Julie Steinberg

Julie Steinberg lives in Hoboken NJ with her husband and 2 children. In addition to writing for The Jew and the Carrot, she also maintains a personal blog (http://cheznoonie.blogspot.com/) as well as She Cooks, He Cleans: A Love Story (http://she-cooks-he-cleans.blogspot.com/), a he said-she said blog with her husband.

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Yid Dish: Homemade challah for the working woman

I recently headed back to the office after being at home for nearly 18 months. During that year and a half, I renewed my relationships with my children, husband, self, and…my kitchen. I have always been one to cook and entertain, but being at home upped the ante. I turned play dates into dinner dates. Every Friday was a complete Shabbat dinner. There was usually a homemade something or other for dessert. And we had so many leftovers, we had to literally give them away to the neighbors. During this time, I shopped at my leisure, stopping into boutique markets and buying direct from the farms. I founded a CSA. In short, I found a great deal of happiness and comfort in cooking, especially for those I love. It became more than a hobby; it became a passion.

Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Redux

 

Image by Kenneth Chen

 

I knew we were in the right place when I saw the shul down the street from the Chinese Opera. A traditional Chinese band was playing, as the Klezmer band waited in the wings.  Despite the fact that it was hot and crowded and overwhelming, everyone seemed happily at home at the Egg Cream Egg Roll Festival. Sponsored by the Museum At Eldridge Street, the place was packed with every walk of life laughing, sharing, crafting, and enjoying, myself included.

Image by Kenneth Chen

 

Egg Rolls and Egg Creams

Image by Carlos Porto

 

Hey all you NY metro, cross-cultural foodies — this one’s for you. Tomorrow in Chinatown the Egg Rolls and Egg Creams Chinese-Jewish festival is scheduled, and it sounds like a blast.  Here’s an excerpt from their flyer:

Experience a unique slice of the city where Chinatown meets the Jewish Lower East Side, at our Egg Rolls And Egg Creams Festival.

Klezmer march and music – lion dance – synagogue tours – Chinese opera and acrobatics – Yiddish and Chinese lessons – sing a long – tea ceremony – scribal art – folk dance demos – mahjongg – art projects – kosher egg rolls and egg creams

On Soy

soy image

I have long harbored misgivings about soy.  It is highly estrogenic. It’s associated with many environmental concerns (fields are clear cut internationally to support it, most of the crop goes toward feeding animals on feedlots, etc.) It’s highly processed (and a non whole food) as milk, frozen entrees, and other products.  And honestly, and this is just my perspective, I don’t enjoy the taste. But I have always respected the fact that many people do not agree with me on all these points, and enjoy soy as a deliberate and integral part of their diet.  Most of these folks have countered my concerns with the fact that it is a healthy, non-animal protein that provides efficient calories at a low cost. 

Win A Copy Of the Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook by Elana Amsterdam

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Every year come Passover there is the great dessert dilemma. Do I try to fake the cake using matzo meal, or forgo carbs and make meringues?  A few years back I put out fruit with a dark chocolate fondue, but you can really pull that rabbit out of the hat just once.  Invariably, I would pause on almonds, which are delicious, protein filled, fragrant, and fraught with biblical meaning.  Many scholars believe that Moses’ rod was an almond branch, as was Aaron’s.  It is also believed by some that the staff of the messiah will be an almond branch.

Aftershocks: Haitian Rice

Image courtesy of vitasamb2001

Image courtesy of vitasamb2001

As I have watched the horrors of Haiti unfold from my safe and comfortable living room, I am continually saddened by a sense of ineffectiveness, of wanting to do more than write another check or say another prayer. I wish I could have an impact, do something to directly improve their lot, participate in a more meaningful way. I started to do some research to see if I could purchase goods from Haiti, and subsequently and came across information that was as familiar as it is disturbing. Despite adequate natural resources, Haiti cannot feed itself, much less produce many exports to support their own trade.

Win A Copy of Eat Fresh Food – Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs

Eat Fresh Food by Rozanne Gold

Photos by Phil Mansfield

Every once in a while I feel sorry for myself because my kids won’t eat my lovingly prepared meals; for comfort, I seek out one of my fellow mom’s, specifically those with teen-agers. Invariably they look at me with a withering ‘well let me get you the violins and a stiff drink fast, your poor thing’ stare, reminding me that I am a mere amateur at kitchen rejection. When I hear their tales of trying to feed their teens, my load somehow seems lighter, more manageable. Snarky, picky, and sometimes downright nasty, it is no easy task to manage teens at the table.

