Recipes
I've grouped all the submissions containing recipes in this category, but most include anecdotes as well.

Let's start with dessert:

Blueberry Streussel Muffins A parve adaptation from Sarah
Dutch Butter Cake A simple recipe with a touching story, from ATBH
English Caramel Custard A luscious dessert recipe from ATBH, with historical background
Lemon Sorbet Submitted by Sarah, with a picture of fruit flan (the flan was prettier than the sorbet :))
Little Chocolate Cherry Cakes From TallLatte, along with the menu from her wedding
Berry Meringue Torte From Yours Truly. (This should appear in Sugar High Friday, which promises to be scrumptious, if not necessarily 100% kosher.)

Now, for savory:

Chinese Chopped Meat Casserole An easy recipe from Rebecca, embedded in a mouth-watering post on the joys of cooking and baking

Here's an interesting recipe from Robin:
Turkey Loaf

1 lb ground turkey more or less
bread crumbs or matzah meal more or less
1 egg
teriyaki sauce
cornflake crumbs or bread crumbs

Mix the ground turkey with some bread crumbs or matzah meal and 1 egg. Put it in a baking Dish bigger or smaller. Shmear mayonnaise on top and then pour some teriyaki sauce on it. Sprinkle corn flake crumbs. (Bigger dish makes the turkey loaf thinner and perhaps more mayo and teriyaki/cornflake crumbs flavoring). It looks a bit like Southern Fried chicken.

Rina offers two marinade recipes from Kathy Casey, whom she describes as "a culinary icon in the Pacific Northwest and a leading proponent of Northwest cuisine on the national scene." Rina says:
Although she recommends this Garlic Marinade for flank steak, I have also used it on salmon, chicken, and even veggie burgers. The best part about this recipe is that it uses ingredients that are readily available in most kitchens. After marinating the steak with her Garlic Marinade and grilling it, Kathy Casey tops her creation with a Blue Cheese and Herb Smear (the recipe for which I have included below). Obviously, using it on meat is a kosher no-no, but I have used it on salmon with good results (of course, that all depends on the availability of kosher blue cheese in your area--which in Seattle can be rather unpredictable). ENJOY!

Kathy Casey's Garlic Marinade
Recipe makes enough marinade for 1 to 2 pounds of meat or fish

1/4 cup kosher or vegetarian worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons minced fresh garlic (or I have used Dorot frozen crushed garlic)
1/4 cup olive oil

In a small bowl, combine all the marinade ingredients. Pour marinade into a plastic bag, press out any air, and zip close. Move meat or fish around in the bag to marinade. Refridgerate for an hour minimum or preferably overnight.

Kathy Casey's Blue Cheese and Herb Smear

1/3 cup of blue cheese crumbled
3 Tablespoons salted butter (room temperature)
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 Tablespoon chopped, fresh basil (or I have used Dorot frozen chopped basil)
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

Combine smear ingredients together in a small bowl and stir until smooth. Refridgerate until ready to serve. Bring to room temperature about one hour before serving.

Menus and Anecdotes
Batya shares a sumptuous Friday night menu and writes about a visit with family in NY and its gastronomic highlights.

Kashrut Issues
Is it just me, or has there been an unusual amount of kashrut controversy in the blogosphere this month? Most recently, a Monsey butcher was accused of selling non-kosher chicken, eliciting a flood of commentary from Dov Bear et. al. and commenters (link, link, link, link, link, link). Hirhurim linked to a letter about Glatt meat in the Forward, eliciting 156 comments as of this posting. And Batya reports on a class-action suit against Elite-Strauss regarding the gelatin used in their products.
We report, you decide (or something).

New Blog
The J-Blogosphere reaches a new height of nichiness with the advent of Two Heads of Lettuce, a blog devoted to tips and recipes for pluralistic Jewish dairy Shabbat potlucks. (For the food blogosphere, on the other hand, this is nothing. In the brief time I've spent perusing food blogs, I've discovered a blog devoted to vegetables, a blog devoted to cupcakes, and, most recently, a blog devoted to bananas.) Being mostly vegetarian and an attendee of occasional potlucks myself, I've been enjoying Two Heads of Lettuce immensely. Pay it a visit!

Next KCC
The next Kosher Cooking Carnival will be held at me-ander. To submit an article or recipe, you can:
1. E-mail Batya (shilohmuse at gmail dot com) or
2. use Conservative Cat's handy form, or
3. use the Blog Carnival form.
There's more info. here.

Chag sameach to everyone, and happy cooking!

*For those of you in the Holy Land, Norman's also has a special holiday take-out menu. Their telephone number is 972-2-566-6603.

