Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kosherfest 2012 and Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches (gluten-free!)

It’s been two years since I started writing after my first visit to Kosherfest 2010.  It’s been an awesome experience!  I have been blessed with meeting and making new friends, and getting great feedback from my readers along the way.  Although life has been more challenging lately, I have still tried to give the the best of me, and I truly appreciate all your support!!!!!

Sun Dried Tomato
Grilled Cheese Sandwich
SO, this year’s 2012 Kosherfest didn’t disappoint!  (I LOVE it when that happens!). As in previous years, I painstakingly went through every row, talking to nearly every vendor trying to find out what was unique and interesting about each product.  I was so impressed by the passion that most of the vendors had about their displays.  Also, as in previous years, there were some distinct “winners” and sadly a few “not winners”.  There were products from all around the world (how cool is that??) from places like the Phillipines, Mexico, and Israel (of course!).  There were old favorites like Gus’s Pickles, Shabtai Gourmet (with new Gluten-Free Pies and my favorite Yidels!), Jacks Sausages, Setton Farms All Natural Pistachio Chewy Bites, Zing spices, The CRC (hooray for the Chicago Rabbinical Council!), Viki’s Granola, and Joburg South African Sausages. I got to see my favorite authors (Jamie Geller, Leah Schapria, Levana Kirschenbaum, Estie Deutch, Gil Marks, Paula Shoyer and Susie Fishbein), and my most favorite editors Estee Kafra and Dasi Slater.  I got to meet some of my favorite kosher bloggers in person for the first time too!  I was also really impressed by the number of Gluten Free products that were available this year – most were so good that you almost couldn’t tell they were gluten free!  This week’s recipe Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwiches is even based upon an outstanding Gluten Free/Kosher for Passover Sun Dried Tomato Bread by Eytan’s Country Pie & PastryNow, drum roll please….here is my list of the top 25 Kosherfest 2012 favorites (not in any particular order):

