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Kosher Beef Brisket Recipe: Perfect for the Holidays

This kosher beef brisket is made for special occasions like Hanukkah (which by the way, is just around the corner). If you’re looking for a new dish to serve family during those eight crazy nights, look no further! The hardworking chefs at JCHC’s Lester Senior Living have perfected this delicious beef brisket recipe perfect for the upcoming holiday season. The key to this recipe is cooking the brisket low and slow to break it down, resulting in a more tender piece of meat – yum. 

Serves: 8

Cook Time: Slow for at least 5-7 hours (perfect to start the night before).

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lbs brisket, first or second cut with nice marbling
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1-2 large brown onions, peeled and sliced
  • Approx. 1 lb carrots, peeled and sliced
  • Approx. 1 lb celery, peeled and sliced
  • 1 large can of tomatoes – whole, diced, or crushed 
  • 6 peeled whole garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/3 cups beef or chicken broth, divided
  • Kosher salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and rub all sides of the brisket with salt and pepper. 
  2. Turn your stove top on medium heat and heat a large skillet. Make sure there are 2 tbsp of olive oil in the skillet. When the olive oil is hot, brown the brisket on both sides. 
  3. While the brisket is on the skillet, pour canned tomatoes, garlic cloves, apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, salt, pepper and broth into a blender. Blend until the garlic is finely chopped and all ingredients are combined. 
  4. Remove brisket from the skillet and add onions and a couple more tbsps of olive oil if needed. Saute the sliced onions over medium heat until they’re soft and translucent. 
  5. Next, add the carrots and celery to the skillet and saute for another 5 minutes. 
  6. Transfer the vegetables onto a plate and add ½ cup of broth into the skillet and let it heat up. While it’s heating, use a spatula to gently scrape any browned bits and other juices sticking to the skillet. Once done, turn off the heat. 
  7. Grab a large roasting pan and pour about half of the tomato mixture from the blender into the pan. 
  8. Place the brisket in the pan on top of the tomato mixture.
  9. Next, add the sauteed vegetables over top of the brisket, along with the heated broth and browned up bits. 
  10.  Finally, pour the remaining tomato mixture over top. 
  11. Once assembled, cover the roasting pan with a layer of parchment paper, then a layer of foil.  
  12.  Let the brisket roast in the oven for 5-7 hours – the longer the better! Brisket is ready when it can be shredded easily with a fork. 

This recipe easily serves 6 – 8 people, and is a great leftover for at least a week!

Come Try the Food at Lester Senior Living

For more information about Jewish senior living in Morris County, NJ, please contact us today: (973) 929-2725. You could also visit our website to learn more about what it’s like to live in a senior community that is part of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation: https://jchcorp.org/   

Baked Atlantic Cod Recipe: 10 Easy Steps

No Rosh Hashanah is complete without a hearty meal that’s shared with the ones you love. This savory fish dish is perfect to eat before digging into sweet honey cake symbolic to Rosh Hashanah. If you’re looking for a new recipe for the Jewish New Year that is less traditional, this baked Atlantic cod recipe with barley risotto, escarole and beans is a perfect weeknight meal to serve your family and close friends  

Ingredients:

  • 4-6 ounces Cod filet seasoned with kosher salt and fresh ground pepper and freshly chopped dill
  • 1 cup barley
  • ½ cup diced fine onion 
  • ½ cup diced fine celery
  • ½ cup diced fine carrot
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped fine garlic
  • 1 shallot chopped fine
  • ½ escarole – head washed well, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup white beans (cooked)
  • 2 quarts chicken stock as needed
  • 1tsp fresh thyme finely chopped
  • Fresh chives sliced thinly
  • Chive oil (optional)

Directions: 

  1. Clean fish or buy the fish pre filleted.
  2. In a medium saucepan, sauté onions, celery, carrots, garlic, thyme, and shallots in a little olive oil for three minutes or until lightly browned.
  3. Add barley and continue sautéing for two more minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock two cups at time and stir continually until stock is absorbed by the barley.
  5. Continue this process as needed until barley is cooked tender.
  6. Add escarole and carefully fold in cooked white beans.
  7. Season to taste with kosher salt and pepper.
  8. Season fish with salt, pepper and dill and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.
  9. Place 3-4 ounces of risotto on a serving plate, place cod on top and garnish with fresh sliced chives and a little chive oil.
  10. Enjoy the meal with the ones you love!

