For more info on the book and a video flip through go to The Collective Book Studio website. Watch for more info about the book here and my soon to be launched new author website.
Thursday, November 04, 2021
Thursday, September 23, 2021
One of the nice things about being a food writer is that you get to spend time with other food writers and taste and share the recipes they create.
My friend, Beth Lee (who blogs at omgyummy.com and lives in the Bay area) has a new cookbook out and it is truly The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook. The book, published by Rockridge Press, offers up 50 traditional recipes, many inspired by Lee’s Ashkenazi grandmother. While the book has lots of delectable recipes for babkas, bagels, challah and other Eastern European and East Coast Jewish specialties (including my favorite black and white cookies), it also offers goodies from other Jewish communities ranging from pita to Yemeni bread, Sephardic fritters, borekas, baklava, and more.
The book also has an extensive introduction on baking basics and ingredients and the recipes are well written and easy to follow. I felt like I could hear Lee guiding me through the steps as I baked.
I tried her recipe for Honey Cookies. They were light, satisfying, and not too sweet, a nice accompaniment to another dessert (try them with ice cream or a lemon or honey mousse) or by themselves. They also are perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. They would also be good to serve during Rosh Hashanah, when desserts made with honey are traditional for some.
I made them slightly larger than the recipe calls for and used lemon curd to make sandwich cookies. A berry jam would work as a cookie filling, too. The recipe is dairy. For a non-dairy option, Lee says to replace the melted butter with ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil.
The recipe below is adapted for space, style and to reflect my experience making it. Thanks to Lee for letting me share this recipe from The Essential Jewish Baking Cookbook: 50 Traditional Recipes for Every Occasion.
Beth Lee’s Honey Cookies
Adapted from The Essential Jewish Baking Book (Rockridge Press)
Makes 48 cookies
2 ½ cups flour
¼ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground nutmeg
2 large eggs
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup honey
¼ cup brown sugar
1 Tbs. fresh lime juice
1 tsp. grated lime zest
½ cup sugar
In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg. In a second medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, butter, honey, brown sugar, lime juice, and lime zest until well mixed.
Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Stir with a wooden or metal spoon until there is no flour visible.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes. While the dough is chilling, line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. If baking both sheets at the same time, place oven racks in the top and bottom third of the oven. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Place sugar in small bowl. Take heaping tablespoons of dough and roll into 1-inch balls. Roll the balls in sugar and place on baking sheets about 2 inches apart. Flatten with hands or tines of a fork until they are about ¼-inch thick.
Bake the cookies for 10-12 minutes, until they have spread and begin to brown on the undersides. (If using 2 sheets at once, rotate halfway through.) Transfer to wire racks to cool.
Notes: If the dough turns sticky while rolling, try oiling your hands or wetting with cold water. If the weather is very warm, you may need to return dough to refrigerator for a few minutes to firm up. I found a thin metal spatula worked best to remove the cookies from the baking sheet. The cookies will be soft at first but crisp up nicely when they cool. Stored airtight at room temperature, they stay crisp and last several days.
This material is adapted from my September 2021 cooking column in Temple Beth Abraham's Omer newsletter.
Tuesday, September 29, 2020
I’m ready for recipe testers!
If you’d like to be among the first to try a recipe (or a few) from the upcoming 52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinners from the Global Jewish Kitchen (website coming soon, cookbook coming next year from The Collective Book Studio), please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know if you have any food restrictions or limitations, and or if you prefer one kind of cooking over another (say grilling to baking, for example). I’ll send you back a recipe and full instructions.
The book is mostly main course recipes for meat, chicken, fish, and vegetarian/vegan dinners that feature global flavors from Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and elsewhere with some desserts, starters, and side dishes. Every dish is packed with flavor and most recipes have make-it-in-advance directions.
While the theme is Jewish food (and the recipes follow Jewish dietary laws), these recipes should appeal to anyone who loves to cook local and eat global. So email me if you’d like to get an early preview of the cookbook and I’ll get back to you ASAP.
