Saturday, October 01, 2022

אַמעריקאַנער מאַלװע Mallow Soup Caldo de Alaches



I had lots of greens already, but could I walk past these beauties from Grandpa Farm?  They are called alaches. They have beautiful purple flowers, arrow-shaped leaves and woody stems.  The farmer suggested cooking and blending them to make a green soup.


Alaches are Malva Alcea (Moose Mallow, hollyhock, cut-leaf mallow) or אַמעריקאַנער מאַלװע

The name "mallow" rang a bell. They are from the same family as Jew's mallow and the original marshmallow.  They do not have the familiar round leaves of those mallows, but arrow-shaped leaves.

I found some recipes in Spanish and tried as best as I could to follow this one. The recipe calls for Alaches leaves, green squash, corn, and an herb with long skinny leaves called pipicha.

I went tearing back to the market for corn and squash.  I did not imagine I would find pipicha, but thought I could make do with a bunch of cilantro.  I went to the farmstand and caught sight of these:


"Is this pichipa?" I asked breathlessly.

"Pipicha" she answered, with kindness and patience I hope to deserve. 

The leaves are very fragrant with flavors of cilantro, caraway, pine cone, parsley, and freshly mown grass.

Pipicha is Porophyllum linaria. It is not listed in Plant Names in Yiddish, so for now I will call it פּיפּיטשע

The flavor of the soup is a little herbal and a little mineral, but for me, the strongest taste and the greatest surprise was  a very big potato kind of energy.  For folks who can't or won't eat potatoes for various reasons, this soup could be a deeply satisfying and comforting dish. In fact, it will be deeply satisfying and comforting even to folks who eat potatoes all the time, like me.

Alaches Soup

1 bunch Alaches (mallow), about 1 pound

2 medium zucchini, about 1 pound

1 small onion, peeled

1 clove garlic, peeled

2 ears sweet corn, cut into 1-inch disks

1 small bunch pipicha or cilantro

Remove the alaches leaves and flowers from the stems. It is nice to have some company to do this.  I got about 9 ounces of leaves from a 14-ounce bunch. cover the leaves with water and soak and wash until they are clean. Keep the flowers cool and dry.

Add about two quarts of water to a soup pot or large saucepan. drop in  the zucchini, onion,  garlic, and corn disks, and bring to a simmer.  Add the leaves and two teaspoons salt.  Pull the leaves off the pipicha, and add leaves and stems to the pot. Cook for about another twenty minutes or until everything is quite tender.  The cook to whom I linked above cooke thw soup in a tall clay pot and purees the greens with a long wooden pestle.  This is beautiful, but I felt just removed the corn and stems and blended everything in a blender.  Taste for salt and add more water as needed. Serve with corn and flowers.


Thursday, September 22, 2022

The Boss of All Honey Cake פֿאַניאַ לעװאַנדאָס האָניק־לעקעך מיט קאָרענע מעל



If you have a shuf at the recipe below, and if you are familiar with some of the honey cakes I have made over the last 18 years, you might be able to imagine how difficult it was for me to follow this recipe. No fresh or dried fruit? No citrus zest or juice? No coffee or tea or liquor? No spices save a bit of cloves (cloves of all things?)?  Hardly any fat? All that baking soda? Won't this cake be plain, dry, and unremarkable? No, no, and no.  This is honey cake to which all others aspire.  At first you think it is not sweet or moist, but then, just as you finish your first bite, the dark flavors of the rye and buckwheat sneak up you and you need another bite, and then another. I should have known any recipe from The Vegetarish-Dietishe Kokh Bukh would conquer all.



