Apples and Honey Gets an Upgrade

Apple Honey 300dpi

If fall is in the air, it must be just about time to celebrate the New Year….not that New Year; the one with apples and honey.

This tasty union is a Rosh Hashanah tradition, symbolizing the hopes for a “sweet” New Year. Of course, at ES we like to do that with more than just a kids lunchbox-esque pack of sliced apples drizzled in goo. For this year”s updated Rosh Hashanah take, we”re looking at this honey-glazed Apple Financier Tart — an elevated, Francophile variation on an apple pie.

Pâtissier extraordinaire Francois Payard provided this recipe, in which the moisture of the mix and texture of the apples with the flavor of the browned butter take A&H to a new level.

Apple and Honey Financier Tart

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Endless Road Trip: Pastrami in Portland?

We know that Portland does pork well…and ice cream, and of course weird food and breakfast. One thing I was not expecting to find in this foodie wonderland was a decent pastrami sandwich. Even more so than bagels or pizza-by-the-slice, pastrami is a food that rightfully belongs to the east coast, and to New York in particular. Just like West Coasters complain up and down that you can’t find good Mexican east of the Mississippi, there is now way I was gonna find a pastrami sandwich in Portland that beats those from somewhere like Lansky’s, right?

Except I did, and it is the best pastrami sandwich I’ve ever had.

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Six Beers in One: He’Brew Funky Jewbelation

Some people think of funky as a good thing, others see it as a weird kind of thing, and others just think of it as downright nasty. I’d say the Shmaltz Brewing Company’s He’Brew Funky Jewbelation brew follows the same logic: you might like it, depending how you feel about funk.

Shmaltz is very witty in their productions and they don’t disappoint with the names of their brews (such as the six included in this brew). Yes, the Funky Jewbelation includes a mix of six different beers all blended into one: “Jewbelation Fifteen,” “Vintage Jewbelation,” “Bittersweet Lenny’s R.I.P.A.,” “Origin,” “Reunion Ale ’11,” and of course “Messiah.” This blend of brews was then aged in bourbon barrels and rye whiskey barrels. Finally, the brew weighs in with an ABV or 9.8%. The poster says “too funky to fail” with confidence, touting their courage to become brewing mixologists. I was pretty excited since I like unique beers and it seemed like this would be a tasty dark one, particularly since it was aged in whiskey and bourbon barrels.

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Sandwiches in the City

New Yorkers are obnoxiously proud of our lunchtime options. We don’t do chains because we don’t have to. Not when you can find everything from banh mi hot dogs to Brussels sprouts sandwiches for under $10. That’s exactly why I’ve been so bothered by the rapid proliferation of Cosi, Pret a Manger and the like across Manhattan in recent years. Are New Yorkers really lunching at these places now? Sure, these semi-upscale sandwich chains are better than Subway or Quiznos, but I’d still take a Boar’s Head bodega roll any day of the week.

Recently entering the midtown sandwich contest and blowing the chains out of the water is City Sandwich, a Portuguese-style sandwich shop from chef Michael Guerrieri. Now, you foodies may be noting that there’s not really any such thing as a Portuguese-style sandwich. This is true. Like most refined Europeans, the Portuguese prefer to sit down and eat their meals with knives and forks. So Guerrieri, who was born in Naples, raised in New York and spent 13 years cooking in Lisbon, has taken traditional Portuguese meals and turned them into an array of newly-invented sandwiches.

The crispy bread is brought in twice daily from a Portuguese bakery in New Jersey; the insides scooped out to make room for fillings and to ensure the sandwiches aren’t too heavy. Each one is spread with high-quality olive oil and built using unique ingredients you’d be hard-pressed to find in any other sandwich shop in the world. For example, the Bench Girl, pictured above, contains alheira, a smoky, spicy sausage that was pioneered by Portuguese Jews during the Inquisition. In an effort not to stand out among their pork-eating compatriots, the Jews invented this chorizo-like link that is actually made from chicken, but looks enough like the real deal that no one could guess they weren’t dining on swine. Apparently, back in the day on the Iberian peninsula, not eating pork was enough to get you burned at the stake. Today, a little bit of pork has managed to sneak into most versions of alheira currently produced in Portugal, but it’s still a superbly rich and flavorful sausage that’s not quite like any other. It’s paired here with an omelet, grilled onions, spinach, and melted mozzarella, for a savory breakfast-y sandwich that is appropriate any time of day.

For a look at City Sandwich’s other inventive, Portuguese-influenced sandwich creations, keep reading after the jump.

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A Rachael Ray Rosh Hashanah

Sometimes Rachael Ray is right. Rachael spends most of her time working on dinner and then in the hurried last minute of her 30 minute show, she scoops some ice cream in a martini glass and then tops it with something semi-homemade, possibly a sauce, or maybe just fruit.

For Rosh Hashanah, plenty of emphasis is placed on the dinner. We maintain a few traditions in our family, mostly a last-of-the-season tomato salad.  Sometimes we find the time to put together something for dessert, like a boozy chocolate mousse or apple sauce, but other times, we serve ice cream.

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Chopped Liver, Schmear and Pastrami: Find Your Sign in the Yiddish Zodiac

In 2011 I’m pretty shocked when I receive a silly forwarded email. Usually it’s about secret ways to dial 911 or some clearly untrue scam, or how to bust a hole through the tail light of a car in case someone shoves me into a trunk.

But a forward I received from my cousin last night actually made me laugh. Out loud. Forgive me if you’ve seen this gem of Jewish humor before. If not, let me present to you the Yiddish zodiac.

For those who frequent Chinese restaurants and see the place mats showing the Chinese zodiac (you know, the year of the rat, the year of the monkey, etc.) – well, here is the official Jewish equivalent. Now you can find out who you are.

THE YIDDISH ZODIAC

The Year of: CHICKEN SOUP
1907, 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003
You’re a healer, nourishing all whom you encounter. We feel better  just being in your presence. Mothers want to bring you home to meet their children – resist this at all costs. Compatible with Bagel and Knish.

The Year of: EGG CREAM
1908, 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004
You’ve got a devious personality, since you’re made with neither eggs nor cream. Friends find your pranks refreshing; others think you’re too frothy. Compatible with Blintz, who also has something to hide.

The Year of: CHOPPED LIVER
1909, 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005
People either love you or hate you, making you wonder, “What am I, chopped liver?” But don’t get a complex; you’re always welcome at the holidays! Bagel’s got your back.

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Get Your Gourmet Desserts On During Passover

Sick of the leftover brisket and matzah ball soup? Miss your gourmet fare during this very old-world holiday? Well, we’ll try to cure your mid-Passover blues.

Get rid of those tired fake-coconut flavored macaroons from your childhood and check out Madagascar vanilla bean, lemon zest or mini chocolate chip versions (pictured above) from Platine Cookies.

Since flour is a no-no, try a flourless chocolate cake, which turns out half brownie and half chocolate cake and not at all like those Manischewitz cake mixes (also from Platine).

And if you’re feeling extra domestic during the weekend, make your own sweet.

Chocolate Beet Coconut Cake with Chocolate Icing

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