Purim Craft

Castle Craft From Recycled Tubes

Hello Gourmet Kosher Cooking readers, I’m Sara Rivka the creator of www.creativejewishmom.com, and it’s so great to be here sharing a fun Purim craft for the whole family!  This year I’m thinking about castles — castles made out of recycled cardboard tubes and a shoebox, of course! I’ve always wanted to make a castle, and realized that a colorful castle crafted by the parents or the kids or both, could be a fantastic centerpiece for the Purim sueda! There’s so many ways to go with this idea as far as materials and size. And if you don’t need a centerpiece so how about a castle mishloach manot? Just build your castle on the lid of  the shoe box and voila! 

When you’re building your castle do take in to consideration how it will look from all sides so that it truly will be an amazing centerpiece! Here’s a view of mine from the back:

Castle From Tubes and shoe box back view

You’ll Need:

  • cardboard tubes of all kinds, also mailing tubes which tend to be much wider!
  • round cans or just about anything thick and round, how about a piece of pvc pipe?
  • a shoe box
  • wrapping paper
  • colored paper
  • sheer patterned disposable table runner fabric, it’s stiff and easy to work with
  • glittered craft foam
  • hot glue and/or high tack craft glue like Alene’s
  • mod podge
  • wooden skewers

How To:

Follow my directions, but since your castle won’t be exactly like mine, don’t be afraid to re-invent this project a bit!

  1. Cover the bottom of your shoe box with some fun patterned wrapping paper. If you’ll be making a castle gift box, so cover the bottom of the shoe box and the lid separately, and continue to build your castle on the lid. 
  2. Cover the bottom of the shoebox (namely the base for your castle) with a solid piece of paper, using mod podge or diluted white glue, as the patterned wrapping paper might be a bit too distracting.
  3. Cover toilet paper tubes, some cut down to half their size and some stacked two together (or more) with the sheer sparkled (gold in my case) table runner material.
  4. Cover your largest tube, (mine is actually a box that held a bottle of scotch, so glad to finally use it!) with a bright piece of solid colored paper and make some window or castle-like details of some kind by applying pieces of colored paper with mod podge.
  5. Make some window and door details for the shoe box portion of your castle and affix with mod podge.
  6. Now it’s time to make roofs and details using the sparkled craft foam! Roofs are basically circles with one slit cut in them, from the edge to the center, and then you overlap the pieces on either side of the slit to form a little cone shape, and adhere with hot glue. Attach the roofs with hot glue or high tack glue. Attach look-out tower details (forgot what those are called!) to the tallest tubes, as well as some peep holes and tiny windows, using hot glue or high tack glue.
  7. Glue everything together, both to the base and to each other where possible, make a few flags and you’re done!
  8. Sit back and enjoy gazing at your wonderful castle and give yourself a pat on the back, you really are royalty if you managed to make this palace with everything else that’s going on before Purim!

Purim Sameach and please do stop by and visit me at www.creativejewishmom.com for lots more fun projects for Purim, and year round! Hope to see you there.

 

How to Decorate Your Fabulous Purim Table on a Budget

Hi! My name is Marlene Mamiye from The Jewish Hostess and I would like to share with you a little about my Purim table setting preparations from last year’s holiday to save you from being a last minute hostess like me!

It was Thursday morning when I realized that I was so busy blogging about how everyone ELSE should be inspired for Purim, I couldn’t believe that I had no table setting,or menu plan of my own .

Here’s when a kid with a driver’s licence will come in handy.

I always say that secret to a pretty table setting is to LAYER, LAYER, LAYER!

So, one of my kids waited in the car while I ran in to Lana’s fabric on Kings Highway to buy Zebra polyester fabric -$5.99 a yard cut into 54 inch squares- cost about $25.

I placed the 2 squares as diamonds side by side on top of my white cotton hemstitch tablecloth.

While on her way to Starbucks another of of my kids ran and bought me a pack of white paper napkins that look just like linen. $10.99.

She also bought grey luncheon napkins that we decided to fold over the white large paper napkins $4.99.

I also bought a silver chain trim from the fabric store to use as napkin rings. $3.99 a yard. Pretty- no? cost about $15.