Rye and Buckwheat Honey Cake

2 eggs

250g (9 ounces, 1 cup) buckwheat honey

250g (9 ounces, 1 1/4 cup) sugar

1/2 teaspoon cloves 

1/2 teaspoon salt

75g  (3 1/2 ounces) oil (I used sunflower oil)

1 1/2 tablespoons (20g, 3/4 ounce) baking soda

 200g (1 3/4 cups, 7 ounces) rye flour

200g (1 3/4 cups, 7 ounces) all-purpose flour

Prepare a quarter-sheet pan, a nine-inch cake pan,  or an eight-inch tube pan, and heat the oven to 350f (mark 4). Beat the eggs and add the sugar and honey.  Continue beating, adding the cloves and oil. Sift together the flours and baking soda, and mix into the batter.  If the mixture is too dry add just a little water.

Scrape into prepared pan and bake 25 minutes for the quarter-sheet or 35 for the cake pan, or until a tester comes out clean.  for best results, allow to rest one day.

Monday, August 01, 2022

Cantaloupe Seed Milk


Well, how did I never think of this before? I fear I will have to account for every melon seed I ever discarded.  Cantaloupe seed milk is very silky and creamy.  It is a bit on the bitter side, but you can always add a drop more sugar.

Cantaloupe Seed Milk

3 ounces (3/4 cup) cantaloupe seeds (seeds of 2 cantaloupes)

1 1/4 cups water

1fat pinch each sugar and salt

Blend seeds with water.  Strain through a few layers of cheesecloth or a nut-milk bag.

Use in any recipe calling for milk or vegan milk.




Friday, July 29, 2022

Cantaloupe Seeds דינקע קערן





The good news is I made these delicious roasted, salted cantaloupe seeds.   The other news is, from this day forward,  whenever I eat cantaloupe and don't cook the seeds I will feel like a disorganized criminal.


Roasted Cantaloupe Seeds

Remove seeds from the melon and remove as much cantaloupe fiber as can be easily done.  Don't worry if you don't get it all at first.  

Put the seeds in a saucepan and cover with liberally salted water.  Bring to the boil and cook for five to ten minutes.  Skim off the remaining melon bits.  

Drain the seeds (save the salty seed stock for soups, beans, grains, or pasta).  Roast the seeds on a sheet pan at 350F (177C, Mark 4) for about ten or fifteen minutes to your desired shade of golden-brown.

Re-salinate your poor, parched cells.

Friday, April 15, 2022

Cassavekoek A Passover Cake from Suriname


I am very excited to be trying this recipe, for which I am grateful to my brilliant colleague Eli Rosenblatt.


The word "cocosnoot" will never cease to delight me

 The recipe comes from “Teroenga” April 1942, the Jewish journal of Paramaribo Suriname.  While I have been arguing for years that cassava (yuca, manioc) is perfect for peysekh, I have not come up with any recipes other than yucas fritas.  This year I am making at least two yuca-centric preparations, this cake, and a vegan sancocho for a  Seder Caribeño or Caribische Seder .

If you have time, Prepare the cassava a day ahead so you can freeze the grated cassava overnight and thaw it out before baking.  Remember to thaw the cassava.  I almost skipped this step.

Cassavekoek (Cassava Bojo)

1 Cassava (about 1 pound to yield about 2 1/2 cups pulp)

1 ripe coconut

1 cup milk

8 ounces ( 1 cup) dark brown sugar (or any sugar, more or less, to your taste)

2 ounces (4 tablespoons, 1/4 cup) butter

5 eggs

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (I had no cinnamon this time, but 1/8 teaspoon would be good)

6 ounces (1 cup) raisins, soaked in 1/4 cup slivovitz, if desired

butter for the pan 

Heat the oven to 350F /180C, and butter a nine-inch cake or pie pan, and six muffin cups or a nine by thirteen pan.

Peel the cassava. You will need a sharp knife because the skin is tough and probably coated with wax. Cut the cassava lengthwise and remove the woody core. 

Grate the pulp or grind it up in a processor. If you have time, freeze the pulp (remmeber to thaw before baking).


Pierce the coconut and drain the water.  Bake for about 20 minutes. Smash open, and pry out the pulp.  You need not peel off the brown membrane for this cake. Grate the coconut pulp or grind it in a processor.  While the processor is running add the milk (water would probably be fine).


