Sunday, April 20, 2014

Improvisational Flour-less Chocolate Cake

Before Pesach I made Brownies, but I overcooked them and forgot to add nuts. They were a bit disappointing.  This week I wanted something chocolaty, but more moist and less traditional. I whipped these up:



LOL: Prunes "without a nucleus"
  • 2 small carrots, peeled
  • 2 red apples, peeled
  • 2 bags (400 grams/ 14 oz.) of pitted plums
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 c oil
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 1 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 bags (400 grams) walnuts, chopped
  • fresh ground cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Salt

Bake at 350 F/170 C for about 20 minutes depending on ingredients and thickness.

I encourage you to experiment with leftovers to make your own cakes and brownies. 

Do you have leftover cooked sweet potato, charoset, or applesauce? Over-ripe bananas, peaches, or pears? Throw it in! Add finely ground nuts for body. (Feel free to add baking soda or baking powder.)

I especially love to cook with kids and give them the reins with what and how much to add.
Please comment and tell me about your own baking improvisations.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Chewy Chocolate Almond Hazelnut Cookies - Gluten Free

These are the easiest no-fail special Passover dessert and snack. I just can't get enough!

Based on Faye Levy's Almond Macaroons, posted by Miriyummy.

For one batch, I would recommend a minimum food processor capacity of 1 liter or 1 quart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw hazelnuts
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar (preferably substitute some regular sugar with vanilla sugar)
  • 1/4-1/2 cocoa powder (depending on your taste)
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt (depending on your taste)

  1. Grind nuts and half the sugar in a food processor until medium-fine.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and blend to a fine paste.
  3. Preheat oven to 170 C/350 F.
  4. Line 1-2 pans with parchment paper.
  5. Dampen hands, then form small balls of "dough" and flatten slightly. (I had my kids do this. They were slow, but it kept them busy.)
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes. The cookies should darken, but stay chewy on the inside.
  7. Keep in an air tight container for at least a week.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

In the time I saved making this sauce (compared to traditional recipes), I was able to tell you about it! Traditional recipes involve chopping the ingredients, adding them to a pan at specific intervals, and lots of standing over the pan/pot and stirring. Sauce can also be made in a pressure cooker much faster, but you always run the risk of burning it or under cooking it, since you can't peak.

The dry heat of the oven gives the ingredients a deep flavor without the need to stand over a frying pan.

Ingredients:


Basic:

  • tomatoes, preferably ripe
  • onions (I used sweet and purple onions)
  • olive oil

Optional:

  • bell peppers (I used red and green)
  • garlic (whole cloves)
  • mushrooms
  • chili peppers
  • fresh or dried herbs
  • salt and pepper
  • vinegar or dry white wine
  • sugar or honey
  1. Cut up all the vegetables into relatively similar sized chunks - about quarters for the tomatoes.
  2. Remove any tomato seeds which come out easily and quickly, but without wasting a lot of time.
  3. Toss with olive oil in a large pan, or pans.
  4. Roast on high or broil until the edges are browning, probably at least half an hour. Stir/toss/flip or rotate at least once.
  5. Add spices to taste and let cool.
  6. Use a hand blender or pulse in a food processor to desired consistency.

This batch is mostly for shakshuka which I plan to serve for supper on Wednesday this week during Passover. I will serve it with homemade fermented chili sauce on the side. And maybe some fresh lemonade.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

What's in my Fridge for Pesach

The laws and stringiness of Pesach may limit our choice of ingredients, but that need not limit our menu. Not only is Pesach a festival, but my kids are home from school. That means more mouths asking for food and less time to prepare meals. Therefore, I like to spend a day or two before the holiday packing my fridge with basics that make throwing a meal or snack together easy.

This year I've already cleaned out a corner of one bedroom and set up a table for some Pesach prep. Last Friday I started basic sauerkraut, sriracha, and pickled kohlerabi, and on Saturday night I plan to get some pickled cucumbers going.

Below is a list of things I prepared last year. I hope it will inspire you!


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Thanks for the email

Still making time for simple fermented veggies
A few days ago I received the following email. I was just about to hit "send" when I thought it might make sense to post my response.

Hi Yosefa, 
I recently visited your blog after seeing that I had bookmarked a while back, but I noticed there are no recent posts, are you still updating the blog?
I really enjoyed it as a fellow "healthy DIY mom" in Israel.
All the best,
Elana 

Hi Elana,
Thanks for writing. In the last 5 months I've been busy apartment hunting, moving, interviewing, getting over mononucleosis, and starting a new job, so I've been a little too busy to write and upload pictures. I also put together a four-part post on getting the most out of your freezer, freezing food to save time and money, etc. Then I lost it somewhere between some email and hard drive purging I was working on. That was about two month's ago and I'm still bummed. But just as soon as I get over that and get a hang of juggling work, family, and friends, I will get back to blogging. I'm glad you were enjoying my blog and I hope you'll keep me in your feed or bookmarks. You could also subscribe by email so you'll get any new posts within 24 hours.
My ISK "Infinity Necklace" made for my Mom

So that's the honest truth. I've been busy and bitter. I actually have a couple blog drafts waiting to be polished and posted.  About two months ago I moved into a new apartment, much more appropriate to our family size and situation, with a lovely kitchen. I also started a full time job as a CPA on a fledgling US tax team at a large Tel Aviv tax firm. And I got hooked (no pun intended) on a new hobby, "Invisible Spool Knitting," something like crocheting with wire.

