Category: Reviews

Kosherfest 2012 Top Ten

It’s been a whirlwind of a week! Melinda Strauss of Kitchen-Tested and Shelley Serber of The Kosher Home hosted the first Kosher Food Blogger Conference at the Carlton Hotel. It was great meeting so many people and learning so much from an expert lineup of speakers including Jamie Geller of JoyOfKosher, Noah Fecks, food photographer extraordinaire of thewayweate, Leah Schapira of CookKosher, Dani Klein of YeahThatsKosher, Joe Apfelbaum SEO expert and CEO of AjaxUnion, and many more! I also attended the 2nd annual KosherFeast Social Media Dinner at Abigaels restaurant, hosted by the wonderful ladies Lois Held and Roberta Scher of KosherEye and the SweetUp Team, Esti Berkowitz of PrimeTimeParenting and Abbey Wolin of Not2Shabbey.

Of course, there was also a little something called KosherFest, where I was lucky enough to sample many of the new (and old) kosher products on the market! I’m so excited to show you some of my faves!

Did any of you visit KosherFest? I’d love to hear about some of the products that you sampled and enjoyed!

1. Sweet Loren’s Ready-To-Bake Frozen Dark Double Fudge Brownie
One taste of these delicious nondairy, wholegrain, natural brownie bars and you’d never imagine they were made from freezer batter. The batter comes in the pan so all you have to do is stick it in the oven. Sweet Loren’s makes lots of other ready to bake desserts as well. SweetLorens.comUPDATE 1/2/13: Although this product is dairy free, it is made on dairy equipment and is actually OUD.

2. Gelato Petrini
This handmade, low fat, gluten free gelato was my favorite of the whole day. The family-owned company is based in Delray Beach, FL, but they plan on distributing to New York locations soon. In the meantime, their fig & honey gelato and lychee sorbetti are good enough to travel for!

3. Rimon Freeze-Dried Yogi Drops
Freeze-dried yogurt drops have never been seen on the kosher, cholov-yisroel market. I’m really excited about these delicious pop-in-your-mouth healthy treats that are great for kids and adults alike. Many delicious flavors, and more, coming soon to your kosher supermarket.

4. Mediterranean Chef Hummus+
Besides for the fact that the people at this booth were so nice and generous, their hummus speaks for itself. They had a range of delicious flavors, but their pesto variation really stood out. It was one of the best hummus’s I’ve ever tasted!

5. SideEffect Alcoholic Cider
I’ma huge fan of apple cider, so this alcoholic variety really got me excited. The only thing in this smooth and delicious drink is apple juice and because it’s made purely from apples, it is also kosher for passover!

6. Roland Cooked Baby Beets
If you follow my blog, you know just how much I love beets – and not the canned variety. These steamed and peeled baby beets are vacuum packed and ready to eat. I always see it at Trader Joes, but there was nothing like it on the kosher market until now!

7. Manischewitz Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
If you only eat cholov-yisroel like me, you probably drool over all the nutella desserts you see on pinterest. Finally, there is a chocolate hazelnut spread that is pareve, AND it’s kosher for passover! It’s out of this world delicious. Now I know what I’ve been missing all this time!

8. Finchi’s Desserts
Finchi’s desserts makes the most delicious chocolate mousse (and brownies) that are gluten, nut and dairy free. They also have a sugar free variety that rivals any mousse you’ve ever tasted.

9. Zelda’s Cinnamon Chocolate Popcorn
I’ve long been a fan of Zelda’s gourmet confections, but this cinnamon chocolate popcorn just hits the spot. That stuff is seriously dangerous, I can eat an entire tub in one sitting. Also available in many other flavors including jalapeno, sparkling candy cane and blue Hannukkah!

10. Torie & Howard Organic Hard Candy
Not only is this organic candy unbelievably mouth-puckering delicious, they have the most beautiful packaging I have ever seen! I aslo love that they don’t use artificial food coloring. Their four original flavors include pomegranate & nectarine, pink grapefruit & tupelo honey, blood orange & honey and d’angou pear & cinnamon (my favorite!)

1 year ago: Kosherfest 2011 Top Ten

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The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen
{Recipes, Review & Giveaway}

Levana Kirschenbaum, author of The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen, is a cook after my own heart. She likes to cook healthy food, with minimal ingredients, in a short span of time. That’s not to say that this cookbook is filled with quick-fix dinners. It certainly is not. While it may include 15 variations of 3-ingredient chicken dishes (which I’m thrilled about!), it’s also got plenty of gourmet recipes that require an array of flavorful ingredients.

