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Sep 14, 2014

Floating Along


Well, no, we’re not talking about the swimming pool or even a pretty river. We’re talking about the
perfect summertime treat you make with simple ingredients at home. Ice cream float or ice cream
soda is made by adding soda or seltzer to ice cream. Some people add flavoring, like chocolate syrup,
or a little milk. However you make it, as soon as the soda hits the ice cream you get fizzy, frothy, tasty
bubbles.
The ice cream soda was invented by Robert McCay Green in Philadelphia, PA, in 1874 during the July
 celebration. The traditional story is that Mr. Green ran out of cold ice for the flavored sodas he
th
4
was selling on a particularly hot day. Instead he used vanilla ice cream from a neighboring vendor, and
invented a tasty new drink.
His own story is a little different. According to his published account he wanted to create a new treat to
attract customers away from another vendor at the celebration who had a fancier, bigger soda fountain.
After some experimenting, he decided to combine ice cream and soda water. During the celebration,
he sold vanilla ice cream with soda water and a choice of 16 different flavored syrups. The new treat
was a sensation and soon other soda fountains began selling ice cream sodas. Green's will instructed
that "Originator of the Ice Cream Soda" was to be engraved on his tombstone. There are, of course,
other people who claim the invention as their own including one of Mr. Green’s employees.
Regardless of who invented the ice cream soda, the beverage quickly became very popular, mostly
among teens, Going out for an ice cream soda became a popular social event.
Because of the air in ice cream once you add carbonated water or soda it causes a chemical reaction as
the bubbles expand and pop. You are knocking the carbon dioxide in the soda out of solution. Bubbles
of air in the ice cream cause the carbon dioxide bubbles to form and grow. Some ingredients in the ice
cream lower the surface tension of the soda so the gas bubbles can expand, while other ingredients trap
the bubbles in much the same way as small amounts of protein in seawater trap air to form sea foam.
The terms ice cream soda and ice cream float are used interchangeably. In some countries this icy treat
is called a “spider.”
Some ice cream floats have their own names like “black cow”—a mixture of cola and vanilla ice cream.
Or, a “snow white,” 7-up and vanilla ice cream, “butterbeer,” root beer and butterscotch ice cream or
“purple cow,” grape soda and vanilla ice cream.
Other versions use fruit sorbets instead of ice cream and are lighter and more refreshing. We’ve brought
you a variety so you can try your own at home. You can use pareve ice cream when serving these
desserts at the end of a fleishig meal.
Sparkling Citrus Floats
1 cup chilled, fresh orange juice
1 cup chilled pineapple juice
1 cup chilled club soda or seltzer
6 scoops vanilla ice cream
Combine orange juice, pineapple juice, and club soda in a pitcher. Stir well to combine. Pour into 3 or 4
glasses. Add scoops of ice cream. Serve with a straw and long-handled spoon. Stir before drinking.
Watermelon Soda Float
1/2 medium watermelon, chilled,
1⁄2 a cantaloupe
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Pinch of kosher salt
1 cup seltzer
1 pint store-bought vanilla frozen yogurt or ice cream
Using a melon baller, scoop out 1 1/2 cups watermelon balls and cantaloupe balls, into a small bowl.
Cover and chill. Cut the rest of the watermelon into small pieces to measure 8 cups. Stir sugar and 1/3
cup water in a small bowl until sugar dissolves. Set simple syrup aside.
Purée melon pieces only, not balls, in a blender until smooth; strain juice through a fine-mesh sieve into
a large measuring cup or pitcher (you should have about 4 cups juice). Discard solids. Whisk in simple
syrup, lemon juice, and salt. Cover and chill.
Add seltzer to watermelon purée. Divide melon balls among tall glasses. Pour watermelon soda over.
Top with scoops of frozen yogurt. Serve watermelon float with a straw.
The watermelon mixture can be made up to 4 hours before you serve it. Stir before pouring into glasses.
Cherry Vanilla Ice Cream Float
This is a grown up version of the ice cream float. Vanilla vodka ramps up the flavor!
30 ounces Cherry 7-Up
Walder’s vanilla Vodka
1 quart vanilla ice cream
8 ounces whipped cream
maraschino cherries
Mix Cherry 7-up with as much vodka as you like. Divide among 6 tall glasses. Add 2-3 scoops of ice
cream. Pipe whipped cream over float and top with a maraschino cherry. Serve immediately.

