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Archive for June, 2009

Popular Kosher and Jewish Foods

Wednesday, June 10th, 2009

Major Kosher Foods

In spite of the relatively small size of the Jewish population, kosher food is big business worldwide, and especially in the US. The dollar value of the American kosher food market is some $10 billion, and the dollar value of kosher goods produced in the USA is $175 billion, according to a major kosher food survey conducted by Cannondale Associates.

The survey threw up some interesting revelations. Only 21% of Americans who buy kosher foods do so for religious reasons. Non-Jews who buy kosher food products tend to do so because they think “kosher” is synonymous with “healthy.”

Much like the Jewish people, Jewish cuisine is incredibly varied, and it is hard to single out a specific culinary tradition as particularly “Jewish.” Different Jewish groups such as the Ashkenazi and Sephardic people cook very different foods, incorporating locally available ingredients and regional traditions. All Jewish cuisine shares the common trait of being kosher, meaning that it is made in accordance with Jewish dietary laws.

Some of the major kosher foods are:

Hummus

Hummus is a middle-eastern food composed of chickpeas, or garbanzo beans, and tahini, a paste similar in texture to peanut butter that is made from sesame seeds. Hummus is typically eaten with pita or other flat bread.

Blintz

A blintz is a thin pancake, often filled with cottage cheese or fruit. The blintz originates in Russia, where it may also be called blin or blini. The pancake is much like a crepe, but is cooked twice. It is first prepared as a crepe, then ingredients are added to the middle and the pancake is folded into a rectangular shape and fried in hot oil.

Borscht

Borscht, which is sometimes also spelled borsch and borshch and believed to have originated in Ukraine, is a vegetable soup that is almost always made with beets. The use of beets in this soup lends the dish a vibrant red color. There are some versions of borscht made with without beets. There is orange borscht, which is made with tomatoes, and green borscht, which has a sorrel base. However, beet borscht is the most common form of this soup.

Couscous

Couscous is a coarsely ground semolina pasta that is a dietary staple in North African countries. It is also widely used in Middle Eastern countries and has become popular in American dishes. It is made of semolina, flour, salt, and water. Similar to rice in shape, color, and texture, it is used in many. A grain of couscous is similar in size to a grain of sugar.

Goulash

Originating in Hungary, goulash is a dish that is prepared with a combination of different types of meat and an assortment of vegetables. The consistency of goulash is approximately that of a thick stew, which makes it ideal for serving over various types of noodles or rice. Often, the dish is served with a tablespoon of sour cream on the top of the mixture, adding a slightly creamy quality to the goulash.

Kugel

Kugel is a famous Jewish dish, made especially by the Ashkenazi Jews of Eastern Europe. Evidence exists that the dish was made over 800 years ago, though it has gradually been modified and improved upon over time. Many are used to thinking of kugel as a dessert, and there are lots of kugel dessert styles. It can also be made as a savory side dish or entrée.

Kosher Food

Tuesday, June 9th, 2009

Kosher Food

“Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.”
-Voltaire (1694 – 1778), famous French philosopher and writer

Kashrut refers to Jewish dietary laws. Food in accord with halakha (Jewish law) is termed kosher in English, from the Ashkenazi pronunciation of the Hebrew term kashér, meaning, “fit” (in this context, fit for consumption by Jews according to traditional Jewish law). (more…)

Food in Israel

Monday, June 8th, 2009

Israel is a melting pot of cultures, and food is no exception. Israeli cuisine is a very diverse cuisine consisting of local dishes as well as foods brought to Israel by Jewish immigrants from around the world. All cuisines are a result of the interplay of many forces–historical, sociological, and agricultural. Israeli cuisine and Jewish food is no different.

Therefore, many foods that are typically considered “Israeli” originated from the wider cuisine of the Middle East – including the popular falafel and the famous “Israeli salad” of cucumbers and tomatoes in distinctively small pieces. In addition, Jewish traditions of Eastern Europe play an integral role in Israeli cuisine, with ingredients such as sour cream and dishes such as borscht (a cold soup made from beets).

