Zabar's and Nova go together like breakfast and scrambled eggs. Put them all together and you have Tori Avey's delicious Smoked Salmon Goat Cheese Scramble. We, of course, recommend Zabar's Handsliced Nova Salmon. Enjoy!
A little history from Tori Avey: Believe it or not, carrots were not always orange. The Dutch may have cultivated the color we commonly associate with the root vegetable during the 17th century. Orange carrots may have first been cultivated to honor William of Orange, who led the Dutch revolt against the Spanish Habsburgs resulting in the Eighty Years' War. Later, when the Dutch Patriot movement rebelled against the House of Orange, carrots were viewed as a distasteful tribute to the monarchy. Before this time, carrots could be found in a variety of colors, including yellow, purple and white. Thanks to the farmers and gardeners who have worked hard to revitalize heirloom vegetables in recent years, we are once again seeing these vibrantly colored non-orange carrots.
Because of their dose of Vitamin A, carrots also have a reputation for improving eyesight and at one time were even believed to give the power of night vision. The story comes from WWII, when a famed British pilot by the name of John Cunningham became the first person to take down an enemy plane with the help of newly developed radar networks. In an attempt to keep radar towers a secret from Germany, the Royal Air Force claimed that a diet heavy in carrots was responsible for the pilot’s improved vision.
When carrots are roasted with a mixture of kosher salt and dill, something truly magical happens. Their natural sweetness is enhanced by the salt and fresh herbs. Bonus – this delicious and healthy side dish can be made in no time at all. Try laying them out on a platter for a beautiful, rustic presentation.
We welcome back contributing food writer Tori Avey, from ToriAvey.com; her recipes have appeared on Zabar's emails and blog since 2011. We're thrilled Tori will be sharing recipes with us every couple of months, beginning with today's Preserved Cherries from Martha Washington's Booke of Cookery.
It's a great way to celebrate cherry season and celebrate this 4th of July holiday weekend!
Hello Zabar’s! I’ve missed you so. Living here on the west coast has its perks—nice weather, wide open spaces, the beautiful blue Pacific—but a major flaw, in my opinion, is the lack of Zabar’s. I always look forward to my Zabar’s fix when I fly to New York. Luckily now they ship, so I can have a taste whenever I’m craving it!
Most of you here are familiar with my food blog The Shiksa in the Kitchen; I’ve shared many Jewish-inspired Shiksa recipes here on the Zabar’s blog. I’m excited to tell you about a new website I’ve launched called The History Kitchen (www.thehistorykitchen.com). This site is the culmination of a journey that started when I was a little girl. As a child, I spent a lot of time with my paternal grandparents, Grandpa Clarence and Grandma Lois. Weekends spent with them were filled with art, music, film and history. I soaked up the culture like a sponge. Because of my grandparents, I grew up curious and excited about world history. By the time I was in my twenties, I had become passionate about food and cooking as well as history. My fascination with the roots of old recipes inspired me to start collecting vintage cookbooks. I became a food sleuth, and with each new dish, I made it a mission to discover the origins. I started The History Kitchen and brought on a select group of contributors to write and cook recipes with me. Through The History Kitchen I am able to share a deeper exploration of food, history, and culture with all of you… including recipes like this one, Monticello White Bean Soup!
When Thomas Jefferson was appointed Minister (plenipotentiary) to France from 1785 to 1789, he devoted a great deal of his time there to exploring French cuisine and cooking methods. He became an expert on French wines, and he even brought an enslaved person from Monticello named James Hemings with him to learn French cookery. When Jefferson took the Oath of Office in 1801, one of his first priorities was finding a suitable French chef for the President’s House kitchen.
This French-inspired recipe for White Bean Soup appears in a Monticello cooking manuscript compiled by Jefferson’s granddaughters, Virginia Randolph Trist and Septimia Anne Randolph Meikleham, slightly updated for clarity with black pepper (a popular spice at the time) added for flavor. At Monticello, this would have been served as one of several appetizers in a multi-course meal. Nowadays, it makes a comforting and seasonal vegetarian entrée. To read more about the history of this dish, check out Monticello White Bean Soup on The History Kitchen.
