Observant Jews around the country have been closely following the news concerning the Agriprocessors scandal that eventually created a shortage of kosher meat in the country. To replace the shortage, poultry producers like Empire have stepped up their production, and Agriprocessors, now under receivership, is producing about 20,000 chickens daily.
More meat is being brought in from South America, but markets in some areas of the country that had limited supplies have simply given up on stocking kosher-meat lines. There are still sporadic shortages of different types of beef and veal products.
And now, the ethics of kosher-meat processing are being questioned.
To address these concerns, Magen Tzedek has been proposed as a new ethical certification seal. It will be introduced to the kosher-food industry in the coming months. The seal will be awarded to kosher-food companies that meet standards based on issues such as employee health and safety, wages and benefits, humane animal treatment and the company's environmental impact.
However, the Magen Tzedek seal does not replace the certification that food is halachically kosher; rather, it's designed to supplement these hechshers.
Because there are still shortages of kosher meat around the country, here are some recipes that prove you can eat well without the beef.
To soften tortillas, wrap in paper towels and heat for about 45 seconds in the microwave.
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
3/4 tsp. bottled chopped garlic
1 large red or green bell pepper, chopped
2 Tbsps. mild green chilies, fresh or canned
2 Tbsps. tomato paste
1 tsp. chili powder or to taste
2 tilapia fillets (about 6 oz.), cut in 1/2-inch chunks
1/2 cup canned black beans, well drained
salt and pepper
6 corn tortillas (6-inch), warmed
salsa and shredded lettuce to serve
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the onion, garlic and bell pepper. Sauté until onion is golden, not brown, about 5 minutes.
Stir in the chilies, tomato paste, chili powder and the tilapia. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook, stirring, until tilapia is opaque, 5 to 8 minutes.
Stir in the black beans; heat through.
Season to taste with salt, pepper and, if needed, a little more chili powder.
To Serve: Spoon tilapia filling onto tortillas. Top with salsa and shredded lettuce. Fold loosely to enclose. Serve hot.
Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 142; protein, 9 g; carbohydrates, 19 g; fat, 3 g; cholesterol, 12 mg; sodium, 156 mg.
Seitan is made from cooked wheat gluten. It resembles beef chunks, and is dense and chewy. It's low in fat, high in protein.
11/2 cups tomato juice
11/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 cup brown rice
1 medium onion, sliced
2 cups broccoli florets, fresh or frozen, thawed
2 cups green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
4 baby carrots, quartered lengthwise
1 can (8 oz.) baby corn, drained
1/2 small sweet potato, diced
1 medium tomato, diced
1/2 tsp. bottled chopped garlic
11/2 tsps. ground cumin
pinch dried thyme
2 Tbsps. chopped cilantro
6 oz. seitan, drained and diced
salt and pepper to taste
In a large pot, stir the tomato juice and broth. Add the rice. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the rice is tender.
Add all the remaining ingredients, except the seitan and salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 25 minutes, or until the sweet potato is cooked, and the vegetables are crisp-tender.
Stir in the seitan. Bring to simmer and cook 5 minutes longer.
Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serves 4 to 6.
Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 200; protein, 18 g; carbohydrates, 31 g; fat, 2 g; cholesterol, 0 mg; sodium, 292 mg.
Few can tell the difference!
3 Tbsps. olive or vegetable oil
2 large onions, sliced
3/4 cup canned chick peas, rinsed
1 can (15 oz.) peas, drained
3 hard-cooked eggs, quartered
1 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
salt and freshly ground pepper
In a large skillet, heat the oil over a medium heat.
Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, or until golden-brown. Set aside.
Place the chick peas in the food processor and chop coarsely.
Add the onions, peas, eggs, mayonnaise, lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Do not process to make a smooth mixture. Correct seasonings.
Transfer to a serving dish. Dust with paprika.
Serve at room temperature with warm pita bread or sliced cucumbers.
Makes 4 cups.
Approximate nutrients per 1/4 cup: calories, 72; protein, 3 g; carbohydrates, 6 g; fat, 4 g; cholesterol, 40 mg; sodium, 109 mg.
Curried Cauliflower Currant Gratin
1 medium head cauliflower
1/4 cup vegetable margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. curry powder or to taste
2 cups milk
11/2 cups shredded sharp cheddar
2 tsps. dijon mustard
2 Tbsps. dried currants
1 medium mushroom, thinly sliced
Preheat oven to 350°.
Spray a 10-inch gratin dish with nonstick vegetable spray.
Trim cauliflower and separate into small florets. Place in a saucepan, cover with boiling water and cook for 10 minutes, or until barely tender. Drain well. Place in a prepared gratin dish.
In a medium saucepan, melt the margarine over medium heat. Stir in the flour and curry powder. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until thickened and boiling.
Stir in 1 cup cheese and the mustard, stirring until smooth. Add the currants. Pour over the cauliflower. Arrange the sliced mushroom attractively on top.
Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until bubbly.
Serves 4 to 6.
Approximate nutrients per serving: calories, 260; protein, 11 g; carbohydrates, 11 g; fat, 20 g; cholesterol, 41 mg; sodium, 346 mg.
Ethel G. Hofman is a past president of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. E-mail her: at firstname.lastname@example.org.