Enter Rozanne Gold and her new book, Eat Fresh Food: Awesome Recipes for Teen Chefs. I sat down with the author and discovered that the book’s appeal to teens is as organic as its recipes. Gold recently adopted a teen-ager and for the past few years they have been coming together as a family, in and out of the kitchen. Her daughter was one of five teen chefs engaged to prepare and test each recipe. Their collective industry and obvious enjoyment is evidenced throughout the book with hands-on pictures depicting their efforts.

Accommodations

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Holiday accommodations span far wider than hotels and motels.

Whether a host, guest, family member, friend, neighbor, colleague, or otherwise, the holidays are a time when we are all brought together under many circumstances, and required to deal with each other in ways unlike most other days. It brings out the best and worst in everyone.  For me, it often feels like these decisions define me. I have always struggled in balancing truth with tact, and tend to be either far too blunt and direct or completely spineless. And of course I also struggle with wanting so very much to accommodate without compromising my principles or even identity.

An example from my own experience. One Passover, a couple showed up, stoned, and presented me with a cake. Not exactly the Elijah I was expecting. And this was a real, Italian bakery, flour and butter laden, gorgeous cake. I had no idea what to do. Part of me was humiliated, because they know I am observant. Part of me was terrified not to be a gracious host, or to spoil the otherwise wonderful occasion. Part of me (a really big part of me) wanted to slap them silly. So what did I do? I put it out on a non-Passover plate and kicked myself for the rest of the holiday. Not my greatest moment.

Gratitude

When the leaves change, I know it is time to sit down and think about all that I have, and all that I have to give.  Thanksgiving is a unique holiday, one we celebrate in and out of our homes, in many different ways.

Today I will drop food and clothing off to the local shelter and hope that it helps those in need.  Tomorrow I will go to my daughter’s Thanksgiving presentation at our shul’s pre-school.  On Thursday we will head to my Mom’s house and enjoy being together for the holiday, and hope to catch Hannah and Her Sisters on TV.  We will eat too much turkey and retell the same family stories.  And we will be grateful for each other’s company and familiarity.

Win 1 of 5 copies — Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

Eating Animals

Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals is not for the faint of heart. His recent article in the New York Times (excerpted from the first chapter) includes stories of his grand-mother, a holocaust survivor, which he uses to define himself as well as frame his book. The Jew and The Carrot’s Jonathan Brumberg-Kraus wrote a nice post about it, including:

“But I what I found most moving was the way he connected his own ethical commitment to vegetarianism to his grandmother’s commitment to kashrut, even under the most extreme circumstances. She gets the last word in the dialogue he recalls,

Yid.Dish: Kosher French Onion Soup (Really)

french onion soup

The wind was blowing, leaves were falling, and all I could think was “Man, I have got to get me some french onion soup.” This time of year always makes me crave comfort, and for me french onion soup is comfort incarnate. I love the sweetness of the onions, the smooth melted cheese, and the delicious beef broth that warms me from head to toe instantly, even on the chilliest afternoons.

It has always been a staple recipe in our house, but this year is different. Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur have just ended, and a new year is upon the Jewish community. I was not raised kosher. I never intended to live that way. But as I have gotten older and wiser, I find myself wanting to adopt a more kosher lifestyle, and have been taking small steps to bring myself in line. This year, one of my New Year resolutions is to take bigger steps. I will buy kosher meat whenever I can find it. Neither pork nor seafood can enter my oven. I will not cook milk with meat. And I will do all of this consistently and with conscious diligence.

But that onion soup beckoned….

Nursing Tales

When my children got their first teeth, I was literally torn. I shuddered at the thought of nursing with their pearly whites, but was reluctant to stop dispensing the benefits of breast milk. Like Little Miss Muffet’s spider, my fears frightened me away and I yielded to weaning – in hindsight perhaps a little sooner than I wished.

My children are now 4 and 18 months and my breastfeeding days are behind me, but I still long for the days when I held my children while nursing them and the satisfaction of being able to provide for them completely. For me, it felt like the most intimate form of local farming.

Who Invited Julia Child to Rosh Hashanah?

I did!

I love to host the holidays. Nothing gives me more pleasure than planning, marketing, preparing, and entertaining for these special times, and I have established a tradition of going a little over the top for the occasion.

I also loved the books Julie and Julia as well as My Life in France. Both inspired me to swipe my mom’s old copy of Mastering the Art of French Cooking and happily start practicing. That was 2 or 3 years ago, and my appetite was rewet when I heard the film was coming out this summer. It inspired me to begin planning Le Marais, or an all Julia Child tribute to Rosh Hashanah.