KFWE 2012

KFWE (Kosher Food and Wine Experience) was bigger and better than ever, more wines and wineries, more restaurants, more delicious food and definitely more people!

GKC started the evening with a shared taxi ride with GKC friend, personal chef and soon to be GKC contributor, Naomi Nachman, my favorite Aussie gourmet. Its always fun to spend time with her, she loves to talk about food as much as we do, and we are both already talking about Pesach, ahhh!

Elvi, Clos Mesorah


As soon as we arrived we ran into good friend Miriam Morgenstern from the Wine Spectator. Miriam always gives GKC the best wine tips and what’s hot and what will be soon! (Flam Classico and Elvi Herenza were at the top of her list). Those hot picks are golden because those wines often run out fast at the show. Thanks for the heads up Miriam.

One of the things that is so much fun about KFWE is that you taste so many wines from so many kosher vineyards around the world, seriously it was the UN of wine tasting, with special call outs to the delicious wines of Goose Bay from New Zealand. Loved the Sauvignon Blanc! Tasting special occasion wines to the everyday, you can compare and contrast the same bottles from year to year and try the newest wines that are not even released yet. And best yet, you meet and speak to the winemakers from South Africa, Italy, France, Spain and of course Israel! Listening to them speak of the winemaking craft enhances the experience and totally inspires us to quit our day jobs and go crush some grapes!

So what were the favorites?

Winemaker Jurgen Wagner of Capcanes and Elizabeth


We loved the Capcanes wines and tasting them with winemaker Jurgen Wagner. GKC is looking forward to the special event at City Winery with them on March 11. Elvi, from Spain, had some favorites. The soon to be released, Clos Mesorah is a must taste. Its grown on a 90-year-old vine from the family reserve and is only available in limited quantities. The Elvi Herenza is the best Rioja GKC has ever tasted. Spicy and warm flavors, its Spanish wine at its best. A fantastic find and brand new to GKC was both the Tulip and Flam wineries, both Israeli wines became kosher in 2010 and the kosher world became more delicious because of it! In the Flam Classico, a combination of Cabernet, Merlot, Cab Franc, and Pertit Verdu grapes make it a complex and flavorful wine. Tulip showcased their new White Tulip, made of Gewurztraminer and Sauvignon Blanc grapes, both dry and light, it was impressive and an instant hit. Their Cab was a favorite too. GKC loved to learn that Tulip is located inside a village near Haifa where a large community of disabled people live. They employ many of these adults and take great pride in their inclusiveness. This chesed is clearly bringing lots of mazel to their winemaking, as these wines were delish!

Joe Hurliman, Herzog Cellars winemaker


Herzog Wine Cellars should be exceptionally proud of their new release, Mt. Veeder Cabernet. Herzog’s winemaker, Joe Hurliman, shared the secret to this fine wine, which is, hand harvested grapes from the wildcat vineyard in California. It’s a perfect accompaniment to any Shabbos meal and will only be available in limited quantities and they will go fast. While we are mentioning Herzog wines, we must not forget the Clone Six, Chalk Hill Cabernet. We raved about it last year and enjoyed it again this show – Hey what’s delish stays delish!

As readers of this blog know, we love our new BFF’s from Psagot Wines. Yaakov and staff came with all our favorites – Yum the Edom! But tonight, GKC especially loved the single vineyard Cabernet.

Lemon Tart from Pardes


Chef Jose Meirelles from Le Marais and Elizabeth


Are you worried that we didn’t eat? Worry not!! We ate and ate and ate. Chef Moshe Wendel from Pardes wowed us again with his creative and innovative pairings, smoked ribeye tartare, soy enoki, basil seeds, fresh radish and a rice krispie crunch. Chef and owner of Le Marais, Jose Meirelles, served both fabulous smoked duck and a hanger steak salad. I loved the colors and flavors in the steak salad. Watermelon, cucumber, jalapeno, peppers and micro cilantro with star anise vinaigrette, ambitious and delicious. The Pomegranate market was bigger and better than ever this year. People crowded around their booths to get a look and taste of the extravagant display. My top picks, purple eggplant dip, kalamata olive tapenade, pareve blue cheese dip, lamb riblets and the honey mustard corn beef. A special call out to the entire staff at Pomegranate that seems to truly love what they do. New at KFWE, the Reserve from Lakewood made an out of the box, spicy tuna taco that won huge accolades from all as a show fav.

