Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Peysekh Brownies (Vegan, Gluten-Free, Tree Nut-Free Passover Brownies)

You see, this is why we left Egypt.

Were it not for Passover, and the the needs of friends who are vegan, gluten-free, or tree nut-free, or all of the above, I would never have made these brownies, and the world would be a poorer sadder place.
OK, Here's what I made: I ground up one pound of chocolate (one 10-ounce bag Equal exchange semisweet ships and two 3-ounce bittersweet bars) to a fine powder. Then I took pulp from two green coconuts, two handfuls of medjool dates and ground those up, mixed with the chocolate powder.  Pat the mixture into a nine-inch pan and sprinkle pine nuts on top. 

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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Inside-Out Carrot Cake Hamentashn with Cream Cheese Filling

A few years ago I made this carrot jam filling for hamentashn.  It was not carrot cakes, nor carrot halwa, nor carrot pies (a venerable and beloved dessert before English cookery encountered the pumpkin and everything changed forever), nor even the carrot ice cream that Marya Dmitrievna thought was laughably implausible that inspired me.  It was those carrot-shaped bags.  As soon as I saw them I just had to fill them with some kind of carrot-based shalekhmones.  The compulsion was no more resistible than fate itself.

This made me think of A Girl of the Limberlost. Our heroine, Elnora, has a troubled relationshipwith her mother, who is unkind and sometimes abusive because she believes Elnora to be responsible for her father's death.  But, when Elnora (Mrs. Comstock was too conservative even to allow her poor daughter her fair share of vowels) gets a special lunch box from her uncle, Mrs Comstock is swept up in a frenzy of baking and cooking to make a lunch that will live up to the box in which it will be transported.  The moment when Elnora unpacks her lunch is unforgettable:

Mrs. Comstock was up early, and without a word handed Elnora the case as she left the next morning.
“Thank you, mother,” said Elnora, and went on her way.
She walked down the road looking straight ahead until she came to the corner, where she usually entered the swamp. She paused, glanced that way and smiled. Then she turned and looked back. There was no one coming in any direction. She followed the road until well around the corner, then she stopped and sat on a grassy spot, laid her books beside her and opened the lunch box. Last night's odours had in a measure prepared her for what she would see, but not quite. She scarcely could believe her senses. Half the bread compartment was filled with dainty sandwiches of bread and butter sprinkled with the yolk of egg and the remainder with three large slices of the most fragrant spice cake imaginable. The meat dish contained shaved cold ham, of which she knew the quality, the salad was tomatoes and celery, and the cup held preserved pear, clear as amber. There was milk in the bottle, two tissue-wrapped cucumber pickles in the folding drinking-cup, and a fresh napkin in the ring. No lunch was ever daintier or more palatable; of that Elnora was perfectly sure. And her mother had prepared it for her! “She does love me!” cried the happy girl. “Sure as you're born she loves me; only she hasn't found it out yet!”

And Mrs C. continues to come up with brilliant, multi-course lunches every day, and adds more to share:
Elnora went down the road thinking of the city children with whom she probably would divide. Of course, the bridge would be occupied again. So she stopped and opened the box. Undoubtedly Mrs. Comstock was showing Margaret Sinton the "frills." The cake was still fresh, and there were four slices. The sandwiches had to be tasted twice before Elnora discovered that beechnuts had been used in a peanut recipe, and they were a great improvement. There were preserved strawberries in the cup, potato salad with mint and cucumber in the dish, and a beautifully browned squab from the stable loft.

Beechnut butter!  And that potato cucumber salad with mint would not be out of place at a hipster gastropub in Bushwick.  Who knew 19th century Indiana was so cool?

Of course we identify with hungry neglected children finding food and kindness after long deprivation.  We fell for this hook in Harry Potter, Sara Crewe, Oliver Twist, and I don't know how many others, but this time I can see things from Mrs. Comstock's point of view as well.  That multi-compartmental lunch box is an articulated womb, a challenge you can't decline.

Having made carrot filling, I wanted to try turning the hamentashn inside-out (as one does with pumpkin hamentashn to make inside-out pumpkin hamentashn). Carrot dough suggested cream cheese filling.  I added some farmers' cheese and a yolk to make the filling less melty.

Carrot Cake Dough for Hamentashn

20 ounces (about 5 cups) whole wheat pastry flour (best with part whole wheat and part all-purpose)
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon mace
1/2 teaspoon ginger
12 ounces (3 sticks) butter
1 egg
1 cup orange juice
2 or 3 medium carrots, finely shredded, about 6-8 ounces
To make the dough rollable, cutable, and foldable, you will need to grate the carrots very fine.

