Herzog Wine Cellars

David and I were lucky enough to visit the Herzog Wine Cellars during a weekend trip to Los Angeles for a tour of the facilities, wine tasting and brunch. Our visit coincided with this year’s harvest celebration. The winery is actually in Oxnard, about an hour outside of LA, and well worth the trip! We learned so much about the wine making process and about kosher wine. If you live in or are visiting the area, you should definitely have a delicious meal (and it will be delicious) at Tierra Sur, accompanied by some Herzog wine!

Can you tell we like wine tasting? Jessica went to Hagafen Cellars on her trip to Napa earlier this year.

Looking at the wine-making process in these vats and barrels (though glass; sorry for the reflections). The winery here is not a vineyard, so Herzog sources its grapes from all over California.

We made it to the wine tasting room and sampled a bottle of wine that hasn’t been released yet. See, the label is just a piece of tape; the real labels haven’t been printed yet. David had to open and pour the wine! Can you guess why?

This was one of my favorite parts: bottled smells of wine characteristics. This is the “good” box, which (luckily) is much bigger than the “bad” one. We smelled things like moldy and horsey before moving on to dark chocolate and caramel. I had no idea something like this existed, and still don’t know how they perfectly bottled those scents.

And now, time for brunch at Tierra Sur, the restaurant at Herzog Wine Cellars, where Chef Todd Aaron uses local California produce! Lucky for me, there was a special buffet for the harvest festival, so I got to taste everything. I think those mini barbecued beef sandwiches were my favorite part! David really liked the juicy capon; he asked me to replicate it! When the manager told us what was in this quiche, we thought we misheard him: it’s bacon; lamb bacon! I couldn’t have fit more food on my plate if I tried:

And now, time for dessert. Apple pie, a mini pumpkin bundt and a rich chocolatey cupcake. I can’t decide which was my favorite, they were all amazing. I had to share my plate with David, though. I was too stuffed from the buffet to finish everything!

After our meal, it was time for more wine tasting! We tasted wines that were still in the barrel and that will only be released in the tasting room (become a member of one of their wine clubs to get a bottle!). The Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley was especially delicious, and its undecided what will become of it in the future.

I had to refrain from buying any of the beautiful condiments, marinades, olives and, of course, wines in the gift shop since I didn’t want to check my luggage at the airport. Then I was forced to check my suitcase when boarding, since the overhead bins were full. I could have brought home so many goodies! Ugh! I don’t want to talk about it, I’m still kinda mad…

A special thanks to Monica and Joe for inviting us out and showing us around! What a great way to end my short trip to California!

p.s. I thought that we New Yorkers had it all when it came to kosher food, but that was before I visited LA! What’s your favorite city for kosher eating?

p.p.s. Don’t forget to enter our giveaway!

Kosher by Design Teens and 20somethings + a Giveaway!

We just got a copy of Susie Fishbein’s new cookbook Kosher by Design Teens and 20somethings, a great resource for just-starting-out chefs and a great addition to the Kosher by Design series! This book is obviously targeting a younger generation of cooks, but don’t let that (or the spaghetti squash wearing sunglasses) turn you off.

Whether you’re heading to college, you’re a newlywed in a new kitchen or maybe you are just sick of takeout, this is a great cookbook for you. Not only does it have simple and delicious recipes (David made fun of the number of them I bookmarked for future dinners), but it has great tips and suggestions for a young cook. Hey, we Kosher Foodies are not exactly beginners, but we are 20somethings with full-time jobs who like to sit down to a home-cooked meal after a long day, so these are great recipes for long days like that. The book even guides readers, helping them plan ahead, and use the same ingredients in one week. Thanks, Susie!

