Great Kosher Products
A tour of the Jewish Relief Agency’s Food and Community Expo
-- Lisa Kelvin Tuttle
The Jewish Relief Agency(JRA) sponsored its first Jewish Food and Community Expo this winter, bringing our community together with area chefs, restaurateurs, food professionals and vendors of all kinds from the Philadelphia area and beyond. Proceeds raised at the Expo will benefit the JRA, a dynamic, volunteer-driven organization whose goal is to help Jews in need. Since its founding in 2000, the JRA has been bringing families and individuals together each month in a spirit of community and tikkun olam. Through the efforts of JRA's community of more than 6,000 volunteers, they provide monthly relief packages to over 2,500 low-income Jewish families throughout the Greater Philadelphia area. In just eight years, the JRA, a project of Lubavitch House, has become one of the largest partners in the Greater Philadelphia Coalition Against Hunger.
At the Expo, I had the opportunity to partake in cooking demonstrations, taste some delectable new kosher food products, and meet the people that make them. Here are just a few of my favorites!
Finally a tasty, healthy, pareve substitute for ice cream!
One product that had me very excited when it first came out on the market is KōV. Finally, a great tasting pareve frozen dessert without dairy, soy, refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, trans-fats, cholesterol, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners or preservatives! It sounds impossible, but KōV Foods (pronounced “cove”) has done it! KōV non-dairy frozen dessert is a healthy alternative to dairy and soy-based ice creams and is made from the best ingredients. As its name suggests, KōV is kosher, organic and vegan. It is also certified organic by Pennsylvania Certified Organic and has kosher certification from the Orthodox Union.
This delicious, creamy frozen confection is made from all natural ingredients like coconut milk and agave nectar,
a natural sweetener made from the agave cactus, that much lower on the glycemic index than sugar or honey.
Flavored with fresh ginger root, ground vanilla, fair trade cocoa powder and pure peppermint extract,
KōV delights the taste buds. What I love about KōV Foods is that it is a company that lives its mission:
"Indulge. Serve. Share." As stated on the company's website,
"While KōV serves up a pint of non-dairy frozen dessert, we ask everyone to follow our lead and serve
their community and our world by volunteering. KōV Foods sets an example by donating a portion of its profits
to select causes. Each month KōV spotlights a non-profit that is making a difference. We hope that by serving
our community and our world that others will do their part as well." The company also believes in sharing the work
of talented artists who are making a difference in their communities. Every month a different artist is highlighted
on their website. So go ahead. Enjoy a pint without guilt! KōV is sold at Whole Foods Markets and a growing
number of specialty shops in the Philadelphia area. Learn more at www.kovfoods.com.
Homemade Kosher Baking in Center-City
There is something about cupcakes that brings out the kid in all of us, and I had a fun time at the JRA Kitchen cooking nook learning about Cosmic Cupcake Decorating with Roz Bratt, owner of Homemade Goodies by Roz, the only pas Yisroel kosher
bakery in Center City.
A little over a decade ago, Roz Bratt was a bank teller at Mellon Bank when two
friends of hers opened a café around the corner from the bank. One day she
popped into the café for a visit. Seeing packaged cakes one the counter, where a
sign reading "homemade" was hanging nearby, she asked her friends, "would you
really like homemade?" An accomplished home baker, as an experiment, one morning
Roz brought one of her big Jewish apple cakes into her friends' store. To their
delight, all the slices were practically gone by lunch time. Word got around and
soon Roz was baking for Borders, Barnes and Noble, and Cosi out of her home
kitchen! Her growing enterprise led her to convert her garage to commercial
kitchen, and then 11 years ago she opened her very own bakery, Last May she
sought kosher certification from Community Kashrus.
In addition to her gigantic specialty cupcakes in over ten flavors, including
vanilla, chocolate, carrot, pumpkin spice, and lemon chiffon, Roz makes challah,
muffins and scones, and a wide assortment of cookies and cakes--which of course
includes her mouthwatering apple cake. The bakery uses only non-dairy products,
accepts all major credit cards, and is closed on Mondays and on Shabbat. Stop by
Homemade Goodies by Roz at 510 S. 5th Street between Lombard and South Street.
