The Jew And The Carrot

Mouthwatering Orange-Scented Macaroons

By Gayle L. Squires

Photographs by Gayle L. Squires

The Passover tradition that’s been handed down from generation to generation in my family is the luxury of a catered Seder. But we’ve always supplemented the cookie and cake plate with extra desserts. At my grandparents’ table, it was Bubbe’s layered and fruit-studded gelatin mold. At my aunt’s, a large platter of sliced melon, citrus and berries. At my parents’, chocolate-covered cherry-marshmallow twists and chocolate cake from a mix.

When I emerged as the baker in the family, I became the de facto dessert maker. I have three simple guidelines for pre-afikoman treats: 1) avoid matzo or cake meal; 2) use as few bowls and utensils as possible; and 3) make something you would want to eat year-round. After much trial and error, I’ve narrowed my Passover repertoire down to a handful of reliable desserts that serve as solid basics, ready to be adapted from one Seder to the next.

Macaroons serve as a perfect blank canvas. While unadorned mounds of coconut, sugar and egg whites are pretty spectacular on their own, it’s the variations that get me jazzed. Sure, you can add cocoa powder and chocolate chips, but what about citrus zest, cinnamon or rose water? And while most recipes call for sweetened shredded coconut, I urge you to seek out the largest unsweetened flakes (sometimes called coconut chips) you can find for macaroons that offer the greatest contrast in texture with deeply golden, crispy edges and tender chewy insides. Then there are the toppings: chocolate to dip, salted caramel to drizzle or jam to bake into an indented thumbprint.

If you’re not sure where to begin, try the macaroon recipe below, adapted from chocolatier and cookbook author Alice Medrich. They’re laced with orange blossom water and flecked with orange zest. The first bite will make you feel as though you’re basking in a gentle Mediterranean breeze, getting you into the mood to conclude the Seder by singing l’shanah ha’abah bi-Y’rushalayim — next year in Jerusalem (or at least Tel Aviv).

Chag sameach and happy baking!

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Roasted Beet Salad With Preserved Lemon

By Leah Koenig

Photograph by Sang An

With all due respect to the classic pairing of beets and goat cheese, there are other ways to serve cooked beets! Take this salad, which tosses them with preserved lemon, fennel, basil and capers. The lemon and capers act as a tangy counterpart to the sweet Mediterranean root, and the fresh fennel adds delicious crunch.

Serves 6

2 pounds medium beets, ends trimmed and scrubbed
2 small fennel bulbs, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon brine-packed capers, drained, patted dry, and roughly chopped
10 large basil leaves, cut into thin ribbons
3 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon peel
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 400° F. Wrap each beet tightly in a piece of aluminum foil and place in a baking dish. Roast in the oven until a fork can be easily inserted into the center, 50 to 70 minutes. (Time will vary depending on the size of your beets, so start checking at 50 minutes and keep cooking if not soft.) Remove from the oven and let cool to the touch. Use a paper towel to rub off the skin, or peel with a vegetable peeler. Cut the beets into bite-size pieces. (Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 1 day.)

2) Combine the beets, fennel, capers, basil and preserved lemon peel in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Drizzle over the salad and gently toss to combine. Let stand for 15 minutes. Divide the salad among plates and serve.

Recipes reprinted with permission from “Modern Jewish Cooking: Recipes & Customs for Today’s Kitchen,” Chronicle Books (2015), by Leah Koenig.

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Chocolate-Charoset Truffles for Passover

By Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz

Plan to make extra Sephardic-style charoset so you have enough to whip up these easy and delicious Passover confections. Photograph by Deborah R. Prinz.

This is a great combination of chocolate and a Sephardi version charoset, the Passover fruit concoction representing the building of granaries by the Hebrew slaves. Use this charoset recipe for your Seder and use the leftovers for your truffles. Or make enough charoset to plan for these truffles as your Seder dessert. Either way, they are delicious.

Makes 24 truffles

3 pounds high-quality dark or bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
¼ cup pistachios

¼ cup pecans

1/8 cup almonds
1/8 cup pine nuts

½ tart apple

¼ navel orange, with rind

A few drops of sweet white wine

A few drops of honey

Pinch of fresh or ground ginger (or to taste)
Pinch of ground cinnamon (or to taste)

1) Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or waxed paper. Grind the nuts, apples and orange separately in a food processor. The nuts should be as close to a powder as possible without becoming “butter.”