Melt the butter over low heat, and continue cooking a few minutes until it becomes deep brown and smells like the best bakery.

Beat the eggs, beat in the sugar, and drizzle in the brown butter. Fold in the coconut and cassava and the raisins. Scrape the batter into the prepared pans.  Bake for forty minutes until the surface is golden and a knife emerges clean

 Some notes on the original recipe and my adaptations

1. I do not know any Dutch

2. The recipe calls for a sweet cassava.  Fortunately, all the cassava available in the United States is sweet cassava.

3. I browned the butter, because brown butter.

4. Yes, even without knowing Dutch, I can sort of see that the original recipe calls for only three spoons of sugar, but I just have a strong feeling that they are large English-style dessert spoons, about four teaspoons 1 1/3 tablespoon each. Maybe even larger.

5. Traditionally you might soak the raisins in rum, rather than Slivovitz

6. This might be prettier in a cake pan, but one leniency I allow myself is to make all Peysekh cake in aluminum pie pans.

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Sunday, March 13, 2022

Rice Flour Dough for Homentashn (Gluten-Free Hamentaschen)


A number of years ago I made this wonderful vegan and wheat-free dough (װעגאַנער גלוטנלאָזער טײג) to approximate wheat-free homentashn.  It works for tartlets or thumbprint cookies, but did not have the rollability or non-crumple-ability for homentashn.  After many assays into gluten-free baking, I think I finally have a rollable, pinchable, sealable, homentashnogenic dough recipe to be getting on with.  You may use the flours I used, specified below, and I think it will probably be just fine with 20 ounces of any gluten-free flour blend.  Just add the one teaspoon of xanthan gum.  This is just enough to give the dough that desired malleability wit adding any gumminess to the taste or texture.

You can probably tell that this recipe owes a great deal to my beautiful friend Helen Gottesman Adelson of blessed memory.  I think of her whenever I make her homentashn, or any homentashn at all.  I substituted a whole orange for the orange juice to provide more of the full brown, sour, and bitter flavor we would otherwise get from wheat.  Maybe you are thinking brown, sour, and bitter does not sound so great, but we do miss them when they're gone.


 Rice-Flour (Gluten-Free) Dough for Homentashn

1 cup (7 1/2  ounces) sweet rice flour

1/2 (3 3/4 ounces) cup white rice flour

1/2 cup plus one tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) potato starch (I happened to have this much.  1/2 cup will work fine).

1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) chickpea flour (besan)

1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces) tapioca starch

1 teaspoon xanthan gum, if you have any

3/4 - 1 cup (6 1/2 - 7 1/2 ounces) sugar 

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

8 ounces (1/2 cup) butter

one orange, peel, pulp, and pith, pulverized in a processor or blender

1 yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

about 1/4 cup water, as needed

Sift together the flours, sugar, salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder into a mixing bowl.  Cut in the butter and mix with the flat paddle or your fingers or a pastry blender to a fine meal. Add the yolk, orange pulp, and vanilla, and enough water to make a dough and chill until ready to roll. 

The dough looked a little resistant at first but rolled out beautifully. 

 The re-rolled scraps were even easier to handle.

Fill with one of these fillings

And bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden on the bottom.

Fill with:

Cream Cheese Filling for Hamentashn

Prune Filling (povidl) English

Prune Filling (povidl) Yiddish

Apricot Filling


Carrot Filling


Pumpkin Filling


Black Poppy Seed Filling


White Poppy Seed Filling


Hemp Seed Filling


Pumpkin Seed Filling


Radish Filling

And bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until golden on the bottom. 

May there be a miracle every Purim

זאָל זײַן אַלע פּורים אַ נס

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Purim Video Round-Up

 Herewith are all our videos involving homentashn (hamentaschen), kreplekh, pirogn, and various things stuffed into other things.