Culinary Excellence at Lester Senior Living NJ

At the Lester Senior Living Community, we understand how good nutrition plays a big part in maintaining active lifestyles for our senior residents. We equally understand that the way our food tastes is just as important! That’s why our culinary trained chefs in Morris County take extra pride in curating delicious food that also caters to every dietary preference, from kosher, vegetarian, low-carb options and more. 

For more information about senior meal plans in Morris County, NJ, please contact Lester Senior Living today: (973) 929-2725. You could also visit our website to learn more about what it’s like to live in a senior community apart of the Jewish Community Housing Corporation: https://jchcorp.org/

What is Rosh Hashanah?

Rosh Hashanah is also known as the Jewish New Year and marks the start of the 10 days of repentance. But what are the 10 days of repentance? And what traditions or customs do we follow during this time? The team at the Jewish Community Housing Corporation in NJ has put together an overview of Rosh Hashanah that includes what the holiday symbolizes and how we celebrate and honor it today with our family and friends. 

What does Rosh Hashanah symbolize?

Similar to New Year’s Eve, Rosh Hashanah symbolizes a fresh start. It is a time of reflection and for people to reevaluate their priorities and goals in life. During this time, people often ask themselves questions like: 

  • Who comes first in my life? 
  • What is the most important thing in my life? How can I prioritize this thing more? 
  • What is the most meaningful thing I have accomplished in the past year? 
  • What do I hope to accomplish in the coming year?
  • How can I make more time for the ones I love? 

This Jewish holiday also represents a time of judgment, also known as the 10 days of repentance. It is believed that God weighs the good and bad actions of everyone over the past year, and then decides what this upcoming year will be like for them. 

How do we celebrate Rosh Hashanah today? 

“L’shanah tovah!” is the traditional greeting for Rosh Hashanah, which translates to “for a good New Year!” You will hear this phrase often, especially if you and your family visit a Synagogue during this time. Many Jewish families frequent the Synagogue during this time to celebrate with friends and neighbors in the area. 

Another tradition of this holiday is to play one of the oldest wind instruments called the Shofar. One hundred notes are played on this big horn to create a special rhythm that is symbolic of Rosh Hashanah. The sound of the Shofar signifies the start of the ten-day period called the ‘Days of Awe,’ which lead up to another Jewish festival called Yom Kippur. For those who are not familiar, Yom Kippur is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar. It means ‘Day of Atonement’ and people don’t eat or drink for 25 hours in order to reflect on the past year and ask God’s forgiveness for their bad actions. 

Which leads to why food is an important part of Rosh Hashanah. The Jewish people celebrate the positivity of the upcoming year before the Day of Atonement with staple foods. Some examples are apples dipped in honey or honey cake to symbolize a sweet new year. As well as, pomegranates, challah bread, tzimmes, fish and hearty vegetables. 

Jewish Culture at Lester Senior Living in NJ

If you’d like to know more about Jewish culture, or about how we are celebrating Rosh Hashanah, please contact the team at Lester Senior Living today. At our senior community in Morris County, we read the Torah, hold Maariv Services and even offer university level classes about Jewish history and culture. Although our traditions are deeply rooted in Judaism, our senior living communities warmly welcome people of all faiths and backgrounds. 

To learn more about the Jewish traditions held at our assisted living community in Morris County, NJ, please visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/

Simple Recipe for Savory Potato Kugel

Who doesn’t like kugel? Especially a savory kugel with baked potatoes. For those who might not know, kugel can be compared to a baked “pudding” that is usually prepared with noodles or potatoes. This potato kugel recipe from our chefs at the Jewish Community Housing Corporation is so good, that we just can’t keep it to ourselves! If you decide to try it out, leave a comment and let us know how it turns out!   