1.       Giambri’s Quality Sweets
Imagine a fat Belgian waffle, covered in caramel, then covered in rich creamy milk chocolate, then covered in M&M’s.  Holy Cow!!! These were insanely delicious.  It simply wasn’t even normal how good these were.  The first food vendor in the first row – it was a perfect breakfast start to my Kosherfest experience (it was waffles right?) I kept bringing people back to the display because you couldn’t even imagine how crazy good these were.  They also make the caramel-chocolate covered waffles topped with toffee crunch, peanut butter chips, chocolate rice crispies, dark chocolate chips, and sno caps. These should really be outlawed (but not until after I order some!). (
2.       Oxygen Sauces
These outstanding sauces and spreads were incredibly delicious and would be a great addition to any chicken or beef.  My personal favorites were the Pomegranate Plum and the Mango Curry. (
3.       Crystal Springs Omega Naturals Fish Franks
I was initially really, really, really, really scared and skeptical about this product.  I mean, fish hot dogs??!!!  That’s just wrong on so many levels…until I tasted them.  I figured, I’m at Kosherfest, I’m supposed to be trying daring and new things – I’m going to go for it.  Boy, was I surprised!!!  These are really amazing!  They don’t taste at all like fish.  Not even a little bit.  Really.  I was blown away.  I had to meet the creator of this surprisingly great product – Sholom Ben Cadaner (I think that was his last name – I wrote it on the fish salami!!).  He said that it’s actually very popular with Jewish Schools where they don’t allow kids to bring actual meat products to school.  I’m looking forward to making marinated mini franks for a dairy dinner one night this week – won’t the kids be surprised!!
4.     Ta'amti Pizza Pinwheels 
These Pizza Pinwheels actually won the Best New Frozen Entrée at the 2012 Kosherfest for good reason – they were delicious!  Crispy, cheesy and super easy to make, they are going to be a quick dinner staple in the Matten household. (
5.     Simply Protein Chips
YUM, YUM, YUM, YUM, YUM!!  Done.  Ok, these chips are perfect for someone that is trying to eat healthier.  They are gluten-free (bonus) and are super healthy with a whopping 15 grams of protein, 140 calories, and only 2 grams of sugar per serving.  The best part is that the Spicy and Slightly Sweet Chili Protein chips (spicy is always good!) and the Herb Protien chips are a really delicious grab and go snack you don’t have to feel one bit guilty eating.  The company also makes the Simply Bar which is also good but the chips are “super outstanding!” (         
6.       Nathan’s Sweet Horshradish Pickles
These pickles are sweet with a nice horseradish bite to them and are perfect for deli trays. (
7.       Happy Hearts Wine
Ok, so I did drink a little at the show…and although I am really not a wine connoisseur, I really liked the Rosco Red Red Grapes Mist and Puglia Moscato Bianco White.  Can you tell I’m a “sweet wine” person?  Don’t just take my word for it try them and let me know what you think.  (  
8.       Rice Expressions by Sage 5
These rices come in ready-made packages and can be found at Whole Foods and Trader Joes under private labels.  They are perfect for the nights when you really only have time to microwave a few things for dinner – this rice should be on your short list!  The Brown Rice with Asparagus and Toasted Pignoli they served as a sample at the show was so flavorful I know I’ll be making it in the future. ( )
9.       Cuppa J Hot Chocolate Mix
We love Jay Hill from 999 Foods, a longtime friend of my cousin Tzvi.  I was really excited to try his latest innovation – Cuppa  J (for Jay!) Pareve Hot Chocolate.  You simply can’t tell it’s pareve – it’s that good!  I especially liked the “Mayan Spice” variety, it had a little kick!  The Double Dark and Mystic Mint won’t disappoint either.  Hey Jay!  Hurry up and get these into stores!!  We can’t wait!! ( )
10.   Eytan’s Country Pie & Pastry – Kosher for Passover
Knock me over with a feather.  It’s really hard to believe that these products are gluten free! I grabbed a Hamburger Bun before I left Kosherfest and made a deli sandwich for my flight home and it was wonderful!  After speaking to the representative at the end of the show he tossed me a loaf of the Sun-Dried Tomatoes Loaf to take home.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but when I got home and made a Sun-Dried Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich with the bread I was SO happy – a gluten-free bread that made a great grilled cheese sandwich.  HOORAY!!  Although the bread still doesn’t have the elasticity of a gluten enriched bread – it was super as a grilled cheese sandwich and the roll was a perfect gluten free sandwich enhancer!!  (Imported by Bagel Bites USA inc).
11.   Shani’s Tahini Sauce
Finally!  A Tahini sauce that you use like a salad dressing – that tastes great too!  One of my favorite all time sauces is Tahini.  My family knows that whenever we go out for Shwarma (or make it here) I must have extra Tahini on the side.  I’m so excited to be able to keep this product on hand for my salads or wraps! (
12.   Eden Passover Cheese Puffs – Gluten Free
I was completely surprised that these gooey, cheesy, spicy puffs were gluten free (and Kosher For Passover).  Somehow I kept winding up down the Eden row and had to keep making sure that the puffs were as good as the ones that I had samples a few minutes before ;-).  These are crispy on the outside, with a blend of cheddar cheese in the middle – wow!  Perfect for Passover (and every day!) and the GFE!! (Distributed by S. Bertram Inc.)