It is natural that geography has a major role to play in Israeli cuisine, and therefore foods common to the region – olives and olive oil, wheat, chickpeas, yogurt – are also quite common in the culinary preparations. Jewish and Kosher dietary laws also have a strong influence, including the separation of milk, meat and the aversion to foods such as pork and shellfish. In addition, Jewish holidays and festivals have helped shaped the cuisine, resulting in the Israeli tradition of Sufganiot on Hanukkah and an original Israeli Haroset, a traditional Passover food, kosher recipe.

That is not all. Israel has also embraced modernity faster than many nations and this finds resonance in the food scene. From hamburgers (Israel’s first McDonald’s opened in the 90’s) to pizza to sushi (more sushi restaurants per capita in Tel Aviv than in any city on earth, including Tokyo), to the cuisines of India and China, to some of the finest influences of Paris, Brussels, Lyon, Barcelona and New York – the Israeli and Kosher food scene is utterly sophisticated and in step with the latest trends.

Some of the popular foods in Israel are as follows:

  1. Salads – A wide variety of salads is often set out on the table before the main course. Hummus, tahini, matbucha red pepper salad, Moroccan carrot salad, Israeli salad – which is a finely diced tomato and cucumber salad, coleslaw and various eggplant salads are common.
  2. Spicy dips – Skhug brought to Israel by Yemenite Jews, Harissa brought by Tunisian and North African Jews, and Pilpelchuma brought by Libyan Jews, are different hot sauces made from chili peppers and garlic.
  3. Amba – Indian and Iraqi Jews introduced amba, a pickled mango sauce that is spooned over shwarma and falafel.
  4. Labneh – is a soft white cheese with a slightly sour taste derived from the Middle Eastern kitchen.
  5. Pita – a popular Middle Eastern item is a soft, round bread that can be halved and stuffed with falafel, salads or various meats. Bits of pita can be torn off and used to scoop up creamy spreads like hummus or eggplant salad. Schnitzel or steak in pita are said to be an Israeli invention.
  6. Soups – Bean soup and lentil soup are Mizrahi favorites.
  7. Pastries – Bourekas brought to Israel by Jews from Turkey and the Balkans are very popular.
  8. Sandwiches – Sabich is a Middle Eastern sandwich stuffed with eggplant, hard-boiled eggs and tahini. Fricassee is a fried roll stuffed with tuna, cooked potatoes and matbucha brought from Tunisia.
  9. Grilled meat – Kebab and shashlik are popular, as is the Kosher Jerusalem mixed grill.
  10. Shwarma – Originally from Turkey. Traditionally it was made from lamb.
  11. Fish – Fried, grilled and baked fish is often served whole, with the head intact. Hraime, fish baked in hot pepper sauce, is served in many Mizrahi households in honor of Shabbat.
  12. Hummus, chips and salad – The most common accompaniments to food served in a pita. The addition of French fries seems to be exclusive to Israel.
  13. Desserts – Baklava is a sweet pastry often served as dessert, along with small cups of coffee, in Middle Eastern restaurants.
  14. Halva – This sweet, made from techina and sugar, is popular in Israel and used to make original desserts like halva parfait.
  15. Black coffee – Sometimes served with Hel (cardamom).

Kosher food delivery

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Park East Kosher delivers throughout the USA and to select International cities with FedEx or with our own delivery service.

Park East Kosher Butchers and Fine Foods

Park East Kosher Butchers and Fine Foods

If you live in any of the areas listed below you will receive your order by one of our refrigerated trucks directly to your door.

Tuesday:
Livingston
Short Hills
West Orange
Englewood

Wednesday:
Great Neck (Before 3pm)

Thursday:
Five Towns
Bergen County
Connecticut
Westchester
Atlantic Beach
Riverdale
Below 50th Street (Before noon/ After 6pm)*

Friday:
Hamptons