Garlic Roasted Turkey

Roast Turkey, what could be easier?  We all have eaten many a overdone, dried out, and reheated bird.  This recipe is  extremely simple and it leads to moist flavorful results.

To start with, I buy a kosher, no hormone Continue reading

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Easy Fresh Cranberry Sauce

Fresh cranberries are a delight with their tart  flavor that blends well with citrus and sweet.  The flavor enhances poultry, especially turkey on Thanksgiving.  Continue reading

Sukkot Entertaining

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Sukkot Party II 09 025I can breathe a sigh of relief, until next year, Sukkot, Simhat Torah and all the rest of it is finally over with. The New Year has begun, counting down the days yet again.

Every year I approach the building of our Sukkah and the entertaining we do in it with renewed enthusiasm. The Los Angeles area, with its mild climate, lends itself to dining al fresco at night even in September, October. Today I must confess, with impending rain clouds above (strange for this time of year), my helpers and I rushed Continue reading

A Sephardic Rosh Hashanah

053A Sephardic Tradition for Rosh Hashanah

My family has a unique culinary heritage, migrating from the Holy Land to Spain; my ancestors lived and flourished in the Golden Age for centuries.  The Golden Age was a time of religious tolerance in Spain’s history from around 711  to the 13th century, an age of civility, poetry, enlightened medicine, and delightful cuisine.  If you visit Spain today, you will find influences in art, architecture, poetry and the ethnic makeup of the people left from their presence in cities like Toledo, Barcelona, and Seville.  The history of Spain is full of famous Jewish physicians and various advisors to the ruling caliphate.

When times changed and Jews faced the cruel expulsion edict by Queen Isabella (1492), my ancestors chose an escape route, heading east, along Mediterranean shores.  Ultimately, they settled in parts of the Ottoman Empire, centered in Turkey.  The Sephardic people took this route at the Sultan’s invitation, as he welcomed us into his lands.

The Sephardim settled in exotic places like Salonika, Rhodes,tuulijumala090800025runamock090200007and Turkish cities and towns.  In these Mediterranean, cerulean blue skied islands and coastal towns my family found a safe haven where they would flourish.  They lived a gracious life style with family and friends, indulging in the abundance of regional foods with which to create holidays and celebrations.  From an elaborate afternoon coffee time called La Tavla de Dulce (the tray of sweets) to this Rosh Hashanah feast, my mother, grandmother, and great grandmothers used local fresh ingredients.

The influences from Spain to the Eastern Mediterranean on the cuisine of the Sephardim were truly incredible.  This part of the globe features much  fine cooking and sophiscated flavors.  Jewish dietary law with rules about useable ingredients and combining gives the cuisine a unique difference.

Now that I represent the next generation of Sephardic home cooks I put my American influence into the mix and the cuisine continues to evolve.  Sephardic Jewish cuisine is a culinary heritage, rich in the diversity of vegetables, grains, fruits, honey, and spices that reflect the regions traveled by my family.  Some of the best ritualized tasting happens at the Jewish New Year’s Eve dinner, after sundown.

Our tradition is to make a Seder, Continue reading

Piyaz Turkish Restaurant

Piyaz Restaurant

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Piyaz Restaurant

Greetings from the East Coast.  Sunday I embarked on my bi-annual visit to my sister in New Jersey.  Our get together ritual includes a week long shopping, eating, and seeking out unique food emporiums, adventure.

Queens was our destination today, since we would pass it on the Van Wyck expressway from JFK to Long Branch, New Jersey. We exited the expressway to check out the 5 towns, including Lawrence, Woodmere, and Cedarhurst.  To my delight, several eateries on the main drag were advertising Borekas on their billboards. The heat of the day was becoming oppressive with the high humidity making the air heavy and we returned to the car after trying to buy an unsweetened iced green tea.  I guess they don’t drink that here.  It was time to head to our real destination, Piyaz, a Turkish restaurant.FRESH LIMA BEANS 020

Piyaz is the only kosher, authentic Turkish restaurant in the United States.  Piyaz has been open less than a year.  It’s bright and cheerful ambiance and spotless appearance made me hopeful that the food would be tasty.  The name Piyaz comes from a Turkish salad with white beans, lettuce, parsley, onions, and green peppers.  Although the two of us ordered enough food for 4 to 5 people we didn’t order the Piyaz.DSC_0125

Our waiter, a handsome, fresh faced, young man from Odessa, was eager to please.  We ordered a combination plate Continue reading