Author Archives: Vered Meir

Vered Meir

About Vered Meir

Vered Meir lives in Oakland, California, where she works as a database administrator and book indexer. In her free time, she loves baking, making jam, exploring the outdoors, and marveling at the beauty of the Bay area.

Gluten-Free Blintzes

Yield:
14-16 blintzes

Many of us have seasonal associations with Jewish holidays. The High Holidays and Sukkot: crisp, fall weather, a perfect time for a spiritual cleanse before we head into winter, Hanukkah: dark and cold winter, and a holiday of light to brighten the darkness, and of course, Passover: springtime and rebirth to signify freedom from slavery. My personal associations with Shavuot were always about the end of the school year and summer being just around the corner.

blintzes-stamped

As a child, my family usually headed to Atlantic Beach, NY to celebrate Shavuot with my grandparents and revel in the end of another school year. I have fond memories of walking home from shul with my Saba, salty breeze blowing, to devour my Savta’s famous blintzes. The streets in Atlantic Beach are ordered alphabetically and, stomach rumbling, I’d count down: Oneida, Putnam…I just looked at Google Maps, and it turns out the shul was only three blocks away

v at the beach

My grandparents have since passed away, and their house has been sold, but those memories live on. I’d like to think that my Savta would approve of these blintzes, though they are completely gluten-free (sorry, Savta!). The trick to these is a heavy, high-quality crepe pan, to ensure a thin and evenly cooked crepe. I use the DeBuyer Iron pan.

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Gluten-Free Blintzes

Posted on May 28, 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

Homemade Gravlax for Yom Kippur Break Fast

Prep:
20 minutes

Cook:
Curing time: 3-4 days

In Full Moon Feast, Jessica Prentice guides us through 13 lunar months and the foods grown and prepared within them in traditional cultures. At its core is the idea that food connects people to one another, to themselves, and to the natural world. Prentice describes the lifecycle of Pacific salmon, who in early autumn are born in freshwater streams, spend their lives in the ocean, and then journey back upstream to their birthplace to spawn the next generation.gravlax1

The salmon’s natural lifecycle provides a metaphor for this time of year, when we are engrossed in our own “return.” On the High Holidays, we do teshuva, which is often translated as “repentance,” but literally means “return.” We return to ourselves in order to examine who we are and who we want to be.gravlax2

Eating lox this time of year connects our own process of “teshuva” with salmon’s seasonal “return.” If you have never cured your own lox before, give this recipe a try, for Yom Kippur break-fast! It doesn’t require any special equipment, and is sure to delight. Thin slices of this buttery, moist gravlax will be delicious on your post-fast bagel or on a slice of homemade gluten-free challah. It tastes like no lox you have ever eaten before.gravlax3

Wild Salmon Gravlax, adapted from Aquavit's gravlax recipe

Posted on September 8, 2013

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

The Ultimate Gluten-Free Challah Recipe

The first bread I ever learned to bake was challah. My grandmother was a rebbetzin famous for her glorious displays of baked goods, including challah. Once I started baking myself, my favorite time of the week was Shabbat dinner, when we’d lift the cover to reveal my braided loaves. We would all sigh, stomachs rumbling.

A bite of challah

After a year of exploring the wonderful world of baking bread, my one-woman gluten fest came to a rather rude end. I’d been ignoring my chronic stomach pains and bloating, and though I tested negative for celiac, I decided to try a gluten-free diet just to see. Both to my dismay and relief, my pains subsided, my energy level increased, and I began to feel more like myself again. I swore off bread and wallowed in self-pity until I took a shot at baking gluten-free bread. I soon discovered wonderful and tasty gluten-free flours, some made from grains I’d never even heard of.

A pinch of challah

After crafting this basic gluten-free bread recipe, I went off to create a challah recipe that would make my grandmother proud and would even be worthy of hamotzi and hafrashat challah, the blessing over separating and ritually burning a small piece of bread, also known as “taking challah.” (See “Challah Back,” my rabbinic source sheet all about challah baking!)

Challah with salt

According to Jewish law, challah can only be “taken” if made from one of the 5 grains named in the Bible: barley, rye, wheat, oat, spelt. Bread made from other grains can be kosher, but you cannot say hamotzi over it, nor can you take challah from it. Guess what? Those 5 grains are the grains that gluten-free eaters avoid. Oats, however, can be gluten-free if grown, harvested, and processed away from wheat.* A rabbi I consulted suggested that while no teshuva, or responsum, has been written on the topic, the oat flour must be at least 51% of the flour in the bread.

Based on these requirements, I put together the recipe below (using this amazing Kaiser Braided Loaf Pan, and served on my beloved Triassic Industries cutting board). Enjoy!

Vered-with-gf

Gluten-Free Oat Challah

Posted on July 23, 2013

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

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