Forgotten classics:  Yeast Dough and Radish Jam

Our Fabulous Potato Kreplekh

Drinks and Homentashn.  Rukhl is Queen Esther, and I am a pumpkin

Knishes--Potato and Sweet Potato (This was one of the best things we ever made)

Sour Cherry Varenikes (Pirogn) Our very first episode!

Cabbage Strudl

Rice Dumplings Stuffed with Mushrooms

 Stuffed Cabbage

A Purim feast: Rukhl is Queen Esther, and I have fuzzy balls on my head:

Sunday, February 06, 2022

װעגאַנישע יויך Vegan Gold



װעגאַנישע יויך

פֿאַרשטײט זיך אַז װען מע מאַכט אַ יויך מעג מען מקיל־זײַן. דער־אָ רעצעפּט מעגט איר בײַטן לויט אײַער געשמאַק.  אַלע מאָסן אָדער מעסטונגען מעגט איר בײַטן.


װאַרעמט אָן 3 קװאַרט װאַסער אין אַ טאָפּ. גיט צו:

3 מערן

1 סעלעריע

1 ציבעלע

5 צײנדלעך קנאָבל

1 גרויסע (אָדער 3 קלײנע) פּעטרישקעס אָדער שטענגלעך פֿון גרינע פּעטרישקע

10 פֿעפֿערלעך

1 אָדער 2 קלײנע קאַבאַק אָדער קירבעס (אַנ ערך 2 פֿונט)

1 בינטל (1 פֿונט) ציגן־בערדל (סאַלסיפֿײַ אָדער אויסטער־פּלענט)

סטענגלעך פֿון אַ בינטל קאָפּער (קריפּ)

1 טעפּל קאַשו־ניס

1 פּאַסטערנאַק, אויב מע װיל

װאַלד־הון שװעמעלעך, אָדער סתּם שװעמעלעך, אויב מע װיל


אין אַ צװײטן טאָפּ, קאָכט אָפּ די קערעלעך פֿונעם קאַבאַק און אַ צװײ־דרײַ קאַטשענעס אין גוט געזאָלצנעם װאַסער


קאָכט אָפּ די גרינסן אַ 40 מינוט זײ זאָלן װערן װײך און די יויך זאָל גוט שמעקן




װאַרעמט אָן מאַסלינע בוימל אין אַ דריטן טאָפּ.  גיט צו:


3 צעשניטענע ציבעלעס

אַ ביסל צעשניטענע גרינע סעלעריע

5 צײנדלעך צעשניטנעם קנאָבל


פּרעגלט אָפּ די גרנסן אַ 3־4 מינוט


גיסט די יויך דורך אַ דורכשלאַק אַרײַן אין די ציבעלעס.

גיסט אַרײַן אויך די יויך פֿון די באַניע קערן און קאַטשענעס.  בראָט אָפּ די געזאָלצענע באַניע קערנ אין אויװן אויף 350 אַ 20 מינוט.


אין אַ בלענד־מאַשין שלאָגט איבער 2 געל פֿעפֿערס מיט 2 צײנדלעך קנאָבל און די אָפּגעפּרעגלטע קאַשו־ניס, און גענוג יויך צו מאַכן אַ געמיש.  גיסט די פֿעפֿער־יויך צוריק אין דער יויך.

צעשנײַדט בלעטער פֿון אַ קלײן בינטעל קאָפּער און אַ ביסל פּעטרישקע און גיט צו די בלעטלעך צו דער יויך.

פֿאַרזוכט די יויך און גיט צו זאַלץ, פֿעפֿער, און פּאַפּריקע לויט אײַער געשמאַק.