2) Combine the nuts, apple, orange, wine, honey, ginger, and cinnamon in a bowl, mixing well. The charoset filling should have a smooth, thick texture.

3) Roll the charoset into 1-inch balls. Melt the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; remove from the heat. Using two forks, dip the balls into the melted chocolate and place on the prepared baking sheet; refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

Deborah R. Prinz speaks about chocolate and Jews around the world. Her book, “On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao,”was published in 2013 by Jewish Lightsand is in its third printing. The book is used in adult study, classroom settings, book clubs and chocolate tastings.

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The Seder Plate in a Glass

By Naomi Major

This Passover-themed take on a vodka martini incorporates fresh horseradish and parsley. Photograph by Liza Schoenfein

At one Passover Seder I attended, all the guests brought dishes to contribute to the meal. As each person entered the apartment, the words “Do you have a bowl for this?” were uttered. Since that day, I have thought of Passover as The Festival of the Bowls. The meal was fabulous, by the way. I ate so much lamb that by the time dessert rolled around I had the urge to graze lazily on a hillside and say “Baa.”

One commonality (beyond the ritual readings and traditions) I’ve noticed among the various Seders I’ve been to is that prior to sitting down, there is a lot of prep work, setting of tables and entertaining of children. On any other evening, this would be considered cocktail hour. But, as we know, this night is different from all other nights. For one thing, four cups of wine are consumed.

Should that preclude a delightful pre-Haggadah beverage? I think not. (If you’re worried about overconsumption, perhaps you will allow a sip to stand in for a cup of wine each time you are instructed to drink.)

A pre-Seder cocktail should be simple and straightforward, because the meal preparations are so involved. And of course it should feel springlike — ideally made with ingredients that tie it to the holiday.

What could be more straightforward than a martini? Flavored not with an olive or lemon rind, but with a bit of freshly grated horseradish, and garnished with a sprig of parsley, it’s a Seder plate in a glass!

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VIDEO: How to Make the Best Boozy Brisket

By Liza Schoenfein

Brisket video from the Jewish Daily Forward on Vimeo.

Holiday food doesn’t have to be a huge production. The most beloved dishes are often the simplest, and if they can be made ahead, then all the better.

Brisket is one of these. Long, slow cooking in flavorful liquid transforms a tough lump of protein into the most tender, comforting and tasty dish. My grandmother used to braise hers in lots of tomato and a bottle of beer, and when we were little she called it “stringy meat.”

My mother, her daughter, was a culinary sophisticate who, like so many women of her generation, taught herself to cook by making her way through Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Instead of humble brisket, she would braise a rump roast in red wine. Called “boef à la mode,” it was hardly more complicated than its homey predecessor, but came across as a most elegant alternative.

My own brisket draws a little from each model, and couldn’t be simpler. The braising liquid is a lot of sturdy red wine mixed with a little tomato. Inspired by the Italian tradition of sprinkling chopped fresh herbs, zest and garlic — called a gremolata — over osso buco, I finish the dish with the fresh, bright mixture. It wakes up the flavor of the stewed meat and contributes irresistible aroma and texture.

For Passover, the addition of fresh horseradish to this garnish feels thematically appropriate, and it carries a key flavor of the Seder through the delicious main course.

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A Deli Man's Famous Stuffed Cabbage

By Ziggy Gruber

Third-generation deli man and former New Yorker Ziggy Gruber serves this stuffed cabbage at his Houston delicatessen, Kenny & Ziggy’s. Image: Facebook

Makes 6-8 pieces of stuffed cabbage

For the sauce
2 cans chopped tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato puree
2 cups onions roughly chopped
2 cups brown sugar
1 tablespoon paprika
½ cup white vinegar
¼ teaspoon sour salt
3 to 4 cups water

For the stuffing
1½ pounds ground beef
¾ cup rice, cooked
1¼ cups finely chopped onion
4 eggs beaten
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons salt
½ teaspoon pepper

1 large cabbage, whole
1 medium cabbage, chopped
2 cups sauerkraut

1) Place all sauce ingredients in pot and bring to a boil. Mix together all stuffing ingredients and set aside.

2) In a large pot, bring water to boil. Core out the large cabbage and blanch in the boiling water until soft; remove from water and remove each individual leaf.

