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Kitchen Secrets & Tips

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Kosher Kitchen Secrets and Tips from KosherEye
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A Pear Guide

There are over 3,000 known pear varieties grown around the world, but only a handful of heirloom varieties have been carefully cultivated into the juicy, delicious fruit known as Northwest–grown USA Pears. Each has a distinctive character, texture, and flavor. Try them all to find your favorites!


Green Anjou
In Season: September - July
Flavor Profile: refreshing, sweet, juicy, with a hint of citrus

The Anjou is an all-purpose pear whose dense flesh makes it excellent for snacking, cooking, and slicing fresh into salads or over a bowl of oatmeal. Its skin color remains green as it ripens, so Check the Neck for Ripeness!


Red Anjou
In Season: September - May
Flavor Profile: aromatic, juicy, fresh and sweet

Sweet and succulent when ripe, red Anjou pears have a refreshingly sweet flavor and moist texture similar to their green counterparts. Their gorgeous maroon red skin adds a burst of color to salads, desserts, and entrees.


In Season: August - February
Flavor Profile: signature pear flavor with abundant juice

The Bartlett pear is unique in that its color turns from bright green to golden yellow as it ripens. Its creamy, sweet and aromatic flesh is perfect for eating fresh, as well as for canning or adding to salads or desserts.


Red Bartlett
In Season: August - January
Flavor Profile: juicy and sweet with a floral essence

Red Bartlett pears turn a gorgeous bright red as they ripen, and have a smooth, sweet, and juicy flesh. These delicious pears add a colorful pop to salads and desserts, and create a pretty pink hue when pureed or juiced with their skin intact.


In Season: September - April
Flavor Profile: crisp, woodsy and honey-sweet

Bosc pears are easily identified by their long, tapered necks, long stems, and skin that is naturally russeted to a cinnamon brown color. They have a dense, fragrant, honey-sweet flesh with a smooth texture that holds its shape well when heated. It is an excellent choice for eating fresh as well as for cooking.


In Season: September - March
Flavor Profile: succulent, buttery, and exceptionally sweet

Comice pears have a full, round shape with a short neck and stem. They are most often green and sometimes have a red blush in spots. This succulent pear has a custardy flesh and a mellow sweetness that makes it an elegant dessert pear which is also delicious when paired with cheese.


In Season: September - February
Flavor Profile: crunchy, earthy with a hint of vanilla

The Concorde pear is known for its tall, elongated neck and firm, dense flesh. Its skin is golden green and oftentimes has golden yellow russeting in spots. Its vanilla-sweet flavor and firm texture holds up well in heated applications, and it is also excellent for snacking.


In Season: October - March
Flavor Profile: crisp, tangy, and refreshingly sweet

The Forelle is an uncommon variety known for its smaller size and its unique yellow-green skin that is naturally decorated with crimson freckles. It has a crisp texture even when ripe, and is perfect for snacking, cooking, and pairing with wine and cheese.


In Season: September - February
Flavor Profile: bite-sized, crunchy, and ultra-sweet

Seckel pears are easily recognized by their small size and olive-green skin with a maroon blush. Known for their crunchy flesh and ultra-sweet flavor, they are an excellent choice for children’s snacks, pickling, or garnishing.


In Season: August – January
Flavor Profile: aromatic, moist and sweet with a floral essence

The Starkrimson pear is named for its brilliant crimson red color, which brightens as it ripens. It has a smooth flesh, sweet flavor, and a subtle floral aroma, making it perfect for snacking, salads, or any fresh use that shows off the brilliance of its skin.

USA Pears Bureau

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How to Use Red Star PLATINUM Yeast

Red Star® PLATINUM Superior Baking Yeast is so simple to use and can be used in any recipe calling for yeast. It is a premium instant yeast blended with dough improvers* commonly used by professional bakers that will make your dough so forgiving that you will never be intimidated by yeast again!

rstarhowtouseFor Traditional Recipes
• BLEND PLATINUM Yeast with dry ingredients and half of the flour in the recipe.
• ADD very warm liquids (120- 130°F).  Avoid liquids that are too hot to touch.
• BLEND with enough remaining flour to make a firm dough.
• KNEAD on floured surface until dough is smooth and elastic.
• COVER, let REST a minimum of 10 minutes (or RISE to double, if desired)
• SHAPE dough as desired.  COVER and let RISE until doubled in size.
• BAKE as directed according to recipe.