Marvelous Mozzarella


During the Nine Days most families will use lots of mozzarella cheese. It’s versatile, tasty and you will
find it in hundreds of dairy recipes.
Created in southern Italy, mozzarella refers to a mild, white fresh cheese that's made by the special
process, whereby the curd is dipped into hot whey, then stretched and kneaded to the desired
consistency. At one time, mozzarella was made only from the milk of water buffaloes. Today, however,
it's typically made with cow's milk.
Mozzarella comes in two basic styles. Most regular mozzarella, which can be found in low-fat and non-
fat forms in supermarkets, is factory produced. It has a semisoft, elastic texture and is drier and not
as delicately flavored as its fresher counterpart. This style of mozzarella is best used for cooking and is
popular for pizza because of its excellent melting qualities. It is available in blocks, slices and logs called
“string cheese” and shreds.
Fresh mozzarella is usually packaged in whey or water, is often labeled "Italian style." It's generally made
from whole milk and has a much softer texture and a sweet, delicate flavor. Mozzarella di bufala (also
called buffalo mozzarella) is the most prized of the fresh mozzarellas. Most buffalo mozzarella available
in the United States is made from a combination of water buffalo milk and cow's milk. Two popular
forms of mozzarella are boconccini, which are little balls that are commonly marinated in olive oil and
sometimes herbs, and the even smaller cherry-sized ciliegini. Fresh mozzarella is excellent simply spread
on bread with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. It’s also delicious served as a salad with sliced tomatoes
and fresh basil.
Try one of these tasty recipes before or after the fast:
Homemade Mozzarella Sticks
One of the most popular uses for mozzarella, these sticks can be prepared in advance and cooked as
needed. They are perfect as an appetizer or side dish.
1 1/2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs
1 1/3 cups grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon salt
2 (16-ounce) blocks mozzarella cut into 4 by 1/2-inch sticks
4 large eggs, beaten to blend
1 1/2 cups canola oil
4 cups Marinara Sauce, recipe follows
Stir the bread crumbs, 1 cup of Parmesan and 1 teaspoon of salt in a medium bowl to blend. Dip the
cheese sticks in the eggs to coat completely and allow the excess egg to drip back into the bowl. Coat
the cheese in the bread crumb mixture, patting to adhere and coat completely. Place the cheese sticks
on a baking sheet. Repeat dipping the cheese sticks in the egg and bread crumb mixture to coat a
second time. Cover and freeze until frozen, about 2 hours and up to 2 days.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Working in batches, fry the cheese until golden
brown, about 1 minute per side. Transfer the fried cheese to plates. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese
and serve with the Marinara Sauce.
Homemade Marinara
Use this sauce for dipping mozzarella sticks, on your eggplant parmesan or even pizza.
1 large onion, minced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and minced
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1 fresh hot pepper, minced (optional)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large can crushed tomatoes or
2 -15 ounce cans tomato sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons fresh basil, checked and chopped
1 teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
Heat oil over medium flame in a large sauce pot. Add minced onion and pepper and sauté until slightly
softened. Add garlic and optional hot pepper and continue sautéing for one minute. Season with salt.
Add the tomatoes or tomato sauce. Add the sugar and herbs. Bring to a boil and cook 10-15 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings to your liking. Use immediately or freeze in airtight containers for 3-4
weeks.
Penne with Mozzarella and Tomatoes
This light, tasty dish is excellent after the fast!
Salt
1 pound penne pasta
1/4 cup olive oil plus 2 tablespoons, divided
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped garlic
5 cups chopped plum tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded basil
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced or cubed
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
Put a large pot of salted water up for the pasta. Cook the pasta in the pot of salted boiling water for 12
to 13 minutes until al dente. Drain the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare your sauce. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Add the
garlic and cook until just fragrant, about 1 minute or less. Add the tomatoes and cook them for 3 to 5
minutes, just until they begin to release some of their juice.
Add the pasta and basil to the pan with the tomatoes and toss. Add the cubes of mozzarella. Season to
taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Serve the pasta in bowls, dividing between 4 bowls. Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the bowls of
pasta, sprinkle with parmesan and serve immediately.
Wishing all an easy fast!