3) Place 6 ounces of stuffing mixture on each cabbage leaf and fold in the sides to the center and roll up, like an egg roll.

4) Layer the bottom of a disposable half-pan with half of the chopped cabbage, then layer with one cup of sauerkraut. Place cabbage rolls on top; then add remaining shredded cabbage; then remaining sauerkraut. Pour sauce on top, cover tightly and place in a 300˚ F oven to bake for 3½ to 4 hours.

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Hamantaschen Plus Math Equals Mathmataschen!

By Liza Schoenfein

Photograph by Deborah Gardner

Just a few hours before Purim, I came across this awesome creation on the blog Seattle Local Food, and just had to share it.

For the non-math nerds among us, it’s a hamantaschen created using a mathematical principle known as the Sierpinski triangle. Here’s how Deborah Gardner breaks it down:

You may be familiar with the Sierpinski triangle, a mathematically attractive, self-repeating fractal that starts with one equilateral triangle and breaks down into ever-smaller triangles.

Somehow this year it dawned on me that the world was incomplete without a Sierpinski hamantaschen, or sierpinskitaschen. I scoured the vast reaches of the Interwebs, to see if this had been done before. I may have missed something, but it seems this has not.

Until today.

To find the recipe and learn more, click here.

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Tu B’Shvat Cocktail: The Arbor and the Ale

By Naomi Major

To celebrate Tu B’Shvat, a fig-scented cocktail. Photograph by Jon Wunder.

Writing for the Forward, I’ve learned so much. My education continued this week when I was asked to create a cocktail recipe to celebrate the upcoming holiday of Tu B’Shvat. I am delighted to write about Tu B’Shvat, mainly because up until several days ago my thought was “Tu B’Sh what?”

I knew nothing about it.

To research this lesser-known holiday, I turned to my favorite holiday experts, Fannie Engel and Gertrude Blair, my chosen “first ladies of Jewish history and traditions.”

Tu B’Shvat, or Chamishah Asar B’Shvat, simply means the 15th day of the month Shvat. It is the “New Year of the Trees.”

What? An actual holiday, with rituals surrounding it, celebrating trees? That’s a holiday I can get behind! Arbor Day is good and all, but this is a full-on holiday. And who doesn’t want to celebrate trees? Dorothy, from the Wizard of Oz, is probably arbor-averse, but that’s understandable because she was attacked by trees. (That wasn’t really the trees’ fault; the onus there lies fully with the Wicked Witch of the West.)

But I digress.

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Tofu With Apricots, Olives and Almonds

By Jean Hanks

Moroccan-style tofu with apricots, olives and almonds. Photograph by Susan Voisin.

This flavorful, hearty vegetarian dish serves as a delicious main course any time of year, but is particularly appropriate for Tu B’Shvat. It’s simple to prepare and looks beautiful when fully assembled. I came across the recipe in the “Vegan Holiday Kitchen,” by Nava Atlas, this past fall while searching for a meatless addition to my Rosh Hashanah dinner. I often find tofu bland, but the combination of the spices, the salty olives and the sweetness of the apricots made for a bold, aromatic meal.

With olives and wheat being two of the seven fruits of Israel, the inclusion of olives and couscous makes this recipe a great choice for a Tu B’Shvat seder. Add dried figs to incorporate a third of the seven species. For a non-vegetarian twist, substitute mildlyspiced cooked chicken for the tofu.

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Maia's Mom's Challah with Olive Oil

By Kathy Beitscher

Olive-oil expert Maia Hirschbein’s mother used to use low-quality olive oil in her cooking, but when she switched to the high-quality stuff, her challah and other dishes were transformed. Thinkstock

½ cup warm water
1 package or 1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
½ cup warm water
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
A little less than 2⁄3 cup sugar
4 cups flour (or as much as needed to make dough)

1) Place warm water in warm bowl and sprinkle in yeast and sugar. Let stand a few minutes. Then add remaining ingredients.

2) Stir together and knead for about 5 minutes. Knead with love. Place in bowl cover and place in warm spot 3 to 4 hours.

3) Punch down dough. Divide and braid. Place on greased cookie sheet Brush with egg and sesame seeds if desired. Let stand 30 minutes.

4) Bake at 325˚F for 30 minutes. For holidays add raisins.

This article first appeared on J. Weekly. Alix Wall is a personal chef in the East Bay and beyond. You can find her website at The Organic Epicure.

