Food & Wine

Is It Worth It?

A reflection on the price of wine.

Special to the Jewish Week

One question we get asked about wine is, “Is it worth the money?”

Worth, like beauty, is subjective. Indeed, asking the “worth” question is really another way of asking, “Is it worth it to you?” It’s clear, though, that what people really mean when they ask this question is, “Do you think this is worth it to me?” So how does one begin to answer that?

Courtesy of Dalton Winery

Layers Of Goodness

Tuck one of these peanut butter-topped brownies into your Purim packages this year.

Jewish Week Online Columnist

If it ain't broke, don't fix it. That saying probably wasn't meant to apply to the heavenly combination of peanut butter and chocolate, but it works just the same. Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were invented in 1928, and the combo has simply stuck around.

150g semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1/2 tsp instant espresso powder or instant coffee powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs plus one egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
175g semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped OR 1 cup chocolate chips

Checking In On Peck’s

Ratner’s family-owned Brooklyn food shop teams up with Gefilteria.

Food and Wine Editor

Peck's opened on Myrtle Avenue in January. Lauren Rothman/JW

Sparkle Up Your Purim

In praise of the Champagne-like, yet affordable, Cava.

Special To The Jewish Week

When it comes to victory celebrations, the ubiquitous wine of choice is Champagne, that almost magical sparkler from Northern France. At sporting events, winners drink Champagne from trophies. Ship captains launch their vessels by smashing a bottle on the prow. In military messes, officers have long quaffed the bubbly to celebrate victories old, new and not yet won.

Cava is just as festive — but much less expensive — than kosher champagne. Courtesy of Freixenet

A Place To Worship Good Coffee

Kava Shteeble comes to Bed-Stuy.

Special To The Jewish Week

If you live in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn and you’ve been jonesing for some quality brew, then your wait will soon come to an end: Kava Shteeble, which its owners describe as “a small, cozy coffee house,” will open on Ralph Avenue by mid-March. If the java turns out to be as good as its owners assert, the café would make a great addition to a neighborhood that’s underserved when it comes to coffee: currently, the most convenient spot to fuel up is a Dunkin’ Donuts.

Kava Shteeble’s warm brick-and-wood interior was created almost entirely from salvaged materials. Lauren Rothman/JW

Crispy Coconut Haddock

This kosher spin on tropical crispy shrimp is light and easy to make.

Jewish Week Online Columnist

Crispy fried coconut shrimp are delicious, but they’re full of fat—and obviously not kosher. In this healthier baked version, I skewer haddock fillets and serve them with spicy sriracha sauce for dipping. 

This fun-to-eat version of the classic tropical treat is every bit as tasty, but much lighter. I like to serve it on its own as an appetizer, or over rice next to a crunchy Asian-style slaw for a light lunch or dinner.

Cooking spray
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons sriracha or other Asian chili sauce, plus more for dipping
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 pound haddock or other firm white fish, cut into 2”-thick strips
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup Japanese panko breadcrumbs
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

A New Coffee Shop For Bed-Stuy

Kava Shteeble to open in mid-March.

Food and Wine Editor

The coffee shop is nearly ready to open. Lauren Rothman/JW

A One-Ingredient Wonder

Make a fun, healthy snack with just one thing: apples.

Jewish Week Online Columnist

I'm definitely sometimes guilty of over-complicating things. A chocolate cake with 14 ingredients? It's happened. But this recipe is compensation for all that. It's super simple, fun, easy and delicious. And it contains just one ingredient that you probably already have in the fridge!

1 apple (I used Golden Delicious)

Drink In Persimmon Season

A sweet recipe for a persimmon Old Fashioned.

Food and Wine Editor

I distinctly remember the first time I tasted a persimmon: I was 19 and visiting Israe l— on a Birthright trip, of course — and for the fifth morning in a row was hitting the breakfast buffet, hard: I had fallen in love with the savory Israeli morning meal, habitually filling up on chopped salad, squares of fresh white cheese, and rounds of warm pita. I had hardly any room left on my plate when I came to the fruit area of the buffet table and spied a bowl of bright-orange, roundish fruits that looked something like an underripe tomato. Taking note of my curiosity, a hotel worker said, “They’re persimmons, and they’re delicious.”

For the Persimmon Purée:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water
Small piece cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods, lightly crushed
2 medium persimmons, peeled and cut into chunks
For the Old Fashioned:
2 ounces bourbon
2 tablespoons persimmon purée
4-5 generous dashes orange bitters
Orange slice, for garnish

Delicious But Difficult

Pinot noir frustrates winemakers, but wine drinkers love it.

Special to the Jewish Week

Pinot noir can drive winemakers mad. It’s difficult to grow and vinify, temperamental in the barrel and prone to closing down in the bottle for years before becoming drinkable again. But these challenges seem to inspire, rather than inhibit, winemakers who consider crafting a pinot noir the pinnacle of their profession.

Yarden Pinot Noir 2009. Photo courtesy of Golan Heights Winery
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