Report and Photography: Alyson Vogel
A full house of enthralled listeners attended pre-Passover dinner on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at Jennifer Clair’s Home Cooking New York kitchen. Each woman brought a traditional Seder dish, and joined Middle Eastern chef, member, author, and culinary instructor Jennifer Abadi for an evening of storytelling and to learn about the diversity of culture surrounding Passover offerings in the Sephardic and Judeo-Arabic communities. Her stories came from her historical cookbook entitled Too Good To Passover: Sephardic & Judeo-Arabic Seder Menus and Memories from Africa, Asia and Europe and spanned memories she garnered from women from Africa to Asia and parts of Europe. During this storytelling, the large group of us was sitting around a giant table tasting some delicious offerings beginning with a twist on a Syrian haroset made with dried apricots and orange blossom water, and even a balled Moroccan haroset that could have passed for truffles! This was followed by a delicious soup called Kibbeh Hamdah, a tart soup made with lamb meatballs, lemon and mint.
Other highlights were a Gibraltarian-style layered matzah pie with ground beef, turmeric and nutmeg. Desserts included Egyptian walnut date macaroons and Italian Almond Cake with almond syrup. Thanks to Jennifer Abadi and Rebecca Miller French for co-hosting a warm and inviting evening, and to Jennifer for signing many copies of her lovely cookbook that will be shared with friends and loved ones. As Clare Treves Brezel has said, "Preserving the memories and the recipes is so, so very important!"
The winter session of the Book Club gathered on January 17 to discuss Ruth Reichl’s debut novel, "Delicious!" The evening was hosted by Fanny Farkas at her charming apartment. She graciously treated those lucky enough to attend to a sit-down dinner centered around wintery fare of roast pork with fennel and pizzoccheri, a buckwheat pasta from the Italian Alps. Co-chair, Jeanne Voltz organized the event and prepared the book’s pièce de résistance, Billie’s Gingerbread (recipe below). Member Gisela Nelson provided the book’s delicious brownies.
Unlike Ruth’s wonderful memoirs, most were curious but underwhelmed by her roman à clef and it quickly became secondary to the fabulous meal and great company. Thanks to all who attended, contributed and helped, especially Fanny.
Adapted from "Delicious!" by Ruth Reichl (Random House; 2014)
When the Book Club tasted Billie's Gingerbread, a majorplayer in the novel, we could understand the hoopla. It was "Delicious!"
Whole black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 cup sour cream
1½ sticks (6 oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large pieces fresh ginger, finely grated, to measure ¼ cup tightly packed
Grated zest from 2 to 3 oranges, 1½ teaspoons
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 6-cup Bundt pan.
Grind your peppercorns, cloves and cardamom and measure out ¼ teaspoon of each. (Pre-ground spices won’t taste as good.)
Grind your cinnamon stick and measure out 1 teaspoon.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices in a small bowl. In another small bowl, whisk eggs and egg yolk into the sour cream; set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until fluffy and almost white, about 3 minutes. Add grated ginger and orange zest.
Beat the flour mixture and the egg mixture, alternating between the two, into the butter until each addition is incorporated. The batter should be as luxurious as a mousse.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake about 40 minutes, until the cake is golden and a wooden skewer comes out clean. Remove to a rack and cool 10 minutes.
½ cup bourbon
1½ tablespoons granulated sugar
While the cake cools in the pan, simmer bourbon and sugar in a small saucepan about 4 minutes. It should reduce to about 1/3 cup.
While the cake is still in the pan, brush half the bourbon mixture onto its exposed surface (the bottom of the cake) with a pastry brush. Let the syrup soak in for a few minutes, then turn the cake out onto a rack.
Gently brush the remaining mixture all over the cake.
¾ cup powdered sugar, sifted
5 teaspoons orange juice
Once the cake has cooled, mix the sugar with the orange juice and either drizzle the glaze randomly over the cake or put in a squeeze bottle and do a controlled drizzle.
Report and photos by Lauren McGrath
Seats were hard to come by at the Dine-Around January 7th at Yoon Haeundae Galbi NYC. The original family restaurant was founded in 1964 in Busan, South Korea, and Amy Lee, the NYWCA organizer, has been a regular at the NYC location since it opened in April 2018. The original restaurant's founder's grandson, Bobby Yoon, was the gracious host of the event.
Yoon explained about his family business and the differences between this location and the one in Korea: over there people have their own individual banchan (Korean small plate appetizers) and they also take charge of their own grills. At our event, the waitstaff dexterously handled all the cooking and explained the various cuts of beef and other dishes, which included a popular soy bean-based soup, a shrimp and scallion pancake, many cuts of super tender and well marinated beef, and some particular delicacies from the bones, as well as delicious potato flour noodles finished in the beefy cooking broth around the edge of the grill.
The atmosphere was festive and convivial and it was particularly nice to gather around the communal grills with fellow members while further exploring Korean cuisine.
Report: Rose Cirrincione. Photographs: Alison Price Becker
NYWCA members met on December 4, 2018 at The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan on the Upper West Side to learn about challah baking and braiding – our ultimate goal was to perform a community service event in which the baked challah rolls were being donated to The New Jewish Home, a senior care facility.
Irene Yager and Jackie Addy made the challah dough earlier in the morning and several batches were ready for the members to braid, shape, glaze, and bake in individual rolls. The class was led by Kate Landowne, an amazing instructor offering various tips and suggestions on baking challah. The kitchen had an amazing sweet smell of challah; we were all lucky enough to sample fresh, hot baked challah with a little drizzle of honey accompanied by a refreshing glass of kosher white wine.
