An Intimate Kosher Dinner A Deux?
Let's face it. Jewish food isn't known as sexy cuisine.
Cholent may have the same ingredients as Cassoulet but the words are not as mellifluous as the French. And with Bubbies as our culinary masters, it is hard to pull off a sensuous dining experience haute cuisine style. So I recently set out to determine if a Jew can do an intimate dinner for two given our religious dietary restrictions and a not so glamorous epicurean heritage.
My quest began on FoodTV.com. Unfortunately, there was no advanced browsing option so I was forced to do a broad search on the term "kosher." The results generated an astounding 3881 recipes including a Pork Ribs Dish by Tyler Florence and A Fabulous Filet Mignon which not surprisingly came with a Goat Cheese topping! Lesson learned Number One: Stick to websites that have an advanced search option so that your recipe queries are intelligently matched. Otherwise, you will end up with every single dish that calls for Kosher Salt, just as I did.
This prompted me to switch over to Epicurious.com. A little less celebrity, but one check mark of the button later got me 303 Glatt recipes. Still, in between borsht and blintzes, there was hardly anything seductive.
So I decided to turn to the people. Thriving message boards with millions of active community members -- could a Jewish Giada DeLaurentes be among them? Though my hopes were not high, here is what I posted:
"SWF, 36, desperately seeks sexy kosher recipes for intimate dinner for two. Those with gefilte fish suggestions, no matter how tantalizing, need not respond."
And just like that, not one but dozens of vibrant Jewish women and men from New York to Hungary started sending in ideas on how to woo and wow frummie-style.
Here are the takeaways:
Anything from soups to sauces can be buttered up to perfection with margarine, and made richer with non-dairy sour cream or imitation creamer.
If it calls for fried onions, go for shallots. These bulb vegetables are significantly milder but deeper in flavor so the odors don't linger when company arrives.
Chicken on the bone is a dinner date faux pas, and schnitzel should not be served to persons after they have reached bar/bat mitzvah age.
Keep in mind when plating your meal that we've been out of the desert for centuries. A little less will keep your guest(s) wanting more.
If dairy is what you will be serving, we can finally indulge in Parmesan topped pasta and even fondue. Today there are a variety of rennet-free, rabbi-blessed, artisanal cheeses from aged camembert to Gouda and Goat in specialty markets throughout New York or online. Just visit KosherItalia.com.
Though the French take credit for Foie Gras, it was actually invented by Ashkenazi Jewish women in Medieval Europe. It's okay if you shmear some on crackers as an appetizer, just be sure to call it pate.
When selecting vegetables, keep in mind that there is nothing green about potatoes and even Bugs Bunny would pass "over" the Tsimmes.
Restaurants don't ever list Pike or Carp as a special menu item. Nor should you.
At best, extra heavy Malaga by Manischewitz as a schnapps.
By Sherri Langburt of SingleEdition.com for JPeopleMeet.com
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