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Showing posts from February 21, 2010

Something's Not Kosher Here

Meryl Streep does a very good imitation of Julia Child. But the real Julia Child is even better.

While forced to stay home from work due to yet another round of the snowcalype, I busied myself trawling the intertubes. Posted on andrewsullivan.com was this YouTube clip of her as a guest on Letterman sometime in 1987.

This is true Julia, handling Letterman's snide remarks and lack of time with ease and humor. Despite topping her creation with cheese, a BIG kosher no-no, it's worth watching:

Rugelach

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Rugelach (pronounced RUH-ge-lakh) are rolled, crescent-shaped mini pastry-style cookies.  They can be filled with fruit preserves, chocolate or both if desired.

Rugelach are made with using cream-cheese dough.  I have made them with yeast doughs and cookie doughs, and in my humble opinion the very best kind are ... whichever one I happen to be eating.  But the cookie style is a little easier to make.   I haven't tried yet, but you can probably use margarine, parve cream cheese substitute and soy milk if you want to make this parve/vegan.

rugalach
1/2 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
4 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 cups flour
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup dark or golden raisins
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup seedless raspberry preserves
Milk
Sugar

Using an electric mixer or wooden spoon, cream the butter and cream cheese in a large bowl until soft and well blended. Stir in the salt and confecti…

Tabouli

Tabouli is a middle eastern dish. It can be a light entree, or a side to anything else: meat, dairy or another parve dish. Kasha is also known as bulgar or buckwheat groats, which sounds crunchy, and it is if not cooked. It comes in several grinds, from fine to coarse. I prefer the medium, but you can use your favorite. Many kasha recipes start out by first pan-frying the kasha mixed with a lightly scrambled egg, but that step is not used here. Fresh tomatoes and parsley are required though, so if it's the dead of winter where you are and good, ripe tomatoes are not available, you might want to hold off making tabouli until a later time.

Tabouli
Serves 8 as a side-dish, 4 as a main dish.

1 cup kasha, medium grind
2 cups boiling water
2 ripe tomatoes, seeded and finely diced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup packed fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small cucumber, peeled and finely chopped
black pepper and salt, to taste

Place…

Challah

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I. Love. Challah.

Challah is a honey-egg bread, shaped into a 3 or 4 strand (or more to be really fancy) braid. Except on Rosh Hashanah, where the dough is coiled into a round shape to represent the life cycle.

A good challah does not need any butter, jam or anything else on it. In fact, storage instructions are not included because there are rarely any leftovers to store.

The original recipe, given to me years ago by a fellow Hadassah member, only makes 1 loaf because I usually make it in my stand mixer with the dough hook, but the bowl can only hold up to 5 cups of flour (after that the dough climbs up the dough hook in a futile attempt to escape). When I first bought this particular stand mixer, I had previously burned out 2 others of lesser quality, and didn't want to have to replace a third one. My current mixer is now over 17 years old and shows no sign of pooping out. When I win the lottery, I'll buy the larger version.

*Update* I will be using this recipe to mak…

Hamantaschen

Since Purim is coming up, I thought a recipe for Hamantaschen would be nice.

For those not in the know, Hamantaschen are triangular-shaped cookies, traditionally served during Purim.  Haman was the bad guy in the story of Purim, another holiday that can be explained as:

They tried to kill us.
We won.
Let's eat!

Depending upon which authority you listen to, Hamantaschen represent either Haman's ears or Haman's hat. They used to be only made with prune filling, but nowadays they can be filled with preserves, nuts or even chocolate.  Despite my love affair with the latter, I really prefer a nice raspberry preserve filling. 

Hamantaschen

3 eggs
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 stick margarine, softened and cut up
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup orange juice
5 1/2 cups all purpose flour, plus up to 1/2 cup more
one scant tablespoon baking powder
1 cup raspberry (or any other fruit) preserves, or 1 cup chocolate chips

 In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sug…

Red Lentil Dal as Comfort Food

One day my middle child was home from school sick. I don't recall what disease he had, but it was the kind where they don't really have that bad of a fever, but they feel miserable and don't want to eat much. That was the day I decided that I would try making this new recipe I found for Dal. I offered it to middle child, who at the time lived on air alone, but for some reason said he would try it. He loved it! So from then on whenever he was sick he would ask me to make some for him.

Dal is an Indian dish usually made with lentils. Red lentils are really misnamed because they are orange-colored dried in the bag, and cook up yellow. Red lentils do not have the earthy taste of regular brown ones, so if you don't like brown try red.

The original recipe called for onions 3 different ways, one portioned saut├ęd until almost caramelized, one portion cooked slightly and finally a couple tablespoons tossed on at the end as garnish. I cut out the last two ways to save t…