מיטן אָפּגעקאָכטן ציגן־בערדל און גרינסן, מאַכט װעגעטאַרישע געפֿילטע פֿיש װעגעטאַרישע געפֿילטע פֿיש אָדער װעגאַנישע געפֿילטע פֿיש




מקיל־זײַן meykl zayn to interpret the rules leniently 

בײַטן to change

לויט אײַער געשמאַק according to your taste , לויט ענקער געשמאַק

קאַשו־ניס cashews

 מערן carrots


 ציבעלע onion

 צײנדלעך קנאָבל cloves of garlic

פּעטרישקע parsley root 

פֿעפֿערלעך peppercorns

קאַבאַק squash or pumpkin

באַניע קערןpumpkin seeds

ציגן־בערדל (סאַלסיפֿײַ אָדער אויסטער־פּלענט)salsify


קאָפּער (קריפּ)dill


װאַלד־הינדל שװעמעלעך chicken-of-the-woods mushrooms

סתּם שװעמעלעך any old mushrooms


איבערשלאָגן blend

אויסמישן mix

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גאָגל־מאָגל Gogl-Mogl

איך װייס שוין.  עץ זענט'ץ שטאַרק.  אָבער שטאַרקער פֿון אײַזן איז קיינער נישט. װיפֿל בלעטערקרויט מע זאָל נישט עסן, װיפֿל קאָמבוטשע מע זאָל נישט טרינקן, װיפֿל מאַראַטאָנען מע זאָל נישט לויפֿן, 
װיפֿל תּהילים מע זאָל נישט זאָגן,   װערט מען אַ מאָל פֿאַרקילט

איז װאָס?  טרינקט'ץ יאָ טײ; זאָגט'ץ יאָ תּהילים; אָבער דער עיקר: מאַכט'ץ אַ גאָגל־מאָגל
 װען מע דאַרף אַ לעפֿל װאַרעמס אונטערצולענען דאָס האַרץ, אָדער װען עפּעס טוט װײ, אָדער װען עס דאַכט זיך אַז דער װינטער װעט זיך קײן מאָל נישט ענדיקן, קען גאָגל־מאָגל גוט העלפֿן.  איך זאָג ניט צו אַז גאָגל־מאָגל װעט אַלץ הײלן, אָבער ער װעט זיכער גאָרנישט שאַדן

I see you. Your constitution is fierce and you eat forests of kale and drink rivers of kombucha, but sometimes even the fiercest among us need care.  We need to drink tea, we need to say psalms, and we need to make gogl-mogl.

When you need a bit of warmth to bolster your heart, when something hurts, or when it seems as if the winter and this terrible plague will never pass, gogl-mogl can help.  I am not promising it will cure anything, but it certainly will not hurt.



1 cup milk (milkhik milk or vegan milk of any kind)

1 egg yolk

1 tablespoon honey date syrup (more or less, to taste)


1 ounce whiskey or brandy (more or less, to taste)

Scald the milk in a saucepan.   Whisk the yolk and honey together and whisk in the hot milk to make a foamy drink.  Pour into a cup and add brandy if you wish.



 אײן טעפּל מילך ( אָדער מילכיק אָדער װעגאַניש)

אײן געלכל

אַ לעפֿל האָניק ־־ לאָיט ענקער געשמאַק

אויב מע װיל, אַנ אָנץ בראָנפֿן ־־ לויט ענקער געשמאַק

װעלט'ץ אויף די מילך אין אַ טעפּל. שלאָגט'ץ דאָס געלכל מיטן האָניק און גיסט'ץ אײַן די הײסע מילך און שלאָגט'ץ אַ שוים.  גיט צו בראָנפֿן לויט ענקער געשמאַק. זאָל זײַן צום געזונט

Monday, September 13, 2021

Chickpea Palette for Your Palate

 Clockwise from 1:00: kala chana, garbanzo beans, ceci neri, desi chana, hara chana, cicerchie

I am particularly interested in the ceci neri right now, and hope I will have links for all of these soon.

Friday, September 03, 2021

Vegan Challah


This recipe differs from the recipe for vegan hamburger buns in that is has a higher proportion of vegetable pulp.  It was also made with rapid rise yeast.  This was not intentional, but resulted in a very fluffy crumb.