Mix the dry ingredients together and blend in the butter.  Add the juice, egg, and vanilla to form a dough.  Mix in the shredded carrots and allow the dough to rest in the refrigerator overnight.

Cream Cheese Filling for Hamentashn

8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese
4 ounces farmer cheese
2 ounces (1/2 stick) butter
6 1/2 ounces (1 1/2 cups) confectioners' sugar
1 yolk
(probably good to add one slice white bread, crusts removed, soaked in milk and squeezed out)

Blend everything together in a mixer or processor.  It might be a nice touch to push the farmer cheese through a sieve, but I will not insist.

Heat the oven to 350F
Line sheet pans with parchment.

Working in small batches so that it stays cool, roll the carrot dough to 3/16 inch thick (slightly thicker than usual) and cut into circles.  I recommend cutting larger than usual circles because the carrot shreds will offer some resistance.  Fill with cream cheese filling (do not overfill), and bake for 20-25 minutes or until fragrant and golden brown on the bottom.

More Purim links:

Yeast Dough for Hamentashn 

Orange Juice Dough for Hamentashn

Inside-Out Pumpkin Hamentashn (Pumpkin Seed Pastry with Pumpkin Filling

Pumpkin Hamentashn (with Pumpkin Seed Filling)

Carrot Filling 

Apricot Filling

Poppy Seed Filling

White Poppy Seed Filling

Hemp Seed Filling

Povidl (Prune Filling)

פּאָװידלע Prune Filling (Yiddish)

Chocolate Dough (English)


Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough
 (Yiddish) װעגאַן טײג

Chocolate Dough (Yiddish)

Hamentashn, hamentaschen, homentashen, homentashn, המנטאַשן

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Friday, September 07, 2018

אַ תּירוץ פֿאַר די בענטש־ליכט

אַ תּירוץ פֿאַר די בענטש־ליכט
A teyrets far di bentsh-likht
A dreadfully lame excuse (literally: an excuse for the Sabbath candles)

Thursday, September 06, 2018

Rosheshone Round-up

For this year's rubiya I got some pretty Appaloosa beans.  I also got some love slender leeks for this year's karsi.  I am thinking about making Marcella's leeks braised with artichokes.

Bake cake:

Date Honey Cake
Classic Honey Cake
Chocolate Honey Cake
Pomegranate Mahlab Honey Cake 

Make pudding.

And of course, Honey Pie!

Have a sweet and beautiful year.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Breakfast Flakes for Peysekh (Passover Cereal)

If I give you twenty guesses, I bet you can't guess what I am cooking right now, or maybe you can, because you read the headline.  This recipe is for The Glaistig, who is cereal-dependent throughout the year and cereal-deprived during Peysekh. 
This recipe is also for anyone else who needs a convenient wheat-free, gluten-free, gebrokhts-free cereal.  By convenient, I mean convenient to eat once someone has made them. 
And of course, this recipe is for anyone else, who, like me, enthusiastically bought bags of almond flour and plantain flour last week and has no idea what to do with them.
I found this page of recipes for homemade cereals intriguing and made a variation on the corn flakes.  Allow me to note that this page also links to a recipe for homemade Cheerios, which involves shaping each individual Cheerio (does anyone use Cheerio in the singular?) by hand and making a little hole with a toothpick.  I want to make fun of this recipe, but I am all too afraid I will then wake up with an irresistible compulsion to make my own cheerios.  You know what happened with the rejuvelac and cashew cheese, don't you?

Plantain Almond Flakes
2 scant tablespoons plantain flour
2 generous tablespoons almond flour
1 or 2 pinches salt
1 to 4 pinches sugar

Mix together the flours and seasonings with your fingers.  Sprinkle about one tablespoon the mixture onto the bottom of a non-stick or cast iron skillet.  There should be barely enough to cover the bottom. Wet your fingers and shake water over the surface of the flour so that it is evenly soaked but not disturbed.  A spray bottle might make this easier.  Heat the mixture so that it dries out and begins to toast.  Flip over to break up and toast on the other side.  Allow the skillet skillet to cool before starting the next batch.

