Egg Cream United States

A New York original, egg creams contain neither eggs nor cream. A once ubiquitous street treat, this beverage is a lot harder to come by now. While traditional delis still serve them, you can make your own at home with a squirt of chocolate syrup, followed by a shot of seltzer and a quick stir, then add a trickle of whole milk and stir vigorously while blasting in vibrant shots of soda to create a frothy, creamy concoction.

White Asparagus Europe

Milder in flavor than the green variety, white asparagus is highly prized in
Europe, while in the United States it has only recently come into favor.
A harbinger of spring, asparagus is celebrated in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Austria and Switzerland, where special asparagus menus are featured in restaurants. For an Italian approach, eat it cold with lemon juice and olive oil. If you prefer elaborate flavors, enjoy with a Hollandaise sauce of egg yolks, lemon juice, butter and nutmeg.

Tagine North Africa

020615_valentinesLike the pans Americans call “casseroles,” a tagine is both a cooking vessel and the stew cooked within. A tagine is a deep, wide terra-cotta bowl with a high-peaked conical cover that directs and concentrates heat. Meats, poultry or fish are slow-cooked with various vegetables over direct fire or charcoal, absorbing aromatic spices such as saffron, cinnamon and ginger. Traditionally served tangines are fitted into colorfully woven baskets and passed around to diners, along with rice, couscous or fresh, hot bread.

Fresh Blueberry Cake With Crumb Topping (Dairy/Parve)

Photo by David Stuck

1⁄3 cup (5½ tablespoons) butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg
2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk or soy milk
1 pint blueberries, rinsed and stems discarded
½ pint blueberries for garnish
Topping:
1 cup flour
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup (½ stick) butter
or margarine, softened

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a tube pan or 9-by-13-inch pan. In a large bowl, using electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until well blended. Add the egg, mixing well. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate remaining wet and dry ingredients, except blueberries until well mixed and mixture is smooth. Pour half of the batter in the prepared pan. Sprinkle half of the pint of blueberries over batter and repeat with remaining batter and blueberries.
Topping: In a small bowl, mix all topping ingredients with your fingers to form a coarse meal. Sprinkle evenly over cake. Bake in the 9-by-13-inch pan for 50 minutes or until tests done with a toothpick. In a tube pan, which I prefer, bake for one hour or more, checking for doneness with a toothpick. Serve with the remaining plain fresh blueberries around the serving plate. Serves 8 to 10.

Sephardic Chopped Salad Drizzle (Parve)

012315_holiday_lessons_sphardic_salad

Photo by David Stuck

¼ cup fresh parsley, minced
¼ cup red, yellow or orange bell
pepper, chopped small
1 large scallion, finely chopped
¼ cup good quality pitted black or green olives, chopped
2½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar or wine vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients and serve within an hour. Yields about 1 cup.

Orange Marinated Olives (Parve)

1 cup pitted brine-cured olives
¼ cup fresh orange juice*
¼ cup olive oil
About 8 strips orange peel, cut into very thin julienne strips
2 cloves fresh garlic, very thinly sliced
¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper, optional
salt to taste

In a medium bowl, mix the first 5 ingredients. Season to taste with the crushed red pepper and salt. Refrigerate for at least a few hours. *You can substitute lemon peel and juice. Serve with a tiny demitasse spoon. Yields about 1½ cups.

Soul Food

Haredi men training to be chefs at a culinary course run by the Jerusalem Kivun Center, Jan. 4, 2015.

Haredi men training to be chefs at a culinary course run by the Jerusalem Kivun Center, Jan. 4, 2015.

JERUSALEM — Five haredi Orthodox men are standing around a large wooden table crowded with bowls of chopped tomato, garlic, carrots and greens, their ritual fringes poking out from under their aprons. Each is wielding a large chef’s knife.

Their instructor, wearing an embroidered chef’s outfit and grasping a raw chicken thigh, tells his charges to cut the limb along the bone and pull it apart with their hands.

Hunched over their cutting boards, the men get to work.

“I like good and tasty food, and I think I need to get to a higher level,” said Avraham Blau, a haredi father of seven hoping for a career as a cook. “I’m always critical of others’ food. I always have suggestions that bug me with their food.”

Blau and his four classmates are the first students in a six-week culinary arts program run by the Jerusalem Kivun Center, a government-funded initiative launched last year to train haredi Orthodox Israelis for full-time employment. After the program, they hope to become professional chefs in Jerusalem restaurants.
Increasing haredi participation in Israel’s labor force has been a central goal of the Israeli government, which has passed a raft of legislation since 2013 aimed at integrating haredi Israelis into the country’s military and economic ranks. Many haredi men receive stipends to study Torah well into adult life and only 45 percent participate in the labor force, as opposed to 81 percent of all Israeli men.

