Photograph by Molly Yeh
A love of winter runs in my family. We love soup and sweaters, and we look forward to the shorter days when that means we have fewer people convincing us to go and do outside things and more reasons to stay inside with cookbooks, a fire in the fireplace and a batch of cookie dough or two. We’re cozy folk and we know it.
So consider my move to one of the coldest cities in America a big old love note to winter. People thought it was a bit odd, but last year, for my first winter, I got to buy new sweaters and had every reason in the world to stay inside and bake — sometimes the people on the news even told us to stay inside! It’s like they knew me.
These days, no drink goes down that’s not warmed up and served in a mug. Hot cocoa is obviously a perfect cold weather companion, but I have to admit that in recent years around the holidays it’s taken a back seat to sweets of higher priority, like sufganiyot and more sufganiyot.
The other day I came across a link on Tablet to a Munchies video of comedian Eiot Glazer in a kitchen, wearing an apron and making gold-dusted Hanukkah gelt. The gelt looked really good, and Glazer’s banter was a hoot — take a look. (Start paying attention to the video close to the 1½-minute mark — trust me on this.)
By the way, upon further exploration I also found a video of Gefilteria’s Liz Alpern making apple-pear sauce for latkes. Definitely also worth a peek.
t/h Tablet Magazine
Photograph courtesy of Breads Bakery
I cannot tell a lie: I’ve never made sufganiyot. I feel a little sheepish about this, because when you’re a food editor and a recipe developer, as I am, people seem to expect that you’ve done it all.
I was so impressed when I read Gayle Squires’ story last week about tackling jelly doughnuts for the first time, and her step-by-step recipe sounds fabulous, but aside from a short period when I made my own beer-batter-fried fish, and one or two attempts at fried chicken, I’ve just never been the deep-frying kind.
This is a sporadic column by Bay Area personal chef Alix Wall, in which she evaluates a cookbook by making some of its recipes, sharing them with friends and asking what they think of the results. This time, she cooks her way through the 40th-anniversary edition of the “Moosewood Cookbook.”
Does the “Moosewood Cookbook” really need an introduction? Don’t you have your own splatter-stained copy that’s been on your shelf as long as you’ve been cooking? Or maybe your mom handed it down to you when you moved out on your own? After all, it’s been in print 40 years, and remains one of the most popular cookbooks of all time.
Ten Speed Press, the Berkeley-based publisher that got its start along with the “Moosewood,” recently put out a 40th-anniversary edition. If you bought the updated (read: lightened up on the dairy and eggs) version from 1992, there’s no need to buy this one. And if you’re still cooking from your original, as I am, you don’t have to run out to buy this edition either. However, if you know some youngsters who are unfamiliar with “The Moosewood Cookbook,” the 40th anniversary is indeed a fine time to introduce them to a book that came out when vegetarianism was still relegated to the hippies.
Photograph by Alix Wall
This very simple and rich-tasting soup can be made with no dairy products.
Fennel is well-known as a seasoning, particularly in seed form. It is less well known as a vegetable: a light green bulb that is crunchy, juicy, and deeply, though subtly, flavored.
Preparation time: about 40 minute
Yield: about 6 servings
1 tablespoon butter or oil
4 cups thinly sliced onions
2 teaspoons salt
4 medium potatoes (average fist-sized), not necessarily peeled, and sliced into thin pieces 1 to 2 inches long
1 cup freshly minced fennel bulb
½ teaspoon caraway seeds
4 cups water
White pepper, to taste
Optional toppings: sour cream, thinned (by beating with a little whisk in a little bowl), the feathery tops of the fennel, well minced
1) Melt the butter (or heat the oil) in a kettle or Dutch oven. Add the onions and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until the onions are very, very soft and lightly browned.
2) Add the potatoes, another ½ teaspoon of salt, the minced fennel bulb and the caraway seeds. Sauté over medium heat for another 5 minutes, then add the water. Bring to a boil, then partially cover and simmer until the potatoes are tender (5 to 10 minutes).
3) Taste to adjust salt; add white pepper. Serve hot, topped with a decorative swirl of thinned sour cream and/or minced feathery fennel tops.
Photograph by Alix Wall
This delicious and straightforward apple strudel can be made several days in advance and stored, unbaked, in the refrigerator (tightly wrapped.) Baked strudel also keeps very well in the refrigerator or freezer if wrapped airtight. If you freeze it, defrost completely before reheating it, uncover in a 350˚ F oven for about 10 minutes, until crispened.