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Wednesday, March 07, 2018

דער װינטער הוריגאַן Bomb Cyclone in Yiddish

Yingl Tsingl Khvat by Mani Leyb

דער װינטער הוריגאַן
Der vinter hurigan
Bomb Cyclone

דער אַרכטישער שטרודל
Der arkhtisher shtrudl
Polar Vortex

Shtivl, Sapozhkelekh

Puttees, boot-legs

See also Cold in Yiddish and Snow in Yiddish ,

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Yeast Dough for Hamentashn

The only reason I have not posted this recipe sooner is that it is so important, I was sure I must have posted it already.  Every year at least two or three people will comment that they remember a kind of homentash you used to be able to get made with yeast dough, and they wish they could find a recipe, and every year I tell them the recipe is on my blog, and finally enough of you insisted you couldn't find it.

I almost always double this recipe, but I will give the proportions Jenny Grossinger provides in her wonderful book The Art of Jewish Cooking.

Yeast Dough for Hamentashn

1/2 cup milk
1/2 ounce yeast
1/2 cup water
3/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 eggs
8 ounces (2 sticks) melted butter
20 ounces flour

Scald the milk and allow it to cool.  In the mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water and allow it to dissolve.  Add the milk, sugar, salt, eggs, butter, and mix to combine.  Add the flour and knead with the dough hook or by hand until you have a resilient, silky dough, about ten minutes.  Allow the dough to rise until doubled (about forty minutes, depending on the conditions in your kitchen.  Punch down the dough and roll it out to slightly less than a quarter inch.
Since this dough is a little springy, you might find it easier to make slightly larger hamentashn than usual.

Fill with radish preserves or the filling your heart desires.

Brush with egg wash and bake at 375.  Check after 15 minutes.

Here's what to do with extra dough

Here's what to do with extra poppy filling

And here is a round-up of previous Purim recipes:

Orange Juice Dough for Hamentashn

Inside-Out Pumpkin Hamentashn (Pumpkin Seed Pastry with Pumpkin Filling)

Pumpkin Hamentashn (with Pumpkin Seed Filling)

Carrot Filling

Apricot Filling

Poppy Seed Filling

White Poppy Seed Filling

Hemp Seed Filling

Povidl (Prune Filling)

פּאָװידלע Prune Filling (Yiddish)

Chocolate Dough (English)

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough

Vegan Gluten-Free Hamentash Dough
(Yiddish) װעגאַן טײג

Chocolate Dough (Yiddish)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

I'll Make You Pie, Baby.

This year, for the first time in decades, I am not baking pie.  But I have not forgotten that you need pie.

The boss of all pies is chocolate pumpkin pie.  It is chocolate.  It is pumpkin.  It is a pie. In the words of Lucy Long, every person and every second of life is a gift.

well I know you love sweet potato pie

Some pies to keep in mind are

Bamboo Honey Pecan Pie  

A Really Lovely Pumpkin Pie

Lemon Meringue Pie

Lime Meringue Pie 

Skillet Pie (and some thoughts about crust)

Grape Pie  

While it is not a pie, and not from Boston (claims of the Omni chain to the contrary) this gesture toward Boston Cream Pie is worthy of attention.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

חלה־פּאַכע Challah Turtles

לכּבֿד ייִדיש־װאָך האָב איך דאָס יאָר געמאַכט חלה־פּאַכעס
In honor of Yidishhvokh, I made Challah-turtles this year.

קליינע פֿישלעך, טשערעפּאַכעס
קלײַבן קרישלעך, שעפּן נחת
װען די אָזערע איז אָפֿן
זײַנען מיר אַהינגעלאָפֿן

אַלע יאָר
קומט מיט אונדז
קומט איר פֿרי
קומט איר שפּעט
זאָלט איר ניט פֿאַרזאַמען

Friday, June 09, 2017

Rhubarb Upside-Down Cake

Recipe coming soon.  Gut shabes.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Rebooted Kharoyses (Haroset) and Over-Wintered What?

Overwintered spinach from Lani's Farm
 Overwintering is the practice of planting late in the fall and then covering the sprouts so that they hibernate over the winter and come up in the early spring, usually right in time for Peysekh.  Over wintered greens are sweet and intensely flavored, and I urge you to rush out and try some while they are here.  This Passover I used the spinach above from Lani's Farm in this African Spinach with Pumpkin Seeds, and in Sephardic Spinach (recipe coming soon, mertseshem).