With an on emphasis on healthy, whole, minimally processed ingredients, Levana still manages to pull out delicious dishes that require little more than fresh produce, herbs and spices. Even her decadent desserts maintain a healthy perspective, without requiring a trip to the health food store for specialized ingredients.

The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen is extremely thorough. I now understand why Levana refers to it as her magnum opus, a comprehensive compilation of her life’s work. In the first chapter, “The Pantry”, Levana guides you in the building your pantry, making each and every recipe look so easy. From dressings to jams and sauces to liquors, this chapter lacks for nothing. While titled “Edible Gifts to Yourself and Beyond”, I find this section to be Levana’s gift to the reader. What greater gift is there to a cook than to be able to learn many of the basic recipes required to build a dish?

The cookbook continues with Soups, Salads, Fish, Poultry/Meat, Vegetable Dishes, Grains/Pasta, Breakfast/Brunch, Breads and finally Desserts. While the recipes mostly stay true to Levana’s Morrocan roots, her dishes span the globe, including internationally-inspired recipes like creole chicken with rice, pad thai, cucumber raita chai and tilapia nicoise en papillotte, among many others.

I love Levana’s addition of suggested menu’s, including feasts by cuisine (Moroccan, French, Italian, Israeli, Asian, Latin and Indian), dietary preferences (dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan) as well as themed menu’s (salads, chocolate, kids). You’ll also find three separate indexes – standard, gluten free and passover.

The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen has a little something for everyone. As for me, I’m looking forward to making the Kabocha sweet potato soup, baked snapper with raisins and pine nuts, chicken with apples, millet fritters, blueberry scones and Indian sweet potato pudding.

If I could critique anything about this cookbook, it would only be to say that I would appreciate more beautiful pictures!

Busy In Brooklyn is happy to be giving away a copy of The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen!

To Enter:

1. Share your favorite Rosh Hashana food/recipe in the comments below.
2. “Like” Busy In Brooklyn on Facebook!

Winner will be selected at random on September 13th, 2012.

from The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen:





















Recipes & photos excerpted with Permission from The Whole Foods Kosher Kitchen Cookbook By Levana Kirshenbaum

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The Pardes Tasting Menu Experience

I live in Brooklyn, NY (hence the blog name:)), so I’m just a short ride away from the famous kosher restaurant, Pardes. I’ve been there quite a few times with my husband, but never for the tasting menu. Although I love to cook (and eat), I’m not the most adventurous eater. I’m more of a steak and potatoes kind of girl. When I go to Pardes, I usually order the beef cheek pizza or the Pardes signature burger & fries (with the most amazing, lip-smacking red wine ketchup!). So when my cousin suggested that we go to Pardes for the tasting menu, I was a little hesitant. Sweetbreads (the thymus gland) are not exactly my thing.

<<Funny story actually. My husband and I were once at an upscale restaurant in Manhattan. I forget where. When he saw sweetbreads on the menu, he thought they were, well, sweet breads, so he ordered it. You can imagine how that worked out.>>

So back to Pardes, I decided to take my cousin up on her offer to challenge myself to a truly gourmet eating experience. I promised myself I would try everything that was served to me, regardless of the animal it came from (or the part of the animal!) It’s a good thing I made that promise because I might have left hungry otherwise. Not only did I have sweetbreads (which I enjoyed immensely), but I also sampled ox heart, marrow tartare, goat and tongue, among other things.

I’m not even going to pretend to understand the complexity of Chef Moshe Wendel’s dishes. There is no mistaking that he is a culinary genius. All I know is, although I may not be familiar with all of his unique ingredients and combinations, we still speak the universal language of good food, and that I understand.

What I find so refreshing about Pardes is that each and every time you go, you’re in for a unique experience. Chef Wendel is constantly changing up the menu, and his dishes are not ones that you’ll find anywhere. In these days of Pinterest and social media, it seems like everyone is making another version of someone elses dish, but Chef Wendel’s dishes are all his own – one hundred percent. His ability to marry unique flavors and to present dishes that are as beautiful on the eye as they are on the palate are a testament to his amazing talents.

And that’s not all.

