Roasted Beet Salad with Pistachio Oil and Blood Orange Vinaigrette
Crafted Kosher, is online boutique for exotic kosher products. Think Sriracha flavored coconut oil, kukicha tea, buckwheat gemelli, and more. This recipe tests out some of their one-of-a-kind products.
I live in the sticks so for me, shopping for groceries is a big deal, especially when it comes to kosher products. Anything beyond the standard stuff is hard to find. I travel to get what I need, or I order online.
Although there are several familiar online sites to those of us in the kosher-know, it’s always good to discover a new one that makes it more convenient to shop or that offers products you can’t find elsewhere.
Hello Crafted Kosher! This website, launched in December of 2015 by David Paige, is an inspiration.
Paige began his culinary career when he was a teenager, cooking cholent for his friends, (he charged $1.25 per bowl to cover his costs). He’d change the herbs and spices and some of the ingredients to see what worked – the sign of someone who understands food and wants to go beyond the ordinary.
Years later, he started Crafted Kosher to demonstrate the breadth and scope of what kosher cooking can be in the 21st century. It is designed as a source for home cooks who are somewhat adventurous, whose culinary dreams take them beyond bubbe’s brisket and even his beloved cholent. To that end, he’s curated over a thousand kosher products that include items such as truffle salt and salmon jerky, chipotle jam, monk fruit sweetener (sugar substitute) and Tahitian vanilla extract.
But Crafted Kosher is not all about esoteric products for cuisinomanes. You’ll also find the more usual cake, cookie and waffle mixes, teas, preserves and pastas. The packaged soup mixes are not so different in concept from old, reliable brands such as Streit’s or Manischewitz, but there’s a variety of different flavors such as potato-carrot and French lentil; and packaged, gluten-free chili, chowder and stew mixes. I made the Fisherman Stew Chowder mix twice – added cod to one batch, the other veg-only, plus some grated cheese. It’s powerfully flavorful either way. I also love the French lentil soup, with those whole green lentils that don’t turn to mush. One thing I did find jarring: the instructions suggest options that include items such as shrimp and ham. Naturally, kosher folks know not to add those, but it seemed odd to see the label Crafted “kosher” on one side and suggestions for treif items on the back.
There’s much here that you can find elsewhere: candies and chocolates; gift items (such as dried fruit-and-nut baskets); well-known brands of condiments, salsas, chutneys, extracts and barbecue sauces; gluten-free flours, mixes, snacks and so on.
On the other hand the assortments of certain products are extensive: Eden Foods spelt and buckwheat gemelli, kukicha tea, yellow mustard and sauerkraut in addition to the supermarket-oriented pastas and beans; Nielsen-Massey Rosewater and Orange Flower Water, and other flavors beyond the usual vanilla bean pastes and extracts.
The benefit I see at Crafted Kosher is that it makes it easy to find a lot of what you might want all in one place, from old fashioned dried mushrooms to classic spice blends (such as curry powder) and some very exciting unclassic ones (India Tree Panch Phoron, a Bengali 5-spice mix), as well as hard-to-find Middle Eastern Ras el Hanout to specialty items such as hemp seed oil and even Red Boat Fish Sauce, to my knowledge, the only authentic, kosher, anchovy-based fish sauce on the market.
Although I love traditional Jewish cuisine, I usually save that kind of food for holidays. During the busy workweek I prefer something quicker and easier – but not boring. I am the kind of home cook who likes to invent and re-invent recipes, so for me, Crafted Kosher is a goldmine. With the Tourangelle Pistachio Nut Oil and Bakto Blood Orange Vinegar I changed a run of the mill roasted beet salad into something special – mellower, subtler, richer and slightly nutty-flavored with a hint of tang. It was so easy, just a simple switch to more intriguing ingredients. With the leftovers I can experiment using the pistachio oil on some pasta (with Parmesan cheese or feta?). The vinegar? I’ll use it in a marinade for beef or in a basting sauce for chicken.
I also used the Carrington Farms Sriracha flavored coconut oil to make some cheese-chili popcorn – a snack I will re-do many times. And I added the oil to my standard fried rice, to give the dish an undertone of heat. The fish sauce! Ah! So far used only for noodle salad, but there are some Thai-style recipes in my future.