30 minutes to prepare; 35 minutes to bake
Yield: 8 to 10 servings
Note: To make fine bread crumbs, cut several thick slices of whole wheat or white bread, and let them dry out for a few hours. Then toast the slices lightly, and grind them to a fine meal in a blender or food processor.
6 tablespoons vegetable oil — or ½ cup melted butter — or oil spray
1 ½ pounds tart apples (about 8 medium ones), peeled and chopped
¼ cup sugar
A pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
½ cup minced walnuts, lightly toasted
¼ cup raisins (optional)
1 cup grated cheddar cheese (optional)
1 pound package filo pastry
1) Preheat oven to 375˚ F. Brush a baking tray with a little of the oil or melted butter, or spray it with oil spray. (Save most of the oil or butter for the filo.)
2) Place all the ingredients except the filo in a large bowl, and toss gently until everything is evenly distributed.
3) Place a sheet of filo on a clean, dry surface, and brush it lightly all over with oil or melted butter — or spray it with oil spray. Lay another sheet on top, oil or butter it all over and continue until you have a pile of 6. Distribute 1/3 of the apple mixture at one end, fold over the sides and roll it up.
4) Oil or butter the top of the roll, then transfer it to the prepared tray. Repeat with the remaining ingredients to make 2 more rolls.
5) Bake for about 35 minutes, or until lightly browned and exquisitely crisp. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Oil is certainly a controversial subject, with issues ranging from fat content to smoke point to quality. Each nutritional school of thought seems to offer a different perspective. In honor of Hanukkah, Judaism’s celebration of oil, here is yet another: the holistic point of view.
As a student of traditional Chinese medicine, I love oil. Healthy fats like the oils I’m about to discuss — as well as avocados, nut butters and coconut — don’t stand a chance in my pantry. I roll through them like sufganiyot from a spilled box.
A quarterly shipment, pre-flight. Photograph courtesy of Koofsa
Inbal Baum, founder and guide of Delicious Israel culinary tours, has launched a mouth-watering new business for U.S.-based foodies who swoon over Israeli flavors but can’t find an exciting range of authentic products here.
With the recent launch of Koofsa (which means “box” in Hebrew), Baum is offering an enticing opportunity for people in the U.S. to support Israel’s small food producers, family food businesses and other culinary creatives, while tasting a wide range of Israeli edibles in their own kitchens.
Image courtesy of William Greenberg Desserts
First, we had Hanukkah bushes. Then came Mensch on a Bench.
But is the world ready for Hanukkah gingerbread houses, a Semitic spin on the most goyish of holiday foods?
William Greenberg Desserts thinks so. The venerable bakery — which sells only kosher products — offers festive gingerbread abodes, complete with microscopic mezuzahs and miniscule menorahs, as it has for the past decade.
Buying fair trade chocolate — in the form of gelt, or even sufganiyot — makes particular sense on Hanukkah, when we celebrate freedom from tyranny. Photo courtesy of Ilana Schatz.
When I first learned about the issue of trafficked child labor in cocoa fields, I immediately thought of the gelt that I’ve eaten every Hanukkah since I was a young girl. The sweetness of its taste in my mouth while playing dreidel is deeply embedded in my memory.
But now I had been introduced to its true bittersweet character.
Today, young children are trafficked and forced into working on cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, where more than half the world’s cocoa is grown. Many have been kidnapped from surrounding countries and brought to the Ivory Coast against their will. They are forced to work long hours, often without pay, and receive no education. Their work involves hazardous chemicals and pesticides and dangerous machetes.
Photograph courtesy of Ilana Schatz
On Hanukkah, chocolate need not be confined to gelt. After tasting one of these warm, chocolate-filled sufganiyot, you won’t want to return to the old jelly-filled standard.
Use fair trade chocolate to ensure the freedom of cocoa workers on the holiday that celebrates the Maccabees’ fight against oppression.
¾ cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour (keep some handy for your work surface)
¾ cup sugar
½ tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 large eggs, separated
Peanut oil, as necessary
¼ cup 70% Fair Trade bittersweet or milk chocolate
¼ cup raspberry jam (optional)
Photograph by Deborah R. Prinz
This easy recipe incorporates chocolate Hanukkah gelt and rich peanut-butter cookies. Not only is the cookie delicious with the chocolate, but it provides a great way to feature the gelt. Try to find high-quality gelt made with good chocolate that has few (if any) additives. Using dark chocolate gelt will keep this gluten-free cookie parve.