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A Manischewitz Cocktail: Now That’s Chutzpah!

By Naomi Major

A tart, refreshing, sophisticated cocktail designed to use up the post-holiday concord wine. Photograph by Liza Schoenfein

The Chutzpah!

Yields 1 cocktail

2 ounce concord wine such as Manischewitz
1 ounce orange juice
1 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 ounce vodka
2-3 ounces dry sparkling wine such as prosecco or cava
Slice of lemon, cut into a round

Fill a shaker with ice and add all ingredients except the sparkling wine. Shake vigorously and pour into ice-filled highball glasses. Top with sparkling wine and garnish with lemon slice.

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New Year's Balm

By Adeena Sussman

Photograph by Liza Schoenfein

In this simple cocktail, sweet notes of apple and honey are tempered with tart lemon juice and a hint of rosemary — rumored to be one of Drambuie’s secret ingredients.

Yields one cocktail

2½ ounces Drambuie
1 ounce apple cider
1 ounce vodka
1 ounce lemon juice
1 drop Angostura bitters
1 sprig of rosemary
Seltzer water
Apple slices dipped in honey for garnish

1) Combine first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass.

2) Top with a splash of seltzer and garnish with a thin slice of honey-dipped apple.

Adeena Sussman is a food writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Epicurious and Gourmet. Her most recent cookbook, co-authored with Lee Schrager, is “Fried and True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Recipes and Sides” (Clarkson Potter, 2014).

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Spiced Honey-Rosemary Roasted Nuts

By Adeena Sussman

Photograph by Liza Schoenfein

These are the perfect accompaniment to a honey-laced New Year’s cocktail.

3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups mixed raw nuts (such as walnuts, pecans, almonds and hazelnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350° F.

In a medium bowl, whisk honey with sugar, rosemary, salt and pepper. Add mixed nuts, toss to coat and spread evenly on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet.

Roast until fragrant and golden, 12-13 minutes. Remove from oven, let cool completely and loosen nuts into a serving bowl. Spiced nuts can be stored in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Adeena Sussman is a food writer and recipe developer whose work has appeared in Food & Wine, Martha Stewart Living, Epicurious and Gourmet. Her most recent cookbook, co-authored with Lee Schrager, is “Fried and True: More than 50 Recipes for America’s Best Recipes and Sides” (Clarkson Potter, 2014).

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Recipe: Ottolenghi's Fig Salad With Radicchio and Hazelnuts

By Yotam Ottolenghi

Photograph by Jonathan Lovekin © 2014

Serves 4 as a starter

2 small red onions (7 ounces)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup hazelnuts, with skin
2 ounces radicchio leaves, roughly torn
1 1/3 cups basil leaves
1 1/3 cups watercress leaves
6 large ripe figs (10½ ounces)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Salt and black pepper

1) Preheat the oven to 425˚F.

2) Peel the onions, halve lengthwise and cut each half into wedges 1¼ inches wide. Mix together the wedges with 1½ teaspoons of the olive oil, a pinch of salt, and some black pepper, and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, stirring once or twice during cooking, until the onion is soft and golden and turning crispy in parts. Remove and set aside to cool before pulling the onions apart with your hands into bite-size chunks.

3) Turn down the oven temperature to 325 F. Scatter the hazelnuts in a small roasting pan, and toast for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and, when cool enough to handle, roughly crush with the flat side of a large knife. Assemble the salad on 4 individual plates. Mix the radicchio, basil and watercress together and place a few on the bottom of each plate. Cut the figs lengthwise into 4 or 6 pieces. Place a few fig pieces and some roasted onion on the leaves. Top with more leaves and continue with the remaining fig and onion. You want to build up the salad into a small pyramid.

4) In a small cup, whisk together the remaining 2½ tablespoons olive oil, the vinegar and cinnamon with a pinch of salt and some black pepper. Drizzle this over the salad, finish with the hazelnuts and serve.

Reprinted with permission from Plenty More: Vibrant Vegetable Cooking from London’s Ottolenghi by Yotam Ottolenghi, copyright © 2014. Published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Random House LLC.

