Classic Hamantashen

unbaked-hamantaschen

3 cups flour
½ cup finely ground almonds
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup sugar
Zest of 1 lemon
½ pound unsalted margarine or butter
1 egg
2 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 egg white, lightly beaten

Hamantashen Fillings

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a large bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, almonds, baking powder, salt, sugar, and lemon zest. Blend or cut in the butter until the mixture resembles very fine crumbs.

In a small bow, beat the egg, water and lemon juice until well blended. Add to the flour mixture and beat until completely blended and the mixture begin to form a dough. Do not over mix.

Transfer to a floured board and knead the dough into a ball. Divide the ball into 6 equal portions for easier handling. Flatten each portion with the palms of your hands and roll it out to ¼ inch thick. With a scalloped cookie cutter or the top of a water glass, cut into 3 ½ inch rounds. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of filling in the center of each round. Fold the edges of the dough toward the center to form a triangle, leaving a bit of the filling visible in the center. Pinch the edges to seal them.

Place the hamantashen on a lightly greased foil-lined baking sheet and brush with egg white. Bake fro 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool and eat.

Hamantashen Prune Filling

1 ¼ cups pitted prunes
½ cup raisins
Sweet wine or water
½ cup sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 orange
½ cup walnuts, toasted

In a large bowl, soak the prunes and raisins in enough wine to cover for 3 hours or overnight. Drain well. Chop or mince the prunes and raisins. Add the sugar, lemon juice and zests, and walnuts and mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Hamantashen Poppy Seed Filling

4 ounces poppy seed
½ cup pareve milk
1 tablespoon unsalted margarine or butter
¼ cup seedless raisins
¼ cup walnuts, toasted
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan, combine the poppy seeds, pareve milk, margarine, raisins, walnuts, and honey. Bring to a boil and stir over medium heat until the pareve milk is absorbed and the mixture thickens. Cool. Stir in the vanilla.

Easy Hamantashen with Gourmet Fillings

Submitted by Sarah Faygie Berkowitz

Ingredients:
1 Duncan Hines Cake Mix (lemon, chocolate, butter golden, yellow strawberry,etc...)
1 cup white whole wheat flour (or regular)
2 eggs
2 tablespoons water
(Note the absence of oil, margarine or butter!)

Gourmet Filling Options:
Apple Pie: chopped apples and walnuts, cinnamon and sugar

Cappuccino: Nestle's Iced Jave syrup and a few chocolate chunks or chips

Strawberry Daiquiri: Strawberry Preserves (or cut up fresh strawberries) and a shot of Strawberry Daiquiri Syrup

Peanut butter and Jelly: A 1/2 spoonful of each side by side

Lemon Zest: a small spoonful of lemon pie filling and grated lemon zest

Cranberry Pecan: A scoop of whole cranberry sauce (chopped fresh or frozen cranberries optional) and chopped pecans

Cooking Instructions:
Mix all ingredients well with an electric mixer. Roll out dough to desired thickness. Cut out circles using a yartzheit glass or other round shape.

Place spoonfuls of filling, pinch corners together, place on parchment paper or greased cookie sheet and bake 12 - 15 minutes, depending on desired firmness and oven accuracy.

Other Tips/Notes:

TIPS:

This dough really needs to be mixed in a kitchen aid. I tried by hand and only got crumbs and thought it was yet another defective recipe. The mixer made a perfect dough of my crumbs in about 4 seconds. The trick is to try to roll it out evenly on a floured surface (thick or thin - however you like it). One of the beauties of this dough is that you don't have to pinch it to death to keep the filling contained. It doesn't open up and ooze out like some other recipes I've tried.

Hamantashen, hamentaschen

Cranberry White Chocolate Hamentashen

I've waited my whole life for this recipe. I've made dozens over the years and none of them were what I wanted. I got the fillings down pat (anything but prune) but the great dough eluded me. Back in Atlanta, I suddenly remembered tasting a hamentash a neighbor had made years ago. I called her, and here it is in all its simple glory (if you've seen it before and everyone and her sister knows this one, don't burst my bubble. Just be happy for me.)
This one is from Shoshana Ohriner
Recipe : Cranberry White Chocolate Hamentashen

Ingredients:
1/2 cup margarine, cut into 8 pieces
1/2 cup shortening, cut into 8 pieces
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup chopped nuts
1 teaspoon orange zest
2 beaten eggs
2-4 tablespoons orange juice
1 egg + 1 tablespoon water, lightly beaten

Cranberry White Chocolate Filling
1 12 oz bag cranberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup orange juice
6 tablespoons sugar
4 oz white chocolate chips

Cooking Instructions:

Pulse the dry ingredients in the food processor until well combined. Add the margarine and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add beaten eggs and pulse until combined.