Check out my personal Facebook album to see some of my new and old projects outside the kitchen.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Herbal Salve/ Ointment/ Balm Tutorial PLUS Freebie!


My good friend Allyson has been making natural household products for a couple years and just launched a business selling natural body products - Etz Adin (literally meaning gentle tree). {More info and Freebie coupon code at the end.} I asked Allyson to share her basic technique with us.

Salves are a lot of fun to make.  There are endless combinations of ingredients and you end up with a really great product that heals and nourishes the body.  We love the Natural Healing Salve at our house and use it for just about everything including bug bites, cuts and scrapes, sunburn, eczema, and even diaper rash!

Today, I’m going to share with you the basics of making a salve.  Although it is possible to create a salve from beginning to end in one day, you really want to give it 4-6 weeks to become as rich and effective as possible.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Sourdough Pita - Great Blog Swap PLUS Giveaway

Chef Alison of AliBabka
In honor of the first anniversary of the Kosher Connection I have been randomly assigned a fellow kosher blogger to be inspired by. It my my great pleasure to introduce my muse this week, AliBabka. The author is Chef Alison (Barnett) G├╝twaks, is a recent graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education (ICE) in NY. It was important to her to get a well rounded culinary education and not limit herself to kosher culinary colleges. I enjoyed reading about the challenges she faced as a torah-observant Jew cooking in a non-kosher environment.

While reading through AliBabka in search of a recipe I would like to make my own, I enjoyed the creativity, wit, and professional experience that Chef Alison brings to the table. (No pun intended.)


Pita in a pan from AliBabka
In the post "Mo-Rockin In Your Kitchen", guest blogger Elisheva Avital writes about two Moroccan flat breads I have been wanting to try my hand at, pita and moufletta. With the easy access to fresh pita I enjoy in Israel, it's not often I find time to make my own, even if it is healthier and/or tastier. But I thought my blog was in need of both a sourdough entry and a pita recipe. In order to make the recipe my own, I converted her recipe to 90% Whole Wheat Sourdough Pita.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Kosher Cooking... Solemn Gathering



Welcome to the Kosher Cooking Carnival - KCC - for the Hebrew month of Av. As we enter the nine days of heightened morning over the destruction of the Beit Hamikdash, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, we take on many morning rituals. We don't wear new clothes, cut our hair, or eat meat. In this spirit, I would like to share my unusually sparse, and completely pescetarian edition of KCC.

To get us in the spirit, let's start with the annual Our Shiputzim: A Work In Progress tradition: Requisite Fast Day Food Post: Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars Edition by Mrs. S.

Speaking of shiputzim (renevations), This American Bite is looking good, Yosef! I was just drooling over some vegan Naan Pizza with Zaatar and Eggplant.

Devo K, from In the middle, on the right, had a Spiritual baking experience after reading The Secret of Challah, by Shira Wiener and Ayelet Yifrach.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Raw Fermented Sriracha - Thai Chili Sauce

Did you know that eating capsaicin-containing foods like chili sauce releases endorphins? That means it makes you happy! More specifically, chilli peppers have been implicated as possibly relieving pain, suppressing appetite (thus aiding weight loss), and aiding the prevention of prostate cancer.

I wrote before about making a quick cooked Sriracha-style sauce. It is tasty, but lacks the probiotic benefits and complex flavor of a naturally fermented chili sauce. Though this fermented condiment can ripen for over two weeks, the actual man-hours is less than or equal to that of the "quick" cooked sauce that can be prepared in a day or two.


Bottled sriracha (pickles in background)
I'm a little obsessed with this sauce. I open it up just to smell it and bask in it's beauty. My sriracha is intensely red. It has a deep warm flavor without the eye-watering sharpness of its raw ingredients. The taste is complex, arriving in waves of fruity heat with a sense of savory indulgence.

First I'll tell you how I make it, then I'll tell you how I use it.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Rice paper wraps = Leftover Heaven

wraps with baby greens, roasted bell pepper, sprouted lentils, and fermented cauliflower

How did I not know about these before?? Now that I've become friendly with my local Asian grocer, I can finally ask, "What is this?" And boy have I learned a lot!  When I used to see rice paper wrappers, they looked like too much work for me. I assumed getting these plasticy looking sheets into an edible form must involve soaking, cooking, steaming, or some other processing. Not so!

1. Dip the rice paper sheet in water for about 5 seconds, then brush the sheet over a tea towel to remove excess water.
2. Lay the sheet, still rigid, on a plate or cutting board. The sheet will absorb the water and soften in the time it takes to fill it.
3. Pile your fillings  near one side and roll up like an egg roll, blintz, or burrito.

translucent wrap with wild mushrooms, wakame, and homemade kimchi-kraut

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