Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jews Welcome Coffee

I just ordered a copy of Jews Welcome Coffee by Robert Liberles, and anticipate I will enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed reading the title.  I hope to be reporting here shortly.

I am heartsick to learn that Robert Liberles did not live to see the book in print.  He was a person of rare decency and quiet kindness who illuminated every room he entered. May his memory be for a blessing, and may his soul be bound up in the eternal bond of life.


Thursday, September 20, 2012

‏ ‏ Crown Challah (Khale) קרױן־חלה

די חלה האָב איך געמאַכט פֿאַר ראש־השנה. דעם קרױן האָב איך געפֿלאָכטן פֿון פֿיר שלענגלעך, און דאָס ברעגל פֿון צװײ שלענגלעך. דער רעצעפּט פֿאַר באַניע־טײג געפֿינט זיך דאָ, און דאָ איז סתּם אַ חלה טײג. ‏
‏אַ זיס געבענטשט יאָר אַלע אין מױל אַרײַן ‏

Here's a khale I made for Rosheshone.  The crown is woven from four strands in a sort of square spiral, and the brim from two strands twisted together.  The recipe for Pumpkin khale is here (in Yiddish, with braiding directions, here), and  a plain khale dough (with Challahsaurus directions) is here.  A sweet and blessed year to you.

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Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pomegranate Mahlab Honey Cake

Really, I want to tell you about places that you can go to and ingredients you can find, and here I am again going on about another New York treasure that has vanished.  I don't remember when this happened, but I was at the Sunflower grocery store in Queens (don't bother looking for it, it is no longer there) and I saw some whole mahlab (the kernels of cherry stones), and I thought, "better get this; who knows when you will need whole mahlab?" 

I finally used my mahlab this week to make a new kind of honey cake for the New Year.  My cherished friend Marian the Librarian is allergic to all caffeine and cannot have this classic honey cake, which contains coffee, and certainly not the chocolate honey cake, which has coffee and chocolate.  I thought that pomegranate molasses and mahlab might both give the darkness, bitterness and wineyness supplied by coffee and chocolate.  It turns out they add this and much more.  The flavor is vividly bright and tart. Every bite makes you want the next one even more.  This might well be my best honey cake yet.

Pomegranate Mahlab Honey Cake

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare six medium ring-shaped cake pans, or four loaf pans.

Sift together in a large bowl:

6 cups (24 ounces) flour (I used half all-purpose and half whloe wheat pastry flour)
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon cardamon
1 teaspoon - 1 tablespoon ground mahlab (I was being cautious and used 1 teaspoon. 1 tablespoon should be even better)
3/4 teaspoon salt

Grind together in a food processor:

2 whole oranges (seeds removed)
1 pound (2 scant cups) buckwheat honey
3/4 cup pomegranate molasses
1 1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons brandy (optional)
8 eggs (9 if they are smallish) added last of all

2 large firm apples

Pour the orange mixture into the flour and mix gently.  Add the grated apples and mix just to combine.  POur and scrape into the prepared pans.  Bake five minutes at 400, five minutes at 375, and fifteen at 350.  Test with a straw and bake a few minutes more if not yet done.  This cake keeps well and gets better every day.


‏באַניע קערן סאָס ‏ Pumpkin Seed Sauce

A few years ago I visited a restaurant in Vilnius where the menu was in English, of a sort, and I ordered "cauliflower with seeds sauce"  with great curiosity and anticipation.  The seeds sauce was made with flax seeds, and was just delicious.  Ever since I have been thinking about ways to utilize seeds for sauces (and, of course kernik) to make.

It is surpassingly cool if you can find some pumpkin seed oil in a health food store, but olive oil will be just fine too.

This recipe for Legumbres en Pepian is something you want to try as well.

I humbly submit this recipe to Haalo's Weekend Herb Blogging, founded by Kalyn, and hosted this week by Graziana from Erbe in Cucina (Cooking with Herbs.

Pumpkin Seed Sauce

1 cup pumpkin seeds
4 tablespoons pumpkin seed oil (or olive oil)
2-10 cloves garlic
1-2 green chiles
black pepper
several sprigs cilantro (about 1/2 cup minced)

Toast the pumpkin seeds to a light brown (about 15 minutes in a moderate oven).  Combine all ingredients in a processor and chop, adding hot water (pasta water, if you have some) to the desired consistency.  This was very nice with roasted pumpkin and Lebanese rice, but I have big, big plans for this sauce.  Watch this space.

Have a healthy and blessed year.