The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen Cookbook Review & Giveaway

Blood-Orange-CakeMain

Happy Chanukah! Hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season! I’m taking a break from Latkefest 2015 to tell you about this fabulous new cookbook – The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman. I’m also hosting a giveaway for this cookbook, so don’t forget to enter.

SJK-Cover

The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen by Amelia Saltsman is a fabulous cookbook that explores traditional Jewish foods while sticking to the Jewish calendar. Filled with beautiful photos and wonderful stories, this book really spoke to me. As someone who tries to cook seasonally, I felt like this cookbook was made for someone like me. I also loved that even as a Jewish cookbook, it wasn’t just about the potato kugel and the brisket. Amelia writes about the history of various foods and where they came from, while sharing about why they’re important to the Jewish calendar. I love that all of the foods in her cookbook are fresh and inspirational – using very clean ingredients. I recently made her Lamb, Butternut Squash & Quince Tagine and it was a huge hit with my family and guests. I also made her Winter Greens Saute and I know it will be a staple on our table over the next several weeks. I highly recommend this cookbook for anyone who loves exploring new flavors, while sticking to the traditional Jewish calendar. Even putting aside the Jewish calendar, this book stands out as a fabulous cookbook with fresh recipes. This Shabbat, I plan on serving Amelia’s Braised Beef with Semolina Dumplings. It’s the perfect Shabbat Chanukah meal.

Because I rarely share desserts with you, I decided to share this fabulous winter cake recipe with you. Blood Orange & Olive Oil Polenta Upside Down Cake evokes flavors of the Middle East and would be a special treat for your holiday table.

Blood Orange & Olive Oil Polenta Upside Down Cake
 
Syrup-soaked cakes, usually made with semolina and called tishpishti or namoura, are popular throughout the Middle East. With its stained-glass effect from the variegated colors of blood oranges, this upside-down cake, which gets its nubbly texture from sunny cornmeal, is drenched in a sophisticated ruby-red blood-orange syrup. Use fine-grind cornmeal or polenta; stone-ground meal doesn’t get tender enough in baking.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert

Ingredients
FOR THE CAKE
  • 4 blood oranges
  • 2⁄3 cup (145 g) packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup (125 g) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2⁄3 cup (105 g) cornmeal (not stone-ground)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup (165 ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for the pan
  • ¾ cup (150 g) granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
FOR THE SYRUP
  • ½ packet (¹⁄8 ounce/3.5 g) unflavored gelatin
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Using a Microplane grater, grate zest from 2 of the blood oranges and reserve. Juice the 2 oranges and reserve. Cut both ends off of each of the remaining 2 oranges, then cut each orange crosswise into rounds ⅛ to 1/16 inch (3 to 2 mm) thick. Cut all but one of the slices in half and discard any center pith.
  2. Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over the bottom of a flameproof and ovenproof 10-inch (25-cm) skillet (a well-seasoned cast-iron skillet is perfect) and sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the orange juice. Heat skillet over medium-low heat until most of the sugar is bubbling. Remove from the heat.
  3. Starting at the outer edge of the pan, lay the halved orange slices in the melted sugar with the “scalloped” edge of each slice touching the edge of the pan. Fit as many orange slices as you can into the circle, pinching their corners as you set them into the hot sugar (use a knife point or tongs to adjust the fruit as needed). Some slices will have a “prettier” side; make sure those are placed face down in the sugar. Arrange the remaining halved orange slices in concentric circles toward the center, finishing with the reserved whole slice in the center.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. In an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together the oil and granulated sugar on medium speed until thickened and golden. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is thick and creamy gold, 3 to 5 minutes total. Beat in the zest and 1 tablespoon of the juice. On low speed, add the flour mixture in three batches, beating after each addition just until blended.
  5. Pour batter evenly over the orange slices and gently smooth the top. Bake the cake until golden brown, the top springs back to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Run a thin-bladed knife around the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake sides. Invert a serving plate over the cake, invert the pan and plate together, and lift off the pan. If any fruit sticks to the pan, loosen it with a spatula and place it on the cake. While the cake is hot, use a fork or bamboo skewer to make holes in it without going all the way through.
  6. While the cake is baking, make the soaking syrup. Fill a medium bowl one-third full with ice and a little water and nestle a smaller bowl, preferably metal, in the ice bath. Pour ¼ cup (60 ml) of the remaining orange juice into a small pot, sprinkle the gelatin on top, and let soften for 5 minutes.
  7. Stir granulated sugar, Cointreau, and lemon juice into the remaining orange juice, then stir the mixture into the softened gelatin. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and stir to dissolve sugar and gelatin, about 1 minute. Do not allow to boil. Pour syrup into the waiting bowl and stir from time to time until it thickens to the consistency of maple syrup, about 15 minutes. Spoon or brush some of the syrup over the cake. Allow it to soak in, then spoon or brush on more. Repeat until you have used all the syrup.
  8. Allow the cake to cool completely before slicing, then cut into wedges with a serrated offset knife to serve.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer: Giveaway & Babka Bites