13.   Seyman Premium Kosher Cheese
This year I got to meet the adorable Elizabeth Bland of – a kosher cheese blog!  She became my new best cheese friend, and she walked around Kosherfest wearing a Kosher Cheese hat (not a Green Bay Packer’s cheese hat…as a Chicago Bears Fan we might have had words – whew!).  We were in complete agreement that they Seyman Premium Kosher Cheeses were outstanding.  Lots of different flavors and textures to choose from – these really were premium cheeses. ( )
14.   Roland All Natural Gluten Free Quinoa
I have recently become a huge quinoa fan, and I love the fact that Roland makes 5 different varieties of quinoa mixes that are ready in 15 minutes.  These mixes have 40 grams or more of whole grain per serving and come in enticing flavors such as Roasted Garlic, Black Bean, Garden Vegetable, Toasted Sesame Ginger and Mediterranean.  I love it when it’s fast, delicious, and healthy!! (
15.   Kickbutt Amped Energy Ballz
I have no idea if these are good or not but anything that is named “Kickbutt Amped Energy Ballz” gets added to this list just because of the name.  (
16.   Zermatok Rainbow Color Changing Candles
These cool candles actually change colors as they burn.  They come in a vanilla scent and are manufactured in a factory “making light” by employees with special needs.  These candles are beautiful on many levels. This company also makes cute long stem candy roses that are worth checking out too. (
17.   Simplyaddwater Bread Mixes
These bread mixes are super easy to make, great for when you run out of time to make challah’s from scratch before Shabbat!!  They are quick to make, nothing to measure (except water!), preservative free, and can last up to one year in the box – so you can keep a few on hand for a bread emergency!  They are great breads – great crust, chewy inside and taste great!  (
18.   Vivente Agave Nectars & Jams
I was impressed by the wonderful selection of different flavors of agave nectar that Vivente had.  100% pure organic, and made with Metlin a high purity blue agave powdered inulin, soluble organic dietary fiber with a prebiotic effect.   There are nine delicious flavors to choose from – perfect for coffee, tea or your favorite recipe.    (
19.   Sugat White Quinoa Royal
I was amazed by how light and fluffy this quinoa was.  When I asked about it I was told that it was especially light and fluffy because it was sprouted quinoa.  I did not know that!  The salad they had made was pretty terrific too.  You can find recipes on the Sugat website under the recipes tab.  I’m looking forward to buying the Sugat quinoa at my local store!  (
20.   Africa Kosher Safaris
“Quality Kosher Cuisine in the heart of the African Bush” – I think that pretty much says it all! (
21.   Lakewood Organic Fresh Pressed Juices
I have often used pure juices in recipes without much thought to actually drinking the juices!  The Lakewood Organic company had Pure Pomegranate, Pineapple, and Cranberry juices to sample at the show.  No sugar added, just pure juice.  What a surprise!  I would have expected the juices to be sour or bitter - they were anything but!  Flavorful, refreshing and good for you too.  I’ve seen them at my local grocery store and plan on stocking up!   (
22.   Ultra Lo-Gly Juice Alternative
This juice is low in calories, naturally low in glycemic index, low-carb, low-sugar, not low in flavor!!  These juices come in cool, fruity flaovrs like Acai-Blue, Mango Mojito, Pomegranate and Pomegranate Mojito.  Great for quenching your thirst anytime.  (
23.   Wissotzky Tea Premium Collection
It’s nice to see an old favorite come out with a new and wonderful “premium” product that takes a great product to a new level.  The Premium Tea Collection is a more upscale product with stylish pyramid shaped silky sachet style little tea bags containing whole leaf tea, herbs and blossoms.    These teas come in flavors like Strawberry Panna Cotta Infusion, Chocolate Truffles, Lemongrass Cream Infusion, Deep Red Forest, and Fruity Floral Bouquet, just to name a few.  You would definitely want to serve this tea to your Shabbat guests!  (
24.   Torie & Howard Organic Hard Candy (Gluten Free)
Named Best New Candy of Kosherfest 2012, this candy uses only natural fresh fruit flavors that taste like they are “picked straight from the garden”.  They come in unique flavors like d’anjou pear & cinnamon, pomegranate & nectarine, blood orange & honey, and pink grapefruit & tupelo honey.  There are no artificial dyes, no nuts, no gmo’s, no corn syrup, no gluten or wheat, no casein, no soy, and no dairy in these candies.  To top it all off the company donates to Autism Speaks and Wildlife Conservation Society.  To quote the company’s representative –
“It’s a candy you feel good about giving to your kids.”  I couldn’t have said it better myself.  (
25.   Heaven & Health Fresh Italian Homestyle Pasta – Gluten Free and Kosher for Passover
I’m always so happy when a company comes out with gluten free and Kosher for Passover products that taste like traditional every day products.  The Heaven and Health pasta really fit the description.  They make Cheese Ravioli, Potato Kreplach, and other pastas.  My personal favorite was the potato gnocchi, which I could see being a family favorite especially on Passover.  Plain, with a good pasta sauce or cheese, I would recommend these whether you are eating Gluten Free or not – they were that good!  They are all preservative free, all natural, have no food coloring, sugar free, cholesterol free, have zero grams trans fat, Kosher for Passover with no kitniot, Non Gebrokts, Mehadrin and most importantly – cook in one minute!!(Imported and distributed by Bagel Bites USA Inc.)