Gemstone's Tuna in a Won Ton Spoon


GKC finally made our way over to Gemstone caterers for some super savory apple and hickory Texas smokehouse brisket (if it didn’t cook for 18 hours I would definitely try and make it myself!). They also get high marks for super creative presentation; we loved those Chinese spoon won ton cups (the won tons were toasted in the shapes of spoons – more on that instruction at another time). Also, making a splash was new New York sensation Sushein with a dumpling and duck sauce that people were lining up for!

Chef Udi Ezra from Basil


With a full stomach and a wine happy smile we still had time to enjoy dessert from GKC friend, Udi Ezra, from Basil. His beautiful, rich and smooth flourless chocolate cake was coated with a light ganache and gorgeous white drizzle. Then a tasty bite of whipped cream infused with cocoa and espresso. Picture and taste perfect. GKC ended the night indulging in a perfectly sweetened Meyer lemon tart from Pardes with special friend, Jamie Geller of Joy of Kosher. We both agreed it was worth waiting for as is everything that comes from the Pardes kitchen.

Many thanks to Gary Landsman who is a frequent and totally fabulous contributor to GKC, we can always count on Gary to tell us what wines to try and which ones to have with whatever you’re serving. The entire Royal Wine Family deserves huge kudos for such an absolutely terrific event. Can’t wait til KFWE 2013!!

Almond and Olive Biscotti

I like the idea of sending a soup (any kind you like) in a glass jar with some homemade savory biscotti like the almond and olive biscotti below. These are dairy so it would need to accompany a dairy soup but for fleish soup just omit the Parmesan cheese. They are also great served along side a homemade sun-dried tomato pesto.

1 cup whole almonds
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup finely ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons margarine, room temperature
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 eggs
¾ cup pitted green olives, chopped
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Spread almonds on a large baking sheet and toast them until fragrant, 6 to 8 minutes. Cool. When cool, coarsely chop them.

Place flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine. In a mixer, beat margarine, and Parmesan on low until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add eggs and mix until the dough comes together. Mix in almonds, olives and sage.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it in half. Shape each half into a flattened log about 12 inches long and 2 inches wide. Place the logs several inches apart on the prepared baking sheet.

Bake the logs 30 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from oven and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Transfer logs to a cutting board and cut them into ½ inch thick slices. Lay the slices cut side down on parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake cookies until they are crisp, about 10 minutes. Cool.

Edible Fruit Bowls

by Joanna Brichetto of jewisheveryday.com
Much thanks to Joanna for this adorable and delicious craft. She has great ideas and lots projects for families on her website, jewisheveryday.com. We look forward to her sharing projects with GKC!

You may have seen edible apple bowls used as a Rosh Hashanah honey dish. It’s also a fun family project to adapt for Tu B’Shevat. You and your child can hollow an apple—the paradigmatic tree fruit—and fill it with tree fruit salad. It’s easy with a melon-baller, and the only trick is not to get too energetic and pierce the peel from the inside. Kids can even prepare the fruit for the thematic contents using double-handled apple slicer/corer combos and Montessori-style slicing tools.

Depending on the palate (e.g. pickiness) of the child in question, you can get pretty elaborate with the tree theme. Besides typical lunch-box fruit — typical for my kid, whose lunch-box is exquisitely boring — try coconut, apricot, citrus, papaya, mango, kiwi, plums, cherries, star fruit, and tree nuts galore. Or, find atypical varieties of those typical apples and pears. Dates, figs, pomegranate (juice and/or seeds), grapes and even pitted olives make a thematic nod to the Seven Species of the Land of Israel, which are a big deal at Tu B’Shevat. Dried tree fruit is a nice textural contrast tucked amongst the fresh, and is a good excuse to see if kids (or adults) realize a prune is a dried plum. (You’d be surprised.)

A sprinkling of orange juice or a squeeze of lime will keep apples and pears from oxidizing into beige yuckiness, and act as flavor binder for a wide array of fruits. Whip some coconut cream for a literally over-the-top finish. Divine.

All this tree fruit focus can spark a conversation about where a particular fruit comes from. And what exactly is a fruit, anyway, and which ones grow on trees? Pecans are tree fruits, which might surprise kids, but bananas are not. According to Rabbinic tradition, bananas are “fruit of the ground” (pri ha-admah) because they are produced on a herbaceous, annual plant. And grapes, which kids might know grow on vines, are fruit of the tree (pri ha-etz), because they grow on perennial stems. Blueberries are considered tree fruit for the same reason, which is good news for our fancy tree fruit salad. The idea that a trees is a perennial—like a rose or an azalea—surprises a lot of grownups. Do Rabbinics and botany agree on the categorizations? Not always, but it’s part of the fun to figure out what is what and why.