For Bread Machines
• Use liquids at 80°F; Add liquids, flour, dry ingredients.  Add PLATINUM yeast last.
Red Star® PLATINUM Superior Baking Yeast is a fast-rising, instant yeast; use ½ teaspoon per cup of flour in regular cycles.
• For express cycles, follow manufacturer’s manual for liquid temperatures and yeast levels.

Like any baker's yeast, Red Star® PLATINUM Superior Baking Yeast is a living organism and must be handled properly to ensure optimum performance. Never expose yeast to high temperatures during storage or use. Never use liquids that are too hot to touch. 

Red Star® PLATINUM performs best in recipes that contain sugar and is certified Kosher parve under the rabbinical supervision of KOF-K.


*Red Star® PLATINUM is NOT gluten free because the dough improvers are derived from wheat flour.  NOTE: For  gluten free bakers, you can continue to use  Red Star® Active Dry Yeast or Red Star® Quick Rise Yeast.

from Red Star PLATINUM Yeast

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Recipe Card Holder – Improvise


Are you cooking/baking and need to look on the counter at the recipe? From Moxy Magazine, this easy tip for improvising a recipe card holder. Use a pants or skirt hanger instead — just hook it over a cabinet door pull and clip your recipe card into the clips used to hold your clothes.

Moxy Magazine

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How to Separate Eggs Using a Plastic Soda Bottle

This is so clever and so very easy. All it takes to separate the egg whites and yolks is an empty plastic soda bottle. Watch the following videos:

This is the original in Chinese

And here is one in English

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Cookie Tips


  1. To discourage overbrowned cookie bottoms (which can happen when an oven heats unevenly), insulate the baking sheet by placing it inside a second baking sheet of the same size. The thin layer of air between the sheets will  protect the top sheet form getting too hot.

  2. To revive crisp cookies that have softened, bake them for 5 to 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven. Let them cool completely before storing.

  3. To help soft cookies keep their texture, store them in an airtight container with a ceramic brown sugar softener, or with a piece of apple on a piece of aluminum foil, or soft bread (remove the apple after 24 hours).

from Tips Cook Love, Sur La Table, Rick Rodgers, Andrews McMeel Publishing

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Parchment Paper Tip


Do you wonder how to make a piece of parchment paper lie flat on the baking sheet? Well, wonder no more!

Parchment paper is often sold in rolls, so when you want to use it, it remains in a curl. When you buy a roll, take a few minutes to cut it into lengths to fit your baking sheets. Put the stack of cut sheets between two baking sheets, then store them together to “iron” the parchment flat. If you have to use curly paper, butter the pan first to help the paper adhere.

from Tips Cooks Love, Rick Rodgers, Sur la Table

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Crème Fraîche

cremefaicheThis thick dairy product resembles sour cream, but its flavor is much less tangy and more buttery. Unlike sour cream, it has the advantage of not curdling when heated. It is available at specialty stores and many supermarkets, but it can be pricey. To make your own crème fraîche:

Whisk together 1 cup heavy cream (not ultrapasteurized) and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a saucepan. Heat over low heat just until the mixture is lukewarm. Transfer to a bowl and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let stand in a warm place until it is about the consistency of heavy cream, 24 to 36 hours) the exact time depends on the room temperature). Transfer to a covered container and refrigerate for 24 hours to thicken more. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to two week.

from Tips Cooks Love, Rick Rodgers, Sur la Table

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Cheese Tips:

cheesegraphicStoring Cheese:

  1. Always re-wrap cheese in fresh wrapping, preferably in waxed or parchment paper, after the cheese has been opened to avoid having the cheese dry out or pick up other flavors.  Thus, re-wrapping the cheese in paper and then in plastic wrap to create a micro-environment for the cheese is the preferred storage treatment.

  1. The recommended temperature range for storing cheese is between 35 and 45 degrees Fahrenheit, at a high humidity level, preferably in the bottom vegetable/fruit bin.

  1. If cheeses other than fresh cheeses and blues have surpassed their expiration dates (imprinted on the packaging) or if the cheese develops a blue-green mold on the exterior, make a cut about a ½ inch below the mold to ensure that it has been entirely removed; the remaining cheese will be fine.

