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Expanding Our Palate at The James Beard House

Restaurant Name & Location: James Beard House 167 West 12th Street

Chef Name: Chef, Cuisine, and Menu change daily, but this particular night featured Celebrity Chef Haim Cohen, Tel Aviv, Israel

Type of Meal: Hors d’Oeuvres and Dinner – 7pm

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Kitchen Prep at the James Beard House

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7 experienced servers quickly set our 10 top table filled with glasses and silverware!

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Celebrity Chef Haim Cohen, Tel Aviv, Israel does a question and answer with our table! Great interaction with the Chef!

Chef Cohen was asked “How do you like the US products provided for the dinner and are they different than products you typically use at home?” ANSWER: Chef Cohen found the products to be a satisfactory substitute for the ingredients he uses as home, and he was generally impressed with the quality of the products provided. BUT, he did have to make adjustments in cooking times and such because of some textural differences in some of the products. One example was eggplant, a very common ingredient used in his cooking.

Some of What We Enjoyed (Food & Wine):

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Tuna Sashimi with Lentil Salad, Fennel, Tomatoes, and Avocado paired with Yarden Viognier 2007

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Puff Pastry–Wrapped Crabmeat with Poached Egg paired with Ella Valley Vineyards Chardonnay 2007

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Seared Calamari with Hummus and Garbanzo Beans paired with Yarden Pinot Noir 2005

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Lamb Chop with Roasted Eggplant and Focaccia paired with Ella Valley RR VC 2004

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Rose Water Malabi with Pistachio Cream–Filled Kadaif paired with Yarden Heights 2006

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Turkish Coffee Sundae with Shredded Halva and Rice Crispies paired with Yarden Heights 2006

Favorite Dish: As if the night wasn’t impressive enough, we were introduced to a new dessert and two new culinary terms; we love expanding our culinary encyclopedia. The Malabi with Pistachio Cream Filled Kadaif was an intriguing dessert for us. Malabi (also called Blancmange) is a dairy based dessert similar to one of our favorite treats, panna cotta. It is made with milk, cream, sugar, gelatin, cornstarch, Irish moss, and sometimes flavored with almonds. It is traditionally set in a mold and served cold. Kadaif (also spelled Kataif) is made by layering a specific type of Kadaif pastry dough (similar to shredded phyllo), adding your choice of filling (in this case, an outstanding Pistachio Cream Filling) and baking it until golden brown.

Least Favorite Dish: The Shredded Halva Dessert was a little too sweet for us, especially for the finale dish.

Other Highlights: Being a part of a dinner at the James Beard House was a treat for sure, but to also have that dinner be the first time an Israeli Celebrity Chef was in the “JB House” made the night even more interesting. The chef and his team were very friendly and excited to be there. The four hors d’oeuvres were delightful and almost a meal alone. The best of the four was a lettuce leaf stuffed with barley that was so flavorful that we thought it must have a meat protein in the mix somewhere. The Keeper Kitchen has recently been testing and educating ourselves on a macrobiotic diet, and this macrobiotic friendly dish only furthered our respect for that cooking style. Chef Haim Cohen is a talented and engaging chef.

Ultimate Question – Would You Go Back If You Lived in NYC? Yes, we would go back. The setting was charming. It felt good to support a good cause. The food was outside of our norm and educational to our palates, which is always a plus.

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