Thursday, March 12, 2009

Congratulations Michael Cohen!

Michael Cohen
Los Angeles, CA
Michael Cohen, 31 years old, was born in Hollywood, Florida and now lives in Hollywood, California. He greatly enjoys his job which is writing music for film, TV, and videogames (including the score for the movie THE HEBREW HAMMER). Once he got his own place about 4 years ago, he really started cooking up a storm. In the past few years, he began to enter recipe contests and found out that he’s not so bad at it. Michael also enjoys playing tennis and poker with friends.

Elat Chicken Soup

You need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
4 quarts low-sodium chicken stock
1 can chickpeas, drained
1 potato, peeled and diced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
1 medium eggplant, diced
3 tablespoons fresh dill leaves, minced
1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1 English cucumber, diced

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. In a small
mixing bowl, combine cumin, coriander, turmeric, allspice, salt, and pepper;
mix well. Season chicken with about 1/2 of the mixture (save remaining
1/2). Add chicken to pot and cook for 3 minutes per side. Transfer chicken
to a plate. Pour off any fat from the pot. Add another tablespoon oil to
pot; add onion and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic
and remaining spice mixture and cook for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Add chicken stock, chickpeas, potato, carrot, eggplant, dill, and 1/4 cup
cilantro to pot; return chicken to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to
simmer and cook for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes. Add in cucumber. Season,
to taste, with salt and pepper. Chop up chicken. Sprinkle soup with
remaining cilantro leaves.

Makes 6-8 servings.

Runner's Up (We had a Tie!)

(Elizabeth Kratz with Jeffrey Nathan)

"Hungarian Sweet and Spicy Chicken Soup"
Elizabeth Kratz
Bergenfield, NJ

Elizabeth Book Kratz, 34, from Bergenfield, NJ, has been a congressional staffer, a journalist and a magazine editor. She works as a freelance writer and editor, but as an amateur 'kosher foodie' and wine aficionado, her (now, not so secret) dream is to be a cookbook author. Born and raised in Southern California and taught to cook by her mother Ruth, Liz is happiest when she's making big messes in the kitchen. She loves to bring fresh, healthy and modern twists to her favorite Eastern European Jewish recipes. Like her ancestors, Liz cooks best when she doesn't measure her ingredients, so everything she brings to the table is always original and delicious. Liz's best taste-tester and the inspiration for her soup recipe is her husband Alexander, who was born in Vienna to Hungarian parents, and therefore considers pepper to be one of the four food groups.


four large skinless chicken legs
four small skinless chicken thighs
three large carrots, unpeeled, whole
two small turnips, unpeeled and cut in half
two small onions, uncut, wtth skins on
five large stalks celery, uncut
one large uncut leek
one small bunch fresh dill
one small bunch fresh italian parsley
one teaspoon celery salt
two tablespoons garlic powder
one teaspoon dried marjoram
one tablespoon onion powder
one half to one tablespoon table salt (season to taste)
one teaspoon black pepper
one teaspoon Hungarian paprika
one pinch cayenne pepper
one half bag Manishewitz brand wide noodles
one bunch fresh chives, finely chopped

Combine all ingredients except for the noodles and fresh chives in a large pot with water above the contents by at least one inch. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for approximately two hours, with at least the first hour without a lid on the pot. Remove the chicken parts with a slotted spoon and debone then, returning choice bits to the soup. Remove carrots and slice, returning them to the soup. Taste the soup and correct seasoning if necessary. Add uncooked noodles to the simmering soup as late as possible before serving (at least a half hour). Garnish with chopped chives. Serves six, with enough for seconds.


"Mamma's Chicken Soup"

Wolfgang Hanau
West Palm Beach, FL

Originally from Bavaria, Wolfgang, a US citizen, lives in West Palm Beach, Florida and has traveled extensively throughout his life. He and his wife Diana, who is from the Dominican Republic, are highly conscious of eating foods free of artificial preservatives and chemicals. Wolfgang ssees it as our "possibility to preserve all the natural resources" we have been blessed with. As Wolfgang explores the world, he comes up with creative recipes inspired by regional cuisines."

As to Wolfgang's interests, they are investments and charitable contributions to those who need help: regardless of their ethnic background, race or nationality.
"We all were born to help those who are less fortunate , bringing education and understanding of our purpose in life to everybody"

Hobbies: Clasical music, literature, painting, writing, tennis, running, gardening.