 Vegan Challah

1 medium-large  cooked potato, about 6 ounces
2 ounces cooked sweet potato

2 ounces cooked winter squash such as butternut or pumpkin

(you should have a total of 10 ounces (1 1/4 cup) cooked mashed vegetables)

2 pounds and 2 ounces all-purpose flour (about 7-8 cups)

1 cup water (use water from cooking the potatoes, plus enough added to make one cup)
1 cup unsweetened soy milk

1 tablespoon, 3/8 ounce (about 1 1/2 packets) yeast (I think I must have used rapid rise yeast, which I recommend.  This dough rose like The Challah That Ate Cincinnati).

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup date syrup, malt, or sugar (or honey, if cool)
1 tablespoon salt


For the holiday season, you may want to add:

2 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) golden raisins, or Persian green raisins, or any other raisins moistened in a little tea or water (not quite enough liquid to plump them up, just a little, you know?)

Clockwise from 1:00  Black Afghan raisins, Manouka raisins, green Persian Raisins, purple raisins, golden raisins.  Persian greens are the sweetest.  Manoukas are amazingly delicious, but you must deseed them by hand.

Vegan Glaze

1/4 cup water
1 Tablespoon agar
poppy seeds

Measure reserved potato water and if necessary, add enough water to make one cup.  If the water has become cool, reheat it.  Combine the water and soy milk in a mixing bowl.  The mixture should be warm.  Sprinkle yeast over the surface and add half the flour.  Mix with the paddle.  Leave the spongy dough in the mixing bowl to rise for 45 minutes.

Mix the dough once more with the paddle.  Remove the paddle and add the potatoes, syrup, oil,  salt, and remaining flour.  Knead with the dough hook for four or five minutes.  This dough can also be kneaded by hand.  The dough will be somewhat softer and stickier than typical bread dough, but worry not.

Turn the dough into an oiled bowl and allow to rise for another 40 minutes.  Punch it down, separate challah, and divide the remaining dough into twelve pieces for three 4-strand challahs or two 6-strand challahs. Allow the dough to rest a few minutes. Roll the dough bits into strands and allow them to rest another few minutes.  You might also let them rest in the middle of rolling if they are showing some resistance.    

Weave the strands into challahs.  

You can make six-strand koyletsh 

or Dem Rebns Khale (pull apart challah)

or challahpakhes

or challahsaurus

or shlisl challah

And of course for the joyous holidays, crown challahs.

Cover and and allow to rise another 45 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350F (Mark 4)

Bring 1/2 cup water to the boil.  Sprinkle the agar over the water and cook until clear.  Brush the tops of the risen buns with glaze, and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Bake the Challahs for about 35 minutes, rotating the pans after about 15 minutes. 

Just get a load of that tender, fluffy crumb.  No one could believe this was vegan.

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Date and Tahini Honey Cake Vegan ταχινοπιτα



The honey in this year's cake is once again date syrup, the lush honey referenced in scriptural sources.  I was thinking of combining tahini and dates in a vegan cake first because dates love tahini, and also because tahini provides richness and structure to an egg-free recipe.  It turns out the tahini honey cake party already started long ago in Greek cuisine, where this cake and a few other intriguing vegan cakes are staples of the Lenten season. I hope I will get a chance to adapt many more of these.  As always, my favorite source for Greek recipes is Laurie Constantino, but this is adapted from Vefa's Kitchen.  I am generally wary of omnibus cookbooks, suspecting that the editors may have pressured the authors into including as many recipes as possible, but I have yet to find a dud in this one.

The cake is lovely.  This should not be a compliment, but no one will guess it is vegan. The moment you take the first bite, you think, oh, it's not sweet, I need to add more sugar or syrup, but then the sweetness sneaks up on you, and you just sink into sweet solace.

Things I substituted:

Instead of orange juice I used a whole orange.  I needed more liquid and added sparkling apple cider.  Probably water, soymilk, or orange juice would all be good.