But enough of this talk, you can see for yourself! One lucky reader can get a free copy of the book. How’s that, you ask? There are four ways, and you can enter up to four times:

  1. Leave a comment on this post and share with us your favorite weeknight recipe (we’re always looking for new ideas; meat, dairy, pareve, whatever!).
  2. Follow us on Twitter (@kosherfoodies)
  3. Like us on Facebook (facebook.com/kosherfoodies)
  4. Email 5 of your friends and tell them to check us out (and CC kosherfoodies@gmail.com)

And if you don’t win, don’t fret; here’s a message from ArtScroll:

Preorder your copy today at ArtScroll.com – enter the coupon code KBDBLOG at checkout to save 10% and receive free shipping in the continental U.S. Join us online to find more reviews and giveaway contests! Kosher by Design Teens & 20-Somethings: cooking for the next generation is aimed at the young and digital-savvy fast-food generation and those who cook for them. Susie Fishbein is an everyday cook who loves to share her passion for cooking and entertaining with friends and family. Her enthusiasm for food and entertaining led to the creation of her best-selling cookbook, Kosher by Design, published in 2003 by ArtScroll Shaar Press. For more recipes and updates, visit our blog or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Dakshin Indian Restaurant

David and I just came back from a delicious Indian dinner at Dakshin on 1st Avenue between 63rd and 64th Streets.

I’ve eaten in many Indian restaurants before, but only vegetarian meals, this was my first experience with meat Indian. Dakshin is the only Glatt kosher Indian restaurant among the dozens here in the city.

We ordered the chicken tikka masala and the lamb vindaloo. These entrees did not come with rice; we ordered lemon rice on the side.

The food was delicious, authentic and spicy! The lamb was so tender and delicious and both of the sauces were nice and flavorful. Unfortunately, the portions were so generous that we could barely finish them and didn’t leave any room for dessert. We appreciated the complimentary rice pudding anyway.

The service was excellent, and not just for a kosher restaurant on a Saturday night. Our waiter was very attentive, he helped us choose from the menu and constantly made sure we had enough water.

Have you been to Dakshin? What did you think?

Leek Ejjeh + Happy New Year

Chag Sameach everyone! We hope everyone has a sweet and healthy new year.

Everyone knows the custom of dipping apples in honey for Rosh HaShanah…actually, our family has different customs (and we don’t even have honey at the table, we use sugar instead). The Sephardic custom is to make many brachot on simanim, the symbolic foods we eat during the seder, before the meal. Before sharing the Leek Ejjeh recipe with you, I thought I might explain what our holiday meal with consist of tonight, and share the simanim that we will eat in order to celebrate the new year. Some more information on a (somewhat different) Rosh HaShanah seder can be found here.

The first siman is apples dipped in sugar (or honey). We eat this so that we will have a good and sweet new year. Cut the apples and serve with a bowl of sugar. Done.

The mext is tamarim, or dates. We eat this so that our enemies may be destroyed. No need to prepare these, we just buy dried dates – medjool dates are quite tasty on their own.

The third siman is leeks. We eat these so that our enemies will be destroyed (again). The recipe for leeks is at the bottom of this post – thanks for your patience!

The fourth siman, swiss chard, is eaten in hopes of removing our enemies (yet again).

The fifth siman is gourd. We make a bracha asking God to tear up any oppressive decrees in areas where Jews live and to proclaim our merits before Him.

The next siman is black eyed peas, or Lubiyeh. We eat this in order to increase our merits. These small beans are eaten stewed with meat – our family uses kibbe (the same little meatballs I made with mushrooms the other day) – and served as part of the regular meal and the seder during the holiday meal.

We eat the next siman, pomegranates (or rimon), asking God to grant us bountiful merits and goodwill, as many as the fruit’s seeds. Cut the fruit in half and immerse in a bowl of water while scraping the seeds away from the flesh with your fingers. The white flesh will float to the top, and the seeds will sink to the bottom. Scrape the flesh from top of the bowl and drain the seeds, it’s as easy as that. This method also stops your kitchen and clothing from getting all red.

