Kosherfest And More

110813_kosherfest-and-moreThis year, the annual Kosherfest celebrated its 25th anniversary. A lackluster economy may be the reason that the 2013 event seemed scaled down. However, there was no lack of enthusiasm by the many attendees, who scoured the aisles for delicious products to sample.

Each year, there are competitions for the best in show in many categories. Best New Gift or Novelty Item went to AGIV Ltd. Publishing for its Passover haggadah in the shape of a wine bottle. Best New Kosher for Passover Item went to Finchi’s decadent chocolate mousse by Aunt Rashi’s Goodies. Premier Tasty Meats won Best Meat/Poultry/Seafood for its hickory smoked beef brisket — sliced and packaged for retail sales.

A neighbor of mine smoked a brisket this year, and it was fantastic, especially sliced thin. I will let you know if and when Premier’s Brisket is available in Baltimore. (Hint: A smoker would be a great Chanukah gift this year.)

I was not part of the judging, but I had my own Kosherfest favorites. I loved the new Star of David shaper for potato pancakes by The Kosher Cook. I was also delighted by artist Nina Sabaq’s magnificent hand-painted wine bottles. They are available online at drinknstylecorp.com, but you truly have to see these glasses up close to appreciate the labor of love and talent put into them.

A few booths did acknowledge the upcoming Thanksgivukkah. Leave it to Manischewitz to have a Thanksgivukkah recipe contest. Go to its website manischewitz.com for details. Hurry, though. The deadline is Sunday, Nov. 10. If you enter an original Thanksgivukkah dish using at least one Manischewitz product, you could win some real gelt. Both holidays are so steeped in traditional recipes, it shouldn’t be hard to do.

Here are some of my favorite recipes that may inspire your creativity. Thanksgivukkah tov to all!

ILENE’S HOLIDAY PUMPKIN DIP
PUMPKIN HUMMUS
A GREAT CRANBERRY SWIRL COFFEE CAKE

Tips & Tricks
• I make homemade potato pancakes using Manischewitz’s homestyle box mix and add fresh or refrigerated shredded potatoes and chives. Freeze ahead.
• Look through your photos for pictures of your guests to place on a toothpick in mini-pumpkins, apples and pears for great place cards.
• Big Lots has an extra-large bag of chocolate gold coins for $5 to spread all over your table.

Ilene Spector is a local freelance writer.

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