Hamentaschen

This year, I really wanted to try making Hamentaschen (pr. Hum-in-tosh-in), the traditional triangular cookies for the Jewish holiday of Purim. Now that I am at school, I really like to take the time to reflect on my cultural and religious traditions…oh, who am I kidding? I just really wanted some warm cookies. 

I had three Hamantaschen recipes in my hand. Do I go with the Food Network recipe? No. Do I go with the Epicurious recipe? Nooo. Do I go with the 100-year-old recipe from the New York Times? Of course. I am a glutton for punishment. In truth, I picked this recipe because I was so moved by Deb’s story and I wanted to honor bubbes everywhere. The only change I made to this recipe was to add some vanilla extract and melted butter instead of oil, two ingredients that were probably considered luxurious at the time of this recipe’s inception. I also changed the filling to Nutella, which I had on hand, but was very intrigued by the notion of prune butter. Since I only cooked one-quarter of the dough, there’s still time to try different fillings.

My parner in crime for this particular culinary experience was a (pink) plastic fork. You see the recipe asks you to build a flour citadel. Using the fork, you slowly incorporate the rest of the ingredients into the flour. That is, after your hand stops cramping. Deb, your grandmother must have been one tough cookie!

Please visit the original post at http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/09/the-perfect-hamantaschen/

Hamantashen

Ingredients

4 cups flour, plus extra for rolling

4 eggs

1 teaspoon baking powder

A pinch of salt

1 cup of unsalted butter, melted

3 tablespoons of warm water

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup sugar

For the Filling

1 ½ cups of Nutella or preserves should be enough to fill all of the cookies

Or, try the recipe for prune butter!

Procedure

-Make a pile of flour, baking powder and salt. Dig a well into the middle.

-Put two eggs in the middle with half the butter and water, half the sugar, and the vanilla extract. Do not break the flour walls.

-With a fork, use gentle circular motions to mix flour into the middle from the walls while keeping the walls solid.

-Carefully add the rest of the eggs, butter, water and, sugar until everything is mixed in. Finally, mix in the rest of the walls. Your dough will be very sticky. Separate the dough into quarters and wrap it up in waxed paper. Place in the fridge overnight.

To Assemble the Cookies:

-Preheat your oven to 375. 

-Cut the dough into three segments. On a floured surface, roll out one segment evenly to about 1/8” thick.

-Dip the lid of the nutella or preserves jar into flour and use it to cut as many circular pieces of dough as possible, re-dipping into flour as needed.

-Place a small amount of filling in the middle of each dough circle.

-Lift up the edges of the circle so they form a triangle. Gently pinch each corner closed.

-Bake at 375 degrees for about 12 minutes, or until golden brown. 

I will post more pictures as I cook the rest of the dough.

Chocolate Chickpea Cake

The chocolate chickpea cake was all the rage on the Internet a couple of weeks ago, so I decided to try it out, albeit with a few minor changes. This is a utilitarian cake…nothing delicate or decadent about it, but it makes a hearty breakfast. Or, you can throw caution to the wind, and eat it warm with nutella.

Ingredients

1 cup+ ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips

15 oz can chickpeas

4 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

¾ cup granulated sugar

½ tsp baking powder

3 tbs cocoa powder

2 tbs expresso powder

Preheat the oven to 350. Line a medium-sized loaf pan with parchment paper.

Melt the 1 cup of chocolate chips either over a double boiler or in the microwave. You will need the ¼ cup later.  


Using an immersion or standard blender, combine the chickpeas and eggs until smooth. You want to avoid having any whole pieces of chickpeas whatsoever. Add all of the remaining ingredients to the mixture, and combine thouroughly. If you plan to continue blending the mixture instead of stirring, add the chocolate chips after you have finished blending.

Place the mixture in the loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until the top has risen and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

And do make sure you have the lid to the cocoa powder on tightly, unlike me. 

tumblrbot asked: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INANIMATE OBJECT?

The whisk, of course, though in a pinch, a sturdy fork will work wonders!

[German] Apple Pancake

[German] Apple Pancake

Although this recipe, adapted from Faith Durand’s Not Your Mother’s Casseroles, is only German in the sense that it was made with the help of a German friend, it is still a much different kind of pancake than the kind made on a skillet and served with maple syrup. The pancake puffs fantastically in the oven, and then falls disappointingly as it cools, so if you plan to serve it to company, I suggest not baking the pancake until right before you plan to serve it. This recipe is a work in progress, though it definitely would not have hurt to have some vanilla ice cream on hand.

