Trick-or-No, None for you!

According to the OU, Walden Farms Blue Cheese Dressing, Blue Cheese Dip, and Ranch Dressing have been reformulated. Thus, they will now bear an OU pareve symbol. Also, Giant Vegetarian Vegetable Soup, due to changes in manufacturing, is no longer certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. Older products bearing the OU symbol is still certified as kosher.

Also, with Tomorrow being the Day of the Dead, I thought it would be nice to share how to make sugar skulls. I just shut down the lights for tonight for trick-or-treaters. My rule is when teens start running about begging for candy, its time to close up shop. And the pair that came by MY door took the cake. They wheeled up on bikes with no costumes, no bags, and sneered thru the screen door, “Got any candy, punk!?” Uh… Not for spoilt brats like you, no.

I was tickled ink when a neighbor’s kid in a Superman costume pointed at my black cat Kitty watching him thru the screen door. “¡Mire a mama! ¡Un gato negro! ¡Un gato negro!” That made me smile so much. Don’t worry, Kitty is NOT getting outside tonight! I like my pet un-mutilated, thank you… Anyhow, Happy ‘whatever holiday you celebrate today’, all! Shalom and Good Cooking!

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October 31, 2006. Kashrut Alerts, News, Personal. 4 comments.

Happy Howl-oween!

Happy Halloween! I got my treat already! Apparently Matisyahu has released a music video for ‘Jerusalem’! Woo-hoo!

Jerusalem, if I forget you,
fire not gonna come from me tongue.
Jerusalem, if I forget you,
let my right hand forget what it’s supposed to do.

Happy Halloween, Good Day of the Dead tomorrow, and excuse me while I fanboy out! ^^

October 31, 2006. fanboying, Personal. Leave a comment.

So -that- explains it!

I wondered why I was ranked so high. And here I thought people liked me! *mock pout* Seems there was a breakout of Shmuckitis on JBlog Central. Proof even Jewish bloggers have drama. Whee! So, I’m back 19-20… So let me groove to Ein Kavod by Shabak Samech, and dream of the time I was, for a short while, in the top 10. Back to adding tags to the new home!

October 31, 2006. Personal. 1 comment.

New Beginnings…

Welcome to my new home on WordPress. If I like it, I’ll try to get my own server and work at making a living off blogging. Who knows, stranger things have happened! Welcome, and remeber to update your bookmarks!

October 30, 2006. News. 1 comment.

Man, I think it’s Pumpkin Time!

So, as it gets closer to January, I worry greatly. See, January is when blog awards get chosen, and I’ll be watching The Jewish & Israel Blog Awards as well as the Bloggies very closely. True, blogging is done for yourself, not the rewards, but even getting NOMINATED means at least some other bloggers read you. And to win one… Damn, that’s like recognition from your fellow bloggers! Ah, well… Happier topics!

First, a thank you to those who could help the wife & I at the 13th hour. We were able to scrape together the needed cash, and our home is safe. Thank you, one and all. Now, as for recipes, I promised this would be an all-pumpkin article. What with Halloween coming up, American Thanksgiving, and the fall season in general, pumpkin recipes are the ONE thing that best represents this time of year. And besides, pumpkin recipes rock the house! So come with me… And you’ll see… A world of pure pumpkin appreciation! Let’s… Get… KOSHER!

The first recipe, a family classic from my mother, is pumpkin pie. First, preheat the over to 375 degrees F and set a cookie sheet inside to heat with the oven. Next add the following ingredients to a mixing bowl in the following order, remembering to blend in each ingredient: 2 slightly beaten eggs; 1 16 oz can solid packed pumpkin; 3/4 cup sugar; 1/2 teaspoon salt; 1 teaspoon cinnamon; 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger; 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves; 3 good shakes of nutmeg; 1 teaspoon vanilla; and 1 14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk. Take 2 9 inch pie crusts and set them in pie dishes, then pour the batter between them. Set the pies on the cookie sheet in the oven, and bake in the center rack for 50-60 minutes, or until you can insert a knife in the center and pull it out clean. Cool on a cooling rack, then serve with whipped cream!

This next one is tasty! It’s Pumpkin Pancakes! First, I recommend making up some Kosher Homemade Bisquick mix. Once you have some, mix the following ingredients together into a batter: 2 cups Bisquick; 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; 1 egg; 1 1/3 cups skim milk; and 3/4 cup pumpkin. Once mix, pour onto a griddle sprayed with a non-stick cooking spray. Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side, flip, and cook for another 3-4 minutes. These pancakes are EXCELLENT with maple syrup! Trust me!

