In the Spotlight
Passover Guides 2017
Some of the leading kashrut agencies have released their 2017 Passover guides, including information about items that can be used without special Passover certification. We will be updating our guide listing as additional guides become available.
Three versions of the OU 2017 Passover Guide are available:
1. The OU 2017 Passover Guide - Online Version is available HERE
2. PDF copies of the OU 2017 Passover Guide sections may be downloaded HERE
3. You may order the printed version of the OU 2017 Passover Guide HERE:
The OU 2017 guide is available. Click HERE to see ordering information. If you are an OU member and you already receive OU's Jewish Action magazine, the guide was mailed along with the spring issue of Jewish Action. Online Passover information which includes information from the 2017 guide is available on the OU website at https://oukosher.org/passover/. Also, the OU app gives you access to this information as well as providing interactive information on food items.
For Star-K 2017 Passover Directories, Guides, Abridged Web Edition,
and more, click here: Star-K 2017 Passover Directories and Information
OK Passover Products Food Guide 2017
Click HERE for Kashrut.com Passover 2017 information.
Click HERE for Canada's Passover Magazine
Click HERE for the Kosher Conscience Passover 2017 Issue
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The Scoop on Halo Top - Healthy Ice Cream gone Viral!
What do you reach for when you are in an ice cream mood? Put Halo Top in your ice cream repertoire. It is guilt free, creamy cool, and available in lots and lots of flavors; The ice cram is protein rich; with less than 300 calories in a whole pint – so we can eat a LOT! (Our beloved Breyers, Ben & Jerry’s and Haagen Daz have about 1200 + calories per pint!). Yes, we know that we are believers in portion control, but sometimes we just can’t follow the rules! Oh did we forget this most important fact- Halo Top is certified Kof K kosher dairy.
Halo Top Creamery was founded by Justin Woolverton, a "recovering" lawyer. He was on a mission to create a delicious, "good for you" ice cream that would be appropriate for hypoglycemic people seeking low sugar brands. He called himself an ice cream hobbyist, as he dabbled with low sugar recipes.
We discovered the brand when a reader suggested we write about it, and then my granddaughter shared her interest in it with me as well. So how did the tasting go? We invited 3 ice cream “aficionados” to the tasting – to share their honest opinions. We uncovered 7 flavors– chocolate chip cookie dough, peanut butter cup, pistachio, mint chip, birthday cake, s’mores, and sea salt caramel. We let the flavors sit on our counter for 10 minutes, and then the tasters dug in! They agreed that the ice cream was creamy and flavorful, and they loved the number of flavor choices. Their favorites were chocolate chip cookie dough, mint chip, and peanut butter. But they did have a hard time selecting faves!
So why is Halo Top different? Most flavors have only 280 calories in a whole pint and 2 grams of fat in a half-cup. The ice cream is low in fat, high in protein, and sweetened with stevia and erythritol, both all-natural sweeteners. Its texture and taste almost mimic full fat, sugar-sweetened ice cream. (News of the brand has gone viral!)
KosherEye note: Leave your Halo Top on the counter for about 10-15 minutes, then dig in. For more information and where to buy, visit Halotop.com. Halo Top is available at supermarkets around the U.S.Add a comment
A Destination Bat Mitzvah at the Ritz-Carlton Cancun
We were delighted to receive a lovely invitation to a friend’s Bat Mitzvah. This simcha indeed would be a very special treat when we realized that it was to be a destination event. The timing was perfect – right after Sukkot, when most everyone (including me!) is ready for a cooking break and a rest. So, Cancun – here we come!
Why Cancun? The young lady, our friend Rebecca, wanted to have something different to celebrate her special milestones… reaching her 12th birthday and becoming a Bat Mitzvah. She had previously been on a family trip to Cancun and stayed at the Ritz Carlton. She found it to be a happy, fun, beautiful and friendly spot. So Rebecca posed the possibility of a destination Bat Mitzvah to her parents.