Monday, September 11, 2006

September Diary

Like prayer, memorial seems a basic human need. I'm not sure what the point is, but today, with millions of Americans, I remember.
Yesterday morning I went to class as usual and discussed Deuteronomy until 10:30, blissfully unaware that hours earlier, my world had changed.

I saw the footage on the student center television while on my way to check my mail. A great explosion, and the World Trade Center crumbled to the ground. I gaped, unable to digest the information before my eyes, unable to conceive of the New York City skyline without the Twin Towers. Then I thought, "my sisters!" They were at Stuyvesant, only a few blocks away. For the first time since I was younger than I can remember, I sucked my thumb.

I tried to call home but the circuits were overloaded. I tried to call [DH]; same deal. I called [Rymenhild], who hadn't heard the news. When I told her, she said, "This just doesn't fit my conception of the world."

Two planes hijacked. Thousands killed -- passengers, business people at the World Trade Center, pedestrians on the street. And all I could think was, "my sisters."

[. . .]

I met Rabbi [B] in the cafeteria and spoke with him briefly. He and [the Rebbitzen] don't know many people in New York or D.C. They know people in Israel, though, where nearly every day lately a shooting or a bombing sends them to the phone, checking to make sure that their loved ones are still alive. I'm sure he wasn't thinking this, but, in part because of my own guilt, I read it in the Rabbi's eyes: "Now you know what it's like."

[. . .]

The irony, the irony. It almost makes me believe in God -- this is just the kind of fucked-up thing He would do.

[. . .]

[Middle Sister] was crying over the phone. [Youngest] saw the second tower go down from chem lab, she said. They saw people jumping out of the windows. Their classmates were crying, "My parents work there!"

[. . .]

They walked home together, from Chambers to 72nd street (all transportation was down), through the screaming and the carnage and the debris. [Middle Sister] kept looking back, and [Youngest] said, "don't look back" -- "I'm surprised you didn't turn into a pillar of salt," I said --

"Please come home. I'd really like you to come home," she sobbed. I started sobbing, too.

"All right."

So now I am home.

I didn't stop crying that night. I put away my books and went for a walk, through the parking lot, across campus, then back to the chapel where סליחות [the Penitential Prayers] were beginning at 12. I stood outside in the shadows while people filed in, trying to stop up the tears. The service began, אשרי, and then, in the awesome tune of the ימים נוראים [Days of Awe],

יתגדל ויתקדש שמה רבא
[May His Great Name Be Magnified and Enhanced!]

I turned and walked home.

[. . .]

Years ago, on a rainy morning, the tenth of [Av], I wrote of the ashes of the [Holy Temple], still smoldering. I wrote of the rain, succumbing to the temptation to use hackneyed water metaphors -- I said that the world was crying. Well, it is raining now, and like any torrent of tears, it is making matters worse. Rescue workers continue to work in the smoke and dampness, trying to save a few lives, under the cold grey sky.

This is a time of high character -- tragedy does that. My sisters say that a shoe store owner stood on the sidewalk Tuesday, handing pairs of sneakers to women in high heels to help them get home. ([Youngest] broke down when she saw a pair of abandoned pumps lying in the street.) My sisters offered their beds to the hospital Tuesday night, but they weren't needed -- people weren't making it to the hospital; everyone was dying. So, too, the American Red Cross is overloaded with people across the country volunteering their blood, money, medical supplies, and time. If only they needed us now; we are all so eager to help. The tragedy is that they really don't need us.

[. . .]

[Rosh Hashanah] is Tuesday and Wednesday. I was going to stay in school to avoid missing French and Akkadian Monday, but it seems trivial now. I came home Thursday night; I am here for a week. School, only school. . . it is inessential.

[. . .]
I walked downtown with my mother today. It is out of character for both of us to want to survey the scene of a disaster, but this event remains so unbelievable that even we feel inclined to look, again and again. (I went down to Riverside Park last night and stood at the end of the pier, staring at the giant cloud of smoke that still hung in the place where the towers stood less than a week ago.) On Christopher Street, a small crowd has been gathered since Tuesday, cheering on the rescue vehicles with flags and roses and signs that say "Thank You" and "You Are Our Heroes." Flags hang everywhere, at half mast, including at porn shops, one of which sported a sign reading, "God Bless America." (My mother said she wished we could broadcast that in Afghanistan.) I have never before seen New Yorkers -- or anyone else, for that matter, on such a grand scale -- being so patriotic or generally so well-behaved.
[. . .]

[. . .]
בין דין לדין [between Judgment and Judgment], everyone in this secular empire with the slightest glimmering of faith is at prayer, awaiting the next phase of this horror. So I, too, am starting to pray.
[. . .]