(You can also use this napkin idea for your Passover seder.)

(Send me pics if you come up with any cool ideas!!!!)

This is how the back of the napkin should tie:

These sterling ice coffee glasses were given to us a wedding gift by Aunt Sydelle and Uncle Mosie in the 80′s. About 15 years later I realized that they were still sitting in the closet needing a good polish, so I decided to turn them into vases, and I haven’t stopped using them since! My daughter ran out and bought me the dendrobium orchids from the corner flower kiosk up the block, and I stuck these exotic masks that I ordered from from AnytimeCostumes for about $10 each into the “vases”.

So many of my goblets have broken over the years that I had to alternate clear goblets from Target with my pretty new blue goblets given to me as a Rosh Hashanah gift from my new “consuegra”- (Syrian word for my daughter’s mother-in-law.)

Lunch was not bad if I don’t say so myself.

Since the Purim Seuda is traditionally a meat one,

We had grilled chicken with kalamata olives and tomatoes on salad,

grilled minute steak roast,

wild rice with spinach and sauteed red peppers, plain white rice (for the kids),home made za’atar challah rolls filled with sliced turkey,

(let me know if you want any recipes……)

mini lahamageen,

mini kibbe, tehine, mini baked sweet potatoes,

pareve kibbe neye,

whole wheat mazor’s dough with meat hammentashen filling,

fried chicken (for the kids), and my sister Jeanette brought chicken tacos that got wiped out.

I hope that I have given you some Purim table and menu inspiration!

Trust me it will keep them coming back for more!

Please check out my site The Jewish Hostess for more table decor ideas and great kosher recipes!

Floral Globe – Perfect for Succah

by Creative Jewish Mom

Love these? Me too! I’m sure someone else in the world has come up with the same thing, but I was not looking at their idea when I made these. They’re another fun result of sitting down at the dining room table with paper circles! And the good news is you really don’t need any special supplies! As I mentioned with yesterday’s paper ornaments, don’t be afraid to try these in contrasting neutral colors for a more sophisticated look. They could be great wedding decorations too!

You’ll Need:
- colored paper
- a soup bowl to trace
- a glue stick
- a hot glue gun
- fishing line

read complete instructions here

Cupcake Liner Flowers

Cupcake Liner Flowers5

Gorgeous right? These carnation look-alikes made from cupcake liners
are fantastic, even more so in person! And you can whip up a bunch of
bouquets in very little time (and for very little cost!) once you get the hang of it. They’re
delicate and romantic with a tongue in cheek craftyness. And they would
make great centerpieces anytime, but especially for a DIY wedding, a
bridal or baby shower, and of course Shavuos! 

flower

And I just love the idea of using these floral stamens for the little all white flowers, so sweet…..can’t quite believe I made these. Mind you the idea itself is not mine, but I played around with a variety of techniques before coming up with what I think results in the nicest flowers.

You’ll Need:

  • cupcake liners in three graduating sizes (small, medium, large) You could certainly try using colored and patterned liners for this project, but there’s something really nice about creating with just the basic creme liners! (And my local store only had creme and blue striped ones……)
  • floral wire, around 22 gauge (you can use pipe cleaners for a kid’s project, but not for yours!)
  • red craft paint
  • floral stamens (even available in Israel at basic craft stores!)

How To:

  1. The large flowers are made from 9 total liners, 3 large, 3 medium and 3 small. the small flowers are made from 8 liners, all size small.
  2. Stack the liners according to size, one inside the next.
  3. With a very large needle, or something else sharp, like possibly a toothpick, poke a hole at the edge of the small liner, such that the hole goes all the way through all the layers. Make sure to keep holding your liners together after you poke the hole!
  4. Thread a piece of floral wire through the first hole, and poke a second hole ….

for complete instructions go to www.creativejewishmom.com.