The gelt of Hanukkah recalls the booty, which included coins, that the Maccabean victors distributed to the Jewish widows, soldiers and orphans — possibly at the first celebration of the rededication of the Jerusalem Temple.
In ancient Israel, striking, minting and distributing coins expressed Hanukkah’s message of freedom. The Maccabees’ descendants, known as the Hasmoneans, who ruled Judea, started to strike coins. As the book of 1 Maccabees records, Syria’s King Antiochus VII said to Simon Maccabee, “I turn over to you the right to make your own stamp for coinage for your country” (15:6).
Enjoy stamping these cookies with chocolate gelt — and eating and sharing them over the holiday.
Foodie Family: The Pollan women are (from left to right) sisters Dana, Tracy and Lori and their mother, Corky. Photograph by John Kernick.
The members of my family are, for the most part, smart, accomplished, attractive and close to one another. I’ve always been pretty keen on them. But now that I have a window into another family, the Pollans, I sort of feel as if my own is somehow lacking.
Of course I knew that Michael Pollan was basically the spiritual leader of the sustainability (and sensible eating) movement in the United States. I knew that Corky Pollan was the writer whose Best Bets column I always flipped to first when she was at New York magazine. I knew that Tracy Pollan played the smart, beautiful girlfriend of Alex P. Keaton on the 1980s sitcom Family Ties, and that she later married her leading man, Michael J. Fox.
But I didn’t know — did you? — that all of these Pollans (along with two more beautiful and accomplished sisters, Lori and Dana) were members of the same nuclear family.
Photograph by Quentin Bacon
This dish is such a stunner and a crowd pleaser. The depth of the Grand Marnier with the zestiness of the citrus creates the most amazing flavor.
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
¼ cup fresh honey tangerine (Murcott orange) juice
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
3 tablespoons Grand Marnier (or other orange liqueur)
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
½ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
½ medium red onion, cut lengthwise, then cut into thin half-moon slices
7 or 8 sprigs fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
8 or 9 pieces chicken (breasts, thighs and legs; about 4 pounds)
10 cloves garlic, peeled
1 lemon, washed, thinly sliced, and seeded
1 honey tangerine (Murcott orange), washed, thinly sliced and seeded
Note: If Murcott oranges are not available, use any tangerines, mandarins or juice oranges.
1) For the marinade, in a small mixing bowl, combine ¼ cup of the oil, the lemon and tangerine juices, the wine, mustard, Grand Marnier, brown sugar, paprika, red pepper flakes, onion, 2 of the thyme sprigs, 1½ teaspoons of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper.
2) Place the chicken in a large plastic bag. Pour in the marinade, seal and turn to coat completely. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour or overnight.
3) Remove the chicken from the refrigerator, ideally 1 hour before cooking if you have marinated it overnight. Set racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 450˚ F.
4) Place a colander over a large mixing bowl and drain the chicken, reserving the marinade along with the onion and thyme. Remove the chicken and dry thor¬oughly with paper towels. Pour the marinade, onion and thyme into a rimmed baking sheet.
5) In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the remaining oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add half the chicken pieces skin side down (do not crowd them) and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, undisturbed, until a dark golden crust forms. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place on the baking sheet, skin side up, on top of the marinade.
6) Wipe the skillet clean. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and repeat with the remaining chicken. Transfer the chicken to the baking sheet, reserving the oil in the skillet. Turn off the heat and let the skillet cool for 1 minute.
7) Add the garlic to the oil in the skillet and turn the heat to medium. Cook the garlic for 3 minutes, flipping it halfway through until the garlic is lightly browned on both sides. Transfer the garlic to the baking sheet with the chicken.
8) Arrange the lemon and tangerine slices around and under the chicken. Lay 3 sprigs of thyme on top and season with salt and pepper. Bake on the middle rack for 25 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 165° F on an instant-read thermometer and the juices run clear.
9) Remove the baking sheet from the oven and raise the temperature to broil. Transfer the chicken pieces to a serving platter, leaving the marinade, citrus, onion and garlic on the sheet. Broil on the upper rack for 4 to 5 minutes, until the citrus slices caramelize. Remove the sheet from the oven and arrange the citrus, garlic, and onion under, on and around the chicken. Garnish with a few sprigs of thyme.
10) Pour the liquid from the baking sheet into a small saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the sauce reduces by a third, 8 to 10 minutes.
11) Serve the chicken warm with the sauce passed separately.
Excerpted from THE POLLAN FAMILY TABLE by Corky, Lori, Dana and Tracy Pollan. Copyright © 2014 by Old Harvest Way, LLC. Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster.
