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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Baking maven Paula Shoyer declares war on kichel. This killer recipe proves her wrong.

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Know what the most popular post on this site is, right at this very moment?  By far?

It’s a post called “Mmm… kichelicious.”

I adore kichel, the dry unsweetened European cookie that has been a staple of Jewish life since… well, probably since someone’s Bubby needed to make cookies and discovered that she was out of sugar.  Apparently, thousands of people out there on the Internet love kichel and want to know how to make it well at home.

okDSCN2421 But celebrity kosher baker Paula Shoyer does not.  Which is too bad, because in every other way, she’s absolutely perfect. 

I enjoyed a baking demo she did yesterday at the home of the U.S. ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro.  She did a really great job of preparing a couple of basic recipes that I hope to share with you very soon.

But the real reason for her crusade to bring simple, delicious pareve baking recipes to home cooks is because, as she said yesterday, “in the U.S., pareve desserts… are absolutely horrific.”

Foremost among the horrors?  The kichels on every table, at every shul kiddush.  Paula did not mince words, describing them as a “dog biscuit with sugar on top.”

Them’s fightin’ words, Paula. 

Monday, January 19, 2015

How many minutes till snack time?? Feeding hungry kids after school.

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What do you feed your kids when they walk through the door?

(Or do you feed them at all?)

I admit, this is one of my weaknesses as a parent.  One of the things I’m really not so good at.

Maybe you’re better than me at this (if so, I want to hear from you in the comments!), but perhaps the thing I’m worst at, as a parent, is feeding starving kids – my own.

When they walk in the door after school, they’re famished.  Not literally starving, as I’ve told them many times.  But they are very, very hungry.

Worse still is that they usually don’t realize it yet.  They don’t feel hungry – but they are.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Go soak your head… and NOT your beans!

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Here it is:  The bean snob’s guide to delicious quick-cook, no-soak beans.

Do you love beans?  Or do you just put up with them?

For years, in Canada, we were hooked on canned beans.  We put up with them, even enjoyed them, if they were seasoned heavily enough.

Blah.  Never again.

Here in Israel, I’ve become a beany snob. 

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(nothing delicious can come out of here…)

Canned beans may be easy, but they are also mushy and worse than flavourless – they’re tin-flavoured.  Here, canned beans practically don’t exist, so we don’t have any choice.  And the great news is that from-scratch beans are tastier, too.  By which I mean they taste like something.  As opposed to a tin can.

Monday, January 12, 2015

The Powerful Secret of Thick, Rich, Homemade Winter Soups

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I’m sure you know how to make soup.  Good soup.  Maybe great soup. 

(It’s cold outside.  Just close your eyes and think of delicious soup…)

Maybe you’re thinking you don’t need more soup recipes.

I agree.  You don’t.  Here’s how you can make your current homemade soups even better, without adding a ton of more work.

I’ve been making soup for years.  Years and years.  Years and years and years.  But this year, I’ve discovered a trick that makes even good soups a million times greater.  It boosts the soup’s nutrition and flavour – and it’s easy.

The trick is…

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ooey gooey can’t-believe-they’re-pareve “Turtles” (we ate them, so I can’t show you what they look like).

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If only I had taken a picture.  But Shabbos was early, one of the earliest of the year.  And now, they’re all gone.  I hope that tells you how yummy these are.  Like, “I can’t-believe-these-are-pareve” yummy.

Imagine hunks of gooey caramel, topped with lightly toasted pecans and just the right amount of dark chocolate.  You know, sort of like Turtles?  Except these guys are easy to make at home, out of regular coconut milk.  And no, they really truly do NOT taste like coconut.  (Not that I mind the taste of coconut; it’s the texture I can’t stand.)

Special tools?

image I usually hate nonstick, but I happen to have this heavy-duty nonstick muffin top pan.  This also comes in handy before Rosh Hashanah to make honey cake tops, which are absolutely divine.  You could also use a whoopie pie pan, or make these in silicone baking cups.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

3 magic ways to keep it clean: getting sticky dough off your hands.

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So you made bread.  Good for you!

Now what do you do with those ooky, ooky fingers?  Try one of these three magic tricks to get your hands sparkly again in no time.

1)  Get scraping

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Grab your trusty bench scraper.  It doesn’t have to be fancy, but I haven’t found any other tool that works as well.  Now, just like you’re stripping paint from the wall, gently SCRAAAAAAAPE the dough together.  Off your palms, the backs of your hands, between your fingers, wherever it’s stuck.  Once you have most of the dough loosened, you can rub that around your hands to get the rest off.  Don’t throw it away.  Just ball it up and toss it in wherever the rest of your dough is rising. 

2)  Fight flour with flour

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