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Don’t Pass Over These Recipes

 

Okay, the house is clean, you are exhausted, the table is set, the guests are hungry, what are you going to serve?

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Hurrah! Hurrah!

Today is the 22nd Annual Ra’anana Marathon, which was meant to be two weeks ago but was canceled due to rain.  Lots of rain.  In the last week the weather has warmed up considerably.  Granted, winters in Ra’anana are not exactly Siberian, but you can get cold, especially indoors.  In fact, sometimes I walk the dog just to get outside and warm up a bit.

While I hate the hot and muggy sauna that Ra’anana becomes in the summer months, the springtime can be quite enjoyable.

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Kiddush Club

Food likes and dislikes are a very subjective subject.  My favorite food is sushi.  I love the stuff, extra wasabi and ginger please.  I would probably eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, except my budget won’t allow it and I’m in no mood for mercury poisoning a la Jeremy Piven.  Ju-Boy chides me that I can’t abide rare meat, yet will gleefully eat raw fish, and steal some off his plate as well.

But one man’s sushi is another man’s fish bait.  Take peanut butter and chocolate, for instance.  Did you think this was going to be a post about sushi?  Think again.

Peanut butter and chocolate is an American institution.  How many of us baby boomers grew up with the “hey, you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!” commercial?  Raise your hands if you did, but wipe the Reese’s crumbs off first, okay?

I’ve discovered that Brits, who can’t abide the peanut butter and jelly combination, will quite happily devour what has become a kiddush club classic at shul — homemade Reese’s peanut butter bars.  But one man’s peanut butter bar is another man’s (or in this case, woman’s) unpalatable food combo.  Did you think this was going to be about peanut butter bars?  Think again.

Ever since I first brought a batch of the stuff to the shul kiddush club it’s been a hit.  Every Shabbat, after services, we would gather together and make kiddush.  It seems that the well-loved combo goes very nicely with single malt whisky.  Whisky purists may disagree, but our whisky snobbishness is entirely an affectation, so we get to make up our own rules.

But Dalia, who, like her father and so unlike her mother, isn’t partial to a dram and was not a fan of the peanut butter bars neither.  And I like Dalia.  We have the same taste in jewelry and Teva Naot sandals.  I felt bad that while we were all happy with the kiddush fare, dear darling Dalia, who always diligently collected the siddurs after davening, was relegrated to the dry, store-bought wafers.  I had to come up with a solution.

And thus was born the Dalia Bar!  White chocolate, yummy!  Buttery crumb crust, nummy!  Dalia Bars became a hit with Dalia and the rest of the kiddush club as well.

Dalia Bars are actually a combination and variation of two of my favorite recipes, my Miller Bars and another Recipezaar staple, Fudge Filled Bars, by the incomparable MizzNezz.  I “fudged” around with the ingredients and came up with this winner.

A year ago Ju-Boy and I left this particular synagogue and now daven in one that is closer to home in both distance and outlook.  The kiddush club soldiers on without us, I hear, although Dalia Bars are no longer on the menu.  Maybe I’ll send over a batch next week for old times’ sake.

Dalia Bars

  • 2 1/3 cups flour
  • 2/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 300 gram (1 1/2 cups) white chocolate or butterscotch chips
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C  (350 degrees F).  Grease a 9X13 inch (33 X 23 cm) baking pan (I always just line it with parchment paper).
  2. Combine the flour and brown sugar.  Cut in the butter until it resembles coarse crumbs.
  3. Add the egg and mix well.
  4. Take half the mixture and press it into the bottom of the lined pan.
  5. Mix the chips with the sweetened condensed milk and melt.  I do this in the microwave on high for three minutes, you can use the double boiler method if you like.  Stir well to combine the two into a gooey, fudgey mass.  Pour this over the crumb layer in the pan.
  6. Now cover the gooey, fudgey mass layer with the second half of the crumbs.  Press down a bit (with clean hands, of course).  Don’t be afraid, but be gentle.
  7. Bake in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until brown and bubbly.  Let cool, or even better, place in the fridge for an hour.  I then just lift the whole thing out by the parchment paper, place on a cutting board and cut into squares.

Freezes beautifully!

Nice with some single malt whisky, even better with a cup of English tea or a good, strong mug of coffee

Foodie Fridays #4

I spend a lot of time (some may say too much time) reading foodie blogs. They are always good for some entertainment, inspiration and it fills my need for food porn.

Here are some of the posts that have sparked my interest lately…

Yosefa, of Cooking Outside the Box, is asking people to bake and take challah for Nechama Gittel Chaya bat Chana (Norma Kuras).  Proper instructions and the blessing can be found on her blog post.  She’s trying to get at least 40 women to help in this mitzvah.