Living in New York, and being a real foodie, you can imagine just how many restaurants I’ve been to. Most of the time, if the food is good, the dessert isn’t. There is only so much hot chocolate souffle that I am willing to eat. But not at Pardes. The same oomph and charisma that is put into each and every dish, is put into the dessert menu – and that’s without having a pastry chef. Is there anything that this Chef can’t do? The desserts are so whimsical and delicious, it’s worth a trip JUST for their ice cream. Well, maybe that, and an order of fries with their glorious ketchup…or the smoked paprika popcorn…or the heirloom tomato soup…or the…

click on pictures for an enlarged view

1. Smoked paprika popcorn
We came a few minutes early to our reservation, and since the Chef serves all the tasting menu patrons at the same time, they gave us some complimentary popcorn while we waited. Smoked. Paprika. Popcorn. It’s lick-your-finger kind of good.
2.Tuna tartare with salmon roe, edible flowers, ginger, grapefruit and tomato water broth.
An OK start to our meal. The components of this dish did not seem to come together (especially the tomato water), but each was nice on it’s own. My least favorite of the night.
3. Heirloom tomato salad, crispy salmon skin, seabeans, rouille (saffron mayonnaise)
Light and lovely. The salmon skin chip was super crunchy with no fishy aftertaste. And the seabeans were so fresh and delicious!
4. Hamachi, pepper jam, pistachio powder
While I was hoping for a cooked fish option, the hamachi did not disappoint. However, the pepper jam was the real standout, with sweet tomato-y goodness.
5. Taramasolata (fish roe dip) with bread crumbs, green beans, baby celery, pink olive
My first taste of taramasolata – creamy and surprisingly un-fishy. I loved the briny pink olive sauce, toasted breadcrumbs and the crunchy green beans.
6. Palate cleanser: sorbet trio, canteloupe, wheatgrass and coffee
Each sorbet was delicious in it’s own right but the wheatgrass was definitely the winner here. It was so clean, crisp and refreshing.
7. Heirloom tomato soup with barley bacon and basil oil
My favorite dish of the entire meal. Velvety soup with smoky bacon barley bits and droplets of basil oil – I’m coming back for more!
8. Terrine of goat, simple green salad, pickled onion
I’ve never tasted goat before and I’m glad I tried it at Pardes. It was tender and flavorful with a lovely texture.
9. Sweetbreads, smoked chicken skin, creamy leeks, mushroom/miso puree, saffron seaweed jus
I’ve always been afraid to eat sweetbreads, but I promised myself I’d try everything. I’m glad I did, they were quite good. And the crispy smoked chicken skin? yum!
10. Tongue with onion rings and mustard mayo
The chef sent us this course as a bonus, I’m not sure why. Our server mentioned something about the wait. I wasn’t about to complain – melt-in-your mouth tongue and crispy onion rings? who could ask for more? And that mustard mayo was the perfect complement to the dish.
11. Ox heart, japanese white turnip, rodebach/prune reduction, mustard/juniper pickle, baby celery
The surprise of the night. Who would have thought that ox heart would be so delicious? This dish was plated so beautifully and the sauces were equally superb.
12. Tartares of marrow and rib eye, hazelnut, trumpet royale, cepe vinegar, black garlic
Believe it or not, this was my first time eating beef tartare, and boy have I been missing out. Full of fresh flavor. The marrow tartare, on the other hand, was not as successful. To me, it was like eating a spoonful of fat (which some people, like my Mom, might enjoy). Although I did appreciate the creative use of the marrow bone (as a breadstick holder).
13. Duck, hibiscus vinegar, sorrel, zucchini puree, orange
Both the duck breast and leg were served in this dish and they were both perfectly cooked. The sorrel and orange added a bright, citrus note that complemented the duck really well. The zucchini puree was not as enjoyable. I found the texture to be kind of pasty.
14. “Green egg & lamb” pistou provencal, seasonal greens in garlic broth, lamb shoulder confit, poached egg
I loved poached eggs, on anything, so I was kind of dissapointed when this dish turned out to be super spicy. And I like spicy food. But this was borderline mouth-on-fire.
15. Ice cream sandwich with flowers, orange blossom and rosewater semifreddo, various plums
Perfection on a plate. I wanted to lick that semifreddo off the dish!
16. Hazelnut financier, hazelnut parfait, candied hazelnuts, fresh and pickled blueberries, blueberry sauce and sorbet
This dessert was nice and I really appreciated the four different preparations of the blueberries. I must admit though, I had my heart set on the peach crumble with maple bacon walnut ice cream! There’s always next time!

Sangria with cinnamon, anise, banana, mango
With hints of banana, this sangria was surprisingly light and refreshing.
Lake Placid Ubu Aledeep red English strong ale, chocolate malty goodness that packs a serious wallop for its drinkability.
Smooth and delicious, but a tad too bitter for my taste.

Pardes Restaurant
497 Atlantic Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11217
(718) 797-3880
Tasting Menu, approximately 10 courses, $110 p/p + taxes & tip, reservations required

1 year ago: peanut butter fudge ice cream pie

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Kelder’s Farm

I can’t say enough about Kelder’s Farm. This place makes me want to live in the country. And on a farm. And grow my own vegetables. There is so much to do in this place, it’s a whole day affair. We happened to be upstate for the weekend, but in my humble opinion, it’s worth the drive from anywhere!