Well, by now you’ve likely noticed my recipes so far have been very country. Well, remember, I’m from the Midwest! Where we believe if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! Keeping with this trend is our next recipe, Pumpkin Bread! First, mix together 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and 2/3 cup vegetable oil in a bowl. Once mixed together, beat in 1 egg and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Afterwards, in a separate bowl, mix together 1 cup buttermilk and 1 teaspoon baking soda. Then, alternate adding small amounts of this mix and 2 1/2 cups All-purpose flour into the bowl while mixing. Finally, mix in 1 1/2 cups pumpkin and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Pour the mix into two greased loaf pans as you preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. As a final touch, you can mix 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 teaspoon melted butter, and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a bowl, then coat the tops of the loaves with it. Either way, bake the loaves for 35-45 minutes on the center rack, then let them cool IN THEIR PANS on cooling racks before removing the loaves. This bread is to die for while still warm and shmeared with a little butter! ^^

Now, I have a little simple yet tasty recipe that works surprisingly well. What this is, my readers, is Pumpkin Crisp. First, take a 16 oz can of pumpkin pie filling and pour it into a 9×13 inch pan. Next, sprinkle 1 dry spike cake mix over the top of the pumpkin. Finally, take 1 stick butter, melted and pour it over the cake mix. Bake it on the center rack at 375 degrees F for 30 minutes. Let cool, then slice into squares and serve. This simple potluck stretcher is great when on a budget, or when you want to make something quick for a bake sale. The best part is ANY fruit pie filling works with this recipe! Try cherries and chocolate cake, apples and angel food cake, or any other variety. Just experiment to find your favorite!

So, lots of baked goods, but what about a SIDE dish? Or, better yet, a salad? What, you call me mad!? You say my pumpkin frenzy has gone too far!? Then, friends, you have yet to try Pumpkin Salad! First, we need 5 pounds fresh pumpkin, peeled, cut into chunks, and the seeds removed. These we want to steam in bamboo baskets for 20 minutes, or until cooked, but still firm. As these steam, boil 6 eggs until hard, then slice the eggs. Mix the steamed pumpkin chunks and egg slices together, then toss in 1 medium sweet onion, diced. As a final touch, use either 11 1/2 cup mayonnaise or 1 cup raspberry vinaigrette to flavor the salad. Cool in the fridge, then serve as a unique salad that is sure to have all your family asking what’s in the tasty salad!

So, are you experiencing pumpkin overdose yet? Are you reeling at all the uses for pumpkin? I’d write more, but I fear a pumpkin overdose, myself! So, I hope you enjoy your recipes, enjoy whatever you celebrate (Or don’t) at the end of October, and have a wonderful time! Until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

October 29, 2006. bread, dessert, recipes, salad. 4 comments.

BONUS recipe due to cook error!

Um, I posted the same article twice, so this is just a filler post. Darn Blogger not leting me delete posts. So, um… For those reading this, you get a BONUS recipe! Just in time for Halloween or Fall Carnivals, it’s Caramel Corn! First start by air-popping up 6 quarts popcorn, and shake out all the unpopped kernels. Next, in a double boiler, cook together 2 cups bron sugar, 2 sticks butter, 1/2 cup Karo syrup, and 1 teaspoon kosher salt for 5 minutes over medium heat. Remove from heat, and stir in 1-2 teaspoons vanilla extract. Pour popcown into a roasting pan, and pour mixture over the popcorn. Stir to coat, then bake in an oven at 250 degrees F, opening the oven every 5 minutes or so to stir the pieces up again so they don’t stick. Continue until dry, and coll before serving. There you go! Shalom and Good Cooking!

October 29, 2006. recipes, snacks. Leave a comment.

Thank You

Just a thanks to those who could help. Looks like we’ll be safe. Thank you once more for your help, you know who you are…

October 24, 2006. Personal. 1 comment.

KCC: Renegade-Style!

So, rather than do the obliglatory birthday post all bloggers do, I figured I’d announce…

November 17th I’ll be hosting the next Kosher Cooking Carnival!!!

The official announcement is here, and EVERYONE can send super-happy-fun Kosher recipes to me at steven-at-renegadekosher-dot-com by the 15th. For those that don’t know, the Kosher Cooking Carnival is a monthly treat of kosher blog posts from all over the world. KCC is much more than a list of recipes, it is for any post that relates in any way to kosher eating in any way that is informative, humorous, useful, or the like. Every kosher recipe/article that’s submitted will be included, so just e-mail me your recipe with your name & a link to your blog, and you’ll be added! For the curious, the previous KCC’s can be found here: 1st; 2nd; 3rd; 4th; 5th; 6th; 7th; 8th; 9th; 10th; and 11th!