After the members finished baking the batches of rolls for The New Jewish Home, it was time to learn how to make challah dough from scratch – “Challah in a Bag.” This recipe was so simple to make – and delicious. In a 1-gallon plastic ziptop bag we added yeast, water, sugar, salt, oil, and 4 cups of flour with as little mess as possible. Then just knead the dough gently in the bag so it doesn't burst or rip.
I attended several challah baking events throughout the year and this one was my favorite so far. We had a wonderful evening of baking and networking. Each member went home with the challah recipe, braiding instructions and a batch of challah dough ready for the oven! I baked my challah for Shabbat – bread was scrumptious and delicious!
Report by Amy Fargas
We mostly admitted to not being able to exactly place Macao on a map. During a convivial evening with Rosa Ross at Fanny Farkas' intimate, warmly decorated apartment, a dozen of us got a better grip on Macanese cuisine. 1. Macao was a Portugese-influenced toehold for European tea merchants, about 40 miles from Hong Kong. 2. All Macanese cuisine is derivative; influenced by Portugese and Chinese ingredients and cooking methods. 3. Our groaning board of Arroz Gordo came with a Portugese base, garnished with Macanese elements of hard boiled egg, fried shallots, croutons, and Rosa's special add-ons of roasted turmeric-rubbed pork shoulder and chicken. Rosa passed out a packet of recipes prepared for the evening's dinner party.
As the group supped on Christmas Eve Shrimp Soup with noodles, Rosa filled our heads with Christmas Eves in Macao, when her mom sang solos at midnight Mass. While we dipped chips into spicy salted-shrimp Balichao, tales floated of her family's preparation five-year batches of this tabletop condiment. A stunning steamed sponge cake topped with coconut and caramel brought the evening to a sweet close, as new friends exchanged emails and Rosa autographed her cookbook, Beyond Bok Choy, for each participant.
Report/Photographs by Sarah Comeford
NYWCA Wine & Spirits Committee hosted the Riesling & Roti event at Saar Indian Bistro. Members enjoyed six Rieslings from all over the world (from theFinger Lakes, NY to Central Serbia) paired with traditional Indian dishes. Wine experts Danica Stitz and Stephanie Teuwen selected a wide range of Rieslings to highlight the distinct and various flavor profiles of Rieslings. Guests learned that Riesling could range from bone-dry to fully sweet and that Riesling is a wine grower’s grape as it is truly expressive of its terroir. While many guests were not fans of Riesling at the beginning of the event, everyone left with a newfound love for this full-bodied wine that paired perfectly with the spicy delicious Indian food.
Riesling rules! 6 fantastic Rieslings from 5 different countries.
Wine #1: Loimer ‘Langenlois’ Riesling 2017, Austria
Wine #2: Forge Cellars ‘Classique’ Dry Riesling 2017, Finger Lakes
Food: Goat Cheese & Spinach Kulcha, Shakarkandi Chaat, & Crispy Okra Salad
Wine #3: Abbazia Novacella Riesling 2016, Alto Adige Südtirol
Wine #4: Vino Budimir “Margus Margi” Riesling 2011, Central Serbia
Food: Cochin Black Pepper Chicken, Aloo Gobi, Begun Bharta, Dal Makhani (Creamy Black Lentils), & Basmati Rice
Wine 5: Domaines Schlumberger Reisling Grand Cru Saering 2014, Alsace
Wine 6: Kientzler Riesling Grand Cru Geisberg 2011, Alsace
Food: Unniyappam (banana fritters)
Presented by the Wine & Spirits Committee with Danica Stitz & Stephanie Teuwen
At Saar Indian Bistro
Tuesday October 30, 2018
A hands-on, spirited networking event was hosted by Amy Zavatto, drinks expert and author of the book Prosecco Made Me Do It. It was a lively evening punctuated by delicious food and prosecco cocktails. Amy began with a brief history of prosecco, during which we learned this bubbly is produced from the Glera grape in a protected region in Italy with DOC and DOCG denominations and is much celebrated for its terroir. Amy then led us on a tasting journey through her favorite ways to enjoy prosecco. Guests were treated to a sampling of drinks namedBubbly Jack Rose, made with applejack and grenadine; Dance Party, mixed with elderflower; and Cheers to Sal, made with Sicilian Averno. We left with a copy of Amy’s book as a special gift. It was a memorable evening and we are looking forward to the next chance to drink and learn.
On a clear and gentle day we followed Newark urbanist Antonio Valla, from Have You Met Newark (haveyoumetnewark.com), a tour company that specializes in walking tours focused on architecture, history, food, through the Ironbound District, stopping to sample Portuguese sausage, Spanish tapas, Italian ice cream, Brazilian pastries, the tastes from layers of immigration. At the Church of St. Stephen, founded by German Lutherans a hundred years ago, today's Fundamentalist Spanish speaking parishioners were studying for their GEDs when we looked in. Lisbon Wine Shop offered us Vinho Verde and Red Vino Alentejano from the North and South of Portugal. We were wowed by condensed milk based truffles, cookies, tarts and a wedding cake at Brigodero, a hidden away Brazilian shop smaller than a parking space. Thanks to each immigrant group that makes up the District for their particularly good food.
The Fall Season Book Club gathered at the home of Lynn Bernstein to discuss Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love and Manic Depression, by David Leite. Those lucky enough to attend this sold-out event had the pleasure of discussing this candid and courageous memoir with the author himself. The evening’s frank conversation, initiated by co-chair Lisa Homa, quickly engaged all.
The host prepared a delicious menu from David’s cookbook, The New Portuguese Table. Among the dishes we enjoyed were salt cod fritters and grilled shrimp with piri-piri sauce. Jennifer Kouvant of Six Dutchess Farms prepared David’s orange cake. As a finishing touch, artisanal chocolates were provided by Milène Jardine.