1 large broiler 4 1/2- 5 lbs, cut into 8 pieces
12 cups water, or just enough to cover chicken and vegetables
4 stalks celery with their leaves, cleaned
4 carrots, peeled but left whole
2 parsnips, peeled
2 Kohlrabi, peeled
2 leeks or substitute with a large onion, if leeks are not available
1/2 bunch parsley, leave stems on
1 bunch dill, stems included
2 tablespoons Kosher salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
2 cloves garlic, peeled, but left whole

Wash chicken pieces well and remove any feathers. Pull away any excessive fat . Do not remove the skin, it adds flavor to the soup. Place chicken in a 8-10 qt. soup kettle and add 12 cups cold water. Wash celery and cut each stalk in half crosswise and add to pot. Cut each carrot in half crosswise and then cut down in the middle add these to the pot. Cut the parsnips and Kohlrabi in half lengthwise and add these to the pot. Trim the ends of the leeks , cut in half lengthwise and wash carefully under running cold water, separating the layers to remove all the sand. Cut leeks in half crosswise and add to the pot. Wash parsley and dill and add to pot along with a little salt and pepper and garlic cloves. (Leave the final adjusting in seasoning after the soup is finished.)
Bring to boil and immediately lower heat to a simmer. (The key words to cooking soup is "simmer gently". A violent boil will make your soup cloudy.)Cook for 10 minutes and skim away the scum that forms on the top. Continue to simmer gently for 1 hour longer.
Skim away any fat that has risen to the surface
of the soup or degrease the broth in a degreasing pitcher. Of course if you have the time, you can simply chill the soup until the fat congeals and remove it that way.
There are several ways you can serve the chicken soup. My mother would remove the greens and vegetables and the chicken pieces. The soup would be strained to a clear broth and served as its own course with the noodles, Matzo balls or Kreplach (see separate recipe.) The soup greens would be transformed into delicious latkes and served as a side dish along with the boiled chicken.
I like to serve everything together in a large bowl, the broth the veggies, the chicken and throw in a couple of kreplach. I call it "Chicken in a Pot" and there is nothing like it for curing colds, tummy aches or just for a plain bad day.

Kreplach (Jewish Noodles)
It's not hard to make, but takes a little bit of time and you can make them ahead of time.

The dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional flour for rolling out the dough.
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons water.Making a hole in to the middle of the flour in a large bowl, pour in the beaten eggs, salt and water. Mix with a wooden spoon until dough holds together, then remove dough to a well floured board and kneed until it feels smooth and satiny. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
Making the Kreplach:
Divide the dough into two parts. Cover 1 part and set aside. Roll out the other dough on a well-floured board until it is about 1/8 " thin.Cut the dough into 3-inch squares. Place about 3 2 teaspoons of chopped, pureed vegetables in center of each square. Fold into a triangle and seal by pinching the sides closed with your fingertips. It helps to keep your hands lightly floured. Place kreplach onto a floured tray and cover to keep from drying out. In a pot with lightly salted water with a few drops of oil.Cook the kreplach , a layer at a time, 10-12 minutes Remove the noodles with a slotted spoon. Serve them with the soup, if desired.

And the other fabulous finalists:

"Eat This You’ll Feel Better Classic Chicken Noodle Soup"
Diane Nemitz

One roasting hen or capon (about 4 lb.)
3 large carrots, roughly chopped
3 celery ribs, roughly chopped
one onion studded with 4 whole cloves
thyme sprigs, sage stem, oregano stem, parsley stems (fresh preferred) tied together
6 whole peppercorns
1 teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
To add later:
1 1/2 cups thinly sliced carrots
1 cup thinly sliced celery
1/4 cup minced parsley leaves
1 parsnip, thinly sliced
1 lb. fine egg noodles, cooked.

In large stockpot, add chicken, carrots, celery, onion, herbs, peppercorn, salt. Cover with cold water about one inch over chicken. (one and a half to two gallons) Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer for one hour. Strain broth, discarding vegetables and herbs. Allow chicken to cool until easy to handle.
Return broth to pot with sliced carrots, celery, parsley and parsnip. Continue to simmer. When chicken is cool, shred meat and add to soup. Now, you want the broth to cook down a little, but not too much. You may have to cover the pot until the vegetables are tender, so you are left with one gallon of soup.
To serve, scoop noodles into bowl, ladle soup on top.

Note: Real chicken soup isn’t a quick, flash in the pan. It requires long, patient, loving care.