Show your love of Kosher food, and let’s make KCC 12 the best so far! Until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

October 24, 2006. Kosher Cooking Carnival. 5 comments.

Get the jars together!

Even with tomorrow as my birthday, I -still- write articles! What’s with me!? Well, let’s do this. I didn’t post last week as we were moving into our new home! As I sit here unpacking, I turn my thoughts to typical fall activities: Carving pumpkins; Stocking up candy, and canning. Yes, canning is something that is very dear to my heart. I remember sitting with my mom making big jars of pickles, jams, jellies, and such to stretch out the money. And this is JUST the time of year to do it. So, let’s get started!

The first, and most important thing, is to sterilize ALL your jars. You want to boil the jars to get them all nice and clean. Now, do NOT boil your lids, as the boiling water will ruin the seal. These can be washed with soap and water by hand. The important thing is to have everything as clean as possible because you don’t want mold or other icky stuff growing in your jars. That’s just bad, m’kay?

Now that we have clean jars, we can start with a family classic, Bread-N-Butter Pickles. I learned this recipe from my mother, and have always enjoyed these pickles over the traditional Kosher Dill variety. They have a sweeter taste, and just taste great in sandwiches or on veggie burgers! To start with, we need 4 Quarts Cucumbers cut into 1/8 in. Slices, 6 Onions Sliced Up, 2 Green Peppers Sliced Up, and 3 Garlic Cloves Minced up. Set them in a bowl, toss in 1/3 Cup Kosher Salt, and finally cover the entire mix in crushed ice for at least THREE HOURS. The mix needs to not only chill, but we need to let all the flavors meld together.

When the 3 hours is nearly up, bring the following to a boil: 3 Cups White Wine Vinegar, 5 Cups Sugar, 2 Tablespoons Turmeric, and 1 & 1/2 Teaspoons Celery Seeds. As this mix comes to a boil, drain the water off the chilled cucumbers, and pack it lightly into each of the jars. You want to leave about 1/4 of the jars empty for the brine. Once all your jars have the to-be-pickles in them, take out a canning funnel. Setting it in each jar, pour the boiled brine into each jar until the liquid comes to the bottom of the funnel. If you don’t HAVE a canning funnel, then just fill the brine up so that there is about 1/4 inch of leeway on the top of the jars. Seal the jars up, then set them in a pot of boiling water for 10 minutes. After their bath, dry off the jars, label & date, and set in a cool, dry place for at least 6 weeks. You should have delicious pickles for months to come!

Next I want to look at my favorite type of jelly, Apple Butter. This one takes longer to age, but the results are VERY much worth it! We want to begin by mixing the following together in a slow cooker: 10 Cups Unsweetened Applesauce, 1 Teaspoon Ground Cloves, 1 teaspoon Allspice, and 1 Teaspoon Cinnamon. Cover and cook on ‘LOW’ for 24 hours, stir, and then cook for 12 more hours with the lid off. Drain off the liquid that collects on top of your butter, and then use your jarring funnel to fill sterilized jars with the remaining mixture. Remember to fill them to the BOTTOM of the funnel, or leaving a 1/4 inch leeway if you don’t have the funnel. Date & label, and then enjoy! The apple butter will keep in the fridge for 6 to 9 months, AND it’s sugar-free! A bonus delight for diabetic friends or family!

While we’re making our own penny-pinching delights, let’s shift no something we can keep on hand for a sweet delight on toast or bagels. Yes, I’m going to teach you to make your own shmear with Honey Butter! We start with 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature & 1/8 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon. Beat the mixture with a wooden spoon or an electric mixer until creamy. Once mixed, stream in 3 Tablespoons Honey (Or more if you like your honey. Experiment to find out how sweet you want it!) into the bowl, scraping the sides to get it all nice and mixed together. Keep tasting and add honey if you wish. Once the mixture is to your liking, seal in a canning jar and keep in the fridge for up to a month. The butter costs about 29 Cents American per serving, and goes great on pancakes, bread, and other baked goods. It even makes Matzos taste good, if your branch allows putting things onto matzos.

Next week we’ll look at pumpkins, and how this tasty fruit can be used to make bread, cookies, cakes, and even the traditional Pumpkin Pie. Before I go, I want to recommend a REALLY good movie Rabbi turned me onto. It’s a movie called Ushpizin, and is a wonderful story about a couple who have ‘found religion’, and their trials and tribulations in trying to have a happy holiday. It’s actually a comedy on par with Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, and made me chuckle the night away. I highly recommend finding this film from Israel, as it’ll make you smile by the end. But, for now, let me get back to trying to unpack before my birthday tomorrow with our usual sendoff: Shalom and Good Cooking!

