Showing posts from February, 2013

Is this normal –?

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

What’s with all the POPPY -?

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

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

Pineapple upside-downishness...

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.  Pr

Quick Yeasty “Leftover” Rogelach

Blogging while my challah bakes in a stolen moment on a busy school-day work-day Friday… There are 2 schools of thought when it comes to rogelach (well, besides the totally OTHER school of thought that pronounces them “rugelach” thus causing both mirth and confusion when discussing the vegetable called arugula )… where was I? Oh, yeah.  2 schools of thought:  creamy or yeasty.  Many recipes call for cream cheese, butter, etc.  This gives a very nice, rich dough that is sometimes flaky, but is more “new world” than traditional, in my opinion.  “Old world” is to make a pareve treat you can actually eat following a good meaty Shabbos meal.  (“Awesome new world” is to think of these not as PAREVE but as VEGAN… oh, but start with an eggless dough if you want to totally feel the vegan virtue.) Like kokosh, blueberry buns, and many other yeasted delicacies from the Ashkenaz tradition, rugelach were probably invented as a way of either using up challah dough or saving the baalabuste (a

More delicious kosher morsels!