Purim

When the story of Purim occurred, it was as if the world was upside-down. Nothing was the way it seemed. We live in a world today that still seems like that – venachafoch hu, upside down. Israel is reviled and the murderers of its citizens applauded. The big picture is hidden from us. Nevertheless we celebrate because we know that just as Hashem’s hidden hand was ultimately revealed and the Jews of Shushan saved, so too will it happen again and we will eventually see the redemption. We will have that clear recognition that everything is from Hashem. The curtains will be pulled back. To help get into the Purim spirit (no pun intended), we offer this Purim meal for you, your family and friends. We hope it will excite your palate and increase your Simcha! No Purim seudah would be complete without some (but not too much) alcohol. This year we’re serving Long Island Iced Tea (no slur on the Five Towns intended)

Pumpkin Challah
Baby Lamb Chops with Chianti Vinaigrette
“Shrimp” Cocktail
Tomatoes with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette
Green Salad with Champagne Dressing
Jewel Toned Orzo
Macadamia Nut Tarts
Chocolate Bread Pudding with Warm Caramel and Chocolate Sauces
Long Island Iced Tea

“Shrimp” Cocktail

shrimp-cocktail
Easy

This is always a big hit on Purim. Although some guests can’t quite bring themselves to eat it, it tastes very good!

4 (454 gram) packages imitation shrimp, defrosted and stored in the refrigerator
1 cup chili sauce
2 cups ketchup
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 avocadoes, chopped
¼ cup lime juice
½ cup chopped cilantro
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix together all ingredients except the shrimp. Stir gently but well. Keep refrigerated until ready to serve. Place sauce in a cocktail glass and hang 3 shrimp around the edge of the glass. Garnish with a slice of lime if desired.

Tomatoes with Tequila-Lime Vinaigrette

Sliced-Tomatoes

This is adapted from a recipe by Rebecca Rather.

½ cup lime juice
2 teaspoons kosher salt
½ cup tequila
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
¾ cup olive oil
6 – 8 medium-sized hot house tomatoes, sliced
Sliced kalamata olives for garnish (optional)

Whisk together the lime juice, salt, tequila, vinegar and olive oil. Add the tomatoes and toss to coat. Let the tomatoes stand at room temperature for about 2 hours before serving. Garnish with olives if desired.

Jewel Toned Orzo

adapted from original recipe from Susie Fishbein
2 tablespoons margarine
2 onions, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 yellow pepper, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 mango, chopped
1/2 cup craisins
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon, ground white pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 (16 ounce) box of orzo pasta
1 1/2 teaspoons chicken bouillon powder (pareve)

Melt the margarine in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onions, peppers, and craisins. Sauté until softened about 6-8 minutes. Season with the salt and white pepper. Add the mango and cook for one more minute. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a medium pot, heat the oil. Add the orzo and toast until golden stirring often. Add boiling water to cover by a few inches and the bouillon powder. Cook until the orzo is al dente, about 8-9 minutes. Add more water if the water boils out, ½ cup at a time until the water has evaporated or the orzo is cooked.

Combine the vegetables with the orzo. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Macadamia Nut Tarts

24 store-bought tart shells (You’re having a lot of guests and you’re allowed to cheat a little!)
½ cup (1 stick) margarine, melted
2 cups corn syrup
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional but it is Purim!)
2 cups macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Set tarts on baking sheets. Beat together the margarine, corn syrup, sugar, eggs and bourbon, if using. Stir in nuts. Fill tart shells and bake for about 40 minutes.

Happy Chanukah

Chanukah sometimes gets out of hand. We tend to overdo it with extravagant gift-giving and lavish parties. And the meaning gets obscured…Here at GourmetKosherCooking we are going back to basics. We are offering some traditional recipes – latkes, applesauce, sugar cookies – with just a few new twists, along with some simple crafts to do with your family (check out Laura Weinman’s ideas in the forum and add your own!) We are also featuring some really beautiful Menorahs (which we call beautifying a mitzvah and not an extravagance!) Happy Chanukah!

Recipes:
Basic Potato Latkes
Cheese Latkes
Sweet Potato Latkes
Zucchini Latkes with Chobani Yogurt Curry Sauce
Homemade Applesauce
Hanukkah Cookies

Basic Potato Latkes

potatolatkes
I make the same traditional recipe every year and I’ve never had any complaints. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

10 potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and cut into chunks
4 eggs
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
Oil for frying

In a food processor, using the grater blade, grate the potatoes and onions. Pour into a strainer and strain about the extra liquid. In a large bowl, mix the potato-onion mixture with the eggs,flour, salt and pepper. Heat oil in a large frying pan. When oil is hot, place large spoonfuls of the potato mixture in the pan and flatten slightly. Cook until crispy (3 to 5 minutes per side) and drain on paper towels. Can be frozen. Serve with homemade applesauce or sour cream.

