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Showing posts from 2013

Want, want, want… (ice cream bread?)

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Hmm… maybe I’ve got time to make this before we go?!?!?!?Three ingredients (two if you omit sugar, which sounds like a good plan)!Three minutes (not counting thaw time)!No kneading!(Apparently) not too sweet!… Holy Oh-Em-Jee, everybody – it’s ICE CREAM BREAD.Ice.Cream.Bread.Step the First.  You thaw the ice cream.Step the Second.  You stir in self-rising flour.  Okay, this isn’t exactly ONE ingredient, and I normally consider it an abomination, but I happen to have TWO bags of the stuff here that Ted bought by accident.Step the Third.  Bake.Step the Fourth.  Indulge.The “secret recipe” is more of a ratio than anything else:1 cup full-fat ice cream : 3/4 cup self-rising flourBake at 350° for 25-45 minutes (depending on how big a batch) until toothpick comes out clean.This version recommends Triple Brownie ice cream, 1 cup : 3/4 cup and bakes for 25-30 minutes.  This version uses Butter Pecan, doubled to have 2 cup : 1 1/2 cup and baked for 45 minutes.Play with it, let me know which yo…

Cheapo Make n’ Take Muffin Tote idea

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Came up with this concept on my way out the door with a bunch of piping-hot-from-the-oven Berry Smash Muffins this morning… This Cookie Crisp box was on top of the recycle bin, still nice and clean, and it turns out it’s exactly the right height to fit these muffins.  And fifteen muffins fit perfectly into the box.  I slid them in, taped it firmly shut, and we were on our way!  They arrived much happier than usual.  I also happened to have a pair of scissors, so I could cut it open in perfect “Kel-Bol-Pak” style.  As Jerry Seinfeld used to say, “what was the point of this?  Pretending your parents couldn’t afford a bowl?”Separated at birth???I made the muffins without streusel, by the way, since it never seems to travel well anyway.  I also cut down the sugar a bit, to 3/4 or 1 cup instead of 1 1/3 cups.So there it is – my token post to my much-neglected Bread Blog.To see more of my currently overwhelming project, check out my aliyah blog!!!

More blueberry buns! (a poem)

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I don’t make these very often, so it always feel like an Occasion.  I got so exited that I took a bunch of pictures, but then I turns out I already blogged here about the process (you can perhaps forgive my memory lapse given that it was almost three years ago!).Since I have included the pictures already in this post, I will take the liberty of writ out the steps in poetic form instead:Snatch a round wad of fresh, fresh, fresh, dough / That’s already had sev’ral hours to grow;Roll it out pancake-flat and round / With two tablespoons of blue-filling crowned;Fold it tight-closed like half of a moon / Fingertips pounce upon’t to form a cocoon.Peel it on up from its bed on the table / pinching as tight as your fingers are able;Pinch and pinch and pinch some more / Lest blueberry filling sploosh out on the floor;When the pinching time’s fully done / Lie it so gently next to your last bun;Now if, on the pan, a bun should crack open / Pinch ever more tightly and start in to hopin’Pinch one m…

Unafraid: zero-waste challah, the eco-happy way

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Don’t know about you, but I was afraid of dough for a long time.  Afraid to let it touch anything, because it’s so darn sticky.  Afraid to let it rise uncovered, careful to set it on parchment or silicone when baking.  Careful that the challahs were spaced just so when I put them in the oven to bake, so they wouldn’t end up touching.  Careful, and afraid.But just look at my challahs now!They’re naked, completely uncovered as they rise.They’re bare-bottomed, sitting right on the table.I’m not using a baking pan at all.Experience and a couple of good tools have changed all that… mainly the little bench scraper in the back, which I’ve raved about here before.  Also, a baking stone – preheated properly, it’s hot enough when you put the challahs in that nothing will stick to it.  Even if it does stick, a nudge with the scraper is enough to dislodge it.  Also, I oil the challah generously as I portion it, so that by the time I’m finished rolling out the “snakes,” the wooden tabletop is pret…

Look what ELSE you can do with yeast!

