Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hamentashen Recipe

Last year, my shul chose "Home Made" as its theme for the Mishloach Manot baskets. Several of the "known bakers" (including me) were asked to contribute their time and effort. I assume based on taste (though it could just be that I was the only one who was willing) , my assignment was hamentashen - 900 of them! And though this year's theme is "Healthy Eating", I was asked to include my hamentashen again - only this year it's 1000 of them....

Wish me luck! After the dough is made, I can produce about 60 per hour - you do the math.

Deb’s Hamentashen

1 stick margarine

½ cup sugar

2 eggs

½ teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

Jam or preserves

In an electric mixer, cream margarine and sugar at medium speed until well blended, about three minutes. Beat in the eggs and vanilla and continue mixing until smooth. Stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Blend into margarine mixture until fully incorporated. Refrigerate dough at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Remove dough from refrigerator and divide into three portions. Work with one portion of dough at a time leaving others in the refrigerator. Roll dough to ¼ inch thickness on a well floured board. Cut 2 to 2 ½ inch circles with a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter or glass. Place a spoonful of jam in the center of each circle and pinch up into triangles. Dough scraps can be rerolled.

Place hamentashen on cookie sheet, leaving room for expansion. Bake 10 to 12 minutes, until just turning golden.

Makes about three dozen.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Recipe by Request - Hot and Spicy Cabbage

This past shabbat's Friday night dinner was a wonderful meal - great friends, great food, and because of good organization, a simple clean up too - even with 15 people at the table.

The three new recipes I tried were all great successes (I know, my "rule" is to limit to one new recipe, but I made so many dishes, I figured I was safe). The new dishes (to be posted soon) were the honey lemon chicken, roasted squash and parsnips and peanut butter brownies.

But the requested recipe was for Hot & Spicy Cabbage - a simple, and delicious side dish/salad that can be served hot, room temperature or cold - can be made fresh or the day before - what more could you want from a recipe?!

Hot and Spicy Cabbage

3 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 small onions, thinly sliced
8 ounces savoy cabbage, cut into thin shreds (about 1/2 head
4 carrots, thickly grated
1 teaspoon kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper (more ore less to taste)
juice of half lemon

In large pan, heat oil over medium high heat. Add crushed red pepper and cumin seeds and stir for 15 seconds. Add onion, sprinkle with some of the salt and saute about one minute. Add the cabbage and carrots by handfuls, sprinkling with the rest of the salt, continually stirring and adding the vegetables. Once all the vegetables have been added, stir over heat until just wilted.

Remove vegetables from heat, add a few (or more) grinds of fresh black pepper, squeeze in the lemon juice, stir well and either serve, or serve at room temperature or cold the next day!

Makes about 8 servings

Note: Don't try to double this recipe - make two separate batches. The veggies won't cook quickly enough if there is too much in the pan.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Menu for a crowd

Usually when I invite people for Shabbat dinner, some say yes and some say no. Sometimes I invite people for Shabbat dinner, and no one accepts. Then there are the weeks that everyone says yes, and my son decides to invite his friends to stay for Shabbat too! Those weeks require a little extra effort, a lot of organization, and end up both challenging and terrific fun! This is such a week, and I'm expecting somewhere between 14 and 18 people for Friday night dinner (we'll ignore the fact that my table only seats 16 - the teenagers will be more than happy to be relegated to the kitchen).

That large a crowd inspires me to make a few extra dishes, but I choose the dishes based not only on making delicious food that works well together and will look nice on the table, but specifically look for the ones that are easier and less time consuming recipes. (It also helped that I had cooked a brisket last week "for the freezer")

So this shabbat, we will be having:

Friday Night Menu
Homemade Challah

Chicken Soup with Noodles

Honey Glazed Lemon Roast Chicken
Mesclun Salad with Honeyed Pecans and Balsamic Dressing
Hot and Spicy Cabbage
Spinach Patties Maple Syrup
Glazed Winter Squash and Parsnips
Roasted Red Potatoes
Basmati Rice

Peanut Butter and Fudge Brownies with Salted Peanuts
Oatmeal Cookies
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Truffles (tried to make them pareve - they're ok, but dairy is better!)
Chocolate Layer Cake with Seafoam Frosting

Shabbat Lunch

Cold Cuts
Israeli Salad

By doing a bit each night, it all gets done -

If you are curious to see my "to do" lists, send me an email...


Sunday, January 03, 2010

Friday Night Menu - Fill in the blank

I've received many requests to post menus - but in following the adage "if you give a man a fish, he has one meal, but if you teach him to fish.....", instead, this menu is my structure for a Friday night meal when I have a lot of company. When it's just family for shabbat, or one invited family, my menus can be more creative, but when the table is set for sixteen, it's best to stick with the basic structure, so that quantities and varieties are not an issue.

First Course:

Either: Salad with an added "fancy" or soup

Main Course:

Beef main dish
Chicken main dish

Rice or Noodle
Hot Vegetable
Cold Vegetable or Salad

One "fancy" dessert
one cookie or smaller dessert
(one should be chocolate, one non-chocolate)

I follow this structure and there's always enough for each individual, no matter their eating idiosyncrasies.

When you're filling in the blanks, consider the colors of the foods, and the "strengths" of the flavors. Make sure to find something green or bright - not all beige foods (roast chicken, roast potatoes and eggplant salad will not really look great....) and making everything either super spicy or bland will also be boring for your guests!

As always, feel free to email with any questions!

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