Beef Brisket

Evidently most people know brisket as some sort of smoked BBQ thing. I didn’t know about this until I was googling for recipe variations and kept finding smoking instructions. Isn’t smoking what they do to whitefish and salmon? Perhaps the occasional gouda. Evidently smoking meats is like a thing in the south and I had the definition of BBQ totally confused but that is a discussion for another day. The way I have always eaten (and cooked) brisket was slow cooked in the oven with vegetables and plenty of liquids. You need to google “Jewish Brisket” for this variation.

On the bright side my version is much easier and involves a lot less equipment than the smoked version. Brisket is usually a holiday dish but the other day my husband came home with a huge hunk of meat and promised he would help me cook it. Turned out his help was keeping the children contained while I chopped, seared, cooked, and cleaned up. Better than nothing.

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Deli Tongue (i.e cured/pickled)

Have you ever had a tongue sandwich at a deli? If not please go have one now because they are becoming extinct. Jewish deli food like tongue sandwiches, chopped liver, pickled salmon and kippered lox has been dying out as all the elderly Jews have..uh..moved on. I remember going to the Rascal House in Miami with my great grandparents as a child and waiting in long lines to eat. Then when they were no longer here I went with my grandparents – no lines. Now they are out of business and replaced with an upscale supermarket.

The only people left who eat this food are elderly Jews retiring in Miami or younger ones like me who grew up in the NYC metro area and ate appetizing Sunday morning and stuffed derma at the Delicatessen. Since I moved to Florida though all the Florida raised Jews I met who are my age haven’t even heard of this stuff and it really is a shame they missed out on all this good stuff. It is available in South Florida if you search for it but the Jewish Deli food culture doesn’t surround you naturally like it does out in Long Island or the Lower East Side.

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Matzoh Balls

My 5 year old is OBSESSED with Matzoh Ball Soup. She has been for 3 years now. It all started when my grandmothers would baby sit her and them being 80 year old Jewish grandmothers (or great-grandmothers) fed my then 2 year old like one as well. So, that isĀ  how it all happened. Her loves for other foods have waxed and waned over the years but this one stayed constant and I suppose it makes sense as this food has survived in popularity for centuries.

Another plus is how super easy they are to make. And it only takes a few ingredients.

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Sweet Noodle Kugel

There are about 1,000 different recipes for noodle kugel. Some are savory with chicken fat and pepper others are sweet with lots of dairy, dried or fresh fruits, nuts, etc. I was in the mood for one with lots of dairy and raisins so I made one with cottage cheese, labne, butter, cream and raisins. It was pretty decedent and is generally reserved for holidays rather than everyday fare. It is best served room temperature so let it cool off after making it. It can be served along with dinner, as dessert, or breakfast.

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Chopped Liver

This is an old Jewish dish that a lot of people are grossed out by. But if you like pate you will like this. This is akin to deviled eggs for all my holidays. For every holiday, Jewish or secular this is put on the table as an appetizer. Depending on the occasion I serve it with ritz crackers, challah, or matzoh. Leftovers are always awesome on a sandwich with some roasted peppers or other vegetables.

I wish I could get my slightly anemic two year old to eat it though as liver is full of iron and a great food for anemics.

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