Can Kosher Pizza Be Good?

Tablet Magazine   Article by Emma Davis

“When I was growing up, the definition of a Jewish neighborhood was a neighborhood that had a kosher bakery, a kosher butcher,” said Rabbi Moshe Elefant, Chief Operating Officer at Orthodox Union Kosher. “Now, the definition of a Jewish neighborhood is that they have a kosher pizza shop.”

Kosher pizza has become a staple of Jewish communities nationwide, whether served to yeshiva students, Brooklyn hipsters, or deep-dish aficionados in Chicago. Yet unlike the kosher hotdog, whose popularity has eclipsed the non-kosher original, kosher pizza has yet to cross into the American mainstream.

If the Orthodox Union’s page on kosher pizza, “Cardboard No More,” is any indication, kosher pizza’s taste may be responsible for its limited appeal. “It took forever for Jews to develop good kosher wine…Give us another 2,000 years on kosher pizza, and I think you’ll be pleased with the results,” wrote one commenter on a SeriousEats thread deploring kosher pizza. The slice I tried at a nondescript Borough Park joint was bland at best, with a disgustingly sweet sauce, clingy cheese, and a thin, hard crust.

“Historically, [kosher pizza] had a bad reputation… because of the materials that were used,” explained Giulio Adriani, a Neapolitan chef and former kosher pizza maker. “[It] was a product made with whatever was available on the market, without a lot of research.”

Although Adriani cited kosher pizza dough as the problem, Rabbi Elefant pointed out that kosher cheese is the greater challenge to produce. Most cheeses, including the grated mozzarella used for New York-style pizza, contain rennet, a coagulating enzyme traditionally found in the lining of calves’ stomachs. Rennet is non-kosher even in trace amounts, so kosher cheesemakers substitute microbial enzymes. These enzymes are derived from plant sources such as fungi, explained Brent Delman, founder of the kosher company The Cheese Guy.

To obtain the certification gevinat yisrael, the baseline for kosher cheese, a mashgiach must supervise the addition of the rennet substitute. To be cholov yisrael, or “in layman’s terms, ‘super kosher,’” Delman said, the mashgiach must be present from the time of milking. Moreover, for both standards, the equipment must be carefully cleaned if previously contaminated by non-kosher ingredients; in some extreme cases, this requires a blowtorch, Delman added.

The rest of the kashrus affecting pizza, such as the ritual of “taking challah” from the dough, are relatively undemanding. Even the question of blessings is easily resolved: “If you’re eating [kosher pizza] as a meal, then you make a hamotzi; if you’re eating it as a snack, then you make a mezonos,” explained Elefant.

Thus, the secret to good kosher pizza lies in the cheese, as Adriani discovered while developing the menu at his restaurant Pizza da Solo. “I went ahead and started producing my own cheese inside the store, my own mozzarella, the way I do in Italy,” he recalled. “That was the game-changer.” Adriani used vinegar to make his mozzarella, a style of cheese known as ‘acid-set.’ This approach gives the cheese a more homemade feel, according to Delman.

Though Pizza da Solo recently closed, it was a favorite of food critic Dani Klein, founder of YeahThatsKosher. “Not only did they make Neapolitan pizza and make it really well… they were making everything from scratch, with fresh basil and top-notch olive oil,” Klein said. “They were going above and beyond.”

Klein admitted that kosher pizza is often superior when it returns to the dish’s Neapolitan roots. “The ingredients you’re getting there are typically more unique, more expensive, which is why not everybody can afford the Neapolitan style pizzas,” he said.

Still, New York and Neapolitan-style pizza “are completely different products, in a sense,” said Klein, who was raised in Brooklyn. “You’re getting different quality, different ingredients, different portions.”

Now that New York City is host to a number of excellent kosher pizzerias, such as Bravo, Basil, Jerusalem Cafe, and Amnon’s, Klein said his critical focus has shifted.

“The people in [the kosher] community aren’t necessarily saying, ‘Why is kosher pizza so bad?’” Klein explained. “The real question that we’re all asking is, Why does every kosher pizza restaurant have a sushi bar?’”

