Liz Mennen, founder of Oy Veg KitchenPhoto by Jessica Beaushene After several years in Atlanta, Liz Mennen, 29, realized what was missing from her life in the South: knishes. The New York-bred actuary had grown up eating the Eastern European comfort food—pastries stuffed with a mashed potato and onion filling and often meat, cheese, or other vegetables. “To me, they taste like a hug—they’re so distinctly warm and comforting,” she says. By 2017, Mennen had become passionate about the small food movement and was living a mostly vegetarian lifestyle. She stumbled across a Jewish, vegetarian, comfort food cookbook called Vilna ...
Craig LaBan is back on Sansom Street, just weeks after giving Dizengoff three bells, to test out Michael Solomonov’s Ashkenazic restaurant, Abe Fisher. LaBan is a fan of just about everything, from the pastrami smoked short rib to the bacon tinged take on the egg cream.
But Abe proved its worth in many ways. The uniquely creative menu is bolstered by outgoing, informed service. The excellent drink program was thoughtfully conceived, from well-crafted theme cocktails (the beet-stained and rummy Nobody Expects the Spanish Inquisition) to its $12 Cruvinet pours of intriguing food-friendly wines, from grenache blanc ...
On the first evening of Rosh Hashanah this year, BuzzFeed posted a video called “The Jewish Food Taste Test.” In it, Gentiles sample iconic Ashkenazi dishes. Gefilte fish comes first. “It’s like a cold sausage with sour paste on the top,” one goy cringes. “I’m not quite sure what meat it is,” confesses a hoodie-clad Asian dude. A vaguely Nordic-looking hipster delivers the kicker: “It tastes like a grocery store smells.” Suffice it to say that these people were not eating the gefilte fish on offer at Abe Fisher.
Yes, the result is tender. Incredibly tender, in a way that an unctuous short rib should be after this much love and attention (the tougher brisket cut is the typical protein used in this type of smoking). But it’s also deeply smoked and sliced perfectly to reveal a shade of prime rib pink I’d never seen with ...
There are numerous spellings for these soup dumplings although The Food Lover’s Companion dictionary spells it matzo balls. There are numerous ways to spell its other name; knaidlach, knadlach, kneidlach, kneydlakh which means dumplings.
Matzo balls were initially used during Passover when one could not use leavened bread and the matzo was crushed into meal to make the dumplings. It was early in the 20th century that Manischewitz came out with a packaged matzo meal and it was then that matzo balls started to grow in popularity. Each family, each Bubbe, had their own formula for her matzo balls light and fluffy (floaters) or dense and heavy (sinkers). What made what, well the more fat and matzo meal the heavier the matzo ball, less fat and less matzo meal the lighter. Also the longer time spent chilling the fridge before forming the balls and cooking them improves the texture. Seeking matzo ball wisdom, I prepared numerous recipes each with a twist on original Manischewitz matzo meal boxed recipe and with the matzo ball mixes which have leavening agents and seasonings.
Faklempt, either my balls were coming out loose or too heavy. Trying all recipes and techniques to make replicas of my mother’s light and fluffy renditions had me using club soda which contains sodium bicarbonate which aids in leavening and separating the yolks from the whites, whipping the whites stiff and folding them in as the last step. These did nothing whatsoever to lighten the texture of my matzo balls.
Entrepreneur, caterer and owner of Baltimore’s Haute Dog CarteDaniel Raffel invited me over to his house for a matzo ball making party after seeing me moaning about consistency in my matzo balls on social media. Daniel uses matzo ball mixes to start but has tried and true techniques that make for a matzo ball which is a happy medium between sinkers and floaters. I will try to impart those pearls of wisdom on to you. My recommendation is to get the matzo ball mixes by Streits or Manischewitz since they already have leavening agents, seasonings and everything is already measured. If not use the plain matzo meal and add a teaspoon of baking powder to the recipe for every ½ cup of matzo meal.
Matzo Ball Mix – 1 package
1.Put your eggs in a small bowl and poke the yolks, don’t mix it up like scramble eggs
2.In a separate bowl add the 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil but Daniel Raffel uses 1 Tablespoon schmaltz and 1 Tablespoon shortening. If you make your own chicken stock, don’t throw away that fat that forms at the top when chilled. Freeze it, it is full of flavor and use that for the schmaltz. Add the matzo ball mix to the fat and blend it in pressing with a fork when blended add the eggs and fold in until just blended but don’t over mix. Cover and chill at least 30 minutes, the longer the better.
3.There are many recipes online, some say to cook the matzo balls right in the stock – don’t do it, it will cloud up and suck up your broth. Bring plenty of water to a boil, salt lightly – think like you are cooking pasta.
4.As the water is coming to a boil form the matzo balls in a 1 inch diameter and put on a sheet pan. When the water boils start to add the matzo balls, slowly they will rise to the surface. Once the water comes back to a boil, reduce heat to a very low simmer and cover. As Lois Levenson emphasized in her recipe in 1952’s Like Mama Used to Make, “Do Not remove cover until ready to serve, as air entering the pot makes the knadlach lose their fluffiness.” In reality, you want to remove a matzo ball to make sure it is cooked through.