Chaviva, of Just Call Me Chaviva, went to Kosherfest!  Lucky her!  I am so jealous!  Not jealous enough to make plans, get on a plane and attend, but still jealous!  A light lime green, not full blown green eyed monster.  What really got me going were the words, “Jamie Geller (of Quick & Kosher fame) tells me…”  She got to talk to Jamie Geller!  I’m in the middle of reviewing her latest cookbook, and Chaviva got to talk to Jamie Geller.  She got to shmooze with Susie Fishbein!  And she got to taste the the Heering Coffee Liqueur.  Okay, going full blown green now, maybe I will make plans and get on a plane next time…

It’s so nice to know that there are others out there in the big, wide world that feel your pain.  Jeff, from TC Jewfolk’s Noshin’, is just a Yid from New York living in Minneapolis and missing his deli food.  I know exactly how he feels.  No visit back to my hometown was complete without a trip to a deli to partake in an artery-clogging but oh so wonderful pastrami sandwich, lots of hot, brown mustard, a half-sour dill pickle on the side, all to be washed down with Dr. Brown’s cream soda.  And speaking of soda (soder?), Jeff gives a recipe for stuffed cabbage, with root beer in the sauce.  Root beer!  Everyone knows it’s either ginger ale or Dr Pepper!  Still, it’s almost comforting to know that New York Jews, no matter where they migrate, like salmon, must come back to their culinary birthplace to achieve pastrami heaven…

Those of you know me well know that in the past nine years I’ve been addicted to a certain recipe sharing site that used to go by the name of Recipezaar.  One of my veteran buddies from that site, Sharon123, just posted a recipe for Lemongrass Stock for Curries which made me wish it was something I had thought of.  How genius!  I make curries often, and having a stock of this in the freezer (pun intended) will be so helpful!

Photo by Lilmsbritches on recipezaar.com

Monday, November 1st, was World Vegan Day.  I spent about 5 years as a vegan, and it used to totally freak my friends out, when it’s actually a very simple diet once you get used to it.  I had one friend who was so scared to cook something vegan if I came over for a Shabbat meal that she told me she would wait to invite us when I stopped being vegan.  I went vegan for health reasons, but I do have to admit that I love a nice piece of dead cow or chicken, and am back to being carnivorous.  I still cook vegan now and again, especially for my veggie friends who come for Shabbat and don’t want some of the roast baby hen on offer.  Here’s one of my recipes that I posted to Zaar a few years ago.  Very yummy, and if you read the reviews, you can see that if you are a tofu-phobe you can sub chicken breast.  Happy Vegan Day!

If you’re a kosher foodie blog reader and have not yet won a copy of Kosher by Design — Teens and 20-Somethings, you still have a chance.  Midwest Mama (in Israel) is offering a copy with the contest deadline at midnight, Monday, November 8th.  Check out Katie’s review of the cookbook, and maybe win a copy.

Varda, one of my foodie friends from israelfood, whom I’ve had the pleasure to meet in real life, sent in a video to israelfood in reply to a question on how to braid challah.  It’s called Braiding Challah (duh!) and it’s on the Fine Cooking site, braiding done by Maggie Glezer.  And if that’s her kitchen in the video, I am so jealous!  I want a kitchen like that!

Have you heard that limes are now available in Israeli supermarkets?  Once upon a time they used to try to pass off green lemons as limes, but now the real thing is here, and not just in the boutique veggie stalls.  I found some in Jerusalem’s Machane Yehuda this past summer, and now I see it every week in Supersol Deal.  This week my favorite Frenchy blogger, Ilana-Davita, posted a recipe for Vegetarian Curry.  You need the juice of one lime, so instead of the bottled gunk, try the real thing.

Shabbat Shalom!  !שבת שלום

Coffee and a Movie

Remember my first post, the one that launched this blog?  I still can’t pronounce the name of that volcano.  It seems that I am not alone, and am, in fact, in the overwhelming majority.  If you really want to try, you can jump over to this website and actually hear it being pronounced.  I have to admit, after hearing the name over and over again, I think I’m still going to call it “That Volcano With the Unpronounceable Name.”

I’ve pretty much forgotten all about Eyjafjallajoekull (thank God for cut and paste there), and Ju-boy’s story of being stranded in England has also been demoted to the family apocrypha (he only tells it about once a day now).  This morning, however, I couldn’t help but be amazed at a time-lapse video posted on my friend Avital’s blog, This and That.    Avital is a talented amateur photographer.  She blogs about her various hobbies and I have to admit I certainly envy her needlework. 

This morning, with coffee cup in hand, I watched this video several times.  Such a pretty little volcano, does it even realize the havoc it caused a few weeks ago?

I’ve actually been to Iceland, it’s aptly named.  We were there in the summer of 1970 and there are pictures of my brother and me running around in shorts and heavy sweaters.  Watching this video brought back memories of freezing in the summer, so I was grateful for the cup of coffee in hand.

My actual mug, won in a contest on Recipezaar

I used to be a major coffee snob, buying the best beans, grinding them myself, looking down my nose at people who drank instant coffee.  But my taste in coffee has deteriorated over the years.  I still buy good coffee, but now it’s of the instant variety.  How the snobby have fallen!  Back in 2003 I was on a no-carb diet.  It worked wonderfully, but makes you very cranky.  Coffee helped me get through the day.  Back then I posted this recipe on Recipezaar, but that mug of coffee has evolved to what I drink today.

Luscious Mug of Coffee (the Miriyummy version, 2010)

1 heaping teaspoon instant espresso (I use a tablespoon, actually, but am being gentle with you)

1 cup boiling water

1/4 cup cream (not milk, not skim milk, real cream)

  • Place coffee in mug.
  • Add boiling water.
  • Stir.
  • Add sugar to taste (I like my coffee without sugar).
  • Stir. 
  • Add cream. 
  • Stir.
  • Aaaaaaahhhhhh!

Getting My Back Scratched

I got my back scratched today, in the form of an interview posting on one of my favorite blogs, Cooking Manager. Why don’t you head on over there and give my friend Hannah’s blog a look-see (that’s me giving Hannah’s back a scratch back). The post includes my favorite recipe for challah, which I’ll be posting here soon.

There’s also a plug for Recipezaar, check them out as well, while you’re at it.

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