Photograph by John Kernick
This is our favorite recipe of our grandmother’s and the first one she taught us to make. Yiddish for “almond bread,” mandelbrot is the Jewish version of biscotti. Because these cookies are twice-baked, they are crisp and crunchy — and highly addictive. Delicious served with coffee, tea and dessert wine for dunking — or as Grandma Mary sometimes did, eaten for breakfast.
1 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon chopped raw walnuts
3¼ cups all-purpose flour plus extra for flouring the work surface
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
4 large eggs
1¼ cups plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ cup canola oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup golden raisins
1 large egg white
1) Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350° F.
2) Spread the almonds and 1 cup of the walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake until they are toasted and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Let cool on the pan. Leave the oven on.
3) In a medium mixing bowl, sift together 3 cups of the flour, the baking powder, and salt. Set aside. In large mixing bowl, whisk together the 4 whole eggs and 1¼ cups of the sugar. Whisk in the oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, and ¼ teaspoon of the cinnamon. Gradually stir in the flour mixture, blending with a wooden spoon. Fold in the toasted nuts and the raisins. The dough should be soft and workable but not sticky. If it is sticky add more flour, a tablespoon at a time, not to exceed ¼ cup. (You can also cover and refrigerate the dough for 20 minutes to 1 hour to make it more workable. If you do, turn off the oven now and turn it back on when you are about to shape the dough.)
4) Finely chop the remaining 1 tablespoon of walnuts. Put them in a small mixing bowl and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
5) Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
6) Transfer the dough to a floured work surface and divide it into thirds. Dampen your hands with cold water and shape each piece into a log about 3 inches wide and 12 inches long. Place the logs on the parchment paper-lined baking sheet, leaving 3 inches between them. Use your hands to even the sides of the logs, creating long rectangles.
7) Whisk the egg white in a small mixing bowl to make an egg wash. Brush egg wash onto the top of each log. Sprinkle each with a third of the cinnamon sugar-walnut blend, about 1 tablespoon each.
8) Bake until golden and firm to the touch, about 35 minutes. Remove from the oven but leave the oven on. Let the loaves cool slightly, only 3 to 5 minutes. (Do not let the loaves cool too long or the slices will crumble when you cut them.)
9) Transfer the loaves to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut each on the diagonal into ½-inch slices. Arrange the cookies in a single layer on two ungreased rimmed baking sheets, cut side down.
10) Set racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and place one pan on each. Bake until lightly toasted, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip the pieces and rotate the sheets top to bottom and front to back to ensure even baking. Bake for an additional 5 to 7 minutes, until toasted on the second side.
11) Transfer the cookies to wire cooling racks and let them cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
Excerpted from THE POLLAN FAMILY TABLE by Corky, Lori, Dana and Tracy Pollan. Copyright © 2014 by Old Harvest Way, LLC. Excerpted with permission by Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster.
Photograph by Jon Wunder
Gift No. 3
The holiday season is upon us, which for many means a time of social gatherings, family, friends and traditions both religious and secular.
This time of year brings me back to my youth, when I believed December was the time the Jews celebrated Hanukkah as well as Passover — when Santa Claus passed over our house and went to everyone else’s. Were it not for Cecil B. DeMille and his documentary, “The Ten Commandments,” I might still be disillusioned.
Needless to say, as an adult I have no sentimental attachment to any of December’s celebrations, but thanks to Shmaltz Brewing Company, that is all about to change. Because if there’s one tradition I can full invest in, it’s one that involves craft beer.
For a slick Hanukkah gift, think oil. Sprayer and cruet images courtesy of Williams-Sonoma
Gift No. 2
What would Hanukkah be without oil? A very sad celebration of dry doughnuts, tasteless latkes and darkness, I’m sure.
This season, celebrate one of the eight days of light with the gift of oil — in three forms.
First, the oil sprayer ($24.95). This non-aerosol, stainless steel beauty, from Williams-Sonoma, is both eco- and waistline-friendly. It’s ideal for lightly lubricating latke pans and baking sheets.
White House chef Sam Kass is packing up his knives and heading to New York to be with his bride.
The White House announced today that Sam Kass — private chef to the Obamas, senior policy advisor on nutrition policy and executive director of the first lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative — has resigned.
Kass, 34, is moving to New York to live with his wife, MSNBC anchor Alex Wagner, whom he married in August 2014 at farm-to-table mecca Blue Hill at Stone Barns. The first family attended the wedding.