“Delicious Chicken Soup with Barley and Mushrooms”
Jackie Gregston

1 chicken (2-3 lbs.), cut up
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 quarts chicken broth
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup sliced celery
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 cup medium barley
1 pint fresh sliced mushrooms

In a large stock pot, brown chicken pieces in vegetable oil for several minutes, turning over to brown both sides. Then add broth and spices. Turn heat down to a simmer and cover; cook until chicken is tender, about an hour. Remove from heat, remove the chicken from the broth and skin and bone chicken. Cool broth and cool and skim off the fat. Can be made ahead up to this point and refrigerated.

Return chicken (cut into bite-size pieces) and add vegetables and barley. (not mushrooms) Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer about 30 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook ten more minutes. Remove bay leaves before serving.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mazal Tov!
The competition was steep as recipes poured into NJOP all month. But five brews stood out among the rest and we are pleased to announce the following Better Than Your Bubby finalists!

Check back next week for the recipes!

Submitted by: Diane Nemitz
Ludington, MI

Hungarian Sweet and Spicy Chicken Soup
Submitted by: Elizabeth Kratz
Bergenfield, NJ

Delicious Chicken Soup with Barley and Mushrooms
Submitted by: Submitted by Jackie Gregston
Hallsville TX

Elat Chicken Soup
Submitted by: Michael Cohen
Los Angeles, CA

Mamma's Chicken Soup
Submitted by: Wolfgang Hanau
West Palm Beach , Fl 33401

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ready to be Judged?

Who is judging the Better Than Your Bubby's Chicken Soup Challenge?

Some pretty serious palettes will be gathering at Abigael's on Broadway for the final tasting in March.

Jeff Nathan
, Executive Chef and co-owner of Abigael’s on Broadway will be hosting the tasting and will lead the prestigous judges through the tasting. Jeff is well known for his television series, New Jewish Cuisine, which is seen on public television stations nationwide, Israel and several other countries.

He is an award-winning chef, restaurateur and cookbook author of two best selling books, Adventures in Jewish Cooking and Jeff Nathan’s Family Suppers.

Jeff is a culinary consultant for the Hain Celestial Group and Royal Wines Corporation. Working directly within the research and development branch, Jeff is responsible for many of the new products on the market shelves today.

Recently Jeff has broadened his culinary horizons… He has expanded into full service catering, with his boutique company, Jeff Nathan Events.

Gary Bensky serves as Consulting Executive Chef/Designer for Clevenger Frable LaVallee and teaches classical and international cuisine at the Culinary Arts Institute of Hudson County Community College. Since 1999 he has a regular column in Nations Restaurant News and has served as Executive Chef at prestigious restaurants including The Rainbow Room, The Lotus Club and Café Americain in New York City and Lake Mohawk Country Club and Greenbrook Country Club in New Jersey. He has received distinction, often winning 1st place in Societe Culinaire Philantropique Salon competitions.

Melissa Clark, a James Beard Foundation award winner, writes about cuisine, wine, travel and other products of appetite for numerous publications including the New York Times (as a columnist for the Dining Section), Bon Appetit, Food & Wine, and Martha Stewart. In addition, Clark has written 20 cookbooks including Chef Interrupted: Delicious Chefs Recipes You can Actually Make at Home (Clarkson Potter). Recently, she completed her first diet and lifestyle book to answer the oft-asked question “how can you be a food writer and a size 2?” The Skinny: How to Fit into Your Little Black Dress Forever (Meredith Books) came out in December, 2006. Clark was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, where she now lives with her husband, Daniel Gercke, their infant daughter Dahlia, and their formerly cosseted cat.

Paul Dillon is the Executive Director of the Culinary Arts Institute of Hudson County Community College. He has 40 years of experience in the culinary field and hospitality industry having served as executive or consulting chef for national and international venues as notable as the World Cup, the Olympics and the New York Mets World Series victory celebration. Dillon has also hosted and produced televised cooking shows and has received three Emmy nominations and was granted eight Telly Awards for his work.

Jamie Geller is the author of the wildly successful cookbook, Quick &
Kosher: Recipes From The Bride Who Knew Nothing. She is host of 2 internet cooking shows, Quick & Kosher iTV and Simply Kosher as well as an award winning freelance TV producer for HBO and the Food Network. Jamie is also an internationally syndicated food and lifestyle columnist, a motivational speaker and cooking instructor, giving classes and lectures all across America. She and her husband have three children. They live in Monsey, NY.