Cheese Latkes

cheese-latkes-holiday
This recipe is taken from Sunset magazine and is something dairy and (slightly) different.

Ingredients
3 cups farmer’s cheese
6 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Vegetable oil for frying
Maple syrup
Sour cherry preserves
Cinnamon sugar

Preparation
1. In a large bowl, stir together farmer’s cheese, eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and flour.
2. Pour 1/2 inch oil into a 10- to 12-in. frying pan (with sides at least 1 1/2 in. high) over medium-low to medium heat. When oil reaches 300°, scoop 1/4 cup of cheese mixture from bowl, then gently drop it into hot oil. Press down lightly with a spatula to flatten. Cook 3 or 4 pancakes at a time (do not crowd pan), loosening from bottom as needed, until undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Gently turn and cook until other sides are golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
3. Transfer to paper towels to drain briefly, then keep warm in a 200° oven while you cook remaining pancakes. Serve hot, with maple syrup, sour cherry preserves, and/or cinnamon sugar.

Sweet Potato Latkes

Ingredients
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and coarsely grated
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3/4 cup vegetable oil

Preparation
Stir together potatoes, scallions, flour, eggs, salt, and pepper.
Heat oil in a deep 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Working in batches of 4, spoon 1/8 cup potato mixture per latke into oil and flatten to 3-inch diameter with a slotted spatula. Reduce heat to moderate and cook until golden, about 1 1/2 minutes on each side. Transfer latkes with spatula to paper towels to drain.

Zucchini Latkes with Chobani Yogurt Curry Sauce

Ingredients
½ cups Plain Chobani Greek Style Yogurt
2 tablespoons Mango Chutney, Chopped (substitute with a zesty relish, onion marmalade, or other Indian type sauce)
½ teaspoons Fresh Lime Juice
¼ cups Mayonnaise
2 teaspoons Curry Powder
1 pound Zucchini, Grated
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1 whole Egg
2 whole Scallion, Finely Chopped
½ cups All-purpose Flour
¼ teaspoons Freshly Ground Black Pepper
½ cups Olive Oil


Preparation Instructions

For the sauce:
In a small bowl, combine the yogurt, mango chutney, lime juice, mayonnaise, and curry powder. Whisk well, cover, and chill for 1-2 hours.
For the latkes:
Grate the zucchini onto a paper towel and season with about 1 tsp of kosher salt. Wrap the zucchini up in the paper towel and squeeze out the excess liquid. Place the squeezed zucchini into a large bowl and add the egg, scallions, flour, and pepper. Stir well.
Heat 3 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet set over medium heat. Using about 2 tbsp of the zucchini mixture, form a patty and place it in the skillet. Repeat until there are about six latkes in the pan. There will be enough of the zucchini mixture to make two batches of the latkes. Cook the latkes, turning halfway through cooking, until they are golden brown on both sides, about 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer the cooked latkes to a paper towel to drain off the excess oil.
Serve with the yogurt-curry sauce as an appetizer or side dish.

Homemade Applesauce with Pears

This is delicious and healthy – no sugar added. My kids love to have this all year round when they come home from school.
Easy

10 apples (Granny Smith and any others you have lying around), cut into chunks
2 pears, cut into chunks
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons vanilla
½ cup water

Place all ingredients in a large stockpot over a low to medium flame. Simmer for about 2 hours until apples are soft, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from flame and mash with a potato masher. Store in refrigerator.