Sep 13, 2014

Skirting the Issue

Skirting the Issue
While we have been enjoying our culinary travels around the world exploring Jewish cuisine, this week
we will stay close to home and discuss one of America’s favorite pastimes—grilling! This week we’ll
share recipes for grilling skirt steak. This flavorful meat is very versatile and can be incorporated in many
different dishes.
Skirt steak is cut from the plate or lower front-half of the cow. It is prized for its flavor rather than
tender texture. Kosher skirt steak tends to be salty so we recommend soaking it for an hour or two
before rinsing and cooking. It is a long flat cut of meat. If the piece you buy is longer than 10 inches, cut
it in half before preparing. After cooking it should be sliced across the grain to improve tenderness.
Grilled Skirt Steak
This is a basic recipe for preparing skirt steaks. You can serve it as is or add the meat to a salad or wraps.
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1-1 1⁄2 pounds skirt steak, each cut in half
Stir together spices in a bowl, then stir in garlic and oil until a paste forms. Pat steak dry, then rub all
over with paste. Marinate steak in a sealed large plastic bag, in the refrigerator for an hour or two.
Remove from refrigerator and bring steaks to room temperature. While steak comes to room
temperature, prepare grill for cooking. If using a charcoal grill, open vents on bottom of grill, then light
charcoal. Charcoal fire is hot when you can hold your hand 5 inches above rack for 1 to 2 seconds. If
using a gas grill, preheat burners on high, covered, 10 minutes, then reduce heat to moderately high.
Lightly grease the grate with an oil-dampened paper towel. Grill steaks, uncovered, turning over once, 8-
10 minutes total for medium. 12-15 minutes for medium-well done.
Remove steak from the grill and allow it to rest for 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across grain into 1/4-
inch-thick slices.
Balsamic Grilled Skirt Steak
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons dark brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound skirt steak, trimmed and cut into 4 pieces
Canola oil for the grill
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine first 4 ingredients in a large zip-top plastic bag. Add steak, turning to coat; seal and marinate at
room temperature 25 minutes, turning once. Remove steak from bag; discard marinade.
Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle both sides of steak
with 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper. Add steak to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until desired
degree of doneness. Remove steak from pan; sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt. Tent with foil;
let stand 5 minutes. Cut steak diagonally across the grain into thin slices
One of the most popular uses for skirt steak is in a fajita. Fajita—pronounced fahita—refers to grilled
meat usually served as a taco on a flour or corn tortilla. The meat is often cooked with onions and bell
peppers. Popular condiments are shredded lettuce, guacamole, tomatoes and salsa.
Tex-Mex Fajitas
For the marinade & meat:
1 orange, juiced
2 limes, juiced
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 sweet pickled peppers or hot peppers
3 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 pounds skirt, cut into 8-inch pieces
For assembly:
Salt and pepper
2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced
1 large onion, thinly sliced
Light olive oil
12 flour tortillas, warm
For the guacamole:
5 ripe Hass avocados
3 to 4 limes, juiced
1/2 small onion, chopped
1 small garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno, seeded and chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Good quality store bought salsa
Combine all the marinade ingredients. Using an immersion blender, puree the marinade until smooth.
Transfer to a re-sealable plastic bag and add the steak, seal and shake to coat. Refrigerate the beef for 2
to 4 hours to tenderize and flavor the beef
Drain the marinade from the beef. Lightly oil the grill grate. Season liberally with salt and freshly ground
black pepper. Grill the steak over medium-high heat and cook for 5-6 minutes on each side and then
transfer to a cutting board and let rest.
Toss the bell peppers and onions with a little olive oil. Grill onions and peppers for 7 to 8 minutes until
the vegetables are just barely limp.
Prepare guacamole: With a tablespoon, scoop out the avocado flesh into a mixing bowl. Mash the
avocados with a fork, leaving them still a bit chunky. Add all of the rest of the ingredients, and fold
everything together.
Heat up the tortillas. Turn on one burner to a medium low flame. Place a tortilla on each flame and let
it char about 30 seconds to 1 minute, flip the tortilla and repeat on the second side. Once heated and
charred, wrap in a towel to keep warm. Repeat until you have warmed all of your tortillas.
To serve:
Thinly slice the steak against the grain on a diagonal.
Spread some guacamole on a tortilla, top with a few slices of steak, peppers and onions, and salsa. Roll
up the tortilla to enclose the filling.
Happy grilling!

