By Elke Probkevitz
The kosher event of the year has once again invited us in and fed us to our hearts’ content. It was an event for those in the food and wine industry, as well as foodies and wine enthusiasts, to come together and experience a taste of some of the most innovative and wonderful flavors the kosher food and wine industry has to offer. The Kosher Food & Wine Experience (KFWE) has delighted us for eight years with this gastronomic escapade of culinary pleasures and wine delights.
As we made our way around Pier 60, we were struck by the impressive displays of food that were stimulating all our senses at once. Pomegranate supermarket of Flatbush had an extraordinary visual display of little bites presented on glass shelves. They offered some of their signature dips and salads and also had an array of hot foods, including boneless beef spare ribs and chicken lollipops. They presented four flavorful varieties of sausage: Ethiopian lamb, Italian veal, andouille, and roasted garlic caper and beef.
Prime Hospitality Group, which includes caterers and restaurants such as Prime Grill, Solo, Prime KO, Prime at the Bentley, Prime Butcher Baker, and Pizza da Solo, had by far the most mouth-watering tastes at the event. A chicken waffle bite was the best thing I had all night. A juicy morsel of chicken with a crispy waffle-batter tempura and a maple aioli. They also had an outstanding mini slider that consisted of a house-made salami Sloppy Joe on a cauliflower-bread bun. A selection of house-made charcuterie (cold cooked meats) was also impressive. Pepperoni and an array of spicy and salty salamis were outstanding.
It’s always interesting to see what the kosher chef will come up with next, and “bacon” was definitely having its moment that night. Gemstone Catering, located in Westchester and serving the tristate area, “is set to break the mold of New York’s predictable kosher catering scene. They are a boutique kosher catering firm . . . traditional, global, and fusion cuisines with an absolute emphasis on stylish fine dining.” They offered the most innovative and interesting bite, an apropos dish of Herzog wine barrel and hickory smoked veal belly pancetta (or “vealcetta”) with a hempseed sweet potato mash. What will they think of next? Right next door, Wandering Q served up a mesquite smoked chicken with avocado crÃ¨me on a purple tortilla with a lamb belly “bacon lardon.”
Some other notable morsels were the Texas beef spring rolls served with BBQ potato salad and honey hickory dipping sauce from Glatt a la Carte in Boro Park. Wolf & Lamb, with locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn, had an incredible pastrami-wrapped marinated apricot with a ginger glaze and pineapple chutney. Le Marais had a grilled hanger steak with a wonderful side of caramelized winter vegetables. Silverleaf Caterers from Riverdale served a delicious lamb polpetine (meatball) with toasted slivered almonds, an eggplant crostini with toasted pine nuts, and a matzah covered with buttercrunch, chocolate, caramel, and sea salt that was out of this world.
To take the night to the next level, this year there was an addition of a dessert pavilion located on the Hornblower Hybrid luxury yacht right outside the pier. A selection of delectable sweets, dessert wines, specialty liqueurs, and a mixology bar was offered on this impressive yacht. Most notably, the cake pops from Cake & Co., a custom cake boutique in Teaneck, and a 5-star carrot cake with Tofutti cream-cheese frosting from Say It With Cake on the Upper West Side were both sinfully delicious.
This event is one not to be missed, a top-chef experience for anyone who appreciates a good bite of food paired with just the right sip of wine. v
Lamb Kofta Meatballs With Toasted Pine Nuts
2 oz. pine nuts
1 lb. ground lamb
handful of fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 tsp. ground cumin
Â½ tsp. sweet paprika
Â½ tsp. hot paprika
Â¼ tsp. cinnamon
olive oil, for pan
Preheat oven to 350Â°F. Place small frying pan over medium heat and gently toast pine nuts, being careful not to burn. Set aside to cool. In large mixing bowl, combine lamb, egg, parsley, and spices. Add pine nuts and incorporate into mixture. Wet hands with a little water and roll meatballs (makes approximately 24).
Heat frying pan until very hot, drizzle with olive oil, and add meatballs in batches, 2—3 minutes on all sides, until brown on the outside but still raw inside. Remove to baking sheet and continue to brown all the meatballs. Transfer baking sheet to oven and finish cooking 5—10 minutes, until just cooked through. Serve with hummus or non-dairy yogurt with fresh mint.
Want to learn how to cook delicious gourmet meals right in your own kitchen? Take one-on-one cooking lessons or give a gift to an aspiring cook that you know. For more information, contact Take Home Chef personal chef services by calling 516-508-3663, writing to elke@TakeHomeChef.net, or visiting www.TakeHomeChef.net.