After the family discussed the pros and cons (initially mostly cons) and assessed the feasibility of planning a meaningful Bat Mitzvah Shabbat and celebration in Cancun, Rebecca’s wish did become a reality. The challenges were substantial – the entire event had to be kosher; the guests had to have affordable accommodations and transportation; and the hotel had to have availability for the entire weekend. Because of her dad’s entrepreneurial “can do” attitude, and her mom’s detail-oriented skills and planning expertise, it came to be (and in my opinion, flawlessly)!
What a weekend of celebration! Services Friday night were held in a Mexican Palapa (think Gilligan’s Island) on the beach. The feel and sound of the strong winds, the sight of the sunset over the ocean, the white sand, and the stunning venue added a unique sense of serenity and certainly set the spiritual mood as we welcomed Shabbat. An Eruv had been put up around the space, thus allowing guests to carry outside on Shabbat, in what was otherwise a public domain. Following the service was a beautiful Shabbos dinner.
Services Saturday morning were followed by a delicious lunch; after sundown, the Havdalah service was performed and was followed by a gala outdoor reception Saturday evening.
A Torah was borrowed from the Cancun Chabad – arranged by Chabad Rabbi Mendel Druk, of the Cancun Jewish Center. Rabbi Druk assisted in the hiring of Benny Seren, a mashgiach (kashrut overseer) from Miami, and helped coordinate the kosher menu with the family and the hotel. The hotel had hosted a kosher Passover trip a few years previously, as well as several events for the local Chabad, but this was their first private kosher simcha weekend.
By the way, you many have heard of Rabbi Druk previously; he led the Chabad Hurricane Katrina search and rescue team and the Chabad relief effort after the Thailand Tsunami. Rabbi Adam Starr, an orthodox Rabbi from Atlanta coordinated services along with several other Atlanta community rabbis and lay leaders. With more than 90 guests attending, there was no problem forming a minyan. A highlight after services was Rebecca's sharing her beautiful words of Torah, which she based on the learning she did with her Bat Mitzvah teacher.
The hotel made everyone feel welcome and comfortable. The Ritz management asked the family to explain the significance of a Bat Mitzvah, and the needs of a Sabbath observant Jew so they could educate the hotel staff and anticipate guest needs. The staff not only complied, but also did everything graciously, respectfully and with a smile.
And now to the food – it was plentiful, luscious and served according to the Ritz Carlton’s high standards. The family asked the Ritz Carlton Executive Chef Andreas Schatzschneider and Executive Sous Chef Rene Camelo to plan a menu which would include hotel specialties, while adhering to kosher and Shabbat laws regarding food preparation and appropriate ways to keep food warm. In lieu of typical Shabbat foods like brisket, kugel and cholent, the menus were infused with Mexican flavors, used locally caught fresh fish, local fruits and vegetables, and kosher meats and poultry brought in from Mexico City.
Meals included Ritz Carlton specialties such as seared red snapper with tropical mango sauce, an array of ceviches, Veracruz style fish paella, skirt steak with chimichurri salsa, jerk style chicken, assorted, tasty salads, and of course, there was no shortage of guacamole. The food was spectacular!
To prepare kosher food, one of the hotel's kitchens was closed for several days prior to the event. Kashering started on Wednesday morning, and the kitchen had to be cleaned and unused for at least 24 hours. Kashering was performed by the mashgiach Benny Seren and a hotel team. Glass dishes, flatware and serving ware had to be kashered as well as appliances, ovens, sinks, counters, and outdoor grills (basically everything). Quite a job! Parve and meat foods were prepared in the kitchen, and much of the fish, meat and poultry were cooked on outdoors grills. Sunday breakfast, which was dairy, had to be prepared in separate fry pans set up in a dining area and served on disposables.
From a guest’s point of view, this was a dream weekend; a treat for the body and soul. I enjoyed the company of the other guests, the spectacular beach, the luxury accommodations, and the serene Shabbos enhanced by the fabulous kosher food. We were honored and happy to celebrate a sensational simcha with longtime friends. What could be better?