Crispy, Crumbly, Fruity

Crispy, Crumbly, Fruity
If your family is like ours, summer fruit is high on the grocery list. Nectarines, peaches and plums sit in a
bowl on the counter and tempt the children with their deep color, delicious fragrance and juicy texture.
But sometimes a few pieces are left in the bowl till they’re too soft to enjoy out of hand. That’s when
it’s time to put them into a tasty fruit cobbler or crisp. All summer fruit works well in fruit pies. They are
bursting with juice and flavor that stands up to baking. Most of the time you do not even need to add
sugar to the fruit as its sweetness is strong enough to withstand the heat.
Combining fruit like nectarines or peaches with blueberries enhances flavors and gives the sweet stone
fruit a bit of tartness. Cherries and apricots are also a great combination. You can combine any of these
fruit with golden delicious apples of you prefer the filling a bit drier. Stone fruit like peaches, nectarines
and plums tend to release a lot of juice while baking so it’s a good idea to place your pie dish on a cookie
sheet or oven liner.
The topping can be cakey, crumbly or crunchy. It’s best not to put batter or dough under the fruit as it
often ends up soggy from the fruit juices. Putting the batter or crumbs on top of the fruit is definitely the
way to go.
Cherry Peach Crisp
5-6 soft peaches
2 cups white or red cherries
1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon nutmeg
for the topping:
1⁄2 cup flour
1⁄2 cup brown sugar
1 cups rolled oats
1⁄2 stick margarine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice peaches using a sharp knife or mandoline. No need to peel. Halve
cherries and remove pits. Place fruit in a deep 9-10” pie plate. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg.
Avoid disposable pans when making crisps because they cannot be turned out for serving. They will fall
apart, resulting in a sodden mess.
In a bowl stir together flour and brown sugar until no lumps remain. Add the oats and combine. Cut
up the margarine and work it into the dry ingredients using a pastry blender or your fingertips. There
should be no visible margarine remaining. Crumble the mixture evenly over the fruit, completely
enclosing it. Bake 50-60 minutes or until the fruit is bubbly and the crumb topping has darkened.
You can also prepare this dish in individual ramekins for ease of serving. It will yield 12 portions.
Serve hot or at room temperature—with or without ice cream.
Blueberry Nectarine Bourbon Cobbler
6 soft nectarines
2 cups blueberries, washed
1⁄4 cup bourbon
2 tablespoons corn starch
For the topping:
1 cup flour
3⁄4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
2/3 stick margarine
Pit and slice nectarines using a sharp knife or mandoline. No need to peel. Toss with blueberries,
bourbon and cornstarch. Place in a deep 9-10” pie plate.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl combine all topping ingredients using a mixer or pastry
blender until it resembles large crumbs. Spread over fruit and bake 50-60 minutes or until fruit is bubbly
and topping is golden.
Serve warm or at room temperature
Blueberry Buckle
This works with a variety of fruit but blueberries look very pretty suspended in cake batter!
For the cake:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 ounces margarine, room temperature
3⁄4 cup sugar,
1 egg
1/2 cup orange juice
15 ounces fresh whole blueberries, approximately 3 cups
For the topping:
1⁄2 cup sugar
1⁄2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 ounces margarine, chilled and cubed
Spray a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Glass or metal are fine but avoid using
a disposable pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground ginger. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat together the butter and sugar
on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Add the egg and beat until well
incorporated, approximately 30 seconds. Add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat on low speed just
until incorporated and then add 1/3 of the juice and beat until incorporated. Repeat, alternating flour
and juice until everything has combined. Gently stir in the blueberries and pour the mixture into the
prepared pan.
For the topping:
In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour and nutmeg. Add the margarine and work into the dry
ingredients using a pastry blender to combine. Continue until the mixture has a crumb-like texture.
Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cake. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35 minutes or until
golden in color. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Jun 25, 2014

Next Stop--Italian Jewish Food


 
One of the oldest Jewish communities in the world can be found in Rome, where Jews have been living since the destruction of the Second Bais Hamikdash in the year 70. At that time many Jews were brought to Rome as prisoners and slaves. By the end of the first century, some 30,000 Jews were living there.