“It’s actually frustrating to kosher consumers that pizza places feel the need to do that. If you want to do sushi, open a sushi place.”

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Left unaddressed in the article is the fact that most kosher pizza places do not use mozzarella cheese.  They use other, inferior (for pizza results) cheeses.

Posted on December 12, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Kosher News

Treasure Chest Chicken

From Mr. Food

We tried this one.  We have no clue why it is called Treasure Chest Chicken, but we love it!

What You’ll Need:
  • 1/4 cup dried apricots, cut into strips
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 (3- to 3-1/2-pound) chicken, cut into 8 pieces
What To Do:
  1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine all ingredients except chicken; mix well.
  2. Add chicken to bag, seal, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 4 hours or overnight, turning bag over occasionally.
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place chicken skin-side up in a 9- x 13-inch baking dish.
  4. Bake uncovered 55 to 60 minutes or until no pink remains, basting occasionally with pan juices. Serve topped with pan juices.
Posted on December 11, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, In the Home, Kosher Kitchen, Kosher Recipes

Too Funny Not To Post

Charmin gets up close and personal with consumers

By Gina Acosta – 12/07/2017

Charmin is making a personal connection with consumers in New York City, by way of branded restrooms.

P&G brand Charmin has opened 14 playful stalls designed to transport people to another place through immersive sights and sounds. From experiencing the expanse of “Mt. Everest” to peeing “Under the Sea,” visitors will get the exclusive opportunity to Enjoy the Go where no one has ever gone before.

The restrooms are part of a marketing campaign to generate a more personal connection with audiences, as to digital ads.

“At Charmin, the thought of a bad bathroom experience is unbearable. When we heard millions of New Yorkers were settling for sub-par options when on the go, we knew we had to step in,” said David Mullaly, Brand Manager, Charmin. “The Charmin Restrooms are our way of having their back this holiday season in the best way we know how. Each stall is a unique experience so they can really Enjoy the Go.”

Charmin Restrooms will be open through Dec. 24 at 1601 Broadway between 48th and 49th streets from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST daily.

Charmin had restrooms available in New York City during the holidays from 2006 through 2010.

Posted on December 10, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Health

The Nutty Cookie- Ginger and Spice

The Nutty Cookie – Ginger & Spice

Pamela’s new The Nutty Cookie is a delicious, soft and satisfying gluten-free, organic and grain-free cookie made with premium ingredients including organic coconut, almonds and walnuts. Taste crystallized ginger and cinnamon in Ginger & Spice.

  • Certified Gluten-Free by GFCO
  • USDA Certified Organic
  • Grain-Free
  • Free of artificial additives, hydrogenated oils and trans fats.

 

 

Ingredients:
Organic Butter, Organic Brown Sugar, Organic Crystallized Ginger, Organic Coconut Flakes, Organic Coconut Flour, Organic Almond Meal. Organic Eggs, Organic Walnut Meal, Organic Ginger, Organic Cinnamon, Organic Honey, Xanthan Gum, Sea Salt, Baking Soda, Organic Cloves
Allergens: Milk, Eggs, Tree Nuts. Produced on equipment that also makes products containing peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans, coconut, eggs, soy and milk.
Posted on December 8, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Health, In the Home, Kosher Desserts, Kosher New Products, Kosher News

Norman’s New Greek Yogurt

FROM KOSHER TODAY

Norman’s  New Greek Yogurt Cheesecake Dessert Crème

Rutherford, NJ – Norman’s has done it again! The cholov yisrael dairy leaders have shown their true leadership colors at this year’s Kosherfest (November 14-15) with the launch of Crème, a new Greek yogurt dessert. Kosherfest attendees couldn’t get enough of the Crème, a healthier and lighter alternative to the other dairy desserts on the market. Crème’s initial launch includes five decadent flavors: vanilla bean, dulce de leche, mocha latte, morello cherry and sweet strawberry.

