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Living the Kosher Strife


hillvalley
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The +1 is Kosher so that means no meat unless it's a gyro from Max's (Thank heavens for Max's!!!!) or tasteless cuts from Kosher Mart. And no cheese in my homemade chilli and pork/bacon only when I am out with my "foodie friends." Not to mention finding food and drinks that makes my palate and his Kosher self happy.

With almost 2,000 members I can't be the only one out there trying to cook the Kosher way. Who else has been there and lived? We are trying to cook more at his place but there is only so much veggie food this carnivore can live with. Other than braises and stews, how can I make Kosher meat bareable? Is there anyplace besides Eli's and Max's out there that serve Kosher meat? Help!!! :blink:

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Even though I am not Jewish, I married a nice Jewish girl many years ago. Even though we don't keep kosher, I still find that kosher chickens and turkeys taste better than any other. There are Chinese restaurants that are Glat kosher, and I beleive there is a kosher pizza place in the Kemp Mill shopping center.

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I have a similar problem from time-to-time: my future MIL keeps kosher. For a girl who grew up with a jar of bacon drippings in the refigerator door, it is a challenge to produce meals that work. Don't loose heart. It can be done. Think about foods from areas without a big dairy culture to cook at home. I know Mexican food might not seem likely, but think about chicken enchiladas with green chile sauce... no dairy needed to make it delicious. Tomato soup with tuna melts? Veal chops with roasted fennel slaw a la Zoramargolis? Remember, too, that brining is your friend, imparting flavor and juicyness to meats that can be grilled, sauteed, roasted, etc.

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Get yourself a couple of Middle-Eastern and/or Sephardic cookbooks--MUCH more in the way of interesting ingredients and fascinating flavors than the food we Ashkenazim grew up eating. How hard-line is he? One of my more easy-going relatives keeps kosher at home, but not when she goes out to eat or to other people's homes. She just doesn't order pork or shellfish. It makes life much easier for her.

Otherwise--since love is a many splendored thing, think brisket.

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Google Jewish recipes- and I second the Sephardic recommendation. I dated a guy of Moroccan descent who kept Kosher in the house, and tried to eat kosher out of the house as well. There are some great dishes out there to be made- actually try googling Sephardic recipes for particular Jewish holidays (Rosh Hashanah, Passover, Purim) and you may be inspired by what you find. Moroccan chicken over cous-cous, Italian dishes galore... and kugel! Who doesn't love a good kugel?

Does the +1 demand separate table settings as well?

Get yourself a couple of Middle-Eastern and/or Sephardic cookbooks--MUCH more in the way of interesting ingredients and fascinating flavors than the food we Ashkenazim grew up eating. How hard-line is he? One of my more easy-going relatives keeps kosher at home, but not when she goes out to eat or to other people's homes. She just doesn't order pork or shellfish. It makes life much easier for her.
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The cafe at The Lebanse Butcher?
Lebanese Butcher is Halal, not Kosher- they are different. While many Muslims will eat Kosher meat, those who are strictly kosher will never eat Halal meat. PS- that means I just got 10 cents more use out of my Jewish Studies degree.

Check out the Kosher board on chowhound :blink:

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Keeping Kosher isn't terribly hard. I did it for most of my life and kept a kosher home until a year or so ago.

I prefer Kosher chicken and turkey to non-kosher stuff. Go to Trader Joes and pick up some Empire chicken. Grill it or cook it any way you like, absent putting cheese or a cream sauce on it and you'll be fine.

Look around and you can sometimes find Kosher lamb and bison and whatnot which is something for a change.

For beef - while properly cooked brisket is truly one of the best things you can always do ground beef for hamburgers or skirt steaks or rib steaks or hangar steaks which really isn't too bad. Though I agree on the tasteless part of some Kosher meat. It is heavily salted and often isn't very good. Try to find a good kosher butcher. I believe there is a good one up in Baltimore, i'll find out the name. We used to travel a few hours to Philly to get superb kosher meat and would stock up on it every few months. Our butcher had prime kosher beef which was superb and a price to match.

And there is always the Hebrew National hotdog - easily the best - though if you eat one you might not want a non kosher dog ever again.

If you must go out and eat kosher meat, the options in town are pretty limited. When I kept kosher we bent the rules a bit. Ask him if he will do italian or seafood restaurants. Whie

Definately pick up a few cookbooks like the above have said.

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Baltimore and Pikesville offer much more than you can find here. One of the best is Accents Grill in both locations, and the family has opened a dairy restaurant in Pikesville that is supposed to be very good called Cocoaccino's.