Elan Kornblum is the Publisher and President of Great Kosher Restaurants International Magazine. With their 5th edition due out soon, the upscale coffee table book and their website, has revolutionized the way diners choose to go out to eat. The award-winning publication showcases how kosher dining has evolved remarkably over time. The magazine features photos, menus and articles on the best kosher restaurants around the globe. Known as the “Restaurant Guy,” Elan has visited over 500 kosher restaurants worldwide and brings a unique perspective on the kosher food industry.

Lenore Skenazy writes a bright, unpredictable op-ed column that appears in more than 100 papers. Her often cheery, sometimes chiding pieces look at everything from politics to family life to the strange times we live in – times that have brought us bottled water for dogs, pole dancing for grannies and the vocabulary-covered “S.A.T. Shower Curtain” for kids.

Her observations can be heard on NPR and read in Reader’s Digest. She has also written for Mad Magazine and co-authored “The Dysfunctional Family Christmas Songbook.” Her quiz/joke book, “Who’s The Blonde That Married What’s-His-Name?” is due out in June and her topical humor contest, “What Next?” runs in the magazine The Week. She also writes a column for Advertising Age. (Busy gal!) Her book “Free-Range Kids” is due out in April. And though she prefers working in print, she also spent several years as an on-air (younger, cuter) Andy Rooney, first at CNBC and then at the Food Network.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Start your Stovetops!

Start your stovetops! It’s the “Better Than Your Bubby’s Chicken Soup Challenge” - a search for the best chicken soup recipe in America. The National Jewish Outreach Program ( is looking for both traditional and unusual formulas of this famous elixir. So whether it is your grandmother’s famous recipe or your version of chicken soup fusion, NJOP wants to taste your Jewish penicillin.

Cooks across America are invited to submit their original recipes for a chance to win great prizes including a free trip to Israel, a $100 gift certificate to, kitchen décor consultation with Art de Triomphe interior design and other great prizes. Five finalists will be selected under the direction of celebrity chef Jeff Nathan, the executive chef of New York-based Abigael’s and their soups will be tasted and judged by a prestigious panel of judges.

The contest coincides with NJOP's 13th annual SHABBAT ACROSS AMERICA, which will be held on March 20, 2009. Just as traditional "Jewish" food is a unifying element to Jews of all background, SAA is an unparalleled display of unity as tens of thousands of Jews celebrate Shabbat across the country. The special event is held annually at hundreds of locations across North America and welcomes participants of all denominations.

"In times like these, I think the whole country could use a bowl of chicken soup,” said Rabbi Ephraim Buchwald, director of NJOP. "The Jewish tradition revolves around family and festivity. Through the Chicken Soup Challenge, we hope to reinforce the notion that Jewish life is fun - and delicious - and that our heritage, like our recipes, can be passed carefully from generation to generation."

In 2004, NJOP conducted its first Chicken Soup Challenge and named NY-based Rosely Himmelstein as winner. Only recipes that can be made in accordance with kosher dietary laws will be eligible.

Email entries to Deadline for entry is March 2, 2009.

Good Luck!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Contest Rules

Better Than Your Bubby’s Chicken Soup Challenge
Contest Rules

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Void Where Prohibited.

To Enter: Email your original chicken soup recipe to Include the name of your recipe, your full name, phone, cell phone and mailing address.
Entries can also be mailed to National Jewish Outreach Program, Better Than Your Bubby’s Chicken Soup Challenge, 989 Sixth Ave, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018. Entries must be postmarked by March 1, 2009. Multiple entries are permitted. Please visit for information about the chicken soup challenge. Only recipes that can be made in accordance with kosher dietary laws will be eligible.

Recipes must be for one gallon volume (serve 6-8). Ingredients must be natural - no bouillion cubes, no seasoning base, no MSG, no additives or preservatives. Meat products must be only poultry, no beef or veal stock permissable. All recipes must be typewritten. Judging will be based on the clarity of instructions and the flavor of the soup.

Eligibility: The contest is open to amateur chefs, those who do not earn a living as a chef and who are legal residents of the United States. Employees and directors of the National Jewish Outreach Program and its advertising and promotional agencies, and their immediate families and members of their households, are not eligible to enter this contest. All entrants must be able to travel to New York City in the event that NJOP requests the presence of finalists and/or winner at an event. If such travel is required, NJOP would pay roundtrip coach airfare and provide accommodations and said finalists and winner must be available for in-person media interviews. The final event will take place some time in March 2009. If unable to travel during said time or participate in the finals, entrant may be disqualified and an alternate may be selected. Finalists and winner must be available for media interviews, by phone, throughout 2009.