Photograph by Gayle L. Squires
On the first night of Hanukkah, we say a shehecheyanu prayer to commemorate the first night of the holiday and the lighting of the menorah candles. But a few years ago, I said shehecheyanu on the night before the first night of Hanukkah to commemorate a first for me: I fried.
An Israeli friend had emailed me his recipe for jelly-filled sufganiyot doughnuts, and I snuck out of work early that fateful day to gather the supplies necessary for an evening of frying. Flour, sugar, yeast, milk, eggs. A gallon of oil. A jar of jam. And a new turkey baster.
I rushed home to mix and knead the dough and then let it rise while I jumped on a conference call. My friend arrived an hour later and we ordered pizza. By the time dinner arrived, the dough was nearing the top of the bowl. By the time we finished eating, the dough was peeking over the edge of the bowl.
We were ready to roll. Literally.
Photographs by Gayle L. Squires
You can fill these doughnuts with whatever you’d like — here I used raspberry jam. We cut the dough with a drinking glass, which made a dozen *sufganiyot. Obviously the number of sufganiyot will depend on the size of your glass.*
2 packets (2 tablespoons) dry yeast
¾ cup warm water
1 cup whole milk
¾ cup sugar
6 tablespoon shortening or margarine (Crisco works great here)
1 teaspoon salt
5 to 6 cups flour (or more)
1 gallon (or more) oil (vegetable or peanut oil is best, canola works in a pinch)
1 cup raspberry jam
1) Proof. Mix yeast with warm water and a pinch of sugar. After about 5 minutes, it will foam up.
2) **Heat. ** Warm milk in a pan over low heat until it reaches body temperature.
3) **Mix. ** In the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, combine sugar, shortening and salt until creamy. Add eggs and mix. Add yeast mixture and milk and continue to mix. Add 2 cups of the flour. Incorporate the remaining flour a half-cup at a time until the dough is very elastic and no longer sticks to the bowl. I had to add a total of 6 cups.
4) Knead. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes. I started kneading in my mixer and then finished up the last few minutes by hand on a floured counter.
5) Rise. Put the dough in a greased bowl. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until it doubles in bulk — at least an hour. I heat my oven to the lowest temperature possible (170º F) and then turn it off and leave the covered bowl inside to rise.
6) Knead. Once the dough has doubled, knead it again briefly.
7) Roll. Roll the dough out on a floured counter until it is about ½-inch thick.
8) Cut. Using a drinking glass, cut the dough into rounds. Re-roll the scraps and cut the rest of the rounds. These (the rounds from the re-rolled dough) will need to rise a little bit longer than the others. Keep the remaining scraps to test the oil.
9) Rise again. Place the rounds on a well-floured cookie sheet (ideally the kind without edges) so the dough is easier to slide right off into the oil. Let rise again until double, at least another hour. The rounds will get nice and round.
10) Heat. Fill a really wide pot with high sides with oil and heat over low to medium heat. Remember those scraps left over? Gently slide one into the oil. If one side browns in 1-2 minutes, the oil is too hot. If it takes more than 5 minutes, the oil is not hot enough. You’ll probably need to test and adjust the temperature a few times. The oil is perfect when you it forms a lot of teeny tiny rolling bubbles around the dropped dough. I checked the oil temperature with a meat thermometer — it was 310º F.
11) Fry! Once you’ve got the oil at the right temperature, lower the cookie sheet close to the surface of the oil and scootch your first roly-poly round into the oil. Tiny bubbles should surround the doughnut. When the first side puffs up and reaches a nice brown (a bit darker than “golden”), flip it over. It took us about 3-4 minutes per side. And we made about 3-4 per batch.
12) Drain. Cover your counter or a few plates with several layers with paper towels. Using a slotted spoon, remove the sufganiyot from the oil onto the paper towels to absorb excess oil.
13) Fill. Remove the bulb from the turkey baster and carefully spoon the jam into the top. Flick the edges to help coax the jam down to the tip. Do this over a plate so you don’t make too much of a mess. Put the bulb back on and poke the baster into the side of a sufganiya. Slowly squeeze the bulb while gently pulling back to the edge. Repeat with the rest of the doughnuts.
14) Dust. Sift confectioners sugar over the top of the filled sufganiyot.
15) Eat. The sufganiyot are best fresh, but they will last a day if well wrapped.
Gayle Squires is a food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Her path to the culinary world is paved with tap shoes, a medical degree, business consulting and travel. She has a knack for convincing chefs to give up their secret recipes. Her blog is KosherCamembert.