Who knew a simple snack-tivity could be a vehicle to explore science and religion? You and your kid get all this, plus a hands-on, personal reference point to a Jewish holiday. And of course, a healthy dessert that tastes as good as it looks.

TIP: Adults should make the first slice on the apple bowl with a sharp knife. Turn the apple on its side and make one clean cut through the top third. This method will create a “lid,” which children find irresistible, especially if the apple still has a stem for a handle. Pile your fruit higher than the rim of the bowl for maximum effect. A heaping bowl symbolizes the Earth’s bounty, which is at the core of this sweet holiday.

Glass Punch Bowl


If you are serving a great punch at your Super Bowl party, you need to serve it in a great bowl. GKC scoured the web for punch bowls and arrived at this simple yet classic version from Pottery Barn. We wanted glass not plastic and the crystal ones just seemed…well…too much, more suited to a southern debutante party than a rousing salute to football and friends. This version is elegant without being over the top. And the price – $49.00 – is right too. Monogramming is available if you want to turn it into a family heirloom. Try it out with our warm red punch or the alcohol-laced drink we are recommending in our blog.

Half-Size Bundt Pan

half size bundt pan

I recently discovered a truly great product! We were invited to a friend’s house for coffee and I offered to bring the cake. And I knew just the recipe I wanted to use – my favorite chocolate cake. The only problem was that it makes a huge bundt cake and they are a young family with one small child. While I could have made a huge dent in the cake myself, I didn’t think that was polite. I was unsure of what to do when I discovered these Half-Size Bundt Pans at www.kingarthurflour.com. They are the perfect solution. You can make a whole bundt cake – perhaps this Amaretto Cake – and pour half into this pan and half into another of the same (Yes, I bought two!) Voilà – two desserts!! Now I’m thinking of all sorts of occasions where a smaller cake is more appropriate and the possibilities seem endless. They look great too. So snap some up – now when you bake, you can make one for now and one for the freezer with NO extra effort (how great is that?!) – and when guests show up unexpectedly, you are totally prepared.

Peanut Noodles

Kosher Recipe peanut noodles

photo: kimberlyriggins.com


These are creamy (not greasy) with a hint of spiciness. They taste like the peanut noodles you get in a restaurant and they are so easy to make at home.

½ pound spaghetti
1-½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sesame oil plus a little more
1-½ tablespoons grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, minced
Heaping ¼ cup creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons soy sauce
¼ – ¾ teaspoons red-pepper flakes
1 cup sliced shitake mushrooms
1 red pepper, halved and sliced thin
1 zucchini, halved and sliced thin
2 scallions, chopped
Optional: cooked chicken

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and salt and cook until al dente, 9 – 10 minutes. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta cooking water and then drain the pasta in a colander. Drizzle with a small amount of sesame oil to prevent them from sticking. Set aside.

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet. Add the ginger and garlic to the pan and cook until fragrant, about 1 minutes. Sir in the peanut butter, honey, soy sauce, red-pepper flakes and reserved pasta cooking water and cook until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the mushrooms, bell pepper and zucchini. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, 3 minutes. Stir in the drained noodles and toss to coat. Sprinkle with scallions and serve. (For fuller meal, toss in cooked chicken). This can be served warm or at room temperature. If the noodles are too sticky, toss with 2 tablespoons canola oil or some hot water.

IPad2 Mounting

Gotta have GKC in the kitchen to follow all your favorite recipes? I do! I love the new kitchen mounting docs for the ipad. Now I mount my ipad to the cabinet or to the fridge and I can pull up all my favorite recipes without printing them.
This one from Belkin.com, mounts to a fridge, cabinet or wall.
No tools or hardware are needed and no permanent installation is required. Supplied with Maximum-strength 3M™ Command™ Strips snap the iPad 2 firmly in place and securely to a fridge, cabinet or wall without damaging surfaces when removed.
From Belkin.com for just $39.99

Recipes of the Week

Thinking about Hanukah yet? GKC is, each week we will add a few more deLIGHTful recipes to enjoy

Spicy Ribs with Ginger and Soy

Grapefruit and Avocado Salad

Garlic Fries

Pecan Balls

Veal Spare Ribs
Cranberry and Pear Sauce
Easy Potato Latkes
Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies
Peppermint Petits Fours

