There is this iconic cafe in Skokie, IL. It’s called Emma’s and it’s a favorite place for those wanting a great selection of Kosher food from bagels and lox to wraps and soups. And this is where I caught up with Naomi Nachman. Just off the plane from NY, she was in Chicago for a private food event she was heading up. Naomi has more energy than you can imagine. After Chicago she was heading back to NY to attend Kosherfest. And if you don’t know about Kosherfest please check out my episode when I attended back in 2017. It’s really something else.
I couldn’t resist searching out more information on this new book Feasting and Fasting! I hope you’ll find my conversation with Dr. Aaron S. Gross, co-editor as intriguing as I did. The book delves into Jewish food as a key component to exploring our history, culture, politics, and more. I know it’s going to be my next book purchase. And Aaron offers us a 30% discount if you order your book directly through New York University Press. It comes out in December, just in time for Hanukkah!
Are you thinking about seasonal menus for fall? Don’t forget to include mushrooms on your search. After listening to my conversation with Maxim D. Shrayer you’ll find yourself hunting in your favorite grocery store for some not so common varieties to try. And do check out his new book: A Russian Immigrant: Three Novellas. You can find out more about Maxim and his book here: http://www.shrayer.com and http://www.shrayer.com/russimm.html.
Chef Laura Frankel and I talk about holiday food prep and planning for Yom Kippur. She shares some great ideas that will be helpful for menu selection through break-the-fast. We even get a chance to talk about Chef’s favorite holiday, Sukkot
1/2 ozdry porcini mushroomsDon't skip this ingredient
1/2 cupschmaltz or extra virgin olive oildivided
1 largeleeksliced thinly
1/2lbcremini or button mushroomssliced
1 tbspminced garlic
1 cupkashapreferably coarse
2 tspground black pepper
1tbspfresh thyme leaves
1cupchicken or vegetable stock
2 tbspfresh parsleychopped
Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and set aside.
While pasta is cooking, in a small bowl soak porcini mushrooms in 3/4 cup of warm water for 10 minutes until softened. Drain mushrooms, retaining the soaking water. Mince mushrooms and set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt 1/4 cup of schmaltz or oil. Add onions, leek, mushrooms, salt and pepper. Saute until well-browned.
Add porcini mushrooms and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant and has softened. Add kasha, pepper, and thyme sprigs and cook for 3-5 minutes to toast the kasha. Stir in stock, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Add cooked pasta to the pan and stir together. Garnish with parsley.
Chef Laura says this is the perfect autumnal side dish for pre-Yom Kippur or break fast. It's also great as a choice for a Sukkot meal.Kasha is an earthly and fiber-filled grain. It is one of the oldest known food staples in Eastern European cuisine. Also known as buckwheat groats, kasha is popular with descendants of Ashkenazi and Yiddish-speaking Jews form Eastern Europe and Russia.Booking groats with rich porcini mushrooms and fresh herbs updates the classic dish by adding deep, earthy flavor from mushrooms and by substituting vegetable stock for chicken stock. Everyone, including vegetarians will enjoy this rendition of European comfort food.
I’m at Ras Dashen, a wonderful cozy Ethiopian restaurant in my own neighborhood in Chicago. I’m talking with owner and chef Zenash and her granddaughter Nebbe. She tells an amazing story of how she comes to Chicago and starts her own restaurant. She’s one of the most passionate food people I’ve ever met. To say she puts her whole self into everything she prepares does not do her food or her story justice. I’m sure you’ll find her as engaging and endearing as I did.