Babka-Bites-for-Blog

The holidays are upon us. So much craziness. I’m thrilled that I get a fresh dinner on the table –  let alone somehow manage to pull off a holiday meal. Each day I come home from work with a new menu idea and a new shopping list. I know I should probably just stick to just one idea, but I’m always inspired by new things I see. My menu tends to change up until the actual holiday day. As long as it’s a holiday I can cook on, I tend to play and go with whatever my mood dictates.  As long as I have some fresh veggies and proteins on hand, I’m good to go.

The only thing I have trouble with though is dessert. I love chocolate and cookies as much as every other person out there, but I’m not always creative about it. 90% of the time, I tend to rely on my trusty cookbooks.

HBKCover-(1)

That’s where a book like The Holiday Baker by Paula Shoyer comes in. This cookbook is filled with fabulous treats to bake up in my kitchen. Paula Shoyer makes holiday desserts simple to create. Her recipes are easy to follow and the photos in the cookbook make me want to make and eat everything right away. She even has a fantastic section on must-have tools and tips. Was thrilled to get a copy of the cookbook this holiday season. My daughter has flagged about 10 recipes that I MUST make. Everything with chocolate was at the top of my list.

Paula Shoyer’s recipe for Babka Bites are on my must-make list. Such an amazing treat and the recipe is super easy to follow. I highly recommend you make this now.

Don’t forget to enter this fabulous giveaway for this amazing cookbook!

Shana Tova! Happy New Year. May you have a happy and sweet New Year!



Babka Bites
 
Recipe from The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer Sterling / November 2013
Author:

Ingredients
Dough
  • ¼ cup (60ml) warm water
  • ½ ounce (2 envelopes; 14g) dry yeast
  • ¼ cup (50g) plus 1 teaspoon sugar, divided
  • 2 ½ cups (315g) all-purpose flour
  • dash salt
  • 4 tablespoons (57g) margarine, at room temperature for at least 15 minutes
  • ¼ cup (60ml) canola oil
  • 1 large egg plus 1 egg white
Filling
  • ½ cup (1 stick; 113g) margarine, at room temperature for at least 30 minutes
  • ¼ cup (20g) unsweetened cocoa
  • ¾ cup (150g) sugar
  • 1⁄3 cup (60g) mini chocolate chips