Smooky Sweet-Potato Soup
Mesclun Salad with Cider Dijon Dressing
Breast of Veal Stuffed with Spinach and Wild Mushrooms
Lemon Challah Souffle
Roasted Salmon with Tarragon and Citrus
Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Recipes of the Week

Thinking about Hanukah yet? GKC is, each week we will add a few more deLIGHTful recipes to enjoy
Veal Spare Ribs

Cranberry and Pear Sauce

Easy Potato Latkes

Lemon Poppy Seed Cookies

Peppermint Petits Fours

Smooky Sweet-Potato Soup
Mesclun Salad with Cider Dijon Dressing
Breast of Veal Stuffed with Spinach and Wild Mushrooms
Lemon Challah Souffle
Roasted Salmon with Tarragon and Citrus
Chocolate Pumpkin Cupcakes

Easy Potato Latkes

photo: followmefoodie.com

2 (16-ounce) bags shredded hash brown potatoes
6 eggs
½ cup flour
3 onions, diced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
Canola oil

In a food processor, pulse potatoes until chopped (you will not be able to do a whole bag at once). In large bowl, mix chopped potatoes with eggs, flour, onions, salt and pepper. Fill a large skillet with oil to 1-inch depth. Heat oil over medium-high heat until bubbling. Drop mixture, ¼ cup at a time into skillet; brown well on each side – about 2-3 minutes each. Drain on paper towels.

Peppermint Petits-Fours

This is an elegant and easy dessert treat – you’ll impress your family and friends.

1 loaf pound cake (store-bought or homemade – try this one without the nutella or chocolate swirl)
¾ cup white chocolate chips
1 (16-ounce) can vanilla frosting
¼ teaspoon peppermint extract
Garnish: crushed striped peppermint candies or candy canes

Line cookie sheet with waxed paper. Cut pound cake in half lengthwise. Cut each half into eight pieces. In a small sauce pan, over low heat, melt white chocolate, stirring constantly. Add frosting and continue cooking until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir in extract. Dip each piece of cake in white chocolate-icing mixture to cover. Place on waxed paper-lined cookie sheet to set. Top with crushed candies.

More Hot Drinks

photo: http://coffeebean.com

The brief winter season in Los Angeles is the only time of year that The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf sells its Winter Dream tea. This is a particularly delicious tea that evokes that cozy, around the fireplace winter feeling. With the flavor of cinnamon and other like spices, it is reminiscent of the mulled warm drinks of past generations. You can also add milk or whipped milk to make a winter dream latte which is a particular favorite. So, if you’re not in the mood for these hot coffee drinks, curl up with a nice cuppa winter dream tea, a few yummy cookies and a good book. And shut out the cold outdoors.

Turkey, Mushroom and Wild Rice Soup

photo: kalynskitchen.com

This is a creative and hearty use of leftover turkey. For another great use, try this turkey pot pie.

2 packages long grain and wild rice pilaf
10 cups chicken broth, divided
3 tablespoons plus ¼ cup margarine, divided
2 (8-ounce) packages sliced mushrooms
1 onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
½ cup flour
½ cup nondairy creamer
¼ cup white wine
2 cups shredded cooked turkey

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, bring rice, 1 seasoning packet and 4 cups chicken broth to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. Set aside. In the meantime, melt 3 tablespoons margarine in a large skillet over medium heat; add mushrooms, onion and celery; sauté for about 10 minutes. In a large stock pot, melt remaining ¼ cup margarine over medium heat. Add flour and whisk to blend. Gradually whisk in remaining 6 cups broth and cook, stirring frequently, until slightly thickened, about 8 minutes. Whisk in nondairy creamer and wine. Stir in mushroom mixture, turkey and rice. Heat through – 5 to 10 minutes.

Roasted Cranberry Pear Relish

photo: Annabelle Breakey

Makes 1 ½ cups

2-1/2 cups diced (1/2 in.) firm-ripe peeled Bosc pears
2 cups fresh or frozen cranberries
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1 cinnamon stick

Preheat oven to 350°. In a medium bowl, mix pears, cranberries, sugar, cinnamon stick, and 1/4 cup water. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet and roast, stirring occasionally, until the berries have popped and the juices have thickened, about 40 minutes. Chill until cool, covered.