Remove the from the food processor and pour into a large bowl. Sprinkle with two tablespoons of orange juice and mix until it comes together into a ball.

If the dough seems dry add the remaining orange juice.

Divide the dough into two disks, wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour.
While the dough is chilling make the filling. Place the cranberries, orange juice and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until all the cranberries have popped.

Remove from heat and add chocolate chips. Stir until they are melted. Let filling cool to room temperature.
Roll out dough and using a round cutter, cut into circles. Fill each circle with a small amount of filling. (For 2 inch circles use about a teaspoon of filling). Brush each circle with the egg wash and fold two sides together, pinching tight to make a corner. Fold up the remaining side to make a triangle with the filling showing in the middle and pinch the other two corners well. It is important that they are well pinched, so that they do not come open in the oven.
Bake at 350 until they are slightly firm to the touch, about 11 minutes.

American Embassy Hamantashen

Submitted by Rochel Lieberman

Ingredients:
Dough:
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 cups flour, sifted
1 egg, beaten
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons Orange Juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

Filling:
(either prepared or home-made)

Cooking Instructions:

Sift together sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt. Work the shortening in by hand (you can also do this in a food processor). Add the egg and orange juice, mixing until a dough is formed. Chill overnight, if possible, or at least 2 hours. Prepare Filling.

Roll out dough ~ 1/8th inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 3″ circles, and place 1 heaping teaspoonful of the filling on each. Pinch 3 edges together, leaving a small opening in the center. Place on a greased and floured cookie sheet, cover with a towel and let rest for 1/2 hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20 minutes, until delicately browned on top. Transfer to cooling rack until completely cool. Can be frozen, but don’t expect to find too many left for Purim!

Other Tips/Notes:
When we lived in Mexico in the 1980′s we became close friends with a giyores tzedek who was on diplomatic post in the American Embassy, She often brought us “treats” from the commissary, including her own baked goods that used “American” (i.e. unavailable to us) ingredients. This is her recipe, which we have enjoyed making for years afterwards, now that we are back in the US and have access to kosher ingredients. Enjoy!

Glass Pot

massimo_Glass_Pot

Only the Museum of Modern Art would carry this chic new pot designed by Massimo Castagna from Italy. They are hand-made with tempered glass. Cooking in these pots definitely brings cooking to life. I love to watch the pasta dance and twirl and see vegetables become bold as they cook. It's definitely a splurge but maybe try it for Passover and turn dinner prep into a show.

Available at momastore.org

Lots of Banana Fun – How to Peel Them and What to Make

banana

If you’ve been peeling bananas from the stem, there’s a better way. Monkeys, who know their bananas, use the stem as a handle and pinch the other end to split the peel, as shown here. The peel comes off evenly and cleanly, taking more of those stringy bits with it.

Frozen bananas are great in smoothies and milkshakes and help sweeten treats without a lot of extra sugar. I freeze the overripe ones in the peel, or peel them and slice them and freeze them in a single layer so that they don’t all stick together.

Try these recipes that with bananas…
Pumpkin Bread Sweetened with Banana
Healthy Applesauce Muffins
Peanut Butter and Banana Smoothie
What to do with an over-ripe banana, more recipes here.

Lasagna Soup

lasagnasoup
My sister sent me this creative and delicious recipe that she got from a friend at her book group. I loved the concept and my sister and I made a few edits to make it kosher. It’s delicious and a lot of fun to serve. It has all the great flavors of lasagna in one bowl of soup. The original recipe came from a website called afarmgirlsdabbles.com.