The fine print: Just a reminder, that you'll be receiving a work in progress that will be part of a copyright-protected book, so no electronic or other sharing of the written recipe you receive to test is allowed and your feedback is to be kept confidential. Recipe testers must follow the recipe as closely as possible and document any changes as well as answer a questionnaire. There is no payment for recipe testing or associated materials or supplies. Deadline to request to be a recipe tester for this first round of testing is October 20th. After that I'll keep your name on file if we need additional testers for the second round.
P.S. I’m planning a special eBook exclusive for recipe testers, featuring my favorite global ingredients!
Friday, August 14, 2020
Where to Find Me on The Web -- Guest Posts at A Great Good Place for Books, Will Write for Food, More
|Coffee lovers were whipped into a frenzy by this and I learned a lesson|
The first was on the blog of food writing teacher, mentor and friend Dianne Jacob, where I wrote about the challenges of creating recipes during the early days of the COVID-19 stay in place orders, when grocery shelves were often bare and home pantries in survival mode. It includes the lessons I learned by being an internet trend follower (including the dalgona coffee pictured above.)
The second was in support of one of my favorite independent bookstores, Oakland's wonderful A Great Good Place for Books (they ship, too). Owner Kathleen Caldwell and staff are always helpful, supportive and knowledgeable and I wanted to do what I could to help. This post also had a coronavirus angle, suggesting folks get Andrea Nguyen's excellent Vietnamese Food Any Day for a break from SIP comfort food and carbs. In VFAD, Nguyen follows in her mother's footsteps (food steps?) and shows how to resource classic and new Vietnamese recipes from local supermarkets. The post has a few photos of the dishes I made from the book.
Oh, and if you'd like to know more about the best iced coffee I ever made, see my article/post at the j for instructions and variations on dalgona or whipped coffee. Key tip, you can NOT sub out the instant coffee. And wear an apron, it gets messy.
For more of my regular recipe columns from the j, you can find them on my j author page. They appear in print every other week and are released online shortly before or after publication. Make the j your home for globally inspired Jewish recipes. Plus, if you ever have a question about the recipe, email me at the address at the bottom of the post, and I'll try to help you out.
Saturday, May 30, 2020
The Ultimate Comfort Food -- Chocolate Sandwich Cookie (Oreo) Kugel for Your Inner (or Actual) Child
Kugels have their roots in Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish tradition. They are casseroles and can be made with cheese or other dairy products, noodles, potatoes, matzoh, meat (but not with the milk) and more. My j column featured cereal milk kugel made with fruit-flavored cereal, a colorful and flavorful treat for one's actual or inner child.
This recipe sparked a renewed interest in my Chocolate Cookie Kugel which I decided to revisit and revise. First change for a SIP household of two, cutting the size. A full-size kugel was just too much, so I halved the recipe. I'm happy to report the recipe halves well (and leftovers store well for up to a week airtight in the fridge). Other minor tweaks include adding the cookie crumb topping. Enjoy.
(Oh, and believe or not, it's really not too sweet but it is rich and a small serving is usually very satisfying. The cookies undergo a kind of magical alteration when cooking and pretty much absorb the filling.)
Friday, April 10, 2020
Spoon or even use a pastry brush to spread the hot toffee for more even layers. For a thinner toffee, use six matzah sheets. I use close to 2 cups of chocolate chips to get a smooth, thick layer. The original recipe called for 3/4-1 cup.
Sunday, August 11, 2019
|Steeped Coffee individual brew bag in action|
One tip, cover the top of your cup with a plate or napkin while the bag is steeping to keep the drink hotter.
A shout out, too, to Spaceships UK, the company we rented our compact camper minivan from (no freebies, there, we paid). Great equipment and great service.
Photo taken at a private campground in the Lake District in England.
