Monthly Archives: February 2014

Chocolate Hamantaschen With Irish Creme Filling

Yield:
4-5 dozen cookies

Hamantaschen are the traditional treat of the holiday of Purim. These delicious cookies remind us of our sweet victory over Haman, a villain with a triangular shaped hat who attempted to kill the Jews of Persia. Hamantaschen cookies are usually filled with poppy seeds or jam, but when I found out that Purim fell over St Patrick’s Day Weekend this year, I knew a recipe mash-up was a must!

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I toyed with the idea of dying the hamantaschen dough green or picking a green filling — lime curd or Andes mint chocolate both sounded like delicious options. However, in the end I settled on incorporating the flavor of Irish creme liqueur. These Irish hamantschen have a crisp chocolate cookie crust that gives way to a rich and creamy spiked center. My take on the traditional Purim cookie is easy to make and pairs wonderfully with a cup of coffee

Having trouble folding your cookies? Try this tutorial if you’re having trouble!St-Pattys-Hamantaschen1-624-1

Chocolate Hamentaschen With Irish Creme Filling

Posted on February 27, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Enter Our Delicious Purim Giveaway!

Our favorite part of Purim isn’t reading the Scroll of Esther, and it’s not getting drunk. Hamantaschen are what we love most. Let us send a basket full of them to you!

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This year we’ve teamed up with our friends at Kosher Gift Box to honor the tradition of giving away gifts of food to our loved ones.

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Check out the prizes on the site, and enter our Purim 2014 Gift Basket Giveaway. We’ll send an overflowing basket full of fresh-baked kosher goodies to three lucky winners. Let one of them be you!

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Enter here, and spread the word — but only if your friends promise to send theirs to you:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted on February 27, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

A Uniquely Cuban, or Rather “Jewban,” Brisket

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Ropa Vieja, which literally translates to “old clothes,” or as my paternal grandmother would call them, “schmatas,” is the Cuban answer to a traditional Jewish brisket. Both use inexpensive cuts of meat that are slow-roasted until tender and falling apart, but Ropa Vieja takes it a step further, and actually calls for the chunks of meat to be shredded to resemble rags. This may seem like it would diminish the allure of the dish, but as Jewish brisket is usually reserved for the holiday table, a good Ropa Vieja is truly cause for celebration. Additionally, as it is important in the Jewish culture to pass our traditions from generation to generation, most Cuban families have had a recipe for Ropa Vieja for ages. Get the full recipe on Jewish&>>

Posted on February 26, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Yield:
6 servings

It’s so satisfying to dish out a big bowl of chili on a cold Fall or Winter day, no?

I love chili, and I especially love hot dogs smothered in homemade chili. But we have been cutting back on our red meat consumption and so I wanted to create a version that would be as hearty and satisfying as meat-chili, but a bit healthier.

veggie-chili-stampAnother great thing about chili is that you can really add and subtract ingredients based on your taste. Want more spice? Add more than a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes, or even some diced jalapeno.

Don’t like a particular kind of beans? Just swap it out for the beans you do like.

And I love using colorful bell peppers to pack this dish with flavor and vitamins. Plus they are just so darn pretty, aren’t they?

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Hearty Vegetarian Chili

Posted on February 26, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Sweet, Savory & Boozy Hamantaschen for 2014

On Purim we are supposed to drink until we can no longer tell the difference between good and evil, right? Why drink till you can no longer tell the difference between good and evil when you can eat till you can’t tell the difference between good and evil, up and down, sweet and savory, you name it.

It seems each year bakers and bloggers are coming up with the most unique flavor combinations (myself included) that they can think of: pumpkin pie hamantaschen, peanut butter and jelly hamantaschen (a favorite in my house) and even rainbow hamantaschen.

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Last year I created these Hamantaschen with Chocolate Ganache and Salted Caramel (which were featured in Buzzfeed’s 32 Crazy Hamantachen). And let me just say: they are delicious, throwing the days of poppy seed and apricot filled hamantaschen into last year’s pile of outdated trends.

Everyone has their favorite flavor, and sometimes you just need a good traditional, jam-filled hamantaschen. But it’s always fun to think outside the box and get a little crazy when Purim comes around.

Try one of these crazy sweet, savory and booze-inspired treats. Have a crazy flavor combo? Comment below!