My first wife insisted on keeping Kosher. I recently married a Methodist who makes wonderful potato latkes. So it goes.

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Fish!

The wife of my former boss keeps kosher at home but eats fish when out. (And doesn't freak out about the plates, etc...)

Another friend who is mostly orthodox (he'd probably be conservative if his wife wasn't orthodox...) goes out for sushi when he travels on business. (He tries not to think about whether the knives were used on shellfish...)

I dated someone whose parents kept paper plates at home for times when they had carryout from non-kosher places.

My family hasn't kept kosher in generations though I didn't have a cheeseburger until college. Some things die hard. Mr. BLB's family hasn't either though we did have to have the wedding "kosher style" to keep the peace.

Good luck!!!

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Fish!

The wife of my former boss keeps kosher at home but eats fish when out. (And doesn't freak out about the plates, etc...)

A friend asked for simple fish preparations (no shark and no dairy-based sauces!) cooked in the oven on aluminum foil, and made sure to ask that the fish (perhaps with sides of steamed vegetables and a baked potato) be served on the same foil. So no problem with the food touching the plate beneath the foil. Most servers and cooks wanted to be accommodating, they just didn't know the rules. So my friend made it simple for them by choosing foods that can be prepared simply and by taking the concern out of using pots, pans and dishes.

Of course, the knives, cooking utensils, cutting and cooking surfaces, and eating utensils would still be a problem. I never asked him about those since he appeared happy with the compromise and did not want to rock the boat.

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My nieces are orthodox and keep kosher. Whenever they visit my MIL (who does not keep kosher) she has paper plates and a separate utinsels for them to use. It is not hard to find foods that are Parve, just have to look for them. I agree that Pikesville and Riesterstown are going to have more selections for places to eat. However, there is a large orthodox community in the Kemp Mill/Wheaton area and there are choices there too.

I'd also recommend you look on some of the Kosher boards, such as the Kosher board on Chowhound (sorry to plug them Rocks ) to get some ideas.

As long as you aren't expected to keep separate plates, etc. for dairy and nondairy, cooking kosher isn't that hard.

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Does the +1 demand separate table settings as well?

I'm lucky enough that outside of the house he eats on whatever plates are available as long as there isn't meat in front of him. We don't eat meat at my house and the one time we dined at a friend's house, for a special occasion, she was fabulous enough to treat us to Michel Richard's salmon and aspargus recipe.

Check out the Kosher board on chowhound :)
Until we move to New York, Chowhound's board is completely useless. Back in the day it use to have a lot of good information but now it seems to be New Yorkers talking to each other about banquet halls :blink:
Keeping Kosher isn't terribly hard. I did it for most of my life and kept a kosher home until a year or so ago.

I prefer Kosher chicken and turkey to non-kosher stuff. Go to Trader Joes and pick up some Empire chicken. Grill it or cook it any way you like, absent putting cheese or a cream sauce on it and you'll be fine.

Look around and you can sometimes find Kosher lamb and bison and whatnot which is something for a change.

For beef - while properly cooked brisket is truly one of the best things you can always do ground beef for hamburgers or skirt steaks or rib steaks or hangar steaks which really isn't too bad. Though I agree on the tasteless part of some Kosher meat. It is heavily salted and often isn't very good. Try to find a good kosher butcher. I believe there is a good one up in Baltimore, i'll find out the name. We used to travel a few hours to Philly to get superb kosher meat and would stock up on it every few months. Our butcher had prime kosher beef which was superb and a price to match.

And there is always the Hebrew National hotdog - easily the best - though if you eat one you might not want a non kosher dog ever again.

If you must go out and eat kosher meat, the options in town are pretty limited. When I kept kosher we bent the rules a bit. Ask him if he will do italian or seafood restaurants. Whie

Definately pick up a few cookbooks like the above have said.

The thing about Kosher not being hard is that if that's all your are used to it isn't. The +1's friends all seem to manage to do it somehow. We have friends who grew up Kosher, went traif for a few years and easily went back to the Kosher lifestyle. But it can be very limiting and keep your social world insular (which I have found true with any restrictive lifestyle). I'm very lucky that the +1 will eat out anywhere as long as there is a vegetarian or fish option. He has learned to understand why my 2 Amy's cravings can't be filled by Papa Johns, the difference between a Palena fry and a regular fry, and the joy of spending an evening with good friends surrounded by good food.

We haven't been able to find a Kosher butcher around here other than Kosher Mart or Max's. (Max's schwarma is a complete blessing for a foodie gal and her meat lovin' Kosher guy :) The +1's veggie mother even loved the salad plate they put together for her. ) Other than recipes that require marinating the meat we tend to stay away from cow. Being able to get Empire chickens from Trader Joes is a life saver. We've also found a nice selection of Kosher products at the Brookville market in Cleveland Park. Who knew?

