Archive for May, 2012

Trader Joe’s Chip Change – Where Do You Stand?

You may or may not have heard that earlier this month, Trader Joe’s sparked national outcry when it changed the Kosher certification of its chocolate chips from Pareve to Dairy.  Kosher observers everywhere are rushing to clear the shelves of the original chips before they are replaced with their dairy counterpart, with some buying as many as 90 bags in one trip.  So much commotion has been caused that the internet seems to be full of consumers speaking out against the change; the Wall Street Journal even wrote an extensive article and reported that (as of one week ago) more than 4,200 had signed an online petition to reverse the decision.  Both Trader Joe’s and the Orthodox Union have received “hundreds” of letters and voicemails.

Trader Joe’s reported in a statement that the ingredients of the morsels had not changed, only the bagging process.  In an effort to save money, the manufacturer has reportedly eliminated a cleaning step of the conveyor belt between the bagging of dairy chips and the previously-pareve TJ chips.  Many industry experts believe that the voiced disappointment will not go unnoticed by the company, and that a revised processing plan should emerge, allowing the chips to once again be labeled Pareve.

The issue at hand – the reason those who eat Kosher diets noticed the change immediately – is that according to Kosher laws, dairy and meat may not be consumed together (or within three hours of each other, for that matter).  The old chips allowed customers to eat and bake with the chips without having to worry about eating meat with a meal before or after, as they were dairy-free.

As kosher gift baskets are my business, I, Jane, pay attention to these kinds of things happening in the news.  What do you, Challah Connection readers, think?  Does this change affect the way your family enjoys desserts?  Will you need to shop elsewhere?  Did you notice the change at all?

While some concerned patrons argue that TJ’s chips were the only mainstream, high-quality pareve produce available, I actually prefer other types of chocolate chips to the TJ brand.  Nestle and Callebaut are two of my favorites, and they are both certified Kosher Dairy.

Let us know what you think!  And feel free to include your favorite chocolate chip recipe – whether it’s for cookies, muffins or a cake; vegan, dairy, or gluten free, we want to hear it!

 

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The Land of Milk and Honey–What Does It Mean?

The phrase “land of milk and honey” is one that many of us have heard before. First mentioned in the book of Exodus as a description of Israel’s agricultural abundance, it was Moses’s destination while leading Jews out of Egypt.

Since then, it has become a visual metaphor for all things flowing and abundant. It is a term that conjures up pure pleasure including freedom, delicious, birth, fertility and more.

Order Cheesecake By 2PM, EST Thursday, May 24
Marble truffle cheesecakeThe holiday of Shavuot begins this Saturday, May 26 and celebrates the giving of the Torah* at Mt. Sinai, and the season’s first harvest of fruits. It’s customary to eat a dairy meal on Shavuot, reminding us of the land of milk and honey.

Favorite dairy dishes are blintzes, lasagna, noodle kugel, cottage cheese pancakes and cheesecake. As a matter of fact, cheesecake has become the most popular Shavuot dessert. Our cheesecakes, all OU, Dairy, are shipped nationwide. Last day to order for delivery at the start of Shavuot is Thursday, 2PM EST. Of course, cheesecake is also a Memorial Day favorite.

* the Torah is the primary “Jewish document” showing Jews how to act, feel and participate in every aspect of life and death. It is the “blueprint” for Jewish life and death.

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Cook Something Fabulous for Mom

This Mother’s Day, give Mom something really special: some of your home cooking. I’m not talking about a 5 course meal, although that is certainly fine. I’m thinking about 1 very special “something”
that will bring smiles and tears of happiness to her eyes.

Here are 3 delicious ideas, recipes included. Naturally, you’ll have to select your “project” based on Mom’s locale and whether you can cook “in person” or need to send your gift:
1) Apple Cake: I have baked this recipe about 5 times in the last few months. It is always outstanding and my family and I love it. Ships easily.
Challah French Toast2) Challah French Toast and Cottage Cheese Pancakes are both outstanding brunch dishes. Just add coffee, orange juice and fresh fruit and you have terrific meal!
3) Tomato and Onion Tart is a savory dish that can be served for brunch or lunch. Pair it with a salad, glass of white white and you’re done!

This Mother’s Day, I will be in Pennsylvania at my son’s college graduation–a terrific Mother’s Day. But the weekend after, we will be celebrating Mother’s Day with my mom and Mother-in-law. I will definitely be cooking for that!

Happy Mother’s Day!

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Hats Off to Frieda

Do you know who is the visionary that brought exotic fruits to your supermarket shelves? Honestly, I had never thought about it, until today. Freida Caplan, who is 88 years old, started her business, Frieda’s Specialty Product,  50 years ago. The first female business owner at the Los Angeles Wholesale Produce Market, she made her mark for her interest in unusual fruits and veggies. Freida is most known for bringing Kiwifruit to the US but spaghetti squash and Asian pears are also tied to her legacy. I thank Frieda for her out-of-the box thinking as well as confidence that these products would appeal to us. Indeed they do!

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