Wednesday, April 17, 2019
Don't Pass Over These Passover Recipes -- A Round Up of Pesach Dishes from Column and Blog and Soup to Nuts
|A variety of harosets celebrates the diversity of the Jewish food ways|
Many of these recipes are from my j., The Jewish News of Northern California column, others are from Blog Appetit. Some are suitable for Seder, others for every day cooking, some work for both. Enjoy.
|Chicken Soup, Matzah Balls|
Eggplant Garlic, Eggplant Almond and Roasted Vegetable Dips
Vegan Matzah Balls
Horseradish Stuffed Eggs
Baked Gefilte Fish with Beet-Horseradish Topping
Bitter Herbs Salad
Levana Kirschenbaum's Moroccan Fish Soup
Gluten Free Chicken Almond Dumplings for Soup
Matzah Balls with Fresh Herbs
Matzah Balls 101
Chicken Soup 101
Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole (with ground beef)
Caramelized Balsamic Chicken
Paula Shoyer's Brisket and Roast Salmon
|Paula Shoyer's Roast Salmon|
Saucy Eggplant Bake
Zucchini-Matzah Meal Crust Pizza and Oven Frittata with Peppers and Greens
Salmon Steamed in Foil
Grilled Lamb (note: many Ashkenazi do not eat lamb for Seder while many other Jews regard it as an important component of the Seder table.)
Lamb Stew with Tomatoes, Peppers and Dill
Gluten Free Chicken Vegetable Tagine with Quinoa
Cauliflower Matzah Bake, Apple and Vegetable Cobbler
|Strawberry Chocolate Pudding|
Lemon Ice and Strawberry Chocolate Pudding
Quinoa Chocolate Chip Cookies
Baked Matzah Dessert
Tzimmes Cookies and Cake
Jeff Nathan's Poached Apricots with Lemon and Thyme
Lemon Pistachio Bars
|Custard Matzah Brei|
Haroset Matzah Fry
Quinoa Berry Muffins
Sweet Potatoes with Pineapple, Moroccan Carrot Salad
Custard Matzah Brei
Passover Potato Gnocchi
Four Haroset Recipes from Around the World
One More Haroset Recipe
Sunday, January 27, 2019
The hostel, the Emblem in Kanazawa, Japan, had a large and well equipped kitchen and a nice seating area. I had bread, butter, eggs, and milk. The hostel provided sugar and salt. All well and good, I could make perfectly good but possibly bland pain perdu with those ingredients, but my custardary, rich take called out for some flavoring agent. At home I’d use cinnamon and vanilla or orange zest. They were not in my larder here, so to speak. What I did have was fresh ginger and a green tea bag. The bag was matcha (powdered green tea) mixed with finely ground green tea. Doing this again, I would use all matcha tea, but the combo worked well for flavoring the custard. I only had enough day-old baguette to make two generous servings with a taste for the curious hostel staff. Usually I serve my French toast with a choice of maple syrup, jam and or yogurt, here I just skipped the toppings, but if you have them, they would work well. I think it would also be nice with a ginger syrup and whipped cream.
For my traditional French Toast recipe which uses challah, vanilla and cinammon, please click here.
Green Tea French Toast
½ cup milk
1 matcha and green tea bag (matcha mixed with green tea) or 1 tsp. powdered matcha
2 Tbs. sugar
1 large egg
⅛ tsp. salt
½ tsp. grated fresh ginger
About 10 slices day-old baguette, sliced 1” thick (about 90 grams)
1 Tbs. butter for frying, plus more as needed
Extra sugar or powdered sugar for garnish, as desired
Green tea or matcha for garnish, if available and as desired
Simmer milk (do not boil). Remove from heat once simmering. Add tea bag (or mix in matcha). Let steep until cool. Remove tea bag if using, pressing on it with a spoon to make sure all the liquid returns to the pot. (If using all matcha, stir to make sure it is fully dissolved.)
Beat together sugar, egg, salt and ginger. Slowly pour in the milk, beating constantly, until well mixed. Place bread slices in a rimmed dish, pour milk mixture over bread, covering completely. Let stand, turning slices over occasionally, about 5-10 minutes until custard is mostly absorbed by the bread.
Heat butter over medium heat until sizzling. Fry slices until browned on one side then flip and fry other side until browned, working in batches if need be. Sprinkle tops of finished French toast with sugar or powdered sugar if desired. Sprinkle with additional 1 tsp. matcha or tear open a fresh green tea bag and crumble some of the tea to a fine dust and garnish with about a teaspoon of that.