“Crème is a novel idea, never before seen in the cholov yisroel world,” explained a Norman’s spokesperson. “It is created in small batches in our very own state-of-the-art factory.” He continued: “We sought out the finest ingredients so that our yogurts contain only the most authentic components, and is free of artificial flavor and color. For example, we sourced real cholov yisroel dulce de leche cream from Argentina, crushed real gourmet vanilla beans, and created a coulee out of real pieces of morello cherries and strawberries to create our incredible Crème flavors. We wanted Crème to be the highest quality for an exceptional elevated dessert experience. It is true luxury on a spoon.”

Norman’s also featured two new flavors of Greek Light at the show, Pomegranate and Tiramisu. These new flavors were produced in response to public demand for additional Greek Light options. Don’t miss Norman’s other delightful award-winning yogurt lines including Greek Original, Light, Creamy Blends, Pro, Stackers, Kids, and I.Q. as well as Low-Fat, 80 Lite, Poppers, and Kiddies all in an extensive range of delectable flavors. For further details about all Norman’s products and delicious recipes, check out – www.normansdairy.com.

Crème is the perfect healthy dessert; true sumptuousness with rich creamy goodness!

Posted on December 7, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Health, In the Home, Kosher Kitchen, Kosher New Products, Kosher News

The Cheese Guy

FROM THE CHEESE GUY:

My Cheese

I’m excited to present cheese connoisseurs with a mouthwatering variety of cheeses. And since our runs are exclusively Kosher, we’ve whet the Kosher palate as well – expanding their repertoire of choices and taking Kosher cheeses to entirely new heights. The adventurous spirit will love our exotic combos like jalapeno cheddar jack and marble and those who crave Blue Cheese should try our distinctive version made by 3rd generation Wisconsin master cheese makers. While most of my cheeses are produced domestically at family owned dairy farms, I do produce some cheeses abroad in Italy – made in the finest Italian tradition in small dairies that dot the countryside. Make sure to try our Pecorino Romano cheese aged over 18 months – it’s the best of the best cheese. Like fine wine, cheese is best enjoyed in the company of family and friends. So take the time to explore my site and you’ll discover a choice of cheeses to please every taste and age. Have fun and make sure to smile and say CHEESE, or KAAS, or QUESO, or GVINA, or FORMAGGIO, or KASE!

Check out these cheeses:

 

 

Posted on December 6, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Health, In the Home, Kosher Kitchen, Kosher New Products, Kosher News

Caramel Apple Upside Down Noodle Kugel For A Chanukah Dairy Meal

FROM DELISH

Caramel Apple Upside Down Noodle Kugel
Prep time:  10 mins
Cook time:  1 hour
Total time:  1 hour 10 mins
Yield: About 8 to 12 servings
ingredients:
  • 12 oz wide egg noodles
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 Granny Smith or cooking/baking apples of your choice, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 cup light or dark brown sugar
directions:
  1. Grease the sides of a 13 x 9 baking dish with butter.
  2. Boil the noodles in salted water for about 4 minutes. Strain noodles and shake until dry. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients before the apples. I use a food processor or blender to make a smooth custard, but mixing it with an electric hand mixer, stand mixer or a spoon or whisk is fine (you’ll just see the cottage cheese curd in the baked kugel.)
  3. Pour the custard over the noodles, mix well, and set aside. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.
  4. Pour the stick of melted butter over the bottom of the baking dish then top with the cup of brown sugar, pressing it down evenly so it covers the bottom and soaks up the butter. Arrange the sliced apples on top of the brown sugar.
  5. Give the noodles another toss to make sure the custard covers them all, and pour over apples. Distribute the noodles evenly over the apples . Cover top of dish with buttered tin foil. Since it’s an upside-down kugel..if you don’t cover it the whole hour, the usual crunchy noodle top, which is traditional, would be on the bottom and get soggy, so it’s pointless.
  6. Bake until the custard is set, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. If you have a platter larger than 13 x 9 inches, flip the noodle kugel onto the platter, as you would an upside down cake. If not, let cool, then cut slices and flip them over onto each serving plate. Spoon any caramel at the bottom of the pan over slices. Tastes great warm or cold!