1848 Winery

Recently, on a recommendation from GKC friends at Royal Wine Corp, I had the good fortune to try the new Cab Reserve from the 1848 Winery. This wine is just wonderful and the entire table asked me about this new winery. The wine is all the rage, being discussed online at all the wine sites and you must try it.

A brand new winery, “1848 Winery” is located on the outskirts of Jerusalem. The Winemaker, Yossie Shorr, is an Eighth Generation winemaker from the famous Yitzchak Shorr family that founded the first modern Israeli winery in 1848. This wine is sourced from grapes near Mount Tabor in the Lower Galilee. The 1848 Cab Reserve has aromas and flavors of raspberries, red currants and cherries that finishes off with a hint of roasted herbs (I think its this flavor that makes it special). As we start out the New Year with a special Kiddush, what better way than using this Cabernet Sauvignon, as the famous phrase goes“Cab is King”… Le’Chaim!

It’s a bit of a special occasion wine at about $35 but well worth it for a special Yom Tov meal.

You can get it online at Onlinekosherwine.com.

Need to pair a wine with your meal? See the GKC Wine Chart for the best wine pairings and suggestions

Apple Enchiladas

3 Granny Smith apples, thinly sliced
6 (8-inch) flour tortillas
1/3 cup margarine
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup water

Toss apples with cinnamon and spoon into center of each tortilla. Roll up and place, seam-side down, in a greased 2-quart or 9 x 13-inch baking dish. Bring margarine, sugar and brown sugar to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes. Pour over the tortillas. Let stand for ½ hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 20 minutes, uncovered. Serve warm with (pareve) vanilla ice cream or whip.

Chocoholics Dig In

photo: my2002in1001days.wordpress.com

By: Shani Goldner MS RD CDN CFI

Chocolate is good for you! You heard right. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate may protect against heart disease. Cocoa has been shown to modestly reduce LDL oxidation and increase HDL levels. The once-prevalent belief that if something tastes so good it can’t possibly be good for you has been replaced by a new picture of chocolate and cocoa products and their relation to sound health and nutrition.

Researchers conducted many studies on the relationship between dark chocolate and heart disease. The main flavonoids in cocoa are flavan-3-ols and procyanidins. These are powerful antioxidants. They provide a variety of benefits such as antioxidant protection and they assist in maintaining vascular homeostasis. The British Medical Journal suggests having 100 grams of dark chocolate every day. This amount has been shown to reduce blood pressure in men and women. Chocolate has been shown to reduce heart disease by 21%.

Most of the chocolate that is available today is made from highly processed cocoa beans. The high temperature used to sweeten the chocolate decreases the amount of phytochemicals left in the chocolate. Try using unsweetened cocoa for maximum health benefits. The darker the chocolate, the more flavinols it contains and it increases your heart healthy benefits by reducing your risk of fatal blood clots.

One third of the fat in dark chocolate is composed of oleic acid. This monounsaturated fatty acid can also be found in olive oil. This helps maintain cardiovascular health. Another benefit of chocolate is its noted positive effect on mood.

Chocolate is best tasted on an empty stomach. Chocolate should be stored at 66-77 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not store chocolate in the refrigerator for it will cause the cocoa to separate and form a white bloom. A couple of serving per week at an ounce each is enough to indulge without the bulge.

Decadent Chocolate Muffins

Shani Goldner is a Registered Dietitian and a CDN with a Master’s of Science. She runs a private nutrition practice where she counsels children, adolescents and adults in weight loss, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular health and cancer related nutrition. She has a practice in Long Island and Brooklyn. She can be reached at (516) 596-7934 or at (718) 854-5784. She is an Oxford provider. Phone consults are available. For more information please visit www.mynydiet.com

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

Easy

These kosher chicken enchiladas (look ma, no cheese!) are from my daughter’s friend, Elisheva.
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon oregano
1 bay leaf
1 onion, chopped
½ green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 cup tofutti sour cream
About 8 corn tortillas
1 – 2 cups enchilada sauce (another great kosher Mexican product!)

Place chicken in a pot with water to cover. Add oregano and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from liquid. Cool and shred. In the meantime, sauté onion and green pepper in oil over medium-high heat until soft. Mix with shredded chicken. Add spices and tofutti sour cream. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a few tablespoons of mixture (as much as it can hold and still be folded) inside tortillas and roll them up. Pour sauce over, cover and bake for ½ hour to 45 minutes. Garnish with guacamole and serve with Spanish rice (either the Near East brand or homemade).