Kelder’s Farm is a 200 year old family farm in the scenic Rondout Valley. In operation since 1836, the farm offers educational tours, homegrown produce, hayrides, and so much more. It houses a petting zoo, greenhouse, Farmer’s Market, as well as many other fun and exciting activities for kids and adults alike.


At the Kelder’s Farm petting zoo, you’ll find cows, goats, sheeps, pigs, chickens, as well as a donkey and an alpaca. You can purchase bags of food to feed the animals or learn to milk a cow. The petting zoo is my husband’s favorite part of the farm. He loves to feed and pet the animals while my kids watch in amazement. The goat actually grabbed the entire bag of feed and ate the paper bag!

Always remember to wash your hands after feeding or touching the animals (the farm has a large sink and soap dispenser near the petting zoo).


There are loads of fun activities for the kids to enjoy, not to mention great photo opportunities! My kids love to hop aboard the tractors and train, but you can also go for a hay ride, play mini golf, jump on a huge jumping pillow, or run through corn mazes.


Kelder’s Farm boasts an amazing market with gourmet products like jams, honey, cake mixes, spices and sauces of all kinds. They even make their own bug spray. If you don’t want to pick your own produce, you can buy it all at the market too. They also carry an assortment of kosher products including candies, drinks and ice creams. Animal feed and supplies are also available at the market.

Not only does the market carry delicious gourmet food items, it also houses an assortment of antique appliances and supplies. Every corner is filled with another unique and interesting item to look at and admire.


The farm grows an array of beautiful flowers which you can pick yourselves. My kids had lots of fun choosing their favorites and cutting them from the ground!


Obviously my favorite part about Kelder’s Farm is the U-Pick fields where you can pick your own seasonal fruits and vegetables. There is nothing like eating something you have picked from the ground with your own hands. It gives you a whole new appreciation for the food that you eat.

We picked blueberries, red currants, beets, swiss chard, and peas. Unfortunately, the corn was not ready for picking, but they brought in some from a nearby farm so we bought some too. I can’t wait to share with you all the great recipes I came up with using my farm fresh ingredients.

Recipes coming soon:

Snap pea, corn and red currant salad
Sauteed swiss chard with shallots and raisins
Roasted beet salsa
Corn soup

The following produce is available for picking this summer:

July: blueberries, beets, greens, carrots, beans, broccoli, onions, squash, cucumbers, red currants, beans, and herbs.

August/September: corn, tomatoes, black raspberries, apples, grapes, herbs, melons, beets, eggplant, greens, carrots, beans broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, squash, kohlrabi, garlic, potatoes.

Also on premises at Kelder’s Farm is a picnic area and restrooms. These are my only gripes about the place. The picnic area oversees some beautiful lush greenery, however, your meal will be disturbed by tons of flies all over your food! The “restrooms” are portable toilets but it is a farm after all, so chalk it up and let it be part of the adventure!

Kelder’s Farm & U-Pick
5755 Rt 209
Kerhonkson, NY
Phone: Phone (845) 626-7137

1 year ago: blueberry corn pancakes

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Cream of Leek Soup + Fresh & Easy Cookbook Review

I don’t know what’s taken me so long to make something from Leah Schapira’s fabulous cookbook Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking, but I’m so glad I finally did. It also gave me a chance to revisit the book and look at page after page of mouthwatering recipes and pictures. While the title “Fresh & Easy” refers to the recipes, it also reflects the cookbooks ease of use. Being a web designer by trade, I really appreciate a fresh and clean layout, and Leah’s book does a fabulous job of creating organized, easy-to-read meal plans for the everyday cook. With picture perfect menu’s, an informative guide to seasonal fruits & vegetables, as well as freezer tips and food pairings, “Fresh & Easy” is the perfect resource for busy moms and cooks.

One of the recipes that stood out to me was this cream of leak soup. While I usually make french onion soup for Shavuous, I find it quite heavy, so I was looking for something dairy, but lighter. While this is similar to a vichyssoise, the lack of potatoes and heavy cream keep it light – which I love. Of course I had to throw my own twist on it, so I made some crispy leeks for garnish.

Some of the other recipes I’m eyeing from Leah’s book include the gemelli basil pasta salad, butternut squash with grapes and shallots, red wine tomato sauce, Italian breadsticks, double chocolate pecan waffles, creamy thai chicken thighs, plum asian chicken, savory hamentaschen, peanut butter bars, cinnamon twists, cheese buns….(I better stop here before I type up the whole cookbook!)

Do you own the Fresh & Easy cookbook? What are some of the recipes you’ve tried? I’d love to hear from you!

1 year ago: mini zucchini muffins + Rivka’s pumpkin cake

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