I also got some chickweed.  Elizabeth Schneider recommends using chickweed in an apple and walnut salad that sounded a bit like rebooted kharoyses, so I served this along with the

red vine sorrel

Wow, is this the prettiest sorrel (shchav) you have ever beheld?  I bought a wjole bunch of this even before I read Jeffrey Yoskowitz's NYTimes  piece, which I heartily endorse, as you can well imagine.

wasabi greens
I got some of these too.  Wow.  Just wow.

Thursday, April 06, 2017

Spinach with Pumpkin seeds Vegan Passover

Yes, yes, I hear you.  You need a vegan peysekh entrée; you need something without matzo, gebrokhts, or wheat in any form, and you also need to make something for your daughter-in-law who can’t eat potatoes, and your other daughter-in-law who can’t have tree nuts.  I know last year you had to make four entrees, and indeed, the four vegan entrees of Passover may well be ready take their place in the Hagaddah, alongside the cups, sons, questions, varieties of redemption, and other paschal tetrads, because what could there possibly be that everyone could eat that is also as amazingly delicious as the feast of freedom deserves to be? 

Aha, you know you have come to the right place.

I tried this first only two years ago, but now I can not imagine peysekh without it  The recipe is adapted from the Ghanian Spinach Stew with Sweet Plantains that appeared in the Times in March of 2015.  It immediately caught my eye for a few reasons.  First, it satisfies all the conditions above (as adapted herewith), and that by itself is worth remarking.  Second, I really like how the pumpkin seed cream makes the dish into a rich sort of vegan creamed spinach or shag panir.  Of course, I love the idea plantains as a side dish for peysekh (that’s three), and fourth (another paschal tetrad!),  I was also excited about the chance to use smoked paprika, which I had never tried.  As it happened, my kosher paprika emporium does not have smoked paprika for Passover, even though they have every other kind of paprika in the universe, so I ended up using sweet and hot paprika.  The recipe in the Times also called for fish sauce.  I am thinking some toasted norimaki might add the desired scent of the sea.

Peysekh Spinach with Pumpkin Seeds

½ cup coconut oil, or mix of coconut and vegetable oil
1 medium onion,
5 - 9 cloves garlic
1 pinky-sized piece of ginger, (based on a medium-sized woman’s pinky, about 2 tablespoons after chopping)
1 habanero chile, or other type of chile (If you are on a totally nightshade-free diet, omit the chile and add ground black pepper).
Kosher salt
2 ½ pounds plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped
¾ cup pumpkin seeds
 2 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika or a mix of sweet and hot paprika
1 pound spinach*

Dice the onion, mince or crush the garlic, and chop the ginger and the chile.  Clean and chop the spinach.
Cook the onions, garlic, ginger, and chile in the oil. and salt. Stir and fry , until the onions begin to color. Add the tomatoes and some salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and partly cover the pan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 25 minutes, add paprika and simmer another two minutes. 
Pulse the pumpkin seeds to a fine powder in a food processor

Stir water into the pumpkin seed powder, a tablespoon at a time, until it is a thin paste. Spoon the pumpkin seed paste onto the tomato sauce, and spread it out. Cover the pan, cook for a few minutes, and stir.
Add water as needed, and increase heat to a boil. Stir in the spinach, and cook until soft. Add salt to taste, and serve with home-fried sweet plantains.

*over-wintered spinach is available briefly right around peysekh.  It is the most sublime spinach in the world.  Look for it at your farmers’ market.

The original recipe suggests serving the spinach with boiled plantains.  I love this idea, both because plantains seem to be an ideal foil for the spicy saucy spinach and because they provide a comforting alternative for folks who can’t eat too many potatoes or nightshades, for whom peysekh presents a formidable challenge.  To my taste, the boiled plantains were delicious when they were piping hot out of the pot, but aggressively bland very shortly thereafter.  When I make this next time, I am going to try home-frying the boiled plantains.

I cooked the spinach in advance because I had five pounds of raw spinacsh taking over my kitchen, and that works just fine, possibly even better than the original method.

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Thursday, February 09, 2017

טאָ לערנט זיך שױן ייִדיש So Learn Yiddish Already

Remember the passage in The Gastronomical Me by M. F. K. Fisher about being crazy in love and tasting really good wine?

And we drank one of our best wines, a Corton 1929 sent from the Chateau for a present the year before. It was beautiful with the strong simple food. We all raised our glasses before the first sip, and then for a few seconds we could but stay silent, with its taste under our tongues. I looked down the long table through the candlelight and saw Chexbres, and all was well with me.


Register right now for Spring classes at The Workmen's Circle, the best and most reasonably priced classes in town.