Crazy Sweet Hamantaschen

Neapolitan Hamantaschen from Amy Kritzer

Rainbow Hamantaschen from Kitchen Tested

Rainbow-Hamantaschen-finalGirl Scout Samoa Hamantaschen from Kitchen Tested

S’mores Hamantaschen from Couldn’t Be Parve

Hamantaschen Challah from The Challah Blog

Hamantaschen with Chocolate Ganache and Salted Caramel

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Crazy Savory Hamantaschen

Sushi Hamantaschen from Busy in Brooklyn

Rosemary Hamantaschen with Balsamic Caramelized Onion Jam

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Feta & Onion Hamantaschen

Kimchi Hamantaschen Dumplings from Confident Cook, Hesitant Baker

Hamantaschen Beef Wontons from Overtime Cook

Crazy Booze-Inspired Purim Treats

The Hamantini from Busy in Brooklyn

Candy-Infused Vodka from Tamar Fox

Mojito Hamantaschen from Alibabka

Cranberry Moscato Punch

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Posted on February 25, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Gluten-Free Hamantaschen

Growing up, I didn’t see a lot of my grandmother. She was old and feeble, and chronic pain often prevented her from leaving the house. Still, there were a few occasions when my grandmother would never fail to make an appearance in my mother’s kitchen. One such of those special occasions was right before the holiday of Purim began. She carefully tied the strings of her apron in a neat bow before she perched herself on a kitchen stool and began to give orders.

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She showed me how to dip the rim of a wine glass in the pearly mounds of flour to make the perfect circle for my cookies. She directed my fingers with a watchful eye as I carefully portioned out just the right amount of filling and carefully folded my circle into a triangle, or “Haman’s Ears” as my grandmother used to call them. We sat there late into the night, after the cookies had long since come out of the oven, covered in flour and giggling like schoolgirls.

Nowadays, we live in different cities and my grandmother’s days in the kitchen are far behind her. As I am no longer able to eat the cookies as she made them, I have adapted the recipe. But every time I make them, there is still a small part of her inside them. I hope you enjoy these hamentashen as much as I do.

Vanilla Bean Hamantaschen with Apricot Filling

Posted on February 21, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Blogger Spotlight: The Kosher Cave Girl

Gluten-free and paleo diets seem to be all the rage currently. When I first saw The Kosher Cave Girl on instagram, I was intrigued – it’s a very catchy name. And I wanted to learn more.

While I remain a strong gluten and bread enthusiast, I love to hear about other passionate bloggers’ food journeys, and Donyel Meese (aka The Kosher Cave Girl) has a very interesting food journey. She and I had the chance to catch up over email recently and I really loved what she had to say about making your own bread and sweets and switching out healthy options into your diet – everything in moderation! Read more about Donyel and her kosher Paleo lifestyle below.

And make sure to check back tomorrow for her version of gluten-free hamantaschen just in time for Purim next month!

donyel collageWhy did you start blogging?

The idea to start a blog stemmed from an afternoon I spent with a friend whining about the fact that I had just made the most incredible hazelnut-swirled brownies, but that I couldn’t find the piece of paper that I had written the recipe on anywhere. The friend suggested that I start blogging my recipes to ensure that I’d never lose another one. I really do enjoy the creating recipes, the photography, and coming up with posts. The Kosher Cave Girl also serves as an outlet for my love of writing, and my readers are often unfortunately witnesses to my (often rather pathetic) attempts at humor.

Your food journey has had lots of ups and downs. Would you say you always loved cooking and food, or did it result out of necessity for your diet?

I have always loved baking things. When my friends arrive at my apartment, they make a beeline for my freezer, breezing past me without so much as a hello until they’ve got something in their mouth. When I found out that I was both lactose and dairy intolerant, and made the switch to a Paleo lifestyle, I quickly grew frustrated with what I saw as so many restrictions.

It was as simple as changing my outlook. Instead of mourning the fact that I could no longer eat my favorite browned-butter snickerdoodles, I decided to create a version that I could eat. Now, there are very few foods that I actually miss, and I have a lot of fun coming up with recipes to mirror the dishes that I loved before going Paleo.

paleo recipe2What are your culinary influences?

My mother spent time in Africa, Australia, and Thailand before returning to the U.S. after she completed her undergrad at University of Hawai’i, so I was exposed to lot of cultural dishes at a very young age. Because of her, I love experimenting with unique flavors and spices like coconut milk, lemongrass, saffron, and curry.

For those that can and do eat gluten, what ways can the paleo diet influence their eating habits, without taking away their beloved bread?

You don’t have to follow a Paleo diet to incorporate fresh, healthy, & non-processed foods in your lifestyle. Simple switches can make a world of difference. Try making tuna salad with avocado instead of mayo. Learn to love water. If you want bread, cookies, or cakes, make your own instead of buying prepackaged ones loaded with preservatives to keep them “fresh” (homemade is not only cheaper, but it tastes better too!). Sodas and sugary drinks are usually calorie bombs and do little to quench your thirst. Cook with coconut oil and olive oil, instead of canola oil and vegetable oil.

One of the wonderful aspects of a Paleo lifestyle is that you’re encouraged not to count calories. Instead, emphasis is placed on mindful and intuitive eating – listen to your body and eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satiated.

paleo recipe1What has surprised you about blogging or what’s been the best thing that has happened as a result of blogging?