Over the years, there have been two other major migrations: the Ashkenazim who came from Central Europe in the early 14th century, and the Sephardim who came after the expulsion of Jews from Spain. As with Jewish immigrants throughout the world, it’s often difficult to know whose culture was the greater influence.

As with all Mediterranean cuisine, vegetables and herbs play a large part in Italian Jewish cooking. Of course they came up with their own versions of slow cooked foods for Shabbos and special dishes for Yom Tov.

Spinach with Pine Nuts and Raisins
This is one of the most popular dishes of the Italian Jews.

 2 1/2 pounds spinach (frozen is fine)
2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 small onions, minced
4 tablespoons raisins, plumped in hot water and drained
4 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

If using fresh spinach, rinse the leaves well and remove the stems.  Place in a large sauté pan with only the rinsing water clinging to the leaves. Cook over medium heat, turning as needed until wilted, just a few minutes. Drain well and set aside. If you are using frozen, thaw and drain as much water as you can.
Add the olive oil to the sauté pan and place over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the spinach, raisins, and pine nuts and sauté briefly to warm through. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature.

 
Italian Citrus Salad

A light fragrant salad that’s perfect any time!

2 tomatoes, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup bell pepper (red and yellow), chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1 zucchini, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes
1/3 cups finely chopped red onion
3 large oranges, washed, peeled and cut into 1/2 -inch cubes

for the dressing:
2 tablespoon orange juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon shredded fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

 In large bowl combine all salad ingredients.

Whisk together salad dressing ingredients and add to the bowl of prepared vegetables. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Serve

 
Carciofi alla Giudia or Fried Artichokes

This savory vegetable recipe is said to have originated in the ghettos of Rome. It's a prime example of Jewish ingenuity in creating kosher dishes with local ingredients. Serve hot as an appetizer or side dish.

 2 tablespoons olive oil

2 (14-ounce) cans artichoke hearts, drained and patted dry
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

 In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over high heat. Add artichokes and cook 2 minutes to heat through.

Reduce heat to low. Stir in garlic and lemon juice. Cook 5 minutes longer. Remove from heat and add Parmesan cheese. Stir gently to mix.

Transfer to an oiled broiling pan. Finish off under preheated broiler to brown at edges, 2 minutes.

 Apple-Apricot Crostada
If you’re going to serve and Italian-style meal you will want to end with this simple but tasty fruit tart

 4 Granny Smith or other cooking apples
½ cup sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter or pareve margarine
2 large egg yolks
1 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup apricot preserves

 Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and grease a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
Peel, core, and slice the apples about a fourth to an eighth of an inch thick. You should have about 24 pieces.
Place the sugar, butter, egg yolks, flour, and salt in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process gently until the dough forms a ball. Pulsing works best—do not overwork the dough.
Take the ball of dough in your hands and flatten in the center of the tart pan. Working with your fingers and wide spatula, spread the dough evenly around the pan and up the sides. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick on the sides. Press the dough into the flutes and spread it evenly across the bottom of the pan, then trim and flatten the edges with a knife. Starting on the outside and working toward the center, lay the apple slices in an overlapping, concentric circle.
Place the apricot preserves in a saucepan and heat over a low flame until it has liquefied. Using a pastry brush, glaze the apples and the visible crust.
Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and continue baking until the crust is deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Bring to room temperature, unmold, and put on a platter or serving dish.