This tasty loaf cake is a unique take on a traditional Rosh Hashanah honey cake. Dates are actually a symbolic food for Rosh Hashanah, so it’s a great choice for the holiday. In Hebrew, a date is called a “tamar,” which is related to the word “tam” (meaning “to end”) and the word “sheyitamu” (meaning “to be consumed”). Dates are eaten in the hopes that our enemies will be consumed. They also happen to be naturally sweet, which is another good reason to eat them for Rosh Hashanah (as we hope for a sweet new year). And here’s another fun fact– biblical scholars believe that the honey repeatedly mentioned in the Torah likely came from dates (and other fruits), not bees. Yet another good reason to eat dates for Rosh Hashanah!
So, what better way to enjoy dates than in a sweet, delicious honey cake? The dates provide lots of moisture, which makes this a convenient make-ahead dessert—the cake will not dry out if you make it a day or two before the holiday begins. The walnuts add some nice texture and crunch. It’s naturally dairy free, but can be topped with cream cheese frosting for some extra decadence (if you’re not worried about keeping it pareve).
I hope this cake ends up on your holiday table. It will definitely be on mine. Yummy!
This post marks my 10th recipe contribution to the Zabar’s blog, a proud milestone indeed. I love the Zabar’s team; over a year ago they welcomed me into their fabulous store, and immediately made me feel like part of the family. That’s why I’m beyond excited to make a special announcement here on the Zabar’s blog. Today, I am launching a new website called The History Kitchen. Those who follow my blog know that I am a “food history nerd”—I love learning about the origins of different ingredients and recipes. I decided to create a new website dedicated to exploring all facets of food history, from ancient Mesopotamian meals to the cocktails of Mad Men and everything in between. I’ll be posting on The History Kitchen about a variety of historical culinary topics, and I’ll also be posting on PBS Food in a new History Kitchen column. Those of you who follow The Shiksa in the Kitchen will be happy to know that I still plan to post there regularly, just like I always have. I consider The History Kitchen to be like a “sister site” to TheShiksa.com—it’s a natural extension of something that I already love to do. I hope you get a chance to check out The History Kitchen, it’s already shaping up to be a fascinating corner of the web!
What better way to celebrate this new website adventure than by grilling up something delicious? 4th of July is just around the corner, and people across the country are planning to grill for the holiday. It’s fitting that we often celebrate America’s birthday by gathering to grill with friends, family and neighbors. Grilling isn’t just a way to cook food—it’s a social gathering that has brought people together since the early days of America. While the grill is usually reserved for burgers, hot dogs, and steaks, it doesn’t have to be that way. I’m discovering that grilled vegetables can be every bit as inviting as their meatier counterparts. Case in point—grilled zucchini!
Zucchini (also known as courgette) is a relatively modern variety of summer squash. Like all squash, zucchini has ancestry in North America. Archaeological evidence suggests that squash may have been first cultivated on the isthmus between North America and South America (known as Mesoamerica) around 10,000 years ago. Squash was one of the three major native crops planted by Native Americans, known as the “Three Sisters”– maize (corn), beans, and squash. After the New World was colonized, squash found its way to Europe. Zucchini as we know it today was developed in Italy in the late 1800’s, a distant relative of its Mesoamerican squash ancestors. It was introduced back to America by Italian immigrants in the early 1920’s, and has been a favorite in this country ever since.
During the summer, I love to grill zucchini; it’s a simple way to enhance the mild flavor of this versatile squash. This recipe is one of those simple, tasty dishes that might become a standard on your grill menu, especially if you have a lot of zucchini growing in your garden. The simple basting mixture allows the natural flavor of the zucchini to shine through. The butter and lemon essence give these veggies a wonderful tangy zip. This would make a terrific addition to a 4th of July menu, and it couldn’t be easier to make!
Every summer, I get a “hankering” for tomatoes with fresh basil. The paring works so naturally together – it’s fresh and subtly sweet and wonderfully herby. The flavor takes me back to my grandpa’s garden, where as a child I used to help him harvest tomatoes fresh from the vine. Sweet freshly picked vine-ripened tomatoes… now that’s a taste you never forget. I can almost smell it now, those happy growing plants and the freshly turned earth.
Like most Americans, I grew up eating red tomatoes (roma tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, etc.). It wasn’t till college that I discovered heirloom tomatoes. I was quickly enchanted by the colors and flavors of the various heirloom varieties. Heirloom vegetables are plant varieties from original seeds that are over 100 years old. For an heirloom vegetable to be considered a true heirloom, the plant must have been introduced prior to 1951, when plant breeders began to hybridize inbred plant lines. The plant must also be open pollinated in a natural way– by insects, birds, wind or weather. Popular heirloom vegetables include squash, beets, beans, corn, lettuce– and, of course, tomatoes.