The Day I Wasn't There

What I remember most about September 11, 2001 is that I wasn't there. My mother and sisters were in lower Manhattan and I was miles away, emotionally as well as physically. It is difficult even to imagine my sisters' panic as they fled from the rubble, or my mother's terror, not knowing where they were. For my own part, I don't remember feeling anything as I dialed their number again and again, coldly contemplating the unthinkable. This was probably what they call a "defense mechanism," but I'll never know for sure. All that I know is that I wasn't with them, and I should have been.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Ineffable Tetragrammaton*

The four-letter name of the Israelite Deity, called the "Tetragrammaton," was, to all appearances, once pronounced freely. Over the centuries, however, it has become shielded by many degrees of what scholars creatively call "Tetragrammaton avoidance." When the Bible was translate into Greek around the beginning of the common era, the translators substituted the word κυριοs, "Lord," for the Divine Name. By the time the biblical text was fully vocalized, the Tetragrammaton had been replaced by the Hebrew word for "Lord," adonay, in liturgical readings. To indicate the correct reading of the Divine name, the Tetragrammaton was written with the vowels of adonay (yielding the erroneous transliteration "Jehovah"). More recently, Jews began to avoid even adonay in non-liturgical contexts, substituting euphemisms such as hashem ("the Name"). The Tetragrammaton is also avoided in writing. An early substitute consisted of two yods (the first and third letters of the Tetragrammaton). That, however, was too close to the original for comfort, so today, the letter hay, representing "Hashem," is a more prevalent choice. The very pious will avoid even hay, since it is one of the letters of the Tetragrammaton, preferring dalet, the letter preceding hay in the Hebrew alphabet. Sometimes, even non-Hebrew names of God are regarded as too sacred to be written. Many Jews substitute "G-d" for "God;" DH has even seen "Hash-m."

At this point, no one really knows how the Tetragrammaton was originally pronounced, although scholars have their (highly speculative) theories. There is, however, a conventional pronunciation used in academic circles, based on what one might call an educated guess. This places scholars with traditional Jewish leanings in an awkward position. There are times when using a proper name for the Deity is warranted, and departing from the convention to use circumlocutions or alternative euphemisms can be extremely distracting. One Jewish scholar of my acquaintance pronounces the Tetragrammaton on the grounds that he is certain that the conventional pronunciation is incorrect. Another occasionally uses "Hashem" at the risk of sounding unscholarly; a third is reputed to have said, "I'll just call him Jimmy."

I have yet to come up with a personal solution, and this has, on occasion, resulted in considerable awkwardness. Once, I was asked about a book with the Tetragrammaton in the title, and I stood there, dumbly, as though I couldn't remember it. Recently, I became so frustrated at my inability to communicate that I abandoned my principles and pronounced the Divine Name. Later, I reassured myself, noting that I hadn't articulated the medial hay, and in any case, I didn't see how the final vowel could possibly be a long /e/, and even if was, it would have been pronounced as short /i/ when the Name was actually used, etc.

All of this, of course, entirely misses the point. "Tetragrammaton avoidance" is supposed to be about regarding the Deity with a certain degree of reverence -- something that biblical scholars and aspiring scholars rarely do. Most of us are religious in some sense, but at some point, tearing the Bible to shreds and attempting to reconstruct the vowels of the Tetragrammaton does take its toll. The sense of mysterium tremendum so essential to religion inevitably begins to dissipate. Then, when we need it -- say, on the Jewish Days of Awe -- it is ever so difficult to recapture.

* DH thinks that this would be a good name for a rock band.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Carnival Time!

The next Kosher Cooking Carnival will take place right here, at Apikorsus Online. Please send kosher recipes, links to posts or articles about kosher food, pictures of kosher food, odes to kosher food, etc. to Batya (shilohmuse at gmail dot com) or me (navelofwine at comcast dot net), or use Conservative Cat's form or the Blog Carnival form. (You don't have to have a blog to submit recipes or essays by e-mail.) You can also get a little widget at the Blog Carnival site that will direct you the Kosher Cooking Carnival wherever it is, whenever it is. (If you scroll way, way down, you will see that I have two in my right sidebar.)

This month, I'm particularly hoping that people will send holiday recipes. Please submit material by September 10th so that people have a chance to see the recipes before they have to do their Rosh HaShanah cooking.

Here are some links to previous carnivals: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

(Newcomers: It's the Kosher Cooking Carnival, not the Kosher Kooking Karnival, and that's a man in a gorilla suit, not a man in blackface. Relax.)

Brownie Update II

I posted a second update on the brownies at Kosherblog and forgot to cross-post it here. The gist of it is, ignore everything I said in my last post and use canola oil.