 

Posted on December 5, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Holidays, In the Home, Kosher Desserts, Kosher Recipes

Celery Root and Mushroom Latkes with Onion Apple Sauce

FROM BON APPETIT

 

Ingredients

Onion Applesauce

  • 1 8-ounce Granny Smith apple
  • 1 8-ounce onion, unpeeled
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Latkes

  • 1 pound celery root (celeriac), peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 pound russet potatoes, peeled, coarsely grated
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound washed mushrooms (such as trimmed, halved oyster or chanterelles, or thinly sliced crimini mushrooms)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten to blend
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon ground turmeric
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil (for frying)

Recipe Preparation

Onion Applesauce

  • Preheat oven to 350°. Line a small rimmed baking sheet with foil. Wrap the apple in another piece of foil. Place unpeeled onion and apple on prepared sheet. Bake until tender, about 1 hour. Let cool completely, keeping the apple in the foil.

  • Unwrap apple; core, peel, and place with juices in a food processor. Peel onion; add to processor. Add 2 tsp. salt. Purée until very smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl. Season applesauce with salt. Cover; chill. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep chilled.

  • Stir in cilantro before serving.

Latkes

  • Meanwhile, mix celery root, potatoes, and salt in a large colander set over a large bowl to draw out moisture. Chill; let drain for 1 1/2 hours. Mix in mushrooms; let drain in refrigerator for 30 minutes longer.

  • Using your hands, squeeze excess moisture from the potato mixture. Transfer to another large bowl. Stir in the eggs and the next 4 ingredients; blend thoroughly. Cover the surface with plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour and up to 3 hours. (This will help bind the latkes.)

  • Preheat oven to 300°. Line a baking sheet with paper towels. Divide latke mixture into 16 equal portions on another baking sheet. Form each into a 1/2″-thick patty. Pour oil into a large nonstick skillet to a depth of 1/4″; heat over medium heat. Working in batches, fry latkes until cooked through and golden brown, about 5 minutes per side. Transfer to prepared sheet; keep warm in oven while frying remaining latkes.

  • Serve warm latkes with onion applesauce.

Posted on December 4, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Holidays, In the Home, Kosher Kitchen, Kosher Recipes

Sabra Brand Guacamole Infusions

Sabra Dipping Company announced that it is introducing a new variety, Classic Guacamole with Lime, to its line of guacamole products.

Sabra’s recipe for this classic with a twist starts with a chunky, flavorful recipe made with fresh Haas avocados for a homemade taste, and then adds a strong burst of lime. The new variety is available in a 1-pound (16 ounce) size re-closeable container.

“This new variety is really taking guacamole to the next level for guac lovers,” said Eugenio Perrier, CMO at Sabra. “The new product not only has a delicious lime taste, but a new re-closable package that will help the guacamole stay green for a longer period of time.”

Classic Guacamole with Lime is available in the deli section of grocery stores and supermarkets nationwide. The new variety is gluten-free, kosher and Non-GMO. The suggested retail price is $6.49.

SabraGuacamole_900
Posted on November 30, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, Health, In the Home, Kosher Kitchen, Kosher New Products, Kosher News

Hershey’s Gold

Hershey’s Gold is the brand’s first new flavor in 20-plus years. Hershey’s Gold Caramelized Creme with Peanuts and Pretzels features a caramelized creme with a combination of sweet, salty, crunchy and creamy goodness, according to the brand. The new product will hit retailer shelves nationwide Dec. 1, and be available in a 1.4-ounce standard bar at an SRP of 99 cents. and a 2.5-ounce king-size bar at an SRP of $1.69.  OU-D

 

Hershey’s Gold

Posted on November 29, 2017 at 12:02 am by Rabbi Jeffrey Rappoport · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General Topics, In the Home, Kosher Desserts, Kosher New Products, Kosher News