Most of the 2,500 haredim who have attended Kivun’s classes have trained for desk jobs with minimal physical labor and relatively steady hours. But Kivun director Yehiel Amoyal said the culinary class helps meet Jerusalem’s high demand for chefs and appeals to those who want to work with their hands.
“We want to stream jobs to where there’s employment,” Amoyal said.

In an effort to help the job search, Kivun invited hotel and restaurant managers to watch the students chop vegetables. Managers offered jobs to students pending completion of the course based on, among other things, how fast they chopped, whether they maintained posture and how many chopped carrots fell on the ground.

Though seven of the initial 12 students dropped out of the course, the remaining five are guaranteed jobs in kosher Jerusalem restaurants after they graduate this month.

“Regarding inclination to cook, whoever has the motivation to learn and advance will get where he wants,” said Maor Gross, the manager of Papagaio, a South American restaurant that will be hiring one of the trainee chefs. “I’m looking for good people who want it, who have a work ethic.”

A love of cooking drove some of the students to the course.

Blau, 37, who has managed a print shop and jewelry store, revels in cooking at home and has long dreamed of becoming a chef. But concerns about cooking non-kosher food and working with women kept him from culinary school until he learned of Kivun’s course.

“I have a lot of experience with meat, and I was weak on dairy,” said Blau, who now enjoys making lasagna and quiche and will work at a branch of Cafe Cafe, a chain of upscale dairy restaurants, after the course. “Cooking entrecote, I would do it too well done. Now I do it medium-well and it’s much juicier. That raised my skill level.”

The course, which meets two to three times each week, covers 21 cooking skills, from desserts to pasta, meat and fish. Instructor Itai Farkas calls it a crash course in what can be a demanding profession.
“It’s like basic training — taking people who haven’t worked and making them work 200 hours a week,” Farkas said.

Cooking may prove difficult for haredi men, as restaurants and hotels often demand they work nights, weekends and holidays — times the men are used to spending with their families. But Blau says he’s willing to make that sacrifice to pursue a craft he loves.
“If I have a career and a salary, it’s worth it to take evenings, Saturday nights and minor holidays,” he said. “In a few years I’ll have experience and a salary, and the ability to go far.”

KRUPP

On January 12, 2015, ALAN, beloved husband of the late Selma Krupp (nee Gross); devoted father of Mindy Krupp, Dr. Bernard (Doris) Krupp, Elaine Krupp and Michael (Nancy) Krupp; loving brother of Gerald (Felice) Krupp and the late Jay Krupp; cherished grandfather of Elysha Krupp-Salasca (Pascal Salasca) and Jillian Krupp-Martindale (Bart Martindale); dear uncle of Heidi Krupp-Lisiten. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane, on Thursday, January 15 at noon. Interment at Baltimore Hebrew Cemetery, Berrymans Lane. Please omit flowers. Contributions in his memory may be sent to the Wounded Warrior Project, 1120 G St. NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005. In mourning at 3512 Woodvalley Drive, Pikesville, MD 21208, immediately following interment.

SHERMAN

On December 18, 2014, Sheldon G.; beloved husband of Dorothy Sherman (nee Rehr); adored father of Dan Sherman, Ron Sherman, and Roz (Len) Rus; cherished brother of Donald Sherman, and the late Jerome Sherman, Hilda Zeigler, Samuel Sherman, Rose Levin, and Anita Auerhand; loving grandfather of Jay (Archana) Sherman, Barret Rus, and Janna Rus; loving great-grandfather of Maya Sherman.

Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane, on Sunday, December 21, at 2 p.m. Interment Arlington Cemetery, Chizuk Amuno Congregation. N. Rogers Ave. Please omit flowers. Contributions in his memory may be sent to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital 262 Danny Thomas Place Memphis, TN 38105. 

In mourning at 15 Cornfield Ct. (Preserve), Reisterstown, MD 21136. Sunday immediately following interment, Monday and Tuesday starting at 1pm with services at 7:30 p.m.

VERNIK

On December 25, 2014, Lyova, beloved husband of the late Gitlya Rabin; loving father of Larisa (Ilyavu) Gavrielova and Semyon (Yana Teller) Vernik; devoted brother of Anatoly Breizman; adored grandfather of Svetlana (Vadim) Bakaev, Alla (Andrew) Goldberg, Natella Gavrielova and Dmitry Vernik; loving great-grandfather of six. Services at SOL LEVINSON & BROS., INC., 8900 Reisterstown Road, at Mount Wilson Lane on Friday, December 26 at 12 p.m. Interment Arlington Cemetery, Chizuk Amuno Congregation N. Rogers Ave. Please omit flowers. In mourning at 3 Cobblestone Court Apt. 1A, Baltimore, MD 21215.