Lastly, we eat tongue as the next siman. Tongue is eaten to symbolize a lamb’s head (I think some families eat fish, as well). This is to symbolize that we will be leaders (at the head) rather than followers at the trail. The meat is also a reminder of the ram that Avraham sacrificed instead of his son, Yitzchak. We buy tongue from the deli. Most people at the table don’t want to eat it.

The last thing we eat, after the simanim, is a new fruit. This should be a fruit that has just come into season, and therefore we were unable to eat for an entire year. We say Shehechianu on this fruit and thank God for keeping us alive and bringing us to this season. Our family usually eats starfruit or dragon fruit.

And without further ado, the leek ejjeh we will be enjoying for the next two nights:

We actually make our leeks into small latkes, quite similar to the tasty Chanukah treat. They’re delicious this way – crispy, tasty, and small. Not breaded like onion rings, but with the same flavor. They taste somewhat similar, actually.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 large leeks, or 4-5 small leeks, washed well and chopped (don’t try to grate them on a box grater. They will get stringy)
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or matzah meal
  • 2 eggs
  • Egg white from one egg
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Directions:

1. Prepare oil for frying: pour about 1/2 inch of oil into a high-walled pan. Place on burner over medium heat.

2. Combine leeks, eggs, and breadcrumbs. Mix to combine. Check consistency. If it’s too dry, add the egg white. If too wet, add more bread crumbs. The batter should be loose but be able to come together into a ball if squeezed. Add salt and pepper.

3. Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out batter into balls.

4. Test the frying oil with a tiny amount of batter. Make sure it sizzles but doesn’t burn. Prepare a plate or tray to drain the patties after frying. I used a paper towel-lined plate. My grandmother used to use brown paper bags (yes, the ones from the grocery store). Alton brown uses a cooling rack on top of a towel-lined cookie sheet. That’s probably the best idea if you can do it.

5. Using a slotted spoon, drop the batter, one at a time, into the oil, flattening into patties as you drop them. Only put 5-4 in the oil at a time, because you don’t want the temperature to drop too much and the patties to get soggy.

6. After one minute, they should be brown. Flip the patties. Fry on the other side for a minute. Remove from oil with slotted spoon and place on draining plate. Repeat until all are fried.

7. Sprinkle with salt when still warm.

8. Serve along with the bracha: “that those who hate us be cut away”

Shana tova!

And the Winner is…

Kathleen!

Congratulations! We will contact you privately to send you an extra-special goodie bag.

Kosher Foodies 1st Birthday Giveaway

The Kosher Foodies are turning 1!

Wait, no. The Kosher Foodies is turning one. The Kosher Foodies are a bit older than that…

Well, in celebration of the anniversary of our blog first blog post we will be giving out a special Kosher Foodie gift basket to one lucky winner!

All you have to do is comment on this post; tell us what your favorite recipe is and what you hope to get in your gift basket. It’s really that easy, so leave a comment! Tell your friends! We will announce the winner on the night of our birthday: Tuesday, July 13.

Happy birthday to our blog!

Shavuot Recipe Roundup

Shavuot is distinct from most other holidays because we traditionally eat dairy (why?). This means that we can eat gooey cheesey dinners, and more importantly, we don’t have to make desserts using fake butter like we usually do!! So we always pick out some special recipes to share with our family during this holiday.

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Hagafen Cellars – Napa, CA

Out of hundreds of wineries in the Napa Valley, there are only two kosher ones. We had the pleasure of visiting one, HaGafen Cellars, on our recent trip to California. There were two groups there besides us (people who didn’t even know what kosher wine meant) all getting tastings of their delicious wine.

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Food TV

I miss Food Network.

Stupid Cablevision and Scripps…

Kosher Food at Yankee Stadium

Last night my husband and I went to the Yankee game; It was my first time at the new Yankee Stadium, and I was excited to try the kosher food, which is provided by Ouri’s Caterers from Brooklyn (I’m pretty sure they provide food for Citi Field, too). There are five kosher food stands at Yankee Stadium. We visited three.

kashrut certification

kashrut certification

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