 

Jun 18, 2014

Dutch Jewish Food—Our Next Stop


In the 1500’s the Netherlands were known to have been tolerant of any religious practices. This meant freedom for both Christians and Jews who flocked there in large numbers. They mostly came from Spain where only Catholicism was acceptable. These Jews were Sephardic and brought with them traditional Sephardic foods. But as word spread Ashkenazi Jews arrived as well and by the 1700’s made up a large part of the Jewish population. Each culture brought its own influence to Holland and contributed dishes that remain popular today. One of the most famous is called Zeeuwse bolus sweet spiral buns. These sweet sticky buns are covered in cinnamon and sugar and are for this reason are sometimes referred to as “inside out buns.”


3 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 ½ cups w
hole milk or soy milk
1 stick butter or margarine
1 egg
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon

Sift all of the flour into a bowl and add the yeast. Heat the milk until it is lukewarm.  Make a depression in the flour and add ½ cup of the warm milk. Now add the egg and butter or margarine into the same depression. Start the mixer slowly and add the rest of the lukewarm milk one bit at the time into the flour, kneading until you have a silky smooth dough. Let the dough rise for about 1 hour under a damp cloth in a warm place.



Mix the cinnamon and brown sugar together.

Knead the dough once again, by hand, for about a minute.
Cut the dough into 60 small pieces of about 2 ounces each. Let the dough rise for about 15 minutes under a plastic bag or tarp. Spread cinnamon and sugar on your countertop. After 15 minutes, roll each ball in the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Set aside to rise for another 15 minutes.
Roll the dough pieces through the sugar, making long strings about ¾” in diameter. Make sure they’re well coated.  Twist the rope around your finger to make a knot.  Put the boluses on a lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let them rise for another half hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Bake for 10-12 minutes until the boluses are golden brown. After baking turn the boluses over immediately. Be careful, the melted sugar is HOT! Let the boluses cool down a bit before serving.
These are best served warm and sticky!

Another traditional Dutch Jewish food is their version of potato kugel knows as Pom. It combines shredded potatoes and chicken along with a delicious mix of spices.


6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 small onions, roughly chopped (about 2½ cups)
2 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch chunks
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper
1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, each cut in half
2 cups chicken stock, divided
Juice and zest of 2 small oranges
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground allspice
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, shredded in long strips
1 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley (about 1 large bunch)
3 eggs

 Preheat the oven to 375°. Spray a 9” x 13”casserole dish with nonstick cooking oil spray and set aside. 

In a medium-sized saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over high heat until it shimmers. Add the onions and stir, cooking for 8 to 10 minutes, until onions have softened and are translucent. Remove the onions to a bowl and set aside.  Reserve the pan. 

Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the pan and heat until it shimmers again. Add the chicken to the pot in a single layer, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper and sear until lightly browned. With tongs, turn the pieces, sprinkle with ½ teaspoon salt and the remaining pepper and cook on the other side until lightly browned. Its fine if the center is still pink.

Lower the heat and return the onions to the pan, stirring well. Add the tomatoes, 1 cup of the stock, the lemon juice and zest, brown sugar, allspice, and nutmeg and stir well. Pour this mixture into the prepared casserole dish. 

Place the shredded potatoes into a large mixing bowl. Add the chopped parsley, the eggs, 1 teaspoon salt, the remaining stock and 1 tablespoon oil and stir to combine. Arrange this mixture evenly over the chicken stew mixture in the casserole dish. Drizzle the remaining oil over the potato layer and place in the oven.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the potatoes are a deep golden brown and crunchy on top. Remove from the oven and serve immediately, or allow to cool and refrigerate, covered. To reheat, cover with foil and bake at 300°F until heated through; then uncover, increase the heat to 450° and allow the top to get crunchy again. The potatoes will have soaked up the liquid the second day and it won’t be as crunchy, but it will be equally delicious.

 

Jun 11, 2014

Continuing our Culinary Adventures—On to Poland!


History has shown a Jewish presence in Poland since the 900’s. It is believed Jews from Prague and Bohemia settled there when they were expelled from their native countries during the Crusades. For centuries Polish kings passed laws allowing Jews to live in relative peace and extended royal protection to all Jewish settlers. In return the Jewish people living there were profoundly loyal to the reigning king. Jews became tradesmen and merchants and facilitated trade between Poland and many other countries.

 Until WWII the Jewish population in Poland grew every year until it numbered more than 3 million.

