International cooking and local mingling with Birthright Israel Next [RECIPE]


In my family, women have historically dominated the kitchens.  My grandmother is an extraordinary baker.  My mother is a wiz at Shabbas meals. My oldest sister is the most phenomenal pastry chef I have ever encountered.  And my other sister is a serious force on the grill.

But just as the women in my family assert their culinary expertise, a real man should also know how to cook.

On average, I’d say I exercise said acts of manhood about 3-4 times per week, preparing a variety of meals that range from roast chicken to turkey tacos to teriyaki salmon.

That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to enhance my testosterone this past Tuesday at ” title=”Sur La Table”>Sur La Table: ‘International Jewish Cuisine.’ 

The group of about 25 arrived at the Farmer’s Market kitchen supply store at around 6:30 for a little wine and challah.  Sur la Table’s Chef, Martin Gilligan discussed the recipes and safety rules, while adding a few humorous tidbits in a valiant effort to break the initial awkwardness of the room (As soon as we started cooking, everyone seemed to warm up). 

After a brief demonstration of the Chinese classic, orange chicken – kosher style, the crowd dispersed into each of the menu stations.

Morocco: Fish Tagine with Peppers and Olives.
China: Mandarin Chicken with Rice Sticks and Orange Segments
India: Vegetarian Potato Samosas with Mango Chutney
Greece: Date and Walnut Phyllo Rolls with Greek Yogurt and Honey
Israel: Classic Israeli Schnitzel
Turkey: Lamb Stew with Turkish Flavors
Iran: Basmati Rice with Pistachios and Dill
Russia: White Russian Sorbet

Somehow, I found myself gravitating towards the alcoholic white Russian sorbet dessert (It was a long day, I needed to take the edge off). 

Due to the limited time we had in class, we skipped a few steps, but the final product was still dripping with flavor.  I quickly got an ice cream headache…maybe it was a hangover – I don’t know for sure.

When it was time to eat each international dish, the group gathered around table, as a feeling of achievement graced the room.  This is what world peace must feel like.

The end result: about 25 overly satisfied Jews and wealth of worldly leftovers.

Here’s a recipe that I worked on, courtesy of the “>
Photo courtesy of Birthright Israel Next Los Angeles


FYI: Birthright Israel Next offers an awesome dose of Jewish culture mixed with hip programming.  I’ll be at a few of their upcoming events.  Visit their website for the

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