Ripe seasonal heirloom tomatoes are super flavorful, and this salad celebrates their natural goodness. You don’t need to add much in the way of dressing, just enough to make the flavors pop. There are all kinds of ways to dress the salad up. You can add some sliced sweet onion to it for crunch and spice, or some minced fresh garlic if you like. A little fresh mozzarella or crumbled sheep’s milk feta cheese wouldn’t hurt, either. Personally, I prefer the salad as written—simple and vegan, the perfect side dish for a summer meal.
Here’s the thing… I love pie. Love, love, love it! But at Passover, when leavening is not an option, making a tasty pie crust becomes much more difficult. This recipe evolved out of my need for a Passover pie substitute (because let’s face it– it’s really, really hard to get through an entire week without pie). I did away with the crust entirely and instead relied on matzo cracker crumbs to hold the filling together. The result is something between an apple crumble, a pan dowdy and a pie. Whatever you want to call it, it’s delicious!
Bake this Passover dessert in an old-fashioned pie dish, and nobody will complain about the missing crust… the flavor is very similar to a nutty apple pie. The candied pecans add a crunchy sweet topping to this decadent Passover treat. Serve ala mode for extra deliciousness.
Bourekas are delicious Middle Eastern hand pies. These baked, stuffed pastries are popular in Israel and throughout the Middle East. Different versions of this turnover pastry exist all over the world—knishes, calzones, samosas, bridies, and strudel are all regional variations on the same concept. Bourekas originated in Asia as a deep-fried filled dumpling known as a burga. When the Turks of central Asia moved to what is now the country of Turkey, they brought their stuffed burga dumplings with them. Over time, the dumpling evolved into a variety of stuffed, layered pastries known as börek. Sephardic Jews who settled in Turkey adopted the pastry, merging it with their version of the same dish (empanada) and adapting it to make it kosher. Börek + empanada = boureka. The boureka was born!
Bourekas are made with a variety of savory fillings, including cheese, meat, spinach, and eggplant. They are generally made with either puff pastry or filo (phyllo) dough, and served as appetizers, alongside a meal, or as a portable snack. Of the many boureka varieties out there, cheese bourekas are my favorite. These Cheese Bourekas with Puff Pastry are super easy to make, especially if you use store-bought puff pastry. They also freeze well, which means you can make them ahead and pop them in the oven just before your meal. I keep a stash in the freezer for unexpected company; they’re such a treat with tea or coffee. I also like to serve them with homemade soup for a light and tasty winter meal.
The idea of marbling two different colored batters into a cake originated in nineteenth century Germany. Marble cake made its way to America with German immigrants before the Civil War. Originally the cakes were marbled with molasses and spices. The first recorded Jewish recipe for a marble cake appears in an American cookbook called Aunt Babette’s Cook Book: Foreign and Domestic Receipts for the Household, published in 1889. This recipe replaced the molasses and spice combination by marbling chocolate into the cake, a reflection of the new American obsession with chocolate. The cake remained popular throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.
According to the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food by Gil Marks, “Many Jewish bakeries in the New York area in the 1950’s through the 1970’s would distinctively add a small amount of almond extract to the chocolate marble cake, creating a version sometimes referred to as a ‘German Marble Cake,’ that had a characteristic almond aroma.” Delicious, right?
My German Marble Cake recipe is traditional, with a slightly modern twist-- I like to add vanilla pudding mix to the batter. This little trick is a fantastic way to add moisture and flavor to your cakes. You can use regular or instant pudding mix; just sift it in dry with the flour. It creates a wonderful texture and locks in moisture so the cake doesn’t dry out as quickly. They certainly weren’t doing it this way in Germany 150 years ago, but sometimes it’s fun to improve on tradition. If you don’t have vanilla pudding mix in your pantry, just replace the pudding with an equivalent amount of cake flour. And in case you’re wondering, cake flour is a finer grade of all purpose flour that produces a more delicate cake with a tender crumb. I highly recommend it for this particular cake; it makes a batter just perfect for marbling.
This cake is perfect for the holidays. The loaf size makes it a wonderful hostess gift. Wrap it in cellophane and tie a beautiful ribbon around—presto! A beautiful and tasty homemade gift from the heart. Enjoy!