Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Chocolate Lady’s Vegan Shvies (Shabuoth, Shavuot) Survival Guide (Honey Vanilla Kernik)


The difficulties faced by vegetarians during the joyous festival of peysekh are the subject of endless brow-furrowing, hand-wringing, and beard-tugging, but really, a vegetarian Passover is a day at the races, a veritable (peysekhdik) cakewalk compared to steep and slippery slope scaled by vegans at the joyous Feast of Weeks. Yes, I know peysekh is way longer, and comes with actual mitsves, but everyone is more or less in the same boat with regard to facing culinary challenges at peysekhtime. Shvies, on the other hand, has no dietary restrictions, and on the contrary offers the extra option of having milkhiks at a holiday meal. This beloved shvies tradition is of recent origin, dubious provenance, and is by no means universal, but it has earned shvies the title as the best of all holidays.

Here are your shvies survival links:
The most important recipe you need is this cashew and hemp cheese for filling blitnses, pierogi, vereniki, naleszniki, and other cheesy delights.
Have a look as well at this amazing pistachio cheesecake (or Yiddish pistachio cheesecake)

And here is the honey-vanilla kernik you have been waiting for.
A sweet and happy yontif to all In Mol Araan.

װעגאַנער טאָרט מיט קאַשוניס און קאָנאָפּליעס
1 טעפּל קאַשוניס
½ טעפּל קאָנאָפּליעס
‏2 לעפֿל קאָקאָנוס בױמל ‏
¼ לעפֿעלע זאַלץ
¼-1/2 טעפּל האָניק
זױמען פֿון 1 שױט װאַניל
2 לעפֿל אַגאַר (קאַנטען)
װײקט אײַן די קאַשוניס און קאָנאָפּליעס אין װאַסער אײן נאַכט. גיסט אױס דאָס װאַסער. מאָלט אָפּ די ניס מיט 1 ½ טעפּלעך פֿרישע װאַסער, האָניק, זאַלץ און װאַניל. קאָכט דאָס געמיש אין אַ טאָפּ מיטן אַגאַר דער אַגאַר זאָל צעגײן. גיסט אײַן אין אַ טאָרט־פֿענדל פֿון 6 צאָל און קילט עס אָפּ.

Almost Raw Vegan Honey Vanilla Cheesecake (Kernik)

1 cup raw cashews
½ cup hemp seeds
2 tablespoons coconut oil
¼ teaspoon salt (2 fat pinches)
2 tablespoons agar-agar (kanten)
¼-½ cup bamboo honey or other flavorful honey, to taste
seeds from one vanilla bean
1 6-inch pastry crust (ah, look! You have a leftover chocolate crust right here!)
Soak the cashews and hemp seeds overnight. Drain them and add 1 ½ cups fresh water, the honey, oil, and salt, and blend at high speed for several minutes. Heat the blended nut mixture with agar until the agar dissolves and pour into a six-inch springform with or without a prepared crust. You can pour the mixture into individual cups or bowls.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cheesecake-Lexicography II סערניק־לעקסיקאָגראפֿיע

Yesterday I asked the budding neologists among my readers for for names for a cheesecake-like dessert made with nuts or seeds. Hippogirl very aptly pointed out that the word "cheesecake" has been used for centuries to describe such cheese-free confections as Mrs. Beeton's Almond Cheesecake and Lemon Cheesecake, recipes number 1219 and1292 in Isabella Beeton's Book of Household Management (1861). The cakes in Mrs. Beeton's recipes resemble a a sort of shoo-fly pie made with lots of eggs and sugar. I think they are both worth trying, and I agree that for the time being the best word in English for cheesecake is "cheesecake."

The perfect Yiddish word for nut and seed cheesecakes is obvious. It has to be קערניק (kernik). You see, one of the Yiddish words for cheesecake is סערניק (sernik), from the word "ser" which means cheese in Polish and some other Slavic languages. The word "kern" means seeds or kernels.

This is the second most useful word I ever made up. The most useful word is געװעזנתּניתטע (geveznteyniste) which means the former wife of one's current husband. The former husband of one's current wife is one's געװעזנתּן (geveznutn).

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Name This Dessert ?װאָס הײסט, װאָס סע הײסט

This honey-vanilla dessert is made with cashews and hempseeds that I soaked and pureed (recipe to be posted shortly). It is not intended to be a substitute for cheesecake, but rather a gesture in the direction of cheesecake.
So far I have been calling these guys "pareve cheesecake," or "vegan cheesecake," but surely they deserve a name of their own.
If you can think of an appropriate name for this kind of thing, in Yiddish, English, or any other language, please write something on the comments section. Those of you who look In Mol Araan via email need to click here to get to the website and post to the comments section.