For those who love baked goodies but can not tolerate the gluten found in most types of flour,
Katz Gluten Free has come to the rescue. Unlike many of the gluten-free products on the market these days, Katz really does live up to its motto, "Bringing a New Dimension of Taste to Gluten Free," believing gluten-free should not be taste free. Katz's booth in the vendor area gave visitors a chance to sample several varieties of cookies, challah, and cakes. I found each one to be moist and delicious, with a texture and "mouth feel" just like wheat-based pastry. To say the least, I was greatly impressed! Katz Gluten Free, based in Monroe New York, is the proud winner of the "Best Baked Goods" Award in the Breads, Grains and Cereals category at the prestigious Kosherfest '08 New Products Competition held in New York City. In addition to challah, whole wheat and white bread, sandwich rolls, cakes, cookies, muffins, rugelach and coffee cake strips, Katz Gluten Free also makes farfel, kishka kugel, pizza crust, and breadcrumbs. All certified Gluten-Free products are dairy free and have OU kosher certification.
A Divine Abundance of Healthy Snacks
In the mood for a snack? Of course you will want it to be tasty and satisfying, but wouldn't it be great if it were also something really healthy too? Whether you are in the mood for something sweet, salty or savory, Sheffa Foods has got just the right combinations of whole foods snacks that will not get in the way of good nutrition. I got to sample their four crunchy snack mixes -- Sweet Mix(soy nut, almond, and fruit nibbles), Tasty Mix(a savory and mildly sweet mix of nuts, seeds and dried fruit), Zesty Mix, and Spicy Mix (both contain a unique combination of crispy chickpea noodles, seeds and roasted corn nuts). The company also makes Mediterranean Salad Sprinkles, a mixture of sunflower seeds, soybeans, chickpeas, pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, spices, sesame seeds and sea salt to add punch and nutrition to your salads, and Natural Relief, a fruit and fiber blend for healthy digestion.
Sheffa is the Hebrew word for abundance. Sheffa is also the divine energy that flows through everything, giving and feeding endlessly to all. Sheffa Foods co-founders Leslie Angle and Amotz Geshury believe that a quality diet should center on eating a range of fresh vegetables and fruits, grains and legumes which, when eaten in their whole form and in variety, work synergistically to give your body what it needs. The less processed the food, the more of its original life force it contains, providing your body with energy and vitality. Sheffa Foods' products are made from high quality whole food, wheat and gluten free ingredients that are minimally processed and skillfully blended. They do not isolate, separate or remove parts of the whole food to meet current dietary trends.
Roz Bratt's Jewish Apple Cake
- 3 cups flour
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 cups sugar, plus 5 tablespoons
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup oil
- 2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup orange juice
- 5 apples, peeled, cored and chopped
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 10-inch tube pan.
- Combine the flour, baking powder and 11/2 cups of sugar in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and wet ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth and free of lumps.
- In a separate bowl, combine the remaining sugar, apples and cinnamon.
- Pour half of the batter into the pan and then layer with apples. Repeat with the remainder of the batter and apples.
- Bake for one hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Serves 12 to 14.
Roz's Cream Cheese Icing
Dairy or Pareve
This icing makes a great topping for carrot cake, banana bread or cupcakes.
- 3 ounces cream cheese or Tofutti™ nondairy cream cheese
- 1 stick butter or margarine
- 3 cups 10x confectioners' sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Mix all ingredients together with an electric mixer until well blended and of spreading consistency.
JRA's Recipe for the Ultimate Mitzvah Project
- 650 enthusiastic volunteers of all ages
- 2,550 cardboard boxes
- 16 tons of food
- 260 delivery routes
- Countless smiles
- Take volunteers and gather them in a warehouse in Northeast Philadelphia.
- Pack food boxes.
- Load them into cars.
- Deliver, along with a smile, to needy families.
A donation to JRA is a great way to celebrate a family simcha or remember a loved one.
Donate online or mail donations to the Jewish Relief Agency,
125 Montgomery Avenue, #A3, Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004.
To view previous editions of The Kosher Table, please click here.
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