I always thought that blogging was so glamorous, but I’ve found that in this circus, I feel more like the juggler than the girl on the flying trapeze. The amount of time and preparation that goes into blogging is absolutely unbelievable. The readers only see the glamorous side of food blogging, but behind the scenes, all hell breaks lost. My kitchen sink is perpetually overflowing with dirty dishes. I spend more time at the grocery store than at my own apartment. Recipes go horribly wrong, it takes 200 pictures of cookies to get one useable one, and my e-mail inbox is almost always full. On top of all of that, I’m juggling my food blogger lifestyle with being a full-time student.

I’ve learned so much about photography, graphic design, and social media, but my absolute favorite perk is being able to connect with readers, whether it’s getting to know them, answering a question, or helping them adapt a recipe. It’s so rewarding, and it brings me such a sense of joy and fulfillment.

What advice do you have for someone else who wants to start a food blog?

Is it terribly cliché of me to tell you that good things come to those who wait? When I first started blogging in Fall of 2013, I had no readers. You could literally hear the crickets chirping every time I posted a new recipe. But don’t get discouraged. Keep posting, keep marketing, and people will come.

I’ve also found that pictures are key. I’m also guilty when I tell you that if I see a recipe without a picture, I probably won’t make it. Everyone loves drooling over stunning food photography, myself included. I don’t have any fancy lights or props, just my Nikon 5100. I’m still learning, but I’m having fun with it.

What’s on the horizon for your blog?

Thank G-d, I’ve been offered a lot of wonderful opportunities for The Kosher Cave Girl. Let’s just say that there might be a cookbook revolving around a Paleo take on traditional Shabbat foods in my future. I have a lot of exciting projects and partnerships in the works, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.

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Posted on February 20, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Rosemary Hamantaschen with Balsamic Caramelized Onion Jam

Yield:
1 1/2 dozen

I have never really loved the idea of savory hamantaschen. My sweet tooth just revolts at the concept. But after some poking and prodding from others, I decided: fine. I would try and make some savory hamantaschen.

A few weeks ago I made some balsamic caramelized onions to go on top of homemade pizza. They were amazing. Sweet and savory – my favorite combination. So as I was thinking about what kinds of savory hamantaschen I might try to make, I realized a sweet, savory onion jam was the perfect compromise to satisfy both sweet and savory cravings.

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My husband serves as my trusty taste-tester and critic for all my creations, so I am happy to share that he LOVED this version. And I hope you will, too.

Rosemary Hamantaschen with Balsamic Caramelized Onion Jam

Posted on February 17, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Beyond French Toast: Recipes for Leftover Challah

I don’t know about you, but whenever I peak into my freezer, I am overwhelmed by the immeasurable number of bags of leftover challah that I have put away. I hate wasting the leftover challah slices and scraps after Shabbat, and yet I so infrequently find uses for them.

So I decided it was high time to put all that challah to delicious good use, beyond just bread pudding (delicious) and french toast on Sunday (the perfect breakfast).

Here are a variety of ideas for how to use up those leftover morsels that may actually get you excited about all those bags of bread in the freezer.

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Berry Cream Cheese Stuffed Challah French Toast

Challah Panzanella Salad with Butternut Squash, Dates and Hazelnuts from Food52

French Onion Soup with Challah and Munster Cheese

Baked French Toast

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Cheesy Garlic Challah Toast

Challah Croutons from The Domesticated Wolf

Challah Bread Crumbs from Granoladox

Chocolate-Chocolate Bread Pudding

Mushroom Challah Stuffing from Amy Kritzer

challah dressing

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Posted on February 14, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy

Salt and Pepper Noodle Kugel

Yield:
8-10 servings

I didn’t grow up eating kugel regularly. My only exposure to kugel was on the one or two times a year we would all gather around my grandmother’s dining room table for Jewish holidays. My grandmother would serve two kinds of kugel which she would describe as “one sweet, one savory.” I would more aptly describe them as “dry and drier.”

When I was in college and dating “a nice Jewish boy” his mother made an incredible dairy noodle kugel with crushed pineapple, butter and sour cream. Now THAT was kugel. I was in love. And when I met my husband and his family, I fell in love with his Baba Billie’s salt and pepper noodle kugel.

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Like everything Baba Billie made, this kugel is not for the faint-hearted, or faint-stomached. This is not a light recipe, but it is good. You may look at the amount of oil and think, come on – really? Yes, really. I don’t make this every day, nor do I suggest making it every day. We make it a few times each year always to rave reviews. Everything in moderation, or so my father always says, and this kugel is no exception.

My husband likes to use regular wide noodles, but I opt for the super-duper extra wide. You can use either variety you like.

Like a little kick? Make sure to use hot paprika on top. If you prefer to play to it safe just use a sweet, smoky paprika instead.

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Salt and Pepper Noodle Kugel

Posted on February 11, 2014

Note: The opinions expressed here are the personal views of the author. All comments on MyJewishLearning are moderated. Any comment that is offensive or inappropriate will be removed. Privacy Policy