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In all the years I have been playing with yeast and homeschooling, I have never, ever thought to mix the two!  Luckily, Ms Frizzle did, and last month’s Magic School Bus science kit was all about bacteria and fungi.  Oooey gooey fun!For all the exciting details, please see the full post over at my regular blog!How many any other cool ways are there to use baking to teach science???

Pot pie with Sweet Potato Dumplings / Biscuits

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When you want a chicken pot pie but are a) you only have one frozen pie crust (or don’t want to fuss with a top crust), and can’t even think of a b), why not make this EASY sweet-potato-dumpling topped version instead?  (if you are enthused by this idea, see also this post about putting cornbread on top of chili)You don’t even have to use meat!  Putting a quick bread on TOP of a moist, savoury dish (whether it’s meat or dairy or even vegan, as I have been known to do with roasted root vegetables and tofu) compensates for all the downsides of quick breads – namely that they tend to dry out quickly and be less full-bodied in flavour, while lacking the exquisite texture of true breads.  Baked on top of a yummy filling – whether you have a bottom crust or not – the quick bread (dumplings, cornbread, beer bread or any quick bread you like) stay moist, absorb flavour, and add texture and substance to round out a meal.(Technicality:  FYI, “quick bread” is the term used to describe any non-ye…

Schlissel challah: Witchcraft, divination or… good clean bread-based fun?

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In answer to the question in the title… well, my vote is with the latter (cast yours below in the Comments section!).  When I posted a reminder on facebook last night to think about including a key in the first post-Pesach challahs (see this old post to find out why), somebody posted a link to this article (“Shlissel Challah – The Loaf of Idolatry?”) and someone else recommended this one (“Serious Segulah or Pagan Piffle?”).  One person wrote, “the origins of shlissel challah is completely avodah zarah [idol worship].”  Ouch.  One commenter in a thread of one of the posts above wrote that a prominent rav “called this shlissel challah minhag "ridiculous", a violation of nichush [divination], and told his wife not to "dare" do it.”I read the articles – really, I did.  I love fascinating new information.  I love controversy.The first article (“Loaf of Idolatry?”) made me sad, partly because his article claims to be all scholarly but he doesn't really prove his poi…

Transform Pesach brownies into… something else

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If your family is sick of Pesach brownies, or never liked them in the first place, or you’re looking for something a little shmancier, why not turn regular brownies into… well, this little compact-brownie terrine-thing that I don’t have a name for?  (If after reading this post you know what it’s called, please leave a comment letting me know!)It reminds me of those 5-layer Pesach bar cakes that you can buy for ridiculous prices in stores… only much, much cheaper. I use two cast-iron loaf pans, which is nice because they’re heavy, thick and sturdy, but I imagine any two pans the same size will work.  (cast iron is also nice because it kashers for Pesach nice n’ easy when I self-clean the oven…).This is not so much a recipe as a technique I hope will inspire you to great heights of deliciousness.You may want to line your loaf pan with plastic wrap before you begin for ease of removal.  I forgot – doh!Bake two square pans of Pesach brownies (recipe below, or Ester has a good one at her F…

Annual Homeschool Matzah Bake 5773/2013

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Once again, we had some friends over for what’s become an annual pre-Pesach ritual:  home matzah baking!   Not kosher-le-Pesach, of course, but still… fun.Recalling pitfalls from previous years, I vowed to:have enough rolling pins this year (everybody wants to roll!)* mix the dough by hand (no mixer – too sticky and, surprisingly, slower) no pasta roller – it produces more professional results but also, surprisingly, slower (previous years’ posts:  5772, 5771, 5770 (just us, no friends))I also pre-measured the flour and water, so each bowl had 1 cup of flour, with 1/3 of a cup of water standing by to pour in.*NOTE:  To make sure I had enough rolling pins, I went to Home Depot yesterday and bought a 4-foot dowel (maybe 1.25” diameter?) and had them slice it into 4.  With a bit of sandpaper, a good washing, and a final oiling step, I had four perfectly useable kid-size rolling pins, for maybe $7-8.  (I did try Dollarama first but they had no rolling pins of any description, and I certai…

Happy Baking Moment

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Last Shabbos, Ted made brownies from a mix… and Sara came over and decorated it, all professional-like: Happy happy chometz, nestled in its parchment… little suspecting Pesach is on its way!