  1. In general, never freeze natural cheeses, as they may lose their texture, and in some cases their flavor profiles will be seriously altered.  If you must freeze cheese, allow the cheese to thaw slowly in the refrigerator and use it for cooking, as the texture will become crumbly and dry after it is defrosted.

  1. If stored and wrapped cheeses are overly dry, develop a slimy texture, exhibit ammoniated or any off odors, it’s best to discard them.

Cooking With Cheese:

  1. When preparing dishes using cheese, add the cheese at the end of the preparation, especially in sauces, classic risotto, and soups.  In casseroles and baked dishes, sprinkle the grated/shredded cheese over the dish the last ten minutes of baking.

  1. Grating cheese is easier when the cheese is cold.  Four ounces of ungrated cheese yields one cup when grated.  Adjustments may be made up or down according to the recipe and the amount of cheese needed.

  1. When cooking with cheese on the stovetop, cook cheese over low to medium heat, as cooking over high heat, or for long periods of time, will cause the cheese to separate.

  1. Remember that aged cheeses have more concentrated flavor than younger cheeses and often require less additional seasoning.

  1. Dishes prepared with cheese and cooked in a microwave oven should be cooked at lower power settings, to prevent the cheese from separating.

  1. Simple greens can be transformed into elegant salad courses by the addition of crumbled feta, blue, soft-ripened goat cheeses, or grated hard cheeses, along with toasted nuts and sun-dried fruits, such as cranberries or cherries. A simple vinaigrette, with a trace of Dijon mustard is the classic dressing.

  1. Soups topped with cheese croutons are delicious, simple, and elegant.  You can use French bread slices, sprinkled with a bit of olive oil and crumbled chevre, cheddar, or semi-soft cheese.  Place under the broiler until the cheese has melted before adding to the soup.

Serving Cheese:

  1. When putting together a cheese board, to be served before or after dinner, remember to limit your selection to no more than five different cheeses.  Serve cheeses of different sizes, shapes, and flavor or texture profiles to create diversity and add interest to your cheese board.  Strong, pungent cheeses shouldn’t be placed next to delicately flavored cheeses, and try to have individual knives for each cheese.

  1. Even modest cheese trays can be elegant when attention is given to the presentation.  Try serving cheeses on a wooden board, marble slab, straw mat, or flat wicker basket.  Do not to overcrowd the serving tray, as your guests will need room to slice the cheeses.  Serve bread and/or plain crackers on a separate plate, or in a wicker basket.

  1. Apples, pears, grapes, strawberries, fresh figs and melon add variety to a cheese board, especially if cheese is being served with cocktails.  Additional accompaniments can include nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, figs, and any manner of condiments, such as floral honeys.

  1. When designing a menu, consider when you want to serve cheese. Serving cheese after the main course, prior to or in place of dessert, adds an elegant touch to casual dinners.  If served with cocktails, before dinner, remember that cheeses can be filling.  Serve in limited quantities and variety.

Adapted from

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Ingredient Exchanges at a Glance

The exchange charts below are a useful tool in coverting ingredients in recipes - Dairy, Parve, Meat, and non-Kosher.

Exchanges for Kosher Foods

For Dairy Dishes

For Pareve Dishes

For Meat Dishes


Almond oil
Canola oil + salt
Coconut oil
Grapeseed oil
Hazelnut oil
Margarine (preferably
soy oil)

In Order of Preference
Grapeseed oil
Canola oil
Olive oil
Duck fat
Chicken fat


Grated Parmesan

Non-dairy cheeses are
not recommended

Toasted ground pine nuts + breadcrumbs + salt*

Non-dairy cheeses are
not recommended

Toasted ground pine nuts + breadcrumbs + salt*


Coconut milk
MimicCreme Healthy Top

Velouté sauce (stock + roux)
MimicCreme Healthy Top


Almond milk
Coconut milk
Hazelnut milk
Rice milk
Soy milk
Vegetable stock

Almond milk
Coconut milk
Hazelnut milk
Rice milk
Soy milk
Vegetable stock
Chicken stock


