Celebrating Jewish food and lifeFoods from America, Israel...

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December 20, 1992|By Karol V. Menzie | Karol V. Menzie,Staff Writer

Celebrating Jewish food and life

Foods from America, Israel and China, among other places, will be on the menu at the second Baltimore-Washington Jewish Food & Life Expo today at the Maryland State Fairgrounds in Timonium.

The expo, a day-long event featuring entertainment, crafts, gifts, art, Judaica and jewelry, is sponsored by the Etz Chaim Center for Jewish Studies, a nonprofit cultural and educational facility with branches in Washington and Philadelphia, in addition to Baltimore.

The restaurant area will be sponsored by the Royal restaurant of Baltimore and the Royal Dragon Chinese restaurant of Silver Spring. Samples will be offered by a wide range of companies, including Ahava Dairy Co. of Brooklyn, N.Y., Herr Foods, Pepsi, Empire Kosher Poultry of Pennsylvania, Heinz and Dannon Yogurt. There will also be wines from Kedem Royal Wines, Manischewitz and others. And there will be demonstrations, including one by chef Leibel B. Harelik, a Baltimore private chef, on garnishes.

Expo visitors can pick up more than $100 worth of coupons for food and other items, and there will be a drawing for a $100 shopping spree at D&L Kosher Mart in Pikesville.

Tickets cost $6.50 for adults and $3 for children over 2. For more information, call (410) 764-1553.

While many folks in Baltimore are familiar with the concept of "roasting," the celebratory art of toasting has nearly been forgotten. The folks at Champagne Taittinger have put out a guide to help people offer a toast, should the occasion require.

They note that the custom of offering a prayer to the gods with wine can be traced to the ancient Greeks; the first recorded toast, "Waes heal," or "Be of health," was said to have been made in Britain in 450 A.D.

Taittinger suggests that toasts be "light, simple and sincere" and that they not last more than three minutes -- with one minute or less being even better. The guest of honor does not raise his or her glass while being toasted, but once the toast has been made, may raise a glass to say thank you.

Here are some sample toasts from Taittinger: "Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love." "In the new year, may your right hand always be stretched out in friendship, but never in want." "Here's to the day of good will, cold weather and warm hearts."

Sweet treats

Here's a sweet thought for the holidays: Special chocolates from Lindt & Sprungli. Chocolates make great gifts: No need to worry about size or color, and it's unlikely there'll be anything left to return to the store. A particularly good stocking-stuffer would be the truffle tree box -- six truffles in a small box with a tree-shaped window, with a suggested retail price of $4. Other selections range from 1.67-ounce boxes of mini Lindor chocolate balls for $1.49 to the chocolate thins trio gift pack for $22. The chocolates are widely available in department, gourmet and gift specialty stores through this month, or as long as supplies last.

George Bush says he doesn't like broccoli "because it tastes like medicine." Turns out, of course, it is medicine -- it contains sulforaphane, which increases the activity of anti-carcinogenic enzymes. It could be that Mr. Bush's taste buds are at fault; there are plenty of broccoli buffs out there. And a new cookbook by Georgia Downard, a New York recipe consultant, aims to increase those ranks with dozens of recipes for broccoli dishes, from soups and salads to pasta and side dishes. There's a section of tips on buying, storing and preparing broccoli and a section with half a dozen sauces for broccoli. The book is "The Big Broccoli Book," published by Random House last month ($10 paperback). (The author is big on broccoli, but at 6 1/2 inches square, the book itself isn't big.) Here's a sample recipe:

Broccoli and Cheddar cheese soup

Serves four to six.

2 cups finely chopped yellow onion

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 large red-skinned potato, cubed

4 cups chicken broth or stock

1 bay leaf

salt and pepper to taste

2 cups broccoli florets

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and finely minced

3 tablespoons water

1 cup plain yogurt, sour cream, or low-fat milk

1 cup grated Cheddar cheese

In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook the onion and garlic in 2 tablespoons of oil for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the potato, chicken stock, bay leaf, and salt and pepper and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until potato is tender. Discard the bay leaf. Puree the soup in batches in a food processor, return it to the saucepan and bring it to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a 10-inch skillet over moderate heat, cook the broccoli and bell pepper in the remaining tablespoon of oil, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the 3 tablespoons of water, cover and steam over moderately high heat for 2 minutes.

Remove the pureed soup mixture from the heat and stir in the yogurt. Gradually add the cheese, stirring until melted. Stir in the broccoli and red pepper and bring the soup to a simmer, stirring.

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