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CW Silverberg: “Schmoozing and Cruising,” Kosher Americana and Easy Chicken and Rice Recipe

Taste Buds with Deb - Episode 33
[additional-authors]
November 30, 2023
Photo by Anis Modi (Chaiflicks)

CW SIlverberg, host of “Schmoozing & Cruising: A Trip Through Kosher Americana,” grew up kosher in a non-kosher neighborhood in Minnesota. His love for kosher Americana – and sharing “wonderful stories of positivity, food and fun” – is what drives this project.

“We live in a golden age of exploration and communication,” Silverberg told the Journal. “I get to try all those kosher things that you would never think would exist.”

He adds, “That’s really what the TV show is also about. That’s what my whole lifestyle is about.”

“Schmoozing & Cruising, airing on ChaiFlicks,” explores innovative kosher food experiences across the United States. It features a different theme each week, including donuts for Hanukkah and Chinese food for Christmas.

ChaiFlicks launched in August 2020, and is the world’s largest streaming platform dedicated to Jewish content. “Schmoozing & Cruising,” which debuted November 16, is the platform’s first original series.

“The first episode is about barbecue,” Silverberg said. “Because what’s more American than barbecue.”

Silverberg was a special needs high school teacher for many years. However, he always loved cooking. After leaving his teaching career, he started a secret sandwich club at his friend’s shop, which pivoted into catering.

Silverberg says one of the most basic, fundamental dishes is a roast chicken. His recipe for chicken and rice is below.

“Once you learn how to roast the chicken, you take rice and you put it on the bottom of the pan and pour in whatever seasonings, flavors, you want in the rice,” he said.

So for a Mediterranean chicken, you would add artichokes, tomatoes and lemon.

He also loves turning a fancy dish into a sandwich and vice versa.

“It doesn’t have to be foo foo,” Silverberg said. “It’s just more conceptual. Take a sandwich and make it a dish or [turn] a dish into a sandwich.”

For instance, the main components of a chicken salad are poached chicken breast, celery, mayonnaise and rye bread. You can poach the celery, shred the chicken on top of it and make a fancy sauce, like a bechamel, with mayonnaise and egg.

“Most importantly, you always have to identify with the bread,” he said. “I like a chicken salad sandwich on a seeded rye, so I would probably throw some sort of caraway seed in there or make some sort of caraway seed cracker.”

Silverberg also shared his favorite cooking hack for the holiday season and beyond.

“Instead of making the dough, proofing the dough, and having to patshke with the dough, buy yourself some frozen Rhodes dough,” he said. “[They] are frozen yeasty dough.”

Just proof the dough and bake. Not only can you use this kosher-certified dough for dinner rolls, you can also fry the dough and use it to make donuts.

“They work for all your sandwich needs … and holiday fried dough needs,” he said.

Silverberg, who says he always wanted to kind of be an Alton Brown or a Julia Child-esque host of sorts, is living his dream.

He teamed up with television producer Tsvika Tal, and they started making short documentaries about the kosher lifestyle, called “Trippin Kosher.”

“ChaiFlicks saw our almost 10 years worth of [work], and understood exactly what we were doing,” he said. “They have given us the platform to expand on that into a magnificent  experience.”

“Schmoozing & Cruising” is not about the secret places, where there are kosher restaurants, food trucks and other establishments. It’s about the only places.

“We’re there to highlight what’s special about them,” he said. “We are here to educate and entertain and have a great time.”

Learn more at ChaiFlicks.com.

For the full conversation, listen to the podcast:

Watch the interview:

Eezy Peezy Chicken and Rice

Photo by CW Silverberg

 

1 whole chicken (2-3 lbs.)

Seasonings (salt, pepper, etc.) to taste

2 cups white rice

4 cups chicken broth

Olive oil, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Season chicken liberally with salt and pepper (and whatever flavors you want to add).

Put 2 cups of white rice in a roasting pan. Then, add 4 cups of hot broth plus a healthy glug of olive oil.

Place chicken, breast side down, in the pan. Pop it into the oven and roast for 45 minutes.

Next, flip the chicken so it is breast-side up and roast for another 25 mins, until rice is fully cooked and juices run clear. Chicken should be at a temperature of 165 ºF.


Debra Eckerling is a writer for the Jewish Journal and the host of “Taste Buds with Deb.Subscribe on YouTube or your favorite podcast platform. Email Debra: tastebuds@jewishjournal.com.

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