Tips & Tricks from a Foodie turned Food Editor!

Shifra Klein, Editor-in-Chief, for Joy of Kosher Magazine

This past Sunday I had the pleasure of attending Shifra Klein’s presentation for my Chabad Women’s Circle. Shifra is the Editor-in-Chief for Joy of Kosher magazine.

shifra klein

She started out as a foodie, then created Bitayavon magazine with her husband, before joining forces with cookbook author Jamie Geller’s Joy of Kosher magazine. We received Joy of Kosher’s Purim issue and it is gorgeous! There are endless recipes for every foodie interest and persuasion. It just so happens that this particular issue has a whole vegan section! Every page is full of useful information.

They’re currently running a special promotion. See below for more information.

Shifra made a number of delicious dishes, including chocolate mousse, mushroom and sweet potato balsamic salad (in this month’s issue) and a green bean salad with mango and pine nuts.

Top 10 Cooking Tips and Tricks

While she cooked, she provided cooking tips and tricks she’s learned over the last few years as she transitioned from Foodie to Food Editor.


joy of kosher

10. When choosing a non-dairy milk to use in a recipe, keep in mind the following: Almond milk and rice milk are the most watery. Soy milk is the thickest. Coconut milk falls in between, but can sometimes impart a coconut flavor, so don’t use it if you don’t want it. Shifra made a kale quiche (perhaps I will try with tofu?) and recommended the thicker soy milk for it.

9. To get the most juice from a lemon, first roll it on your counter for a minute to soften the lemon. Then, contrary to popular practice, cut it in half lengthwise before squeezing out the juice.

8. To keep your green beans bright green: Boil them for just a few minutes until they are still firm and green. Then plunge them into an ice water bath (that’s the chef’s term for a bowl full of very cold water).

7. When you plan to use herbs (such as basil) in a sauce, blanch them quickly, perhaps for 30 seconds, and then plunge them into an ice water bath.

6. You don’t want to serve green beans warm because they will turn dull and brownish if you warm them in the oven or on a warming tray. Serve the green beans at room temperature if cold is inappropriate for your dish.

5. Press your tofu before using it. This will get the water out, firm it up and improve the texture. To do this: Drain the water and take the tofu out of its container. Place a towel or several paper towels under and over the tofu. Place something with weight, like a plate or can, on top of the towel(s). Leave the tofu like this for at least 30 minutes. Then remove the towels and pour off any additional water.

4. For fresh, clean mushroom caps, simply peel the tops. Start at the edge and pull up. Keep moving around the top until you’ve removed all of the skin.

3. To make a recipe vegan, replace honey with agave nectar.

2. To make a non-dairy (vegan, parve) chocolate mousse, simply mix a bag of chocolate chips (pareve, vegan) and 1 cup of hot water. You will want to use a standing mixer so your arm doesn’t go numb. That’s because it takes about 15 minutes, but keep mixing, and you’ll have a fluffy chocolate mousse with no added sugar, oil or eggs.

1. Buy two subscriptions and receive Jamie Geller’s new cookbook free!



New JCarrot Article: Explaining the Holocaust to Children

New JCarrot Article: Explaining the Holocaust to Children
February 1, 2013, 9:00am

Using Food Scarcity to explain the Holocaust to Children

By Natasha Rosenstock Nadel


I just explained the Holocaust to my daughter through the lens of food scarcity and kashrut.

I hadn’t planned to explain the Holocaust to my daughter at age 4.

However, after listening to Leah Johnson’s (Yonson) story of Holocaust survival in the Forests of Belarus (with the Bielski Brothers – see Daniel Craig in the movie “Defiance” and the spellbinding History Channel documentary), I came home to my wonderful daughter complaining about which type of noodle she wanted to eat. It made me want to immediately convey to her how privileged she is and how others have struggled.

The type of woman I want to be

Okay, so this is a week late! It’s amazing that it takes me an entire day each week to run the house. I think I’ll have five minutes to write. I have someone helping with the baby and cleaning, and I still can’t manage to post a blog or finish five other personal projects I intend to finish. At least I can read on the metro. That’s actually been really nice. I am one of those nerds who would walk down the street reading a book (or listening to a Nextbook podcast) when I used to walk to work. However, between being pregnant and my foot surgery, I didn’t actually walk to work much the last year. So now – all at once, I have a four bedroom house and baby to take care of, along with a commute to adjust to. Of course, these are high class problems and I’m not complaining for one minute. I’m just learning to manage it all.

Speaking of high class problems, it will be a bit before we know the full fallout from the Madoff scandal but I already know people losing their jobs and fundraising commitments being cancelled. It will be interesting to see how the Jewish community comes out of this – who will lead the way out and what priorities will float to the top. When you have nothing, you suddenly realize what your real priorities are. It will be the same with the community. I hope they will be feeding the poor and education.

Fortunately or unfortunately, the soul also needs to be fed. That’s what the Holtzbergs were doing (and feeding the body kosher food in a place where it could not otherwise be found) in Mumbai. The Shabbat after the terrorist attack there we really wanted to go to a Chabad but we weren’t able to make it. It was too far to walk in the cold with Avital/Molly. We went the week after that. All the Chabad Rabbis were reading a dvar torah of Rabbi Holtzberg’s that week. He spoke a few years ago at the annual gathering of all of the Chabad shluchim (emissaries) and it happened to be about the other week’s torah portion. So all the Chabad shluchim decided to spread his words, rather than let the attacks silence him. It was quite beautiful. Rabbi Bluming in Potomac did a terrific job in tribute to him. [Chabad also made a haunting and beautiful film about their work in Mumbai that was shown at the community memorial] It was a great message with interesting local stories about suddenly hosting an El Al plane full of people stuck in Mumbai. He had to slaughter all of his own chickens on an island but managed to host 200 people at the last minute, about 50 of which had never kept a Shabbat before. Another fun story – he asked someone once if he could use the food that was being offered to their idols to feed some of the starving people on the street. The guy responded, “No. They [the idols] eat it,” in all seriousness.

The point is – he and his wife touched more people in just the last few years than most people do in a lifetime. I think we can all cope with the specter of death if we feel like we’re living for something, seizing the moment, and enjoying ourselves at something more than golf. We all need self-satisfaction that comes from hobbies like golf, but also what comes from not even saving the world, but just touching others and helping them in a meaningful way.

The day after hearing Rabbi Holtzberg’s words I went to the unveiling for a good friend. The Rabbi and her son both said different versions of this: It’s not the years of your life, it’s the life of your years. They told a story of someone at her shul in Florida who said she was the only person to talk to her and welcome her when she first didn’t know anybody. That’s the type of woman I want to be. Don’t leave kindness to other people. In the meantime, the laundry will wait for me.

Postscript to last post: She slept through the night again last night! First time since Chicago. Here’s hoping for more! I still woke up at her usual 3:30 am snack time. But she did not!