“Plenty More” is available for purchase through online booksellers such as and

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Recipe: Honey Cake for a Sweet New Year

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Photograph by Ben Fink

My fellow writer, talented friend and poet from Montreal, Marcy Goldman, is the authority on Jewish baking in Canada. She has developed the first honey cake I have ever loved, in good part because it is moist, flavorful and not too sweet.

Special Equipment: Two stacked baking sheets and one 9- to 10-inch (12 to 16 cups) one-piece metal tube pan, preferably nonstick, encircled from the bottom with 2 cake strips, bottom coated with shortening and topped with a parchment ring, then lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray.

Baking time: 70 to 80 minutes
Serves: 12–16

4 large eggs, at room temperature (3/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons/187 ml; 7 oz./200g)
1 cup canola or safflower oil, at room temperature (237 ml; 7.6 oz./215 g)
1 cup strong black coffee, at room temperature (237 ml; 8.4 oz./237 g)
½ cup orange juice, freshly squeezed and strained (about 2 large oranges) (118 ml; 4.3 oz/121 g)
¼ cup whiskey or rye* (59 ml; 1.9 oz./55 g)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (20 ml)
1 ¼ cups superfine sugar (8.8 oz./250 g
½ cup light brown Muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar, firmly packed (3.8 oz./108 g)
3½ cups all-purpose flour, preferably bleached, sifted into the cup and leveled off (14.1 oz./400 g)
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder (0.6 oz. 18 g)
¾ teaspoon baking soda (4.1 g)
½ teaspoon fine sea salt (3 g)
1 tablespoon unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder (5 g)
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon (8.8 g)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup honey (237 ml; 11.8 oz./336 g

1) Preheat the oven 20 minutes or longer before baking; set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F.

2) In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, coffee, orange juice, whiskey and vanilla until lightly combined. Add the superfine sugar and brown sugar, and whisk until dissolved into the liquid mixture.

3) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cocoa, cinnamon, ginger and cloves on low speed for 30 seconds. Remove the bowl and whisk beater. Add the liquid ingredients and sugars, and stir with the whisk beater until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the honey. Place the bowl back on the stand and reattach the whisk beater. Start on low speed, then gradually raise the speed to medium and beat for about 1½ minutes. The batter will have the consistency of a thick soup. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and set it on the stacked baking sheets.

4) Bake for 45 minutes. For even baking, rotate the pan halfway around. Lower the temperature to 325 F and bake for an additional 25 to 35 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted between the tube and the sides comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven. During baking, if using the 12-cup pan, the center will rise to a little above the top of the pan, but on cooling it will be almost level with it.

5) Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes. To loosen the sides of the cake from the pan, use a rigid sharp knife or stiff metal spatula, preferably with a squared-off end, scraping firmly against the pan’s sides and slowly and carefully circling the pan. (If using a nonstick pan, use a plastic knife or spatula.) In order to ensure that you are scraping against the sides of the pan and removing the crust from the sides, leaving it on the cake, begin by angling the knife or spatula about 20 degrees away from the cake and toward the pan, pushing the cake inward a bit. It is best to use a knife blade that is at least 4 inches long and no wider than 1 inch.

6) Dislodge the cake from the center tube with a wire tester or wooden skewer. Invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray. Remove the bottom and center tube, and peel off the parchment. Re-invert the cake onto a serving plate or cake carrier.

7) Let the cake cool for 2 to 3 hours, or until cool. (The cake can be served warm, but the pieces will be fragile. Slice with a sharp serrated knife, and lean the cut-side piece against a pancake turner to move it for plating.)

Store airtight: room temperature, 3 days; refrigerated, 7 days; frozen, 2 months.

Notes: If using a two-piece tube pan, encircle from the bottom with 2 cake strips; coat the bottom of the pan with shortening, and cut a 10-inch parchment round. Cut a circle from the center of the round to fit over the center tube. Slide the parchment ring down the center tube and press it onto the bottom. Press the outer part of the parchment against the sides of the pan, pleating as necessary to create a seal where the bottom part of the pan meets on the pan’s sides. Lightly coat the inside of the pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place a sheet of aluminum foil on top of the stacked baking sheets to catch any leaking batter.

*Orange juice, coffee or water can be substituted for the whiskey or rye.

Reprinted with permission from the publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt from The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Photography by Ben Fink. Copyright 2014.