Hanukkah Cookies

hanukkah-cookies
Ingredients
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted margarine or butter, softened
1 package (3 ounces) pareve tofutti cream cheese or dairy cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup finely ground walnuts
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Assorted colored icings

1. Beat margarine, pareve cream cheese, sugar, honey, egg and vanilla in large bowl at medium speed of electric mixer until creamy. Stir in flour, walnuts, baking powder and salt until well blended. Form dough into ball; wrap in plastic wrap and flatten. Refrigerate about 2 hours or until firm.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease cookie sheets. Roll out dough, small portion at a time, to 1/4-inch thickness on floured surface with lightly floured rolling pin. (Keep remaining dough wrapped in refrigerator.) Cut dough with 2-1/2-inch dreidel-shaped cookie cutter and 6-pointed star cookie cutter. Place 2 inches apart on prepared cookie sheets.

3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cookies stand on cookie sheets 1 to 2 minutes; transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Decorate cookies with blue, yellow and white icings.

Chol HaMoed

Your family is going on an outing. You really want to go with (You really want to get out of the kitchen!) But you know that everyone will be very hungry when they return – especially since you can’t really eat anything substantial outside the Succah. What should you do? This is the time to recognize that crock pots are not just for Shabbos. You can put all the ingredients in at the beginning of the day, turn the crock pot on high, and come home after a day bickering with, I mean enjoying your family, to a nice hot dinner. Here are some suggestions:

White Bean Soup

Corned Beef and Cabbage

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Weekday “Cholent”

Corned Beef and Cabbage

cornedbeefcabbage

Ingredients
3 pounds corned beef
3 large carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large yellow onions, quartered
1 green cabbage, cored and cut into 8 pieces
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
2 cups water
1 cup Guinness stout or Harp Lager or dark beer

Preparation
In the slow cooker, combine the beef, carrots, potatoes, onions, cabbage, thyme, and bay leaf. Add the water and beer.

Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours, until the meat and vegetables are very tender. Remove and discard the thyme and bay leaf.

Transfer the beef to a cutting board and cut into thin slices. Divide the meat among shallow bowls, surround with vegetables, and spoon some of the cooking liquid over the top. Serve immediately.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

chicken-tortilla-soup

Ingredients
2 pounds chicken fajitas (skinless boneless chicken breast, cut into strips)
2 quarts chicken broth (either leftover chicken stock or the Imagine boxes)
1 (29 ounce) can whole tomatoes with juice
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (15 ounce) can corn kernels
1 (4 ounce) can fire roasted chopped green chiles
2 cloves minced garlic
1 jalapeno, diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder

For garnish:
1 bag tortilla chips or 8 corn tortillas, cut into strips and fried
Chopped cilantro
Chopped avocado
Tofutti sour cream

Place all soup ingredients in crock pot and turn to high. Cook for 6 to 8 hours. Pass around garnishes.

Simanim

On Rosh HaShanah, we eat various symbolic foods as omens for the new year. Through them we express our desires for a sweet new year, inscription in the book of life, and the destruction of our enemies among others. While each item can certainly be eaten raw, making unique dishes incorporating those makes each siman a little more special and may bring a greater focus to the activity. The following are just a sampling of the possibilities. Here at Gourmetkoshercooking.com, we wish everyone a sweet and happy new year.

Dip the Apple in the Honey

Apple Cakes

Carrot Soup

Carmelized Leeks

Roasted Beets

Date Bread

Pumpkin Tarts

Jewish Apple Cake

Ingredients

3 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ cups sugar plus 5 tablespoons
4 large eggs
1 cup oil
2 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
½ cup orange juice
5 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Preparation

Preheat oven 350°. Grease a 10-inch tube pan. Combine flour, baking powder, and 1 ½ cups sugar in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and wet ingredients. Mix until batter is smooth and free of lumps. In a separate bowl, combine remaining sugar, apples and cinnamon.
Pour half of batter in pan and then layer with of apples. Repeat. Bake for 60 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Make this 2 days ahead of time. It gets more flavorful after few days

This recipe is courtesy Homemade Goodies by Roz, a delicious gourmet bake shop in the heart of Philadelphia.

Carrot Soup

carrot-soup
Ingredients
12 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 onion, diced
3 boxes Imagine pareve chicken soup
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon red chili flakes

Preparation
Combine all ingredients in a large soup bowl and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about ½ hour until carrots are soft. Allow soup to cool slightly and then purée with hand immersion blender until smooth.