Show 443, September 18, 2021: Beth Lee of “OMG! Yummy” with The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook

Beth Lee author of the Essential Jewish Cookbook

“Baking is an integral part of Jewish culture and traditions. Whether you’re making challah for Shabbat, macaroons for Passover or babka for family brunch, The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook (Rockridge Press) by first time cookbook author and food blogger (OMG! Yummy) Beth Lee helps capture the essence of traditional Jewish baking in your kitchen. It’s filled with 50 classic recipes―those you might remember your bubbe (grandma) or mom whipping up―with clear instructions to help make them successfully every time.”

“With appealing photographs from photographer Annie Martin and stories and recipes representing Ashkenazic, Sephardic, and Mizrahi backgrounds, Essential Jewish Baking celebrates the rich history and warmth of traditional Jewish baked goods.”

“Beth A. Lee grew up on the East Coast before moving to Northern California, far away from the traditional Jewish food she was raised on. She attended the University of California, Berkeley, where she received a degree in business and pursued a marketing career in Silicon Valley.”

“In 2010, Beth realized she preferred pita chips over computer chips and launched her food blog, OMG! Yummy. Through her blog, she reconnected with her love of cooking and her passion for documenting her family’s multicultural food traditions.”

Beth shares her recipe from The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook for Sweet Challah Rolls with Apple Currant Filling.

Beth Lee is our guest with rolling pin in hand.

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Sweet Challah Rolls with Apple Currant Filling

Sweet Challah Rolls by Beth A Lee

Recipe excerpt from:
The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook
by Beth Lee

Dairy-free, Nut-free, Pareve

Prep Time: 40 minutes Inactive Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 27 minutes

Challah rolls filled with apples and currants are the ideal sweet baked good for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. I originally developed this recipe for a High Holidays cooking class, but these little gems are perfect all year round. Ready faster than a traditional challah recipe, these rolls are also versatile: Leave the filling out, make one loaf instead of individual rolls, or double the recipe and freeze some for another day. Makes 8 rolls

For the dough

  • 2 ¼ teaspoons (7 grams/1 packet) active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 3 ½ cups (438 grams) all-purpose flour, plus more for kneading
  • ¼ cup (47 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (235 grams) warm water (105°F to 115°F)
  • 1 large egg
  • ¼ cup (56 grams) vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

For the filling

  • 1 cup (118 grams) chopped and peeled sweet firm apple
  • 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ¼ cup (36 grams) currants or raisins
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

For egg wash

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  1. Mix: In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the yeast, flour, and sugar. Add the warm water, egg, oil, and salt.
  2. Knead: Using the stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, knead on medium-low speed for 3 to 4 minutes, making sure the dough is thoroughly combined and scraping down the sides as necessary. Once kneaded, the dough should be smooth and pulling away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is overly sticky, add flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, as necessary.
  3. First rise: Remove the dough from the bowl, form it into a round, and place it on a sheet of parchment paper. Use your finger to poke a 1-inch hole through the center of the dough. Cover the dough loosely with a kitchen towel and let rest for 30 minutes.
  4. Make filling: While the dough is resting, in a medium bowl, combine the chopped apple, lemon juice, currants, cinnamon, and sugar. Set aside.
  5. Prep: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  6. Fill and shape: Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Flatten a piece into a roughly 6-by-4-inch rectangle and spread a heaping tablespoon of filling down the center. Close the dough up around the filling and gently roll it out with your hands to a roughly 9-inch rope. Loosely coil the rope, tuck the end under, and pinch to seal. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough to create 8 rolls. Place on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Second rise: Loosely cover the challah rolls with a kitchen towel, set in a warm location, and let rise for about 30 minutes, or until the dough slowly springs back when poked with your finger.
  8. Preheat: Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  9. Egg wash: Whisk together the egg and water. Use a pastry brush to coat each roll with the egg wash, getting into all the nooks and crannies.
  10. Bake: Bake the rolls for 5 minutes at 375°F, then lower the heat to 350°F and cook for about 22 minutes longer. Transfer to a wire rack and cool at least 30 minutes before serving.

Show 360, February 15, 2020: The Milky Way, Kosher Dairy Restaurant, Los Angeles Part One

Phil Kastel of PK+J Hospitality GroupLeah Spielberg Adler was a fixture of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood (The Borscht Belt) in Los Angeles since 1977 until her passing in early 2017 at 97. She was the proprietress and heart of the kosher dairy restaurant, The Milky Way.

