Sips & Suppers, a fundraiser benefitting DC Central Kitchen and Martha's Table, is right around the corner. There are still tickets left for both Sips (January 24th at the Newseum) and Suppers (January 25 at homes across the Washington DC region) - check out www.sipsandsuppers.org for more information.
Earlier today, Chef Bertrand Chemel of 2941 joined me on WUSA9 to talk about Sips and Suppers. Click here to view the clip.
I was interviewed by Clark and Marcy from At the Table with Wolf & Smothers, a weekly food radio show on KSRO. Listen here!
I'd like to share a lovely note that I received from a reader:
I want to thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for including the recipe
for Hutzel Wecken in "Quiches, Kugels and Couscous."
For many years, in the 1960s and 70s, in December, my mother used to order a
bread, we called Hutzelbrot, from a bakery in New York (we lived in Calif).
My family would eat this and give it away as gifts. It was a family
favorite. She would send a check and we would receive a big box of
individual round loaves. The bakery imported the bread from Germany.
At some point either the cost of the bread became too expensive, or the
bakery went out of business, I forget. But in any case we could no longer
get the bread. Since I had started baking bread when I was 10, my mom and I
figured that eventually we would find a recipe for it, or be able to invent
one. We tried for many years but were never able to recreate this bread. My
mom died in 2002.
Then, in 2010, my sister phoned me excitedly, "I have the bread, I have the
bread!" Someone had brought it to her Chanukah party and she sent me the
recipe from your book. She even saved a piece in her freezer for when I
visited a few months later.
I bought your book and I make the bread every year now and wish my mom had
lived to eat it again.
I agree with you that peanuts have no place in this bread. The version we
got from that bakery was darker, more of a light pumpernickel/rye bread. So
I add some rye flour to the mix when I make it.
On my own, I would never have figured out the ratio of flour to fruit.
I am so happy to have this family bread back, it was hugely missed. So,
again, thank you so much for the recipe, it is very special and means a lot
to my family.
Thank YOU, Julie! It's stories like these that keep my work moving forward.
To ring in a sweet New Year, I made one of my favorite open-faced tarts with Italian plums. See the recipe over at KosherEye. L'shanah tovah!
Jewish London was jumping last week as the city celebrated its fifth annual Gefiltefest food fair.
The popular festival, started by the energetic and charming Michael Leventhal, was held at the sprawling Ivy House in Golders Green. Kosher food was being made—and discussed—in every corner: teenagers on how to raise free-range eggs at home, a challah-baking workshop with Challah for Hunger, Claudia Roden and Chef Silvia Nacamulli on Italian-Jewish cuisine, a local rabbi on the kosher status of the giraffe. (Last year, the same fellow, Rabbi Dr. Harvey Belovski, discussed the kashrut of locusts—with samples.)
Two days before the festival, Nacamulli delighted the fair’s three American authors—Kim Kushner, Poopa Dweck, and myself—with a Roman Jewish Shabbat dinner featuring eggplant dishes, and, as a special treat, carciofi alla giudia, with artichokes she’d brought from Italy, and then fried.
After the festival, which featured the launch of The Gefiltefest Cookbook, I visited Honey & Co., a tiny restaurant advertising “food from the Middle East.” For breakfast there I had coffee and an Armenian lahmajun topped with spinach, mint, dill, and parsley with Israeli chef owner Itamar Srulovich and Sarit Packer, who with worked famed Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi for seven years. One night I dined at Zest, whose chef, Eban Tibi, also worked at Ottolenghi’s, the chef’s eponymous restaurant.
This innovative kosher fish restaurant features dishes like sweet potato tahini with garlic oil and crisp onion, and butterflied sea bream with brik papillote, chilli, and bay glaze with a harissa coconut sauce. The chef told us that the coconut milk was a happy mistake. He’d wanted to use heavy cream, but it was so expensive they switched.
Downtown in Soho, the chef-owners of Machne Yehuda in Jerusalem have joined forces with an English couple to open Palomar, on Rupert Street, once considered an unsavory part of London with a bad reputation. Here, I was able to share a table with Israeli writer Gil Hovav and taste the dishes I’d tasted in Jerusalem, and then some.
But it was with Yotam Ottolenghi at his restaurant Nopi that I understood where all this excitement was coming from. At lunch we tasted new dishes for his menu. As we ate, Ottolenghi and his business partner Sami Tamini, who co-authored the cookbook Jerusalem, came by to taste and talk. With dishes and unexpected flavors like sea bass, lovage, and watercress sauce; borage and roasted cherry tomatoes; and what they call a M.E. Mess—a deceptively simple-seeming pomegranate trifle with mascarpone cheese, whipped cream, strawberries, pomegranates, and crumbled meringue, among other flavors.
While critiquing the dishes back and forth, I understood the standard they set, flowing from two sons of Jerusalem to our global world of food. Fortunately for the British, they landed in London.
Keep up with Joan as she travels through France, England, and Italy in June! Joan will participate in Gefiltefest 2014, meet up with Yotam Ottolenghi for dinner, explore Cambridge's Genizah Collection, dine with Fiippo Bartolotta of Mama Florence, and interview home cooks throughout Italy. Be sure to check Joan's Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram - you never know where she'll be next.