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Almost Raw Pistachio Vegan Cheesecake

Left to right: raw pistachios, soaked pistachios, decorticated pistachios

This delicious pale green dessert was my second attempt at a vegan cheesecake, and it is really much easier than I imagined. The only difficult part of this recipe is decorticating all the pistachios, but if you have company, the work flies by. I used agar agar or kanten to set the uncooked nut mixture, so this is more of a Bavarian cream than a cheesecake. Agar is a kosher vegetarian gelling agent. The Yiddish word for agar is אַגאַר.
The pistachio flavor is intense (it is almost nothing but nuts) and you just want to fall right into that calming soft green color. A Yiddish version of this recipe and a picture of the finished cake are here.

Chocolate Shortbread Crust

2 cups flour
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
pinch salt
1 cup (8 ounces) coconut oil

Line the bottoms of 3 six-inch springform pans with baking parchment and oil the parchment. preheat the oven to 325.
Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt in the bowl of a processor and pulse to mix. Add the coconut oil and pulse until it forms a dough. Divide the dough into three parts and press into the bottoms of the prepared pans. Chill for 20 minutes or longer, and bake for 25 minutes at 325. This recipe will also make about 50 little shortbread cookies.

Pistachio Cheesecake (Kernik) or Crème Bavaroise

2 cups pistachios
1 cup almonds
3/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
4 tablespoons agar (kanten) flakes (I used Mitoku)

Soak the almonds and pistachios overnight. Decorticate the nuts. You can remove the almond skins fairly easily by squeezing them and popping the kernels right out. The pistachios might require a little more in the way of persuasion to part with their cortices, but look at how gorgeously green those decorticated kernels are!
Combine the decorticated nuts with honey, salt, coconut oil, and two cups of fresh water in a blender and blend on the highest speed for several minutes to make the puree as satiny as possible. Pour and scrape the nut miuxture into a saucepan and heat with the agar flakes until the dissolve. Pour the filling into two of the prepared crusts, or into individual dessrt glasses and chill.

This recipe appears in Yiddish here.

דער רעצעפּט געפֿינט זיך אױף ייִדיש דאָ ‏

Yes, I know you still have one unfilled crust. Watch this space!

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Friday, May 22, 2009

װעגאַנער קעזטאָרט פֿון פֿיסטאַשקעס

שאָקאָלאַדער טײג פֿאַר קעז־טאָרט אָדער המנטאַשן

8 אָנצן (2 טעפּלעך) מעל
1/2 טעפּל קאַקאַאָ
1 טעפּל פּולװער־צוקער
8 אָנצן (1 טעפּל) קאָקאָנוס פּוטער
זאַלץ אױפֿן שפּיץ מעסער

װאַרעמט אָן דעם אױװן אױף 325

מישט אױס מעל, קאַקאַאָ, און צוקער אין אַ פּראָצעסירער. גיט צו קאַלטע קאָקאָנוס פּוטער, זעשניטן אױף שטיקלעך, און מישט גוט אױס, עס זאָל װערטן אַ טײג.

באַקט עס אָפּ אַ 25 מינוט. דאָס מאַכט 3 טײגעלעך פֿון 6 זאָל, אָדער 50 קיכעלעך.

װעגאַנער קעזטאָרט פֿון פֿיסטאַשקעס

2 טעפּלעך פֿיסטאַשקעס

1 טעפּל מאַנדלען

¾ טעפּל האָניק

½ לעפֿעלע זאַלץ

¼ טעפּל קאָקאָנוס שמאַלץ (קאָקאָנוס בױמל, קאָקאָנוס פּוטער)

4 לעפֿל אַגאַר (קאַנטען)

װײקט אײַן די ניס אין װאַסער אײן נאַכט. גיסט אױס דאָס װאַסער. מאָלט אָפּ די ניס מיט 2 טעפּלעך פֿרישע װאַסער, האָניק, און זאַלץ. קאָכט דאָס געמיש אין אַ טאָפּ מיטן אַגאַר דער אַגאַר זאָל צעגײן. גיסט אײַן אין 2 טאָרט־פֿענדלעך פֿון 6 צאָל, און קילט עס אָפּ.

This recipe appears in English here.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Red Bananas רױטע באַנאַנעס

די אָ רױטע באַנאַנעס האָב איך געקױפֿט מיט מער װי אַ װאָך צוריק. זײ זענען, דאַכט זיך מיר, נאָך נישט צײַטיק, אָבער װי אַזױ זאָל איך װיסן? זײ זענען דאָך פּערפּל!

I got these purple bananas (commonly called “red bananas”) more than a week ago, and they still seem unripe, but how can I tell? They are purple, for crying out loud!