Potato Kugel Ingredients: 

  • Potatoes (approx. 5 lbs peeled and shredded)
  • Yellow onion (1)
  • Shallots (4)
  • Potato starch (? cup)
  • Vegetable oil (1 cup)
  • Large eggs (5)
  • Egg yolks (2)
  • Olive oil (½ cup)
  • Kosher salt (1 tbsp)
  • Black pepper (½ tsp)
  • Nutmeg (pinch)
  • Boiling water (1 cup)
  • Optional: chives to garnish

Potato Kugel Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. While the oven is heating, pour vegetable oil in a mid sized pan and heat until the oil is shimmering. 
  2. Add your shallots to the pan and cook over high heat until they are golden brown and crisp. Then, transfer the shallots to a plate using a slotted spoon. Save the shallot oil for later.
  3. After peeling and shredding the potatoes, squeeze out as much liquid as possible and transfer the potatoes to a large bowl. Then, add the chopped yellow onion, potato starch, salt, pepper and nutmeg and stir well. 
  4. Next, stir in the whole eggs, egg yolks, olive oil and boiling water, followed by the sauteed shallots from earlier. 
  5. Pour your potato kugel mixture into two 8 by 11 cast-iron baking dishes. Important note: Before pouring the mixture in, heat the two baking dishes and add 2 tablespoons of the shallot oil you saved earlier. 
  6. Let the kugels bake for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, lower the heat to 375 degrees and bake the kugels for 40 minutes longer. The kugel should appear golden brown and crisp on the sides. 
  7. Preheat the boiler and broil the kugels as close to the heat as possible, until they are golden brown and crisp on top. 
  8. Let the potato kugels cool for 20 minutes before slicing into squares, adding chopped chives on top and enjoying! 

Seniors dine in style in Morris County, NJ  

The culinary trained chefs at Lester Senior Living in NJ love to try out new recipes for our assisted living and independent living residents. Our residents have the option to eat in the dining room for breakfast, lunch and dinner if they’d like. Not to mention, the majority of our chef’s recipes can be modified to adhere to dietary restrictions and kosher needs. For more information about senior dining options in Morris County, NJ, please give us a call today. You could also visit our website to learn more about what independent living looks like at Lester Senior Living: https://jchcorp.org/independent-living-new-jersey/

What are The Three Weeks Leading up to Tisha B’Av?

The Three Weeks is a period of mourning that occurs in the summer every year leading up to Tisha B’Av. We mourn the destruction of the Holy Temple and the exile of the Jews from Israel. Observing and relearning the details of these events helps us to recognize the weaknesses which brought about these tragic happenings. We do this through the process of “teshuva,” which means self-reflection with a commitment to become better. With “teshuva,” everyone has the power to turn tragedy into joy. The Talmud actually states that after the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, these days will be altered as weeks of happiness and celebration. 

History has a tendency to repeat itself, if we don’t learn from it. That’s why it’s so important to shed light and observe even the most tragic times. With that said, here are some observances and more information regarding Tisha B’Av that the team at JCHC has put together.  

What Happened on Tisha B’Av? 

On Tisha B’Av, five major tragedies occurred.  

  1. During the time of Moses (approx. 1312 BCE), the Jews accepted the malicious report of the 10 Spies. Immediately after, a decree was issued forbidding the 10 Spies from entering the Land of Israel. 
  2. The destruction of the First Temple by the Babylonians in 586 BCE. At this time, approximately 100,000 Jews were slaughtered and millions more were exiled. 
  3. The destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans in 70 CE. Approximately two million Jews died and another one million were exiled. 
  4. In 135 CE, the city of Betar was conquered by the Romans. This was the Jews’ last stand against the Romans and over 100,000 Jews were killed. 
  5. Jerusalem was rebuilt as a pagan city and named Aelia Capitolina. The Romans declared that access into the city was forbidden to Jews.

Observances During The 3 Weeks and Tisha B’Av

There are many mourning-related customs and observances that are followed for the entire three-week period leading up to Tisha B’Av. Some examples are no haircuts, no new clothing purchases, no listening to music and no Jewish weddings are to be held during this time. 

The afternoon before Tisha B’Av, we are to eat a full meal to prepare for the fast. When the afternoon concludes, the Seudah Hamaf-seket is eaten. This is a meal that contains bread, water, and a hard-boiled egg only. The hard-boiled egg represents two major elements. The roundness of the egg reminds us of the precious circle of life. The second element is that the egg is the only food that becomes harder the more it is cooked – i.e. a true  symbol of the Jews’ ability to rise over the ashes, no matter what life throws our way. 

Jewish Learning at JCHC in Morris County, NJ

If you’d like to know more about Jewish culture, or about how we are observing the Three Weeks leading up to Tisha B’Av, please contact the team at JCHC today. At our Lester Senior Living community, we read the Torah, hold Maariv Services and even offer university level classes about Jewish history and culture. 

To learn more about the Jewish teachings offered at our assisted living community in Morris County, NJ, please visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org/assisted-living-morris-county-nj/