Top Honorable Mentions:
1.       Del Campo Tortillas (
2.       Kosher’Us Pelmeni (Russian dumplings) and raviolis (
3.       Kosher Express Bison Products (
4.       Gelato Petrini (
5.       Barbara Shaw Contemporary Gifts from Israel (
6.       A&B Parve Kishke
7.        Elegant Frozen Desserts (
8.       American Farmer All Natural Popped Corn Gluten Free (
9.       Goldbaums Gluten Free Products (Meals, Pasta, Ice Cream Cones & Snacks) (
10.   Amoretti Olive Oil (
11.   AD Rosenblatt Chorizo

I came home from Kosherfest with a lot of samples.  Vendors love to give me stuff and I love to try it all out!  This year because of my United Mileage Plus Explorer card I was able to check a suitcase for free!  You know it was completely full of Kosherfest stuff on the way back (it was packed with Romanian Kosher Sausage salami’s and beer sticks for the NY family on the way there!).  So, I’m working away baking here on Thursday (what I do when I’m not writing, being a mom, and everything else) and I’m hungry!  I had just had 3 straight days of eating (including the Kosher Food Writer/Blogger conference in NY on Monday) and I really, really, really needed to eat something healthy and light.  I pulled out my gorgeous loaf of Gluten Free Sun Dried Tomato Bread, some Earth Balance margarine, a tomato, and some American cheese and proceeded to make absolutely one of the best grilled cheese sandwiches I have ever had.  Really!  I know that a grilled cheese sandwich seems like an easy thing to make, but for those of you that are phobic about making grilled cheese sandwiches this recipe is for you.  I think that people often use different cheeses in their sandwiches, but I have to tell you, the bread (even Gluten Free) can really make a big impact on the sandwich.  So, without further ado, I present the Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich and bonus – it’s gluten free!  Great for the GFE (Gluten Free Eater)!!

Sun Dried Tomato Grilled Cheese Sandwich
·         2 thick slices Eytan’s Country Sun Dried Tomato Bread (or your favorite bread)
·         2 slices American cheese
·         Earth Balance Spread
·         1 thick tomato slice

Preheat a non-stick skillet.  Spread a thin layer over each of the slices of bread.  Place one slice of the bread spread side down in the skillet.  Top with one slice of American cheese, the tomato slice, another slice of American cheese, then the second slice of bread – spread side up.  Cook until cheese has somewhat melted and the bottom slice of bread is browned.  Press down on the sandwich with a spatula, then carefully flip the sandwich to cook on the second side.  Press down on the sandwich again, and cook until the second slice of bread is browned.  Remove from the pan, slice in half and eat while hot and gooey!

Kosherfest Buddies!

 Suzie Fishbein & Me
Jamie Geller & Me
Paula Shoyer

More Kosherfest Pictures!

 My favorites from Shabtai Gourmet!!

 My Famous Matzoh Ball Recipe!!

 Do these Matzoh's look familiar?

 Hooray Kosher Cheese from Chicago!!!

 Hooray for Mushrooms!!
  Barbara Shaw Contemporary Gifts from Israel (

 From the Phillipines!
 Goldbaums Gluten Free Products (Meals, Pasta, Ice Cream Cones & Snacks) (

Kosher Everyday is dedicated to the memory of my father
Dr. Theodore Saltzberg - Tuvia Ben Nachum Z”L
May his memory be for a blessing - Yihi zichro baruch.

Look for additional information about Edible Experience Kosher Everyday at,, Mishpacha Magazine’s Kosher Inspired Magazine,
The Chicago Tribune Syndication,
 or on Facebook at Edible Experience by Sharon Matten.

These recipes are for sole, personal use of visitors to Sharon Matten -Edible Experience Kosher Everyday. Edible Experience Kosher Everyday recipes are for your enjoyment but are not to be posted or reprinted without express permission from Sharon Matten. Thank you!!

KosherEveryday is one of the finalists for the 
2011 CBS Most Valuable Blogger Awards!! 


  1. WOW!!! You took me on a tour of the event and saved the wear and tear on my waist line! Thank you for sharing the details on so many outstanding products. I will use your post as a guide to products I should be on the look-out for.
    Come back to NYC soon and be in touch. I'm always looking for my next eating adventure and new blogger buddies are the greatest perk of our work.

    1. Thanks - it was SO great to meet you too!! Come to Chicago - I'll be happy to give you the grand tour!

  2. I am sorry to hear that recently things have been challenging, I wish you strength and courage.

    I am totally overwhelmed by the gamut of kosher products, boy I wish I could have just showed up (at all) with a huge shipping cart.

    The instant challah especially seems like something every household should have.

    1. Thanks so much for your good wishes - they really mean a lot! Thank G-d we live in a time when we are able to choose from the available Kosher products rather than being restricted by a limited select few. The best part of the instant challah (aside from the fact that it's super easy to make) is that it really tasted great.

  3. Hello there! This is a good read. I will be looking forward to visit your page again and for your other posts as well. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about kosher bread. I am glad to stop by your site and know more about kosher bread. Keep it up!
    In addition to meat, all other produce of ritually unclean animals, as well as from unhealthy animals, were banned by the Talmudic writers. This included eggs (including fish roe) and milk, as well as derived products such as cheese and jelly, but did not include materials merely "manufactured" or "gathered" by animals, such as honey (although, in the case of honey from animals other than bees, there was a difference of opinion among the ancient writers). According to the rabbinical writers, eggs from ritually pure animals would always be prolate ("pointy") at one end and oblate ("rounded") at the other, helping to reduce uncertainty about whether consumption was permitted or not.
    Gluten Free Kosher Bread – For An Authentic And Healthy Choice.