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From International Journey to Cultural Connection

By Len Zangwill

Len Zangwill

The falafel stand was a key stop on the “tour” of Israel. Organized within my son’s active imagination, the imaginary tour was inspired by a Happy Birthday Israel program at our synagogue. This trip was special because it included a participatory component beyond a float in the Dead Sea, a dip in the Mediterranean, a stop at the Western Wall, or, for that matter, visiting a falafel stand. The extra component was helping to “prepare” a special (birthday) meal for Israel–on a kibbutz no less. The menu, as arranged by our youthful tour guide (age 4), included falafel, pita bread, hummus and Israeli salad along with tahini. We had a wonderful time “preparing” the meal and enjoying it. Our son beamed as his satiated parents expressed their appreciation for his culinary creativity. It added a different dimension to the trip.

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Fire-Roasted Eggplant for Lag Ba'Omer

By Lauren Greenberg

Growing up, the only thing that Lag Ba’Omer signified was a time for bonfires. In the New York suburbs the closet we got was barbeques, which for me meant an opportunity to eat watermelon. Barbeques were never particularly exciting to me, and when I got older and became a vegetarian, they held even less appeal. Furthermore, the holiday of Lag Ba’Omer also never fully made sense to me. Why were bonfires the hallmark of a celebration for ending of the plague killing Rabbi Akiva’s students?

Like many other confusing cultural phenomena, I put this aside and continued to care little about the holiday and the inevitable celebration of meat, knowing that while the appearance of veggie burgers could never be counted on since the number of vegetarians is consistently underestimated, my trusty watermelon would undercut these issues.

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Red Velvet Macaroon Cake Is for Lovers

By Molly Yeh

There is a sad truth about Passover: Its dessert always falls short. Hanukkah has donuts, Purim has hamantaschen and Rosh Hashanah has honey cake. Poor Passover has no signature sweet.

Perhaps you’ve put in the extra effort to make a kosher for Passover cake for your Seders past, but if you’re like me, you’ve never found one you love enough to sacrifice sweet brisket-braising time to make it each year. But as Julia Child said, “A party without cake is just a meeting.” So, this spring I set out to create a kosher for Passover cake that wouldn’t compromise even a crumb’s worth of quality.

I pulled my copy of Dan Cohen’s cookbook, “The Macaroon Bible,” down from my shelf and got started. Cohen’s recipes call for small batches that produce rich and chewy macaroons that come in flavors like rice pudding and salted caramel. Each recipe highlights the thick coconut shreds and sweet condensed milk that make up its base. His recipes have made macaroons a year-round treat in my home — passing the test of something that’s conveniently kosher for Passover but not designed for it.

This cake batter borrows from Cohen’s recipe and enhances the celebratory qualities of a macaroon. It takes a traditional Passover dessert and morphs it into a beautiful, festive and delicious centerpiece. It’s a Passover cake for all seasons.

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Video: DIY Chocolate and Cinnamon Babka

By Forward Staff

Homemade babka is a pure delight, filling your home with the smell of yeasty bread, cinnamon and chocolate. This video breaks the whole recipe down.

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Za'atar Chicken Fit for a Valentine's Shabbat

By Molly Yeh

Photos by Molly Yeh

I love a good fried chicken. I love schnitzel, I love katsu, I love anything fatty and breaded and crispy. If my Valentine presented me with a heart-shaped schnitzel on the 14th, I think I’d propose right then and there.

The problem is, I also love feeling good and fitting into the cute Valentine’s Day outfit that I’ve had picked out for weeks. In other words, I want my Valentine’s Day dinner to be as yummy as a schnitzel but much healthier than one.

Oven frying (baking a breaded cutlet, rather than deep frying it) is an obvious answer but I’ve never been a fan of it. With the fake fried food experience, I feel sad and cheated, and cheated is the last thing anyone wants to feel on Valentine’s Day. So… Za’atar to the rescue! It’s one of my favorite spice blends and I am a firm believer that za’atar, like chocolate, can make anything better.

Let’s also not forget that Valentine’s day falls on Shabbat this year. The amazing earthy flavor of za’atar with the crunchiness of panko on this chicken is a beautiful thing, and it is bound please a crowd for your Friday night dinner or a special date without an overwhelming amount of prep. This dish will leave you feeling great, and you may even gain a whole new respect for oven fried chicken like I did. It’s breaded without being heavy or oily and it’s paired with a sweet balsamic date chutney, to add a little extra sweetness to your night.

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