In a loving tribute to her memory The Spielberg Family (Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue) reimagined and reopened The Milky Way in February of 2019 with a new look and an updated, appealing and streamlined kosher menu.

A Sunday Brunch menu was added right before Mother’s Day last Year. The varied selections range from Huevos Rancheros with Black Beans, Ranch Sauce, Fried Eggs, Feta Cheese, Lima Cream, Olives and Avocado to the Impossible™ Green Chile Breakfast Burger with fries. Also Brunch Cocktails (think Beermosa with IPA and Grapefruit Juice) and creative non-alcoholic Mocktails. Live piano music (played on Leah’s restored piano) is part of the Sunday Brunch experience.

The Milky Way serves Lunch and Dinner Monday thru Thursday. Friday is lunch only. Closed on Saturday. Sundays feature Brunch and Dinner.

Executive Chef & Restaurant Consultant Phil Kastel of PK+J Hospitality Group is the Creative Chef at The Milky Way and is out guest.

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Show 360, February 15, 2020: The Milky Way, Kosher Dairy Restaurant, Los Angeles Part Two

Phil Kastel of PK+J Hospitality GroupLeah Spielberg Adler was a fixture of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood (The Borscht Belt) in Los Angeles since 1977 until her passing in early 2017 at 97. She was the proprietress and heart of the kosher dairy restaurant, The Milky Way.

In a loving tribute to her memory The Spielberg Family (Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue) reimagined and reopened The Milky Way in February of 2019 with a new look and an updated, appealing and streamlined kosher menu.

“Bernie and Leah (Spielberg) Adler opened the doors to Milky Way restaurant in 1977. Their vision was to offer fine kosher food to the Jewish community at a time when such a thing didn’t exist in Los Angeles. Leah wanted to introduce interesting fare to many who had never tasted dishes like Cajun, Mexican, or Thai.”

“Shortly after opening, it was very apparent that the main attraction wasn’t just the food, but was Leah herself! With her unique and exuberant charm; independent and confident style, Leah had the ability to make every guest in the restaurant feel as if they were the most important. People came for the food, but they kept coming back for Leah!”

“Leah disdained being identified as a “kosher deli”! Yes, she served traditional Jewish dishes like blintzes and potato pancakes, but that was where the similarities ended. When Leah would greet each table, she would describe the daily specials with such animation that she would easily convince the table to try them. She was known for her love of classical music, art, denim and Cabernet Sauvignon wine.”

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Show 317, March 30, 2019: Executive Chef and Restaurant Consultant Phil Kastel, The Milky Way, Los Angeles Part One

The Speilberg Family with the late Leah Spielberg Adler Leah Spielberg Adler was a fixture of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood (The Borscht Belt) in Los Angeles since 1977 until her passing in early 2017 at 97. She was the larger-than-life proprietress and heart of the kosher dairy restaurant, The Milky Way. In a loving tribute to her memory The Spielberg Family (Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue) has reimagined and reopened The Milky Way (after an extensive renovation) with a fresh new look and an updated, appealing and streamlined menu of tasty kosher fare.

“Ms. Adler, whom friends and family alike referred to as “LeeLee,” was a concert pianist and an artist, and also a proud mom of four talented children – Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue Spielberg, a fact that was celebrated throughout the restaurant in the form of a memorabilia-filled room that became as much a salon as the perfect place to drop by for a plate of blintzes.”

“Our mom had a gypsy spirit that was larger than life itself, with an unstoppable energy and a fiery confidence that was reflected in the halls of The Milky Way,” said the Spielberg family in a joint statement. “LeeLee opened the restaurant with the vision of offering fine kosher food to the Jewish community in Los Angeles at a time when such a thing didn’t exist. Though her passing left a deep void in our hearts, we hope the new Milky Way will not only honor her memory, but also give back to the community she loved so deeply.”

“The Milky Way may be a kosher dairy restaurant, but it is also a New American Kosher restaurant,” said Chef Phil Kastel. “We wanted to create an inclusive and welcoming place for everyone, regardless of their faith or adherence to a specific dietary restriction. What will resonate with diners most is just how comforting the food here is – all the dishes on the new menu honor LeeLee and her unique tastes and are updated but true to her legacy at the same time.”