Instead of raisins I used dates

I used date honey instead of bee honey


I reduced the amounts of cinnamon and cloves so the dates and tahini could shine.

Things I kept the same:

I used self rising flour PLUS baking soda AND cream of tartar (isn't baking soda plus cream of tartar just baking powder)? You might recall that in the final chapter of The Long Winter Ma finally has cream of tartar and saleratus to make a cake("“It seems strange to have everything one could want to work with,” said Ma. “Now I have cream of tartar and plenty of saleratus, I shall make a cake.”"). Both of these terms were mysterious to me the first time I read the book.  Of course I knew about baking soda, but had never heard it called saleratus.  I imagined "cream of tartar" must be something like tartar sauce, because it has the word "tartar" and it is, you know, creamy. It seemed unlikely that tartar sauce would be any good in a cake, but who knew baking better than Ma?

I was excited to use my White Lily self-rising flour for the first time.  My teachers in alimentary school held strongly from this flour, but I never felt the need for special cake flours at home until lock-down, when biscuits became my daily bread (and all-purpose flour works for these too).

Tahini and Date Honey Cake

14 ounces (3 1/2 cups) self rising flour (I used white Lily, for other flour add 1 tablespoon baking powder and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and measure by weight)

2 teaspoons teaspoons baking soda 

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cloves

7 big fat juicy dates (or any dates) 7.6 ounces before pitting, 7 ounces after pitting, 1 1/4 cup chopped 

1 cup tahini

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup date syryp

1 orange

1/4 cup date vodka or slivovitz plus a little more for drizzling, if you like 

apple juice or cider if needed

Heat the oven to 350F, 180C Mark 4. Prepare 2 nine-inch pans, or 24 muffin cups, or 1 nine-inch pan and 12 muffin cups.

Sift together the flour, leavening, and spices.  Chop the dates and toss them with a little of the flour mixture.

Cut the orange into pieces and put the whole thing, peel, pith, and pulp, in the processor with the tahini, sugar,  syrup, and vodka, and blend completely.  Fold the tahini pulp into the flour mixture and when it is about half-mixed add the date bits, saving a few for the top.  If the batter is too dry, add some apple cider.  Scrape into the prepared pans, top with remaining date bits, and bake 25 minutes for the cupcakes and 35 minutes for the cakes.

Monday, August 02, 2021

Black Sesame Soba

Well, there are  a number of reasons I wanted to try black sesame paste, but these noodles were just a quick ad-hoc, weeknight supper for one.  They taste remarkably like sesame noodles.  I will have to make both kinds side-by-side to make an accurate comparison.

I recently learned that there are many colors of heirloom sesame seeds beside the familiar black and white sesame seeds.  Traditional sesame farming methods are back-breaking and labor-intensive, and depend mostly on the work of women in the family.  Heirloom varieties are giving way to high-yield innovations.  The rarer sesame seeds and the women who pick them deserve better. 


Black Sesame Soba (for one)

1 ounce soba noodles

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil, or to taste

1 1/2 tablespoons black sesame paste (I used Eden)

1/2 tablespoon shoyu, or other soy sauce,  or to taste

A drizzle of hot pepper sesame oil

1 garlic clove

Sesame  seeds, if you like

Cilantro leaves, maybe

Carrots and cucumbers cut into matchsticks?  Sure, I won't stop you from doing that.

Cook the soba in liberally salted water (reserve the water).  Cool the cooked noodles in cool water and toss them in sesame oil. Stir in the black sesame paste, shoyu, and hot pepper oil and enough pasta water to make a lovely sauce.  The black sesame paste I used is more liquid than most tahini, so I used less water than usual. Add minced or microplaned  garlic, and as few or as many garnishes as you see fit.  

This is more delicious than is usually  allowed.

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Black Chiles

There are any number of black chile varieties, some sweeter, some hotter.  These are a little on the sweet side and very elegant in their (vegan) soup and fish.