If you wish to contact the Ritz Carlton Cancun to explore hosting a kosher event, contact Jodi Schwartz 561-487-2324; firstname.lastname@example.org
Try these delicious recipes for the Ritz Carlton Cancun:
Guacamole – A Signature Dish of the Ritz Carlton, Cancun
Veracruz Style Fish Paella
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Eat Like YOU Live in the White House!
In celebration of Presidents’ Day, we are presenting some historical White House recipes, adapted for the kosher eater. Enjoy!
Chicken in White Wine
According to legend, Jacqueline Kennedy used this recipe for state dinners
Adapted from www.Food.com
4 tablespoons parve margarine
¼ lb smoked turkey
1 large onions, chopped
1 carrots, sliced
1 clove minced garlic
2 minced shallots
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 bay leaf
1 pinch salt, 1 pinch pepper
2 cups dry white wine
3/4 lb sliced mushrooms
Melt margarine in an ovenproof casserole; add turkey, onions, carrots, garlic, and shallots. Brown lightly.
Remove veggies, and brown the chicken in the remaining juices.
Remove the chicken, add the wine and seasonings, and stir to incorporate all the little brown bits in the pan.
Put the chicken back in, turn to low, and simmer for 40 minutes with lid OFF.
Remove chicken from pan. Lightly sauté mushrooms. Remove. Whisk in flour until sauce is thickened and bubbly.
Combine all ingredients and simmer for 10 more minutes.
Keep warm in low oven.
Melania Trump's Star Cookies
Originally shared by Family Circle magazine. Inspired by European butter cookies.
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp baking soda
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 egg yolks
1 egg white
2 tbsp sour cream
Combine flour and baking soda. Set aside.
Beat butter and sugar until blended. Add egg yolks, egg white and sour cream. Beat until smooth. Beat in flour mixture until dough just comes together. Form into 2 disks, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes.
Heat oven to 350°. Roll out one disk on liberally floured surface with a floured rolling pin to 1/8-inch thickness.
Using a 2 1/2-inch star cutter, cut out star shapes and place on a parchment-paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with second disk. Gather up scraps, form into a disk and refrigerate. • Bake 10 minutes per batch, until lightly golden. Slide cookies onto a cooling rack and cool. • Re-roll scraps, cut out additional stars or just enjoy and bake.
Yield about 4 dozen
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Warm, friendly, sumptuous, Hamish – a multi-course banquet for everyone. That is how I would describe the Shabbos lunch at The David Citadel Hotel, a Jerusalem landmark. The talented staff including the manager, the chef and the servers were outstanding.
The menu on the cold starter buffet was both extensive and varied… something for everyone. There were at least 25 types of salads, fish and sushi selections for starters. A highlight for our table of three was homemade chopped liver. By the time we were ready for the hot entrees, we were full. But, yes we continued to feast.
The hot buffet included a beef carving station, poultry and several types of meat specialties. There was a Middle Eastern inspired chicken, classic sliced tongue and several vegetable sides. A standout was the hotel’s signature cholent with kishka. Outstanding!
And then came dessert – actually many desserts! Lavish and luscious cookies, cakes, mousse, and fruit. By the way, Chef Avi Turgeman does not use any non-dairy creamer in his desserts. He makes his own creamy toppings and fillings from coconut milk. (Yes, we have requested a recipes to share!)
Since we stayed in the area, we were able to walk to the David Citadel for lunch. For a real treat however, consider staying at the hotel over Shabbat. The rooms and public spaces are lovely; there are daily minyans in the hotel's beautiful Bais Medrash (synagogue and study hall).
When visiting Israel, we suggest considering the experience of a hotel Shabbat lunch or dinner. We certainly enjoyed our lunch at the David Citadel, and highly recommend it. Several of the leading hotels in Jerusalem provide Shabbos dinner and lunch. Granted, these meals are a splurge, but worth it as a special treat. When in Israel, we suggest that you experience this at least once. The excellent service, and the variety and quality of the food at the David Citadel were superb. Keep in mind, reservations must be made and paid in advance.
Much appreciation to hotel manager Hadas Barak for her hospitality!Add a comment