With a history that long, it is no wonder that there are numerous dishes that originate in Poland. Blintzes, kugels, knaidlach, kreplach and rugelach are all believed to have been invented there. These popular dishes spread to neighboring countries of Germany and Hungary where they were tweaked to fit local cuisine. But without a doubt, the most famous Jewish food to originate in Poland is the bagel!

While we think of bagels as something to be picked up at your local bake shop, some intrepid cooks will want to try making them at home—just like they did for centuries in Poland!

 

Homemade Bagels:

For the sponge: (substance that causes the bagels to rise)

4 cups high-gluten flour or bread flour
1 tsp. instant yeast (not active dry)
2-1/2 cups lukewarm water (about 70°F)

For the bagel dough:

1/2 tsp. instant yeast
4 cups high-gluten flour plus more as needed
1-1/2 Tablespoons kosher salt
2 tsp. malt powder or 1 Tbs. malt syrup (available at natural food stores)

For shaping, boiling, and baking:

canola oil spray
1 tablespoon baking soda
Cornmeal
Sesame seeds, poppy seeds, kosher salt, finely chopped onions tossed in a little oil

To make the sponge:

In a 4-qt. bowl, mix the flour and the 1 teaspoon yeast. Add the water, whisking or stirring only until it forms a smooth, sticky dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until the mixture is very foamy and bubbly, 1 to 2 hours. It should swell to nearly double in size.

To make the bagel dough:

In a stand mixer bowl, stir the sponge with the 1/2 teaspoon yeast. In a bowl, mix 3 cups of the flour with the salt. Add it to the sponge, along with the malt. Using a dough hook, mix on the lowest speed, slowly working in the remaining flour until the dough is stiff, and  satiny; you may need extra flour. Keep kneading on low until the dough is firm but still pliable and smooth, about 6 minutes.

Divide the dough into 12 pieces, each weighing about 4-3/4 oz. Shape each piece into a smooth ball by pulling the dough down and around to one point on the bottom and then pinching the bottom closed. Cover with a damp towel and let rest for 20 minutes so the gluten relaxes.

To shape, boil, and bake the bagels:

Line two baking sheets with parchment and spray the parchment with canola oil.

To shape the bagels, poke a hole in the center of each ball of dough with your thumb and then gently rotate the dough around both thumbs, slightly squeezing and stretching the dough little by little as you turn until the hole has enlarged to 1-1/2 to 2 inches. The dough ring should be an even thickness all around.

Set the shaped bagels on the prepared pans so they’re 2 inches apart. Mist the bagels very lightly with oil and cover the pans with plastic (the wrap keeps the dough from developing a skin, which would restrict the rise). Let the bagels sit at room temperature until they swell slightly.

After 15 minutes, start doing the “float test” to see if they’re ready to be set in the refrigerator: Drop one bagel a bowl of water. If it floats within 10 seconds, the bagels are ready for the overnight rise. Pat dry the test bagel and return it to the pan. (If it doesn’t float within 10 seconds, shake or pat it dry, return it to the pan, and test again every 10 minutes until it floats.) Refrigerate the pans, still covered, for at least 8 hours, or up to two days.

When you’re ready to bake the bagels, heat the oven to 500°F. Bring a large wide pot of water to a boil and add the baking soda; have ready a slotted spoon or skimmer. Remove one pan of bagels from the refrigerator. Move the parchment with the bagels off the pan and onto the counter. Line the pan with a clean sheet of parchment, mist with oil, and sprinkle with cornmeal.

Gently drop the bagels into the water, boiling only as many as will comfortably fit; they should float within 10 seconds, if not immediately. Boil for 1 minute, flip them over, and boil for another 1 minute. For very chewy bagels, boil for 2 minutes per side.

As the bagels finish cooking, lift them out with the skimmer and set them on the baking sheet with the cornmeal. Sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds, kosher salt, chopped onions, or minced garlic.

When the bagels on the first pan are boiled and sprinkled bake for 10 minutes, rotate the pan for even browning, and then continue baking until golden brown on top and bottom and very firm, about another 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and transfer the bagels to a cooling rack. Let cool for at least 10 minutes. Remove the second pan of bagels from the fridge and boil and bake them the same way.

Serve with cream cheese and lox—another Jewish favorite!