Spring registration is open for wonderful classes classes at YIVO too!

In April, you can study the world's most romantic language in the world's most romantic city.

I know it seems cold and wet right now, (See Rain in Yiddish, Snow in Yiddish, and Cold in Yiddish), but it is already time to start thinking about registering for a Yiddish summer program.  Summertime is Yiddish time!  Don't spend another summer standing there like a golem!  Enroll in a Yiddish summer program.  Yiddish is hot, hot hot.

The Uriel Weinreich Summer Program in Yiddish Language Literature and Culture is the first, best, and most comprehensive program.  Six intensive weeks of bootcamp for your brain.

For college and graduate students, a wonderful deal is The Yiddish Book Center Steiner Summer Program.

My paternal grandparents, Helen and Jerome Jochnowitz, zts"l, founded a Yiddish farm 75 years ago to grow food for the war effort. Jochnowitz Farm is now the host of the Yiddish Farm Summer Program.

There are more, many more! The best round-up of Yiddish summer programs is to be found at In Geveb.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Bukovina Buckwheat Cornbread


A few years ago I posted this dialog-poem by Yekhiel Shraibman about language, memory, and an intriguing recipe for  corn and buckwheat shortbread cookies.  I needed some buckwheat quick bread to make the topping for the Yiddish Mormon Funeral Potatoes I hope to be making today, so I adapted the recipe, adding milk, yogurt, whole eggs and leavening to the corn and buckwheat mixture

Bukovina Buckwheat Cornbread
4 ounces butter
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) buckwheat flour
6 ounces (1 1/2 cups) fine yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey (more or less, to taste)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup milk
2 eggs

Heat the oven to 425F. Melt the butter in a nine-inch cast iron skillet or two smaller skillets.
combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl, and make a hole in the center.  Beat the eggs with the milk, yogurt and honey, and pour into the center of the mix. Fold gently to make a batter. Pour on the hot butter and stir to combine.  Pour immediately into the hot skillets and bake for 15 minutes.  Lower the heat to 375, and bake another 10 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

At this point I can tell you this bread is wonderful hot out of the oven with butter.  When I was putting this bread together, I was almost tempted to add some white flour, because I was nervous about working with buckwheat flour, with which I have limited experience.  I am glad I resisted.  This wheat-free, gluten-free bread is soft, light, and pleasantly crumbly, just as I hoped.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Red Corn

The first time I made these grits, the flavor was very rich and interesting, but they remained very tough even after cooking overnight in the Crock Pot.  For the coming week, I am soaking them overnight first, and will then give them a good long cooking, before baking them in a Fitzu pumpkin.  In spite of their name they are kosher and vegan.


Friday, November 18, 2016

סעלעריע װאָרצעלעך Celeriac Tendrils

I was very excited to get hold of this celeriac from Lucky Dog Farm at the Union Square Greenmarket.  It differs from most celeriac you are likely to find in two related particulars.  It is really clean, and all the little roots are still attached.  Having washed and peeled countless celeriacs while translating, annotating and adapting Fania Lewando's Vegetarian Cookbook I can tell you this makes life much happier, and we need every tendril of happiness we can grasp.  I am planning to  to use the bulb of the celeriac in one of the stuffing/dressing dishes, and to make tiny little celery French fries with the roots.

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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

מיט װאָס עסט מען דאָס? ?What on earth are these

Did I buy these at the farmers' market, or did The We'an catch them playing Pokemon Go?
I cooked some of them and connected one to the mouse-port on my computer, unless I made up that last bit.  I will update this post with a recipe soon, but first post your guesses in the comments.  If you are reading this on email, click here to comment.  In addition to immortal fame and glory, the winner will get a little lagniappe from me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Khreynbow Pride כרײנבױגן שטאָלץ

Romaine lettuce, Radicchio di Treviso, Belgian endive, beet khreyn, carrot khreyn, yellow pepper khreyn, avocado khreyn, pleyn khreyn, purple cabbage khreyn

This week was Shabes Koyrekh (Korach), a week to enjoy cherries, radishes and horseradish.

Peysekh, of course, Shabes Noyekh and Pride Shabbat are special khreynbow occasions

The recipes for all the horseradish preparations in the khreynbow are here .
I have not given up on finding an ingredient for blue khreyn, and I was momentarily cheered by this article, about the uses of the butterfly pea flower, but the flower turns purple when exposed to acid, and even without the vinegar, the horseradish itself would be sufficiently acid to trigger the change.  I might still try this.