Serves 8
Soup:
2 teaspoons olive oil
3 cups chopped onions
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 28-oz. can "fire roasted” diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
6 cups pareve chicken stock or vegetable stock
8 oz. fusilli pasta, cooked according to package instructions
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
3 cups fresh spinach, optional
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
for the cheesy part:
8 oz. ricotta
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch of freshly ground pepper
Extra mozzarella for topping

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and cook until softened, about 6 minutes. Add garlic, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1
minute. Add tomato paste and stir well to incorporate. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Add diced tomatoes, bay leaves, and stock. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add cooked noodles and simmer for 5 minutes or until noodles are warmed through.

Right before serving, stir in the basil and spinach. Season to taste with salt and ground black pepper.

For the cheesy part, yumminess…
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper.
To serve, place a dollop the cheesy yum in each soup bowl and ladle the hot soup over the cheese. Sprinkle some of the mozzarella on top.

Starting 2015 with Healthy and Energy Boosting Snacks

Although January 1 has no significance on the Jewish calendar, people still use it as a benchmark for restarting a healthy diet. Gym memberships, diet websites, and nutritionists are busier than ever this time of year.

There are no easy fixes for dieting or miracle foods in the energy equation, but smart food choices really boost your day. It’s a crucial time to treat your body well. Kids need more energy and hydration to stay perked up for learning and adults have longer days than ever. In addition to watching my diet, I’m keeping my refrigerator full of kale and arugula for interesting salads and making some homemade snack bars and muffins to keep the kids happy and better nourished. Try these simple and tasty recipes that meet healthy lifestyle standards and taste great.

Healthy Applesauce Muffins
Edamame Dip
Cherry Almond Energy Bars
Pumpkin Bread Sweetened with Bananas
Kale Chips

Broccoli and Cauliflower Side Dishes

Malibu Farms for Food & Wine Magazine

People ask me for good side dish ideas all year long. It seems we are always trying to get our veggie servings in, each and everyday. Here are a few that I make, both weekday and sometimes for Friday night. You can use either fresh or frozen and broccoli or cauliflower or a combo in both of these recipes but make sure you start out with defrosted and dry vegetables.

Broccoli Roasted in Aioli
Roasted Cauliflower and Grapes

Broccoli Roasted in Aioli

photo: Luis Gracia

photo: Luis Gracia


Serves 8

2/3 cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
Salt
Pepper
2-3/4 pounds broccoli (3 medium heads), cut into florets, stems reserved for another use, or cauliflower florets
.
Preheat the broiler and position a rack 8 inches from the heat. In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the olive oil, lemon juice and garlic and season generously with salt and pepper. Add the broccoli florets and toss to coat.

Spread half of the broccoli on a large rimmed baking sheet and broil for about 7 minutes, until lightly charred and the edges are crisp. Transfer the charred broccoli to a platter and repeat with the remaining broccoli. Serve right away.

Need more broccoli recipes? Try these:
Roasted Broccoli with Seasoned Breadcrumbs
Creamy Roasted Broccoli Soup

Roasted Cauliflower and Grapes

photo: Jame

photo: Jame


Serves 8

Food and Wine magazine posted this recipe. It’s an interesting combination of flavors that is wonderful together. The grapes get intensely sweet and concentrated and the cauliflower is hearty and has great texture.

One 2-pound head of cauliflower—halved, cored and cut into florets or 2 smaller cauliflower heads.
1/2 pound red grapes, stemmed and halved (1 1/2 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons chopped rosemary
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. On a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil, toss the cauliflower with the grapes, garlic, rosemary and olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast for about 30 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and lightly caramelized in spots; stir halfway through. Transfer to a platter and serve warm.

Need more cauliflower recipes? Try these:
Moroccan Roasted Cauliflower
Curried Cauliflower

Spice Blends

spice-blend
Here are a few blends you have heard of but never knew how to use.

Using the right spice blend can mean the difference between an authentic tasting dish and one that’s just okay. Find these spice blends in your local markets, specialty markets and online at penzeys.com or kalustyans.com (make sure you verify kosher certification before purchasing). And if you don’t want to buy them, here are the essential ingredients in each mixture. They take the ordinary dishes and make them extraordinary plus they make everyday cooking so easy because they liven up regular roasted chicken, rice or vegetables. Just use the spice blend with some olive oil, kosher salt and pepper and roast. Delicious and easy.