Is this normal –?

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Thursday night truly begins only when I do my challah calculations and print out the week’s customized spreadsheet.  I have spreadsheets like this set up for about 6 challah recipes and a few other breads (a sourdough cornbread, the chocolate sourdough I use for sufganiyot and a few more recipes that need scaling up or down at various times.Every week, it’s a new printout.  I feel bad wasting the paper, but I feel like I have a clean new formula to work with.  What I should do is just keep a copy of the recipe, scaled for x2, x3, x4 etc (x3 makes 5 challahs, plus a bit; that’s what I’m making this week).  I have one hanging around from Rosh Hashanah that has something like x9 on it, and that was half what I ended up making, I think.Anyway, I do waste the paper, and it may not be normal, but it feels good to start fresh each week… so there.This is the basic “reliable challah” (eggless) that I make when somebody orders challah (I occasionally and VERY informally sell challah to friends …

What’s with all the POPPY -?

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My big culinary surprise in Israel: poppy seeds are everywhere, disguised, in baked goods. Now, I like poppy seeds plenty, in their place. I like them generously sprinkled on bagels, pletzel and challahs. I will even tolerate them in mango dressing and lemon cake. But I do not eat poppy-seed hamentaschen, and it is a very bad surprise indeed to bite into what you think is some sort of chocolate dessert bar, only to realize that the “chocolate” is poppy. Or, the next night, into a piece of “banana cake,” only to realize that the speckles are not banana, but poppy. I think my issue is with dry, salty poppy seeds as a condiment (yum) vs wet, mushy poppy seeds as the main event (yuck!).Why are they so wildly popular over there, anyway???You will notice I refrained from – in the jolly Purim spirit – calling them “poppy”-lar?  ;-)

Hamentaschen – 3 ways

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Coming back from Israel just yesterday, I wanted hamentaschen that reflected all that we’d enjoyed there, culinarily.  I didn’t quite hit the mark, but I did come up with two cute variations…I used my usual dough recipe from Second Helpings, Please (image below), though I don’t love it because it tends to misbehave in unpredictable ways.  It has never come out the same way twice in twenty years (sigh, I feel so old saying that, but it’s true – the cookbook was a wedding present at my first wedding, and the children of that marriage are now far closer to 20 than to zero).This time, I did it in the food processor, where, of course, it totally jammed and made a sticky mess.  Ultimately, I added a lot more flour than usual and they came out okay.  It doesn’t taste like it usually does, but it worked.I always do one batch with a classic prune filling – or, as my baker sister likes to say, dried plums.  It just sounds so much swankier that way.For the variations, I decided to do a halva fil…

Pineapple upside-downishness...

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Posted from my new BlackBerry PlayBook (so many mixed-capital letters!) because it takes decent pictures and I can get them up here right away.  Yay!Here’s tomorrow night’s pineapple upside-down cake – a vintage classic.  I admit, I have never loved pineapple anything, but we had the bottle of cherries sitting around,and the funky visual appeal of this cake is irresistible (indeed, I was moved to make this by a picture on a facebook friend’s profile).  Haven’t tasted it yet, but the recipe is pasted at the bottom of this post if you’d like to try it yourself.A big plus of this cake is that it’s “naturally” pareve, ie no messy recipe adaptations required.  A big minus, in some folks’ opinion, is that the main “moistener” is mayonnaise… well, that and boiling water.  If you can get past the idea that you’re eating mayonnaise cake, another plus is that you don’t need to add eggs.  You can also try part-mayo and part-yogurt or sour cream or buttermilk if you want a dairy cake.  Probably a…

More delicious kosher morsels!