Prizes: One Grand Prize Winner will receive one round trip ticket to Israel, coach class. All expenses not specified herein, including but not limited to accommodations, meals, transfer, taxes and gratuities, are the sole responsibility of the Grand Prize Winner. Other prizes may apply.

Key Dates: The contest begins on February 1, 2009. Deadline for entry is March 2, 2009. Five finalists will be chosen on or about March 9, 2009; and the Grand Prize winner will be selected by a panel of judges on or about March 16, 2009.

Terms and Conditions: The five finalists (subject to eligibility verification) and the Grand Prize Winner will be chosen by a panel of judges selected by the National Jewish Outreach Program, whose decisions will be final on all matters relating to this contest. Finalists will be notified by telephone or mail, and will be required to execute an Affidavit of Eligibility, a Liability Release and (where legal) a Publicity Release. The Grand Prize Winner will also need to make herself/himself available for media interviews if appropriate.

Except where prohibited by law, the winner's entry and acceptance of the prize constitutes permission for the National Jewish Outreach Program to use winner's name, photograph, likeness, statements, video/DVD submission, biographical information, voice and city and state address in all forms of media without further compensation. Winner and entrants also agree to release, discharge, indemnify and hold harmless the National Jewish Outreach Program and each of its officers, directors, employees, representatives and agents from and against any claims, damages or liability due to any injuries, damages, or losses to any person (including death) or property of any kind resulting in whole or in part, directly or indirectly, from acceptance, possession, misuse or use of any prize or participation in any contest-related activity or participation in this contest.

List of Winners: For a list of winners, please send a self-addressed stamped envelope after March 25th to National Jewish Outreach Program Better Than Your Bubby’s Chicken Soup Contest, 989 Sixth Ave, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018. You can also send an email to

Sponsor: National Jewish Outreach Program, 989 Sixth Ave, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10018.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Chicken Soup as a Cure


Cold remedies: What works, what doesn't, what can't hurt
There's no cure for the common cold. But what about cold remedies that claim to make you feel better faster? Find out what's effective — and what's not.
Cold remedies are almost as common as the common cold, and many are nearly as ancient. The use of chicken soup as a congestion cure dates back centuries. But is longevity any guarantee that a cold remedy works? Do effective cold remedies even exist? Here's a look at some common cold remedies and what's known about them.

Cold remedies: What works
If you catch a cold, you can expect to be sick for about a week. But that doesn't mean you have to be miserable. These remedies may help:

Water and other fluids. You can't flush a cold out of your system, but drinking plenty of liquids can help. Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water with honey helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which make dehydration worse.
Salt water. A saltwater gargle — 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water — can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat.
Saline nasal sprays. Over-the-counter saline nasal sprays combat stuffiness and congestion. Unlike nasal decongestants, saline sprays don't lead to a rebound effect — a worsening of symptoms when the medication is discontinued — and most are safe and nonirritating, even for children.

Chicken soup. Generations of parents have spooned chicken soup into their sick children. Now scientists have put chicken soup to the test, discovering that it does have effects that might help relieve cold and flu symptoms in two ways. First, it acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the movement of neutrophils — immune system cells that participate in the body's inflammatory response. Second, it temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose, helping relieve congestion and limiting the amount of time viruses are in contact with the nose lining. So which is better, homemade or canned? Researchers at the University of Nebraska compared homemade chicken soup with canned versions and found that many, though not all, canned chicken soups worked just as well as soups made from scratch.
Over-the-counter cold medications. Nonprescription decongestants and pain relievers offer some symptom relief, but they won't prevent a cold or shorten its duration, and most have some side effects. If used for more than a few days, they can actually make symptoms worse. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends that parents avoid such cold medicines for children younger than age 2. And they are evaluating the safety of these medications in older children.

Keep in mind that acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) can cause serious liver damage or liver failure if taken in high doses. It's common for people to take Tylenol in addition to flu medications that also contain acetaminophen, which can lead to drug overdoses. Read the labels of any cold medication carefully to make sure you're not overdosing.

Humidity. Cold viruses thrive in dry conditions — another reason why colds are more common in winter. Dry air also dries the mucous membranes, causing a stuffy nose and scratchy throat. A humidifier can add moisture to your home, but it can also add mold, fungi and bacteria if not cleaned properly. Change the water in your humidifier daily, and clean the unit at least once every three days.