October 23, 2006. canning, recipes. Leave a comment.

Sukkot: It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

So, what do you do if you’re invited to TWO Sukkot parties on the same night at about the same time? This quandry was presented to me just now. My temple is having a sukkot party for new members tonight at 6:30. AND, my friends at Chabad Downtown are having a Sukkot party at 5:30! Oy! What to do! Well, I called the rabbi back, caught him up on what’s going on, and explained I aleady had a prior commitment. Which is sad as Hassidics throw the BEST parties! Really! I mean, it’s like a non-stop fun time! And, seriously, Sukkot is the holiday we’re SUPPOSED to be happy! But, it just is interesting, none the less.

I’m in a good mood today, and even this bit of ‘kosher’ advertizing made me giggle like mad. Apparently Rochie Bros. has a habit of doing Kosher-style food without it being actually Kosher. My query is, why don’t they just get the certification?

Ah, but with the holidays upon us,I remeber a favorite recipe from this site that always makes me smile. So, without further ado, let me present…

A Jewish mother’s 21 steps to the proper preparation of gefilte fish:

1. Two weeks before a major Jewish holiday, call your daughter and ask her what she plans to serve at the festive meal. Express your outrage when she suggests serving doctored up canned gefilte fish. Offer to make the fish yourself.

2. Suggest that your daughter take a day off from work so that she can watch you make the fish, so she’ll know how to do it for her kids after she has put you in The Home. Two days before the holiday, call your daughter and tell her that you hate to disappoint her but you simply don’t have the strength to make gefilte fish.

3. While your daughter is racing all over looking for a substitute appetizer, get all dressed up and take a bus…and a subway…and another bus…

4. …to an obscure fish store in a slum where they still sell LIVE CARP.

5. Examine the carp swimming in the fish tank. Ask the owner if any fresher carp will be arriving soon.

6. On principle, reject the first two fish that he offers you.

7. Accept the third or fourth. Allow him to fillet and skin the carp but NEVER let him put your fish near his electric grinder. Far be it from you to accuse someone unjustly, but you know he has ground dead carp in it.

8. Lugging three heavy shopping bags filled with fish, take three buses home, unless someone has told you about a way of taking four.

9. Call your daughter and tell her that you felt a little bit better and decided to go to your special fish store to pick up the carp. You know how busy she is right before the holidays so you didn’t want to ask her to drive all the way out there.

10. Tell her how exhausted you are and describe in detail the assassin who tried to steal your pocketbook as you were boarding the second bus. Inquire whether your daughter would mind picking you up. You normally wouldn’t ask but it’s much easier to make the gefilte fish in her kitchen because she has all the latest electric gadgets.

11. Remove several washed mixing bowls from your daughter’s dishwasher and then rinse them to make sure they are clean.

12. There should be a separate bowl for each ingredient so that dirt from the carrots will not get on the celery. Put the diced carrots in one bowl, the sliced celery in the second, the chopped onions in the third and then combine them all in a fourth bowl. Ask your daughter to stop whatever she is doing and come and watch you.

13. Eye your daughter’s food processor with suspicion. Ask her to help you operate it. Chop the carp in it for 15 seconds, then move all the ingredients into your ancient wooden chopping bowl.

14. Rev up those Hadassah arms and attack the ingredients with a dull bladed hockmesser for 90 minutes. Demand that your daughter acknowledge the superiority of your withered arm over a horsepower motor.

15. Place your hand on your chest and moan. Accept your daughter’s offer to help. Give her the bowl and the hockmesser.

16. Twelve seconds later, snatch the bowl and chopper out of your daughter’s hands. Tell her to watch carefully so she’ll be more of a help next year. Pulverize the fish with your chopper for another 52 minutes.

17. On the bottom of a cast-iron pot with a non-matching lid (rescued by your mother during a pogrom and brought in steerage to America), arrange slices of carrots, onions, celery, fish heads, skin and bones.

18. Form the chopped fish mush into oval patties and lay them gently on top of the ingredients in the pot.

19. Add liquid and seasonings, bring the pot to a boil, lower to simmer, cover the pot and let the fish cook until they’re ready and taste good…but not as good as last year’s.

20. After the patties cool, arrange them on a beautiful serving platter for your daughter and her guests. Dump the heads, skin and bones in a chipped bowl for yourself. Practice saying that the heads and the bones are the tastiest portions until you sound convincing.

21. The morning after the holiday, call your daughter and tell her that you just tasted a piece of bottled fish that was even more delicious than what she served last night. Tell her it’s a shame you made it from scratch when everyone does such wonderful things with canned.

Hope your holiday is going well! Shalom and Good Cooking!

October 10, 2006. Personal. Leave a comment.

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