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Come hear how these Washington Heights and Inwood writers define locavore and all things local and edible at this week’s Above the Bridge Reading series.

Above the Bridgee is a “playground for writers.” Each month, writers read on a different theme. This month the theme is local growth and the event is being  co-sponsored by the Washington Heights CSA.  Writers will include moi of course.  So come enjoy  a drink after your meatless monday night dinner. It should be a for a delicious evening featuring local writing about local growth.

The Details:

8 pm @ The Red Room Lounge,
1 Bennett Ave @ 181st Street

$5 cover (cash only)

RSVP to abovethebridge@gmail.com

With writings and readings by:

Joey Brenneman    Lisa Burdige       Kate Hogan     

Christa O’Brien (of  TableofPromise.com)     Danielle Oteri        Peg Rapp    

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Personally, my mother bought Streit’s brand but a few years ago, I started to expand my matzoh repertoire beyond that nostalgic red box. First I bought Whole Wheat matzoh. But then last year, I also sprung for the organic kind. This year, since I have been moving toward locally sourced products, I wondered if there was anyone making matzoh in the tri-state area. That’s when I discovered shmura matzoh. It turns out Jews have been doing artisanal matzoh since before Christ had his bris.

Shmura is a type of small batch matzoh mostly made in Israel and Brooklyn. Shmura literally means watched from the harvest. According to my research, the watching has to be done by a rabbi. In order for this matzoh (or any apparently) to be kosher for Passover the whole process has to happen has in no   more than 18 minutes. That’s because if the flour and the water mix for longer han that short period of time, spores of yeast from the air could get in the mixture and cause impromptu leavening. That would make the matzoh chametz or not kosher for Passover.

According to the CityCook.com there are about 6 shmura matzoh bakeries in NYC – all of which are in Brooklyn. It does seems fitting that artisanal matzoh would be made in the locavore capital of the 5 boroughs – Brooklyn.

The factories or bakeries look very cool. The pictures show big brick ovens that remind me of the bagel bakeries I used to go to in Montreal when I was in college. Many of these matzoh factories also have tours. Here’s a link to help you figure out where to go.

You can get also get the Shmura matzoh at some grocery stores. I called around a bit and found that you can pick up the Brooklyn kind at Zabars (they have whole wheat, and spelt), Fairways and Eli’s on the upper east side.  Of course, like all things artisanal, this matzoh is pricey – somewhere between $24 and $45 a pound. Although if you go to D&T Shmura Bakery on Albany Avenue, Crown Heights, you can get a pound of broken pieces for  the bargain of $13.50/lb – call to verify if the price is still accurate. (718-778-7914).  Just to put these prices in context, matzoh is normally a few bucks a box. At Fresh Direct, for example, you can get 6 boxes of Yehuda matzoh for 15.99 (They also have HolyLand brand for 24.99 which is, not surprisingly, not local but from Israel)

I called around and tried to see if I could find Shmura flour to make my own blessed bread. So far no luck. But still, even without the rabbi’s authorization, I’m going to skip the $40/lb matzoh and try to make my own. I never really thought about it, but matzoh by its very nature has got to be easy to make. After all, it’s the proverbial quick bread.

Passover is a holiday filled with symbols. Charoset , the delicious mix of apples and nuts, represents the mortar used by the Jewish slaves to build the storehouses of Egypt. The salt water on the table represents the tears of the Jewish slaves. The roasted egg represents the cycle of life.

Commercial matzoh is square, but Shmura matzoh, and my homemade matzoh, is round like the earth. I plan on making these rounds matzoh with the kids before the seder next week. This new tradition and symbol seems a fitting addition to our Passover holiday – especially since Passover falls smack in the middle of earth month.

HOMEMADE MATZOH

From http://www.koshercooking.com/resource/matzoh.html

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
Spring water

(If you want to be kosher for Passover, clean your oven before you start._

Preheat oven to 450 F. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper.

Mix two flours together and add water until you have a soft, kneadable dough. Knead about five minutes. Let dough rest a couple of minutes.

Break off egg-sized portions of dough. Stretch as thinly as you can before rolling into thin, oval slabs that are as thin as possible. Prick each slab with a fork or pastry docker. Place on baking sheet and as soon as sheet is filled with matzoh, place in oven, and bake until crisp and buckled, about 3 minutes. Cool and eat.

This post is part of Food Renegade’s Fight Back Friday and Real Food Digest Passover

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