Kosher & Easy Chocolate Fudge Recipes for a Kosher Shavuot

Do you ever gaze at those displays of rich fudge at farmer’s markets and wish all of it was kosher? Do you fantasize about the plain chocolate fudge or the marshmallow or even the peanut butter flavors? Have you ever wondered how to make fudge yourself, or if it’s even a possibility? Shavuot is the perfect time to turn that fantasy into reality by making the fudge of your dreams in the privacy of your own kitchen. New and unique Shavuot recipes are always fun to introduce into your repertoire, and fudge is yet another dairy delight that helps you get in the spirit of the holiday. And one of the best things about this chocolate fudge recipe – other than the taste – is that it’s super easy. So indulge and enjoy.

Chocolate Fudge

Israel’s Best Cheesecake

(using Israeli cheese products)

Submitted by GKC friend and reader Elana Bacon
Have a recipe to share? Submit it here.

Elana claims that Israeli cheeses make the best Shavuot cheesecake. Try it and let us know if this is the best cheesecake recipe you’ve tried – but I wouldn’t be surprised if she was right.

GRAHAM CRACKER CRUST:
18 tea biscuits
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 cup (113 grams) melted butter
Or buy a graham cracker crust

CHEESECAKE:
2-1/2 cups Gvina Levana (any percentage you want but I use 5%) (White cheese in Israel) This is cream cheese for those of us who live in the U.S. See Elana’s notes and tips at the end of the recipe)
1 cup Shamenet (sour cream)
1/2 cup dairy whipping cream (NOT whipped)(aka Katzefet)
2 teaspoons vanilla
Juice of 1 lemon (you can also use about 2-3 tablespoon bottled lemon juice depending on taste)
2 tablespoons flour
1-1/8 cup sugar
2 whole eggs plus 1 egg white

TOPPING (OPTIONAL):
1 cup Shamenet
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon sugar
Cookie crumbs for crumbling on top (optional)

Topping:
Mix in a medium bowl until well combined.

FOR CRUST:
Mix all ingredients for the crust together and press into a spring form pan or in 3 long skinny rectangular aluminum pans.

FOR CHEESECAKE:
Preheat oven to 180 Celsius (or 350 F).
Mix all together in a big bowl until everything is mixed well.
Pour into greased pan/pans. At this point you can swirl in some blueberry pie filling, add chocolate chips or whatever your cravings desire.
Place into a bigger roasting pan (or 9×13 pan) to cook in a water bath.
Place on oven rack and slowly pour boiling water into the outer pan until it comes halfway up the sides of the cheesecake pan. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the center is only slightly loose but most of the cake is set.
Take it out and pour on the optional topping and bake another 10 minutes.
Cool completely then place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight.

ENJOY!

Other Tips/Notes:
Growing up in NY I know good cheesecake and coming to Israel to find out that the cream cheese here isn’t quite the American cream cheese, it was so hard to find a good old New York style cheesecake…until I found this recipe!!! I know this recipe may not help all those living in the states (since they don’t really need the help in the first place) but to all those readers in Israel, here is a good cheesecake recipe that is as close to a New York style cheesecake that I have found. Feel free to add any additions of pie fillings/chocolate/caramel or to add any topping. I personally like it best good and plain!!!

Notes on Gvina Levana, Israel’s version of cream cheese:
In Israel Gvina Levana is the Israeli version of cream cheese. It’s basically the same texture as thick yogurt instead of the harder brick like Americans are used to. It comes in the same type of container as the cottage cheese. Literally translated its white cheese. It comes in a variety of fat percentages too- there’s 0.5%, 3%, 5% or 9%. There may be more as well but those are the ones I’m familiar with. I generally use the 5% but to each their own…

Enjoy.
P.S. As a side note if anyone wants American style cream cheese here in Israel for their bagels or matzo or whatever all they have to do is take a container of Shamenet (sour cream) mix about 1 tsp of salt in and place it in a cloth/cheese cloth/dishtowel hanging over a container to drain overnight in the refrigerator (I do this by taking the extra material and rubber banding it over the side of a cylinder container) in the morning (or about 8-10 hours later) take the cream cheese out of the cloth and place in a smaller container and discard the liquid. At this point any additions can be added- chives, lox bits, garlic etc.

For all those who don’t eat Chalav Yisrael in Israel- they do sell Philadelphia cream cheese at a bunch of stores throughout Jerusalem.

Enjoyed this Shavuot cheesecake? Try another of our delicious cheesecake recipes.