5. You may be making the matzo balls in advance but when their cooking time is completed turn off the heat and leave the lid on for about 20 minutes per instructions in the Encyclopedia of Jewish Food.
6.The matzo balls will have doubled in size, meaning they are holding a good amount of water. Per Daniel Raffel, put them on and angled sheet pans at the top of the angle and let the excess moisture run off.(see photo in the slideshow) At this point they can be added to your soup. Matzo balls freeze well – freeze until just firm on a lined sheet pan (parchment paper or plastic wrap). Throw them in a freezer bag for use at a later date. Let them reheat in a simmering broth.
Optional: Add minced onion, parsley, dill or thyme to your matzo ball mixture. Some add a hint of cinnamon, garlic powder. For a look back, our grandmothers stuffed bone marrow in the center of the matzo balls while shaping them leaving the door open to your imagination for other surprise centers.
What I have learned each family has its own rituals when making matzo balls. Hopefully in this piece you have learned a bit more about making these dumplings. If you have any tips for making matzo balls please share.
Sometimes the options on a Restaurant Week menu can be disappointing. But that’s not the case at the brand new Abe Fisher. Like at Zahav and Percy Street Barbecue (two eat for $35), Mike Solomonov is using Restaurant Week to showcase what his restaurants can do. In fact, Abe Fisher is throwing in an extra fourth dish for the typical $35 Restaurant Week menu. And most of the dishes that we’ve had our eye on from the opening menu are available. Even better, since the restaurant has just gone online at OpenTable, plenty of reservations remain.
1623 Sansom St. Phone: 215-867-0088; website Status: Open
After several nights of mock services, friends and family dinners, and a stealthy preview over the holiday weekend, Mike Solomonov and Steve Cook‘s Abe Fisher fully, officially opens tonight. There are still tables available and, as previously noted, the bar and kitchen counter seats are all available for walk-ins.
Early murmurs from preview services have given especially high marks to the veal schnitzel tacos, corned pork belly, and the house-baked breads, including rye, challah, and monkey bread made with schmaltz, gribenes, and sesame. (Here’s a good ...
Here’s a sneak peek inside Abe Fisher, the new small plates concept from chef Michael Solomonov that will open on September 2 to showcase Jewish food “from everywhere but Israel.” (It’s “the inverse of [Zahav],” co-owner Steve Cook told City Paper.) We’ve already shared the full menu, which pulls influence from Jewish traditions around the world, placing borscht tartare and hot-smoked sable alongside shrimp fried rice and schnitzel tacos.
The 1,500 square-foot space was designed by Boxwood Architects (who also worked on Federal Donuts and Dizengoff) and prominently features custom steelwork by ...
Michael Solomonov’sAbe Fisher will be opening on Tuesday, September 2nd. Co-owner Steven Cook says “everything from Montreal-style smoked meat and Ukrainian borscht to the American Jewish tradition of Chinese food on Christmas is fair game” for the restaurant that celebrates the Jewish Diaspora.
The Sansom Street restaurant next to Cook+Solo’s Dizengoff and across from Federal Donuts will have seating for 50 plus a full-service bar that seats ten. Two kitchen counter seats will offer a front row view of the action on the line. These seats will be available nightly for walk-in guests.
Solomonov and co-chef Yehuda Sichel have created a ...
September 2 will be the official debut of Abe Fisher, the latest project from CookNSolo (Zahav, FedNuts, Dizengoff). Here, the restaurateurs are looking outside of Israel to spotlight foods of the Jewish diaspora, which translates to “everything from Montreal-style smoked meat and Ukrainian borscht to the American Jewish tradition of Chinese food on Christmas,” according to Steve Cook.
The menu (which you’ll find below) is made up of small plates divided into vegetable, fish, and meat categories — a $39 prix fixe option lets you pick one of each plus a dessert — that cover ground ...
With all the Rooster Soup Co. excitement from the CookNSolo camp lately, you might’ve almost forgotten that Mike Solomonov and his team have been hard at work on a hummusiya and a sibling restaurant highlighting “cuisine of the Jewish diaspora.” Last we heard, Dizengoff and Abe Fisher were hoping to be open by July. Of course, with just two days left in the month, it looks like they’ll be a little later yet, but a rep says they should be up and running soon. (Abe is signed up for Center City Restaurant Week, at least, which starts September 7.)
Hesh’s Eclair Bake Shoppe has closed in Northeast Philadelphia. The Jewish bakery had been in business for 54-years. The details are scant but a message in the windows and on the web site says the closure is permanent.
It is with a very sad and heavy heart to tell you that Hesh’s Bakery is now closed and will not be reopening. We thank you for your patronage. We will miss you
Craig LaBan reviews the Jewish-Italian deli mashup that Laura Frangiosa and partners, husband Josh Skaroff and friend Brian Flounders have created at Avenue Delicatessen in Lansdowne.
The Avenue, opened in the spring in a tidy, rehabbed Lansdowne storefront that had been the long-running Doyle’s Deli, is a genuine deli mash-up – one part Jewish (Skaroff’s family), one part Italian (Frangiosa’s family.) It sounds like a gimmick. But when I bit into an arancini and saw the molten core of corned beef-studded Swiss and sauerkraut oozing from the risotto ball’s center, I knew this was 100 percent from the heart – with ...