Kosher from all over

Jewish fest gets help from local restaurants. How to make traditional dishes.


Two summers ago, Temple Israel in Dayton held its first annual Jewish Cultural Festival as a fun way of educating the community about Judaism.

A caterer who was a member of the congregation coordinated the food, which consisted of traditional Jewish offerings such as pastrami, falafel and hummus.

But the festival grew very quickly. Last year more than 1,000 people attended, and this year, organizers are preparing for 1,500 to 2,000. So they knew they needed to offer more food than the temple’s members could adequately cook up on their own.

They turned to local restaurants, and four enthusiastically signed on for the challenge to do one of two things — either prepare Jewish foods from the country their restaurant’s cuisine represents, or offer their own spin on a traditional Jewish dish.

This year’s festival will be held from noon to 7 p.m. June 9 on the grounds of Temple Israel, 130 Riverside Drive, Dayton.

The four restaurants — C’est Tout, El Meson, Meadowlark and Pasha Grill — will prepare tapa-style plates that attendees can mix and match to create an international Jewish feast. Graeter’s ice cream, Israeli and Jewish craft beers and Dr. Brown’s Sodas will also be served.

Temple Israel members will still cook up their usual array of Jewish baked goods, too, including almond slices, challah and hamantashen (see recipes).

Aside from food and drink, there will be music, belly dancing, an open-air market of general items and Judaica, children’s activities and an educational program about Judaism around the world. Admission is free, but there is a charge for the food and drink.

For more information: tidayton.org.

HUMMUS WITH TAHINI

Emre Bektas, chef and owner of Pasha Grill, said he makes his hummus with cooked chickpeas, cumin, garlic, olive oil and tahini. However, he didn’t provide specific measurements, so we turned to the Web for a suitable hummus recipe.

1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice, divided

1/4 cup tahini

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

pinch freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup water

2-1/2 cups canned chickpeas, drained and rinsed (or use dried chickpeas that have been cooked until soft)

fresh parsley and olive oil to garnish

Put half of the lemon juice, the tahini, garlic, olive oil, cumin, cayenne, black pepper, salt and water in a blender and blend for 5 seconds. Add chickpeas and blend on high until hummus reaches the consistency of sour cream, about 10 to 15 seconds. Blend in remaining lemon juice to taste. If the dip is too thick, add a little more water and blend again.

Transfer to a serving bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours.

Before serving, drizzle olive oil and scatter minced fresh parsley on top. Serve with pita wedges or slices of whole-grain breads.

SOURCE: greekfood.about.com

MANDEL BROIT (ALMOND SLICES)

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup Crisco

1 cup soft unsalted butter or margarine

1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla

2-1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3-1/2 cups flour

1 cup ground almonds

1 cup chocolate chips, optional

Cinnamon sugar

Beat eggs and sugar. Cream shortening and butter or margarine with egg mixture until light. Add vanilla and combine. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Form dough into 3 long, skinny rolls and put on a greased cookie sheet (or on parchment paper). Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Bake 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown. Slice the rolls into 1/4- to ½-inch slices. Lay the slices on their sides on a greased or lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle again with cinnamon sugar. Bake 10 more minutes.

SOURCE: Temple Israel

CHALLAH

2 tablespoons salt

2-1/4 tablespoons dried yeast

2 cups sugar

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 eggs

5 cups very warm water

one 5-pound bag unbleached all-purpose flour or bread flour

In a very large bowl, mix together the salt, dried yeast and sugar. Add the vegetable oil and eggs. Mix together, then add the warm water. Add ½ of the bag of flour and mix together. Slowly add up to all of the rest of the flour, kneading it until you have a smooth, elastic dough.

Lightly grease another very large bowl with cooking spray. Put the bread dough into the bowl and cover with a fresh tea towel. Let rise in a warm place until about double, usually about 45 minutes.

Punch down dough. Divide into 8 equal pieces. It is traditional to braid the dough (3, 4 or 6-strand braids). You can also bake the dough in loaf pans or shape it into round loaves. Makes eight 1-pound loaves.

SOURCE: Temple Israel



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