Executive & Restaurant Consultant Phil Kastel of PK&J Hospitality Group is the Creative Chef at The Milky Way and is out guest.

Visit their website or follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Show 317, March 30, 2019: Executive Chef and Restaurant Consultant Phil Kastel, The Milky Way, Los Angeles Part Two

Phil KastelLeah Spielberg Adler was a fixture of the Pico-Robertson neighborhood (The Borscht Belt) in Los Angeles since 1977 until her passing in early 2017 at 97. She was the larger-than-life proprietress and heart of the kosher dairy restaurant, The Milky Way. In a loving tribute to her memory The Spielberg Family (Steven, Nancy, Anne and Sue) has reimagined and reopened The Milky Way (after an extensive renovation) with a fresh new look and an updated, appealing and streamlined menu of tasty kosher fare.

“Chef Kastel has put a modern spin on the kosher dairy menu, peppering the menu with entirely new items and updating many of Ms. Adler’s original family recipes with a new twist to create a menu that has a global appeal, both for the international Jewish community and the general public alike. All dishes are made using the freshest, locally sourced ingredients, and diners can expect the menu to shift quarterly for seasonality, including a selection of seasonal fish. The new menu will now feature The Impossible CheeseburgerTM with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, American cheese and thousand island on a sesame seed bun, served with fries; the Famous Fish Chowder with halibut, Yukon potatoes, onions, celery and leeks, available daily; as well as the Cajun Pacific Snapper, with blackening spices and pineapple salsa, served alongside assorted seasonal vegetables.”

“Some of Ms. Adler’s original recipes have also been elevated with a modern spin. Signature dishes include Leah’s Cheese Blintzes served with strawberry preserves and sour cream; Salmon Puffs – a long-time, much loved signature dish, featuring crispy pocket, cream cheese, scallions and herbs – and the Potato Latkes with house-made apple compote and sour cream. Additional dishes not to be missed include the Eggplant Parmesan with marinara sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil; the Ahi Tuna Burger with red bell peppers, ginger, scallions, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles and sriracha aioli, served on a sesame seed bun; and the Trout Amandine, with a panko crust, toasted almonds and tartar sauce paired with seasonal vegetables.”

“Dessert features Leah’s Classic Cheesecake – another original – as well as the new Apple Dream Pie, with a filling featuring crushed floral pink peppercorn and inspired in part by a dream Nancy Spielberg had of her mother. The restaurant also serves kosher wine by the glass or by the bottle, as well as a selection of bottled beer.”

“While there is much to celebrate with the new Milky Way, what hasn’t changed is the attitude of the restaurant. Leah Adler is still in the room – her life and spirit preserved in the photos, posters and tchotchkes that carefully speak to her legacy – supported by food and wine that is still kosher, delicious and accessible. This is, after all, a neighborhood kosher restaurant servicing the community with class and style.”

A new Brunch menu with (Brunch Cocktails) launches on Sunday, May 5th in advance of Mother’s Day. Think Huevos Racheros with black beans, ranchero sauce, fried eggs, Feta cheese, Lima Crema, Olives, Avocado and Cilantro in addition to the expected Smoked Fish Platter with smoked Salmon and Smoked Trout.

Visit their website or follow along on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

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Show 256, January 13, 2018: Chef Gabriel Garcia, Tierra Sur Restaurant at Herzog Wine Cellars, Oxnard

Gabriel GarciaSituated inside Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard, Tierra Sur Restaurant contin­ues to receive national recognition as one of the finest restaurants in Southern California. Head Chef Gabriel Garcia and his team bring bold and exciting ideas to life – while using only seasonal ingredients, sourced fresh from local farm­ers. Year over year, Tierra Sur has deservedly received the highest ZAGAT ratings in Ventura County.

Modern and inspired New American fare, and the ambiance of dining inside of the area’s largest winery delight guests of this truly one of a kind, farm-to-table concept. It’s unusually a kosher restaurant but you don’t have to be Jewish (or keep kosher) to fully appreciate the fine food or refined atmosphere.

Being located in the center of the region’s largest winery has its benefits; guests may order from a special ‘Wine Tasters Menu’ and enjoy a three -course prix fixe selection, each paired with Herzog Special Reserve award-winning wines. Whether stopping on the way to Santa Barbara, or traveling to Ventura County – Tierra Sur offers exceptional dining and a charming stop along the way.

Chef Gabe gently pulls the cork on the unusual experience for us.

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