Instructions
To make the dough:
  1. PLACE WARM WATER, yeast, and 1 teaspoon sugar into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and let it sit for 10 minutes, until the mixture bubbles and thickens. Add the ¼ cup (50g) sugar, flour, salt, margarine, oil, egg, and egg white.
  2. Combine with a wooden spoon or a dough hook in a stand mixer until all the ingredients are mixed in. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise 1 ½ hours.
To make the filling:
  1. PLACE THE MARGARINE into a medium or large bowl and beat until creamy. Add the cocoa and sugar and beat until combined. Cover with plastic and let sit at room temperature while the dough is rising.
  2. PREHEAT OVEN to 325°F (160°C). Place mini muffin papers into a 12-cup mini muffin pan. You will need to bake Babka Bites in batches.
To assemble and bake:
  1. AFTER THE DOUGH HAS RISEN, divide it in half. On a large piece of parchment paper sprinkled with a little flour, roll each piece of dough into a 9 x 12-inch (23 x 30-cm) rectangle so that the 12-inch (30-cm) side is facing you. Sprinkle a little flour on the rolling pin if the dough starts to stick to it. Use a silicone spatula to spread half the chocolate filling all the way to the edges. Sprinkle half the chocolate chips all over the chocolate filling and roll up tightly the long way. Cut into ½-inch (1.25-cm)
  2. slices and place one into each of the muffin cups, cut side up. You will have about 24 slices. Repeat with the rest of the dough.
  3. BAKE for 20 minutes, or until lightly golden. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store covered at room temperature for up to four days or freeze for up to three months.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cheddar Sriracha Stuffed Mushrooms: Stuffed Cookbook Review & Giveaway

SruffedChapter3proofs-008

I’ve been following Dan Whalen’s blog, The Food in my Beard, for a while now. I love the way he approaches comfort food. He brings excitement and flavor to our everyday dishes. When I heard about his new cookbook coming out, I knew I had to have it.

The cookbook, Stuffed: The Ultimate Comfort Food Cookbook is genius. Pure genius. I love amazing stuff wrapped in more amazing stuff! I mean who doesn’t? Kind of similar to where I went with my kimchi dumplings. This cookbook features dishes inspired by all ethnicities. From tamales to eclairs, this cookbook has it all. It even has homemade tater tots that totally rival my nacho stuffed tots! I mean, how can you beat fish & chips tater tots? That’s just brilliant!

When the book arrived at my door, I couldn’t open the package fast enough. I knew from Dan’s blog that he dreams up amazing flavor combinations. This book just solidified my stance. Every recipe in the book looks like something work making. The Aloo Gobi Samosas are totally happening in my kitchen soon, as are the Chana Masala Stuffed Grape Leaves.

I’ve been on a bit of a Sriracha kick lately. Well, I’ve always been a fan of it, but it seems to really be getting in to everything I made lately. So when I came upon the Cheddar Sriracha Stuffed Mushrooms, I knew I had to share this recipe with you. Thanks to the amazing publishers, I’ve got a cookbook giveaway for you as well. So be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom of this post. You can also head on over to Amazon to buy this cookbook. You won’t be disappointed.


Cheddar Sriracha Stuffed Mushrroms
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer

Ingredients
  • 15 to 20 Baby Bella or Cremini Mushrooms
Filling:
  • 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup Sriracha
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 jalapenos, minced (seeds removed to ease up heat)

Instructions
Make the Filling:
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl
Stuff It:
  1. Clean the mushrooms and remove and the stems and ribs. Generously stuff the mushrooms with the filling.
  2. Put the mushrooms on to a baking dish
Cook It:
  1. Preheat the oven to 400. Roast the mushrooms for about 15 minutes. Serve hot.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Starters & Sides Made Easy: Review & Giveaway

startsaandsidesforwpA new cookbook in the mail is some of the best kind of mail out there. I was very excited when the Starters & Sides Cookbook showed up in my mailbox recently. This cookbook, by Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek of Ami Magazine and CookKosher.com fame, is just as beautiful and just as well laid out as their Passover Made Easy cookbook that I featured this past Spring.

This cookbook features pages and pages of easy to follow recipes for tasty and innovate side dishes, appetizers and salads. This cookbook is totally made for me. I love side dishes! I could make a dinner out of the appetizer menu!

When this cookbook showed up, I quickly ripped it out of the packaging to page through the book. Like the Passover cookbook, the book features some fantastic tips and ideas. The recipes are simple, without complicated ingredients. Every recipe features a full-color photo, which is always helpful.