I marinated  these beauties but I am not sharing a picture of the finished product because they faded in their brine and I want you to remember them in all of their ebony glory.

Marinated Chiles

More commonly, though less precisely, known as Pickled Peppers

Pack black chiles, or any chiles, into a sterilized pint jar.  You may slice and seed them, or leave them whole.

In a saucepan, combine 3/4 cup cider vinegar, 3/4 cup water, 5  black peppercorns, 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds, 1 1/2  teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar.  Bring to a simmer.  Pour the hot brine over the chiles, seal, and refrigerate.  Marinated sweet and hot chiles are welcome in salads and sandwiches.  Brine from marinated chiles is an essential ingredient for the world's greatest hummus.  I have special plans for this black chile brine.  Watch this space.


Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Spaghetti with Black Garlic and Oil



Here's the first thing I tried with Black Garlic and it is a good, good thing.  I used one head of the black garlic I made, but it was really big, so you might need two heads if working with medium-sized garlic.  While I love the almost syrupy sweetness and umami of the black garlic, I found I wanted to add a couple of cloves of un-blackened garlic (formerly known as "garlic") to  make the sauce a little more garlicky.

Spaghetti with Black Garlic and Oil

4 ounces spaghetti

1 very large or 2 medium heads black garlic

2 very large or 4 medium cloves garlic

olive oil (be liberal)


parsley, if you have some

Cook the pasta in liberally salted water.  While the pasta is cooking, warm olive oil in a skillet.   Peel the black garlic and mash the cloves with some of the starchy pasta-water.  Slice some of the raw garlic and cook it in the hot oil for a moment and add the mashed black garlic.  Add the cooked pasta to the pan, and grate in the rest of the raw garlic.  Add more pasta water as needed and taste for salt.  If you have some parsley, that is lovely too.

Got that?  Three garlics!  First, sauté some sliced garlic, then add the black garlic, finally, microplane in some raw garlic.

In The Food Lab, a book I recommend so ardently that I have caused some alarm, J. Kenji Lopez-Alt has a recipe for spaghetti with three garlics: slow-cooked, quick-cooked, and almost raw.  This is good and I have had great joy using the same technique in other garlic-intensive recipes like ratatouille. I am thinking I would like to make this  into spaghetti with five garlics: Kenji's three garlics, black garlic, and this garlic confit

 And sure, scapes too, in season.  Six garlics.

Monday, July 12, 2021

שװאַרצער קנאָבל Black Garlic

דאָסמאָל האָב איך געטראָפֿן אין פּינטל! דער קנאָבל איז װײך און זאַפֿטיק,און שמעקט מיט פּאַטיקע, מאַלץ, אוּן אומאַמי

This time I got it just right! The garlic is soft and juicy and is fragrant with molasses, malt, and umami. 

It is delicious and I have plans.

Black Garlic

Wrap each individual head of garlic in a double layer of aluminum foil.  Then line a rice cooker with another double layer of foil.  Put the double-wrapped heads in and gather up and crimp the foil to enclose the garlic heads completely.  

Set the rice cooker to "keep warm," and keep on keeping warm for two weeks.  For me this meant remembering to reset the rice cooker every twelve hours.  I reset the cooker at the last moment before shkie Friday to maximize residual heat over shabes, and I briefly moved the garlic to an insulated foster home when I needed the rice cooker to cook some rice.  

After one week the house smelled amazing and the garlic looked like this:

 After two weeks it was black, beautiful, and intensely fragrant.  I have seen a number of websites suggesting six or eight weeks, but I think this would have been much too much.

This was my second attempt at black garlic.  The first time I used the "keep warm" setting on  a Crock Pot, and they were quite burnt after two weeks, possibly because the keep warm setting on a Crock Pot is higher than that on a rice cooker and possibly because I had not wrapped the heads nearly as compulsively.

ETA: Spaghetti with Black Garlic