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Showing posts from May, 2014

Name that cooking implement

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Every once in a while, I have to ask someone to pass me something in the kitchen… and sometimes, I get stuck.  Consider, for example, the humble spatula.Oh… unless you meanOr – did you meanYeah, it’s hard to tell.  What?  You call this last one a RUBBER spatula?  Well, good for you, but doesn’t that mean you think it’s a spatula?  “Rubber” is just an adjective, after all… it shouldn’t have the power to make you hand me the totally wrong implement.A few years ago, I started noticing another entrant in the spatula competition.  Happily, the world seems to have acknowledged the confusion and informally dubbed it the SPOONULA.  You could also call it a SCOOPULA, because it’s scoopier than a regular spatula.  But in my head, I admit… it’s always going to be a SPLATULA.  (Why?  It holds more stuff… and stuff goes splat.)Some people call the first kind of spatula a TURNER, like as in a “pancake turner” or “fish turner”.  But to me, THIS is turning.What you do with fish and pancakes isn’t tur…

From “too-wet” dough… to perfect no-knead challah

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Okay, I will spoil the surprise with a great shot of the finished challahs and the message that there is NO such thing (short of cake batter) as a too-wet dough.  Are you cut out for no-knead challah baking?  Maybe!  Read on to find out.When people find out I bake challah, their first question is usually, “do you use a mixer?”  The assumption here is that making bread is onerous; so onerous that we need heavy-duty motorized tools to accomplish it.  Um, hello?  For thousands of years people baked bread without mixers.  Okay, they also did laundry without washing machines… so maybe that isn’t as good a point as I thought.But here’s my point:  making bread dough is easy, and you don’t need a mixer.  Heck, you don’t even need to mix the dough at all.  And if you play your cards right, your bread will be even moister and more delicious for the experience.Aside:  You do, however, need one important tool:  a dough scraper.  This is almost exactly like a paint scraper.  You can see it in the …

Yom HaAtzmaut – Independence Day Challah

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Looking for pictures to go with a blog post about Israel’s Independence Day, coming up this Tuesday, I discovered a beautiful “new” (to me) challah tradition:  the Yom HaAtzmaut Challah.(photo credit:  רותי רוטשטיין, via wikimedia)According to the note that came with the picture, there are a few explanations for the unique design of the challah:“The center of the special holiday meal is a challah made ​​of twelve parts, which reminds us of the 12 tribes, symbolizing the unification of all parts of the nation and in memory of ancient days.”The shape of the challah is also reminiscent of a crown… intentionally so.  And, of course, there are charming little flags poked into every single segment to top it off.The photographer says:“We have adopted the custom of baking a special Independence Day challah from the Pri-Chen family who lived in the village. We've passed this practice to the next generation and it’s been accepted as part of our regular Independence Day meal.  The late David…

The secret to kichelicious kichel

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What are kichel, you ask?  Whether you know them as “bow-ties” or “nothings” or “eyer-kichel” (my Bubby’s version) or “keekle,” they are cookies, but they are so much more than cookies.  Actually, they are both more and less than cookies.  They are puffed-up egg and air trapped in a gluteny web of flour.  They are not themselves sweet, but coated in sugar so eaters think they are.  Good kichel are addictive:  like popcorn, you can’t eat just one.  Though heavy and Jewish and rich and filling, they are also just that little bit zen.And now I have learned the secret to making good ones!Growing up, I was fascinated by everything about my mother’s new mixer.  Yes, even ten years later, it was still her new mixer.  It was special:  it was a Kenwood Chef.  She had to special-order it from England, and after she did, spent the next ten years correcting people who thought it was a Kenmore.  Kenmore was a cheap Sears brand you could get at Fairview Mall; Kenwood was NOT.I thought this mixer w…

More delicious kosher morsels!