I especially liked that there were many recipes in the cookbook that were vegetarian and most of the recipes didn’t use processed products. I tried to stick to whole foods as much as possible.

A recipe that caught my eye, that I thought would be perfect for an upcoming dinner I was hosting, were the kishka and zucchini towers. Homemade kishka is a fantastic treat once in a while. This vegetarian appetizer is perfect for shabbat or any other dinner when entertaining. Sharing the recipe with you today.

Kishka-Zuchini1

In addition to the cookbook that the publisher sent me, they have also graciously offered one cookbook for one of my lucky readers. Don’t forget to enter the giveaway below! Good luck! Hope you enjoy the cookbook as much as I did!

Kishka and Zucchini Towers
 
From Starters & Sides Made Easy by Leah Scapira & Victoria Dwek
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizer, Side Dish

Ingredients
For the Zucchini:
  • 3 large zucchini, cut into ½-inch slices
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • coarse black pepper to taste
Kishka
  • 2 cups flour
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ⅔ cup cold water
  • ⅔ cup oil

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Prepare the kishka: In a small bowl, combine flour, breadcrumbs, brown sugar, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  3. Stir in water and oil. Mold the mixture into a log that is the same width as your zucchinis. Freeze log for at least 15 minutes.
  4. Place zucchini rounds on one prepared baking sheet. Remove kishka from freezer and slice into ½-inch rounds. Place kishka rounds on second prepared baking sheet.
  5. Brush zucchini and kishka rounds with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Bake for 45-50 minutes until zucchini is tender and kishka and zucchini are golden on the edges.
  6. Remove from oven. Create towers by topping a kishka round with a zucchini round, another kishka round, and a second zucchini round.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Cookbook Review: "The Kosher Baker" by Paul Shoyer

When I say I’m a hesitant baker, I really do mean it. I can tackle challahs and and make a mean oatmeal chocolate chip cookie, but when it comes to real baking – I get the jitters. I need good, easy recipes and techniques or a Betty Crocker mix to get me through the yummy sweet stuff.

So, when “The Kosher Baker” by Paula Shoyer showed up at my doorstep, I was excited and nervous. I have a lot of cookbooks on my shelves, but very few baking books. I asked my daughter to pick out a few recipes. Then I sat in a corner and paged through the book – deciding what to make first.

uprightbook

I was impressed by the variety of recipes in this book. From simple cookies and cakes to tarts and babkas to macarons and challahs. This cookbook has a baked treat for everyone.

I love that right from the beginning, the table of contents breaks the recipes down by ease of preparation. It makes someone like me more at ease. I also love that this cookbook is dairy-free. It gives options for margarine and soy-based dairy alternatives, allowing  the home cook to delve in to all areas of baking. Throughout the cookbook, you will also find that the recipe ingredients are not very complicated. Many of the ingredients are those that you already have in your home and the others are very easy to find in a regular supermarket.

Paula Shoyer eases the home cook in to baking with a nice introduction to baking – instructing cooks on the basic tools and pantry staples. She also gives us some helpful cooking tips to help with the process. From how to crack eggs, to baking in water baths – Shoyer explains the various tricks of the trade.

In addition to the nice overview of the kitchen to help you, there are numerous photos to draw you in to each recipe.  I know that the photo is often the deciding factor of whether or not I will try that recipe. Her photos even include some lovely step-by-step shots for some of the more intricate recipes.

The first recipe I was pulled in to, were the Scones au Chocolate. The chocolate oozing out of the scone got to me. I had to make that first. The recipe and instructions were spot on. The Scones pleased everyone in the room.

Later, I decided to try out something fruity. I turned to her rasbperry bars. I am always a sucker for raspberry bars and I had all of the ingredients in my house. I was also struck by her technique for the crust topping – which included shaving the dough on to the raspberry filling. So creative!

When I set out to make the raspberry bars, I was once again left feeling happy. Paula Shoyer