Vegetable stock

G. Washington’s Golden
Seasoning Broth

Fish stock


Vegetable stock

G. Washington’s Golden
Seasoning Broth

Fish stock


Chicken stock

Beef stock

Veal stock


For Non-Kosher Foods
Meat and Shellfish


Duck Prosciutto or duck pastrami, sliced and fried


Surimi crab**

Ground pork

Ground veal or ground turkey


Smoked dark meat turkey

Lobster, mussels, scallops

Any firm, fatty fish, such as Chilean sea bass, or salmon

Pork chops

Veal chops


Surimi shrimp**

*Parve Parmesan
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon grapeseed or canola oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
2 teaspoons sea salt or kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the breadcrumbs on a cookie sheet, bake until golden, about 5 minutes and transfer to a mini food processor or blender. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the Nuts and toast, stirring, until fragrant, about 4 minutes. Transfer to the processor and pulse to chop. Transfer the mixture to a small bowl, add the salt and stir well.

**Surimi: Dyna–Sea brand; contains fish

from Kosher Revolution by Geila Hocherman & Arthur Boehm
(Kyle Books)

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Time, effort, and expense go into making a cheesecake and most of us do not make this delectable dessert on a regular basis. We are sharing some tips to insure that your cheesecake baking venture is a success.

  • Springform pans are normally used when making cheesecake as it allows easy removable of the cake. There are recipes that call for  muffin tins, cake pans and even mini cheesecake pans (they have removable bottoms). Just remember, if you use a plain cake pan, grease it well and line the bottom with parchment paper.

  • Grease the bottom and sides of the springform pan as it helps prevent the filling from cracking when the cheesecake cools. During the cooling stage, the cheesecake pulls away from the sides of the pan. Mix the cream cheese until perfectly smooth prior to adding the other ingredients, unless otherwise specified.

  • Always soften the cream cheese at room temperature before mixing. This will avoid lumps in the batter.. For a smooth texture, remove the cream cheese from the refrigerator at least 1 1/2 hours ahead

  • Overbeating puts too much air into the mixture and will cause air bubbles on the surface of the cake.  Use medium speed to avoid beating in too much air.  Also avoid overbeating when adding the other ingredients because the cheesecake will puff during baking, then collapse and split when cooled.

  • Unless specified, do not substitute reduced–fat or fat–free cream cheese or sour cream. They contain fillers that might prevent the cheesecake from setting properly. Never substitute whipped cream cheese for the solid block.

  • Cheesecake performs well when baked in a water bath. This method bakes the cake very gently, so it won't darken, curdle, or crack. It insures that the outer edge of your cheesecake won't bake faster than the center, which can cause it to puff–up, sink, and crack.

  • Springform pans should seal tightly and not allow the fat in the batter to seep out or water to seep into the pan. If not certain that your pan seals tightly, wrap heavy-duty foil around the outside of the pan, covering the bottom and halfway up the sides.

  • Do not open the oven door during baking as the draft can cause the top to crack.

  • Do not overbake the cheesecake - this can be a problem. It is normal for the center to be a little wobbly. Do not worry, as the cake continues to cook during the cooling time.

  • Cool the cheesecake on a rack, away from drafts until completely cool. Some bakers turn off the oven and leave the cheese in the oven with the door closed to cool for an additional hour to ensure it's completely set.

  • After a cheesecake is completely cooled, gently loosen the entire side of the cheesecake from the pan with the tip of a knife while slowly  releasing the spring form pan clamp. Carefully remove the side of the pan.

  • If the sides of your cheesecake are not smooth, just use a hot, wet knife and smooth them.

  • When chilling the cheesecake in the refrigerator, allow it to cool completely at room temperature,  then cover the pan (not the cake) with a paper towel and an inverted plate. The paper will absorb any moisture that forms as the cheesecake chills and avoids condensation on the surface of the cheesecake.

  • If your cheesecake does have a crack on the top, do not worry – cover it with either whipped cream or sliced fresh fruit.
  • When slicing the cheesecake, dipping  a knife in hot water and then wiping it dry before cutting will give you nice, neat slices.

  • Baked cheesecake freezes well. After the  cake is completely cooled, wrap it in heavy-duty foil. Thaw overnight in refrigerator without toppings. Toppings such as whipped cream and fruit should be added just before serving.

Trouble Shooting

  • If the cheesecakes top is cracked and golden, it was overbaked or the oven was too hot. 

  • If there are clumps on the surface, the filling wasn't mixed enough or the cream cheese was too cold to blend well.


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