What butcher did you go to in Philly? We're there on a regular basis so making a stop wouldn't be too hard.

The hardest part when cooking has been reprograming my mind when cooking some recipes that are in my regular rotation, especially in the winter. Chilli and fajitas no longer involve cheese and sour cream, lasagna has to be a veggie version, no rubbing butter on Shabbat chicken ;)

Every good relationship is about compromise. I just wish giving up bacon wasn't part of that equation :P

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Not to be the Dybukk's advocate, but, keeping kosher requires different dishes and silverware for meat or fish and dairy products. Going to a restaurant and eating "allowed things" on plates and silverware that have been used for pork, cheese and unallowed fish is "pretending" to be kosher. Leviticus has some formidable restrictions in it, these being one.

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The hardest part when cooking has been reprograming my mind when cooking some recipes that are in my regular rotation, especially in the winter. Chilli and fajitas no longer involve cheese and sour cream, lasagna has to be a veggie version, no rubbing butter on Shabbat chicken :P

Every good relationship is about compromise. I just wish giving up bacon wasn't part of that equation :blink:

Fajitas taste very good with guacamole, in case you haven't been doing that. And I suppose you could do a bean-based red chili and put cheese on it, or do a chicken and green chile chili which demands only onion and cilantro as a garnish and you won't be hankering for your familiar ones. Roasted eggplant, chopped up and combined with fennel seed, garlic. red pepper flakes and coriander will give your lasagna the cachet of sausage without the cochon. Rub your chicken with olive oil. Your +1 might like that, too. ;) It isn't anywhere near as good, but if you are desperate for crispy slices of smoked, fatty belly meat, there is such a thing as beef bacon...

Not to be the Dybukk's advocate, but, keeping kosher requires different dishes and silverware for meat or fish and dairy products. Going to a restaurant and eating "allowed things" on plates and silverware that have been used for pork, cheese and unallowed fish is "pretending" to be kosher. Leviticus has some formidable restrictions in it, these being one.

Don't forget the separate meat/dairy dishware and pots and pans for Passover. The really hardcore require separate sinks and refrigerators, too. I suppose now there might be some who insist on separate microwaves. Everyone who engages in it has their own version--all resulting from various interpretations through the ages of the Biblical injunction of not boiling a calf in its mother's milk and not eating creatures with cloven hooves or without fins and scales*, both of which may have been early efforts at preventing food-borne illnesses. They are all "pretending" to be kosher, since there is no one single definitive, all-encompassing list of what it actually means and what is and is not "kosher." It is all in the eye of the interpreter, and which rabbi they choose to listen to. People on this planet have all kinds of mishugass about what is and what is not good to eat, in organized and individual ways. And those who choose to restrict their diets in various ways have to live with the consequences, which may result in very limited restaurant-going options.

*Now it appears that swordfish may actually have miniscule scales, which makes them move from the category of trayf to kosher...

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Time for a field trip to Kemp Mill--the new Magruder's just opened, and I was told this evening at a community meeting by one of the owners that they have stocked the shelves with more Kosher items than any other store. They want to gauge what will and will not sell, so as to fulfill the needs of the community.

Regarding cookbooks, what about Joan Nathan? Her Jewish Cooking in America is a compilation of kosher recipes, old and new, from both Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews who settled all over America. Here's a link to her Website and the cookbooks she's written.

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In what must be one of the most ironic of ironies, Old Bay is kosher :mellow: KG can't eat crabs, or shrimp, but he can have the spices on top. It's like getting to eat the whipped cream and not the rest of the sundae.

At least we can use it in our Bloody Marys

There was a place we used to go in College Park years ago (i.e., the 80s) that put Old Bay on the free popcorn they gave out to patrons at happy hour. The first few handfuls were good, but it rapidly became too much. I'd always forget that and OD on the Old Bay every time. I'm sure it sold them more beverages, though :) . Used a little more sparingly, I'd imagine it could be a decent use of Old Bay.
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There was a place we used to go in College Park years ago (i.e., the 80s) that put Old Bay on the free popcorn they gave out to patrons at happy hour. The first few handfuls were good, but it rapidly became too much. I'd always forget that and OD on the Old Bay every time. I'm sure it sold them more beverages, though :mellow: . Using a little more sparingly, I'd imagine it could be a decent use of Old Bay.
In a similar manner, I make my own Old Bay potato chips...I can vary the amount of seasoning depending on how much salt I'm craving :)
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