Ingredients

2 large Granny Smith apples

½ cup plus 3 tbs sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup (4 tbs) butter, melted

5 eggs

¾ cup flour

½ tsp baking powder

pinch salt

1 cup milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

-Preheat the oven to 400°F.

-Wash, peel, and thinly slice your apples.

-Add the ½ cup of sugar and the melted butter to your baking dish (9”x9” or comparable).

-Layer the apple slices on top of the sugar and butter mixture. Add the cinnamon on top of the apple slices. Place the apples in the oven to cook while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

-In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 tbs of sugar. Then add the milk and vanilla.

-Carefully take the apples out of the oven and pour the batter over them. Bake the pancake for about 25 minutes. The sides will be golden brown and the middle should set.

TIP: The less you close and open your oven door, the more your pancake will rise.

[German] Apple Pancake adopted from Not Your Mother’s Casseroles

Ingredients

2 large Granny Smith apples

½ cup plus 3 tbs sugar

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

¼ cup (4 tbs) butter, melted

5 eggs

¾ cup flour

½ tsp baking powder

pinch salt

1 cup milk

½ tsp vanilla extract

-Preheat the oven to 400°F.

-Wash, peel, and thinly slice your apples.

-Add the ½ cup of sugar and the melted butter to your baking dish (9”x9” or comparable).

-Layer the apple slices on top of the sugar and butter mixture. Add the cinnamon on top of the apple slices. Place the apples in the oven to cook while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

-In a large bowl, whisk the eggs together. Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and 3 tbs of sugar. Then add the milk and vanilla.

-Carefully take the apples out of the oven and pour the batter over them. Bake the pancake for about 25 minutes. The sides will be golden brown and the middle should set. 

Sunday Supper

I first had chicken and eggplant parmigiana at Rocco DiSpirito’s downtown restaurant. Although the restaurant is long-since gone, the memory of this heavenly creation lives on. I often wonder why I don’t see this parmigiana lover’s dream on more menus.

            The eggplant imbibes the whole dish with a wonderful butter quality, and the breadcrumbs add richness to the sauce. If I were at home, I might make my own breadcrumbs, but sadly, since I am at school, I have no access to a food processor in which to grind the hardened bread. 

            For our purposes, I am sharing the amount of eggplant and chicken parm that I cooked, which fit in an 8”x8” square pan. This amount is sufficient to feed two to four people. The fewer guests, the more leftovers… 

Ingredients

1 medium Italian Eggplant

3-4 thin-sliced, skinless, boneless chicken cutlets

2 eggs

2 cups Italian-style breadcrumbs

1 jar tomato sauce

1/2 lb Fresh mozzarella

Olive Oil

 

*I completely recommend greasing the pan beforehand. It saves you from a dreadful cleanup afterwards.

 Preheat your oven to 360°F

Prepare your breading station: -Crack two eggs in a medium sized bowl. Whisk together with a tablespoon or two of water. Adding the water helps the egg wash more easily adhere to the chicken or eggplant.

-Add two cups of breadcrumbs to a large shallow dish (or paper plates if you’re a poor college student like myself.)

-Peel the eggplant. Slice the eggplant into long, broad slices.

-Cut the mozzarella cheese as you wish. Set aside.

-Add two tablespoons of oil, or so, to a large frying pan. Two frying pans help the job go quicker, but require greater dexterity. Turn the heat to medium-high.

-Start with the eggplant: working in batches, dip the eggplant slices into the egg wash. Coat each slice on both sides.

-Using a clean fork or hand, transfer the eggy eggplant into the breadcrumb mixture. Coat both sides, and shake off the excess.

-Transfer the coated eggplant to the hot frying pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan. Cook for two-three minutes on each side, or until golden brown.

-Coat the chicken using the same procedure. Cook the chicken for three-four minutes on each side.

-Coat the bottom of the baking pan with a thin layer of sauce. Layer the eggplant, chicken, cheese and sauce to your liking. Top with a layer of cheese.

-Place the assembled parmigiana into the preheated oven. Cook for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese has melted, and the parmigiana is heated thoroughly.

After 20 minutes…