Za’atar: Classic middle Eastern blend that includes sesame seeds oreganzo or thyme and sumac. I like to sprinkle it on chicken or fish and add lots of lemon, garlic and olive oil.
Try Grilled Chicken with Za’atar and Lemon or Zaatar Salmon.

Ras-el-hanout: Blend of cardomom, cinnamon, cloves, turmeric and coriander. It’s a North African blend and is amazing sprinkled on lamb before grilling or roasting, adds warm flavor to rice pilaf or couscous and delicious added to cholent.

Dukka: This Egyptian ground spice and nut blend includes hazelnuts, cumin, caraway, sesame, coriander and mint. Sprinkle on challah, or roasted vegetables.

Vadouvan: This French-Indian blend is used as a substitute for curry in anything from soup, to chicken or meat. It includes onion, shallots, garlic, cumin and curry.

Baharat: A blend of black pepper, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and cardomom. Season beef or soups with this warm blend.

White Asparagus

whiteasparagus
White asparagus has become very popular in Jewish markets because washing green asparagus is more difficult and challenging to confirm that no bugs are hiding in those delicious tops. White asparagus is less bitter and more tender than its green counterpart. It’s pale because it’s grown covered in dirt so it’s never exposed to sunlight and does not develop chlorophyll. I think it has a dressy and elegant appearance, white and silvery, especially combined with another green vegetable or plated with a sliced roast. It is a bit more expensive but it is a great addition to salads, as a side dish and even sliced raw.

Try these recipes with asparagus or use white asparagus in place of green asparagus in your favorite recipes.
White Asparagus Salad with Creamy Tomato Dressing
Roasted Asparagus with Orange Infused Mayonnaise
Asparagus with Sesame Citrus Sauce
Asparagus with Gluten Free Sesame Maple Dressing

Avocado and Herb Dressing

Avocado-Citrus-Salad
Makes about ¾ cup

The avocados are so delicious all year round and relatively inexpensive at Trader Joe’s and Costco. I keep them in the house as a regular staple item. We add them to salad, make fresh salsa and guacamole and now I have been experimenting with using them in salad dressings. I like this one because it’s creamy and zesty. Use whatever herbs you prefer. Full of anti-oxidants, it’s a great way to get a little healthier after Hanukah.

8 tablespoons chopped herbs (any combination of basil, parsley, mint, cilantro, chives, tarragon, or anything you like)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 avocado, pitted
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup olive oil

In a small bowl, mix herbs, garlic, avocado, lemon juice, vinegar, and salt. With an immersion blender, blend in olive oil until dressing is emulsified and creamy. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.

Use on mixed greens with tomatoes, cucumbers or any vegetables of your choice.

DIY Doughnut Ice Cream Sundaes with Homemade Fudge Sauce and Sesame Caramel Sauce

doughnuticecream

For Chanukah I usually serve doughnuts with some homemade twist, like doughnut bread pudding or doughnut ice cream sandwiches. This year, I’m making DIY doughnut ice cream sundaes, how decadent is that?!
Here is how I’m doing it but certainly use your own flair and let me know how they come out.
What you need:
Doughnuts (I like cake-style for this)
Assorted toppings: ice cream, sprinkles, nuts, chocolate chips, bananas, whipping cream, cookie crumbs, etc.
Sauces: these two below are amazing, or buy anything you like.

Chocolate Fudge Sauce
Salted Sesame Caramel

Make a buffet for assembly and have fun!

Salted Sesame Caramel

salted-caramel-sauce
Makes 2 cups

This has real sesame flavor from the tahini. Cream of tartar is optional, but it keeps the sugar from crystallizing, making this caramel foolproof.

1 cup sugar
Pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
¼ cup tahini
2 tablespoons unsalted margarine or butter
⅔ cup pareve whipping cream or heavy cream
¼ cup sesame seeds, toasted
¾ teaspoon kosher salt

Bring sugar, cream of tartar, if using, and 3 Tbsp. water to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve sugar. Boil until sugar begins to caramelize in spots. Stir with a heatproof spatula (this will help sugar cook evenly) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the color of honey, 5–7 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramel is a deep amber color, about 5 minutes longer.

Remove caramel from heat and carefully whisk in tahini and margarine/butter, then cream, sesame seeds, and salt. Let cool slightly before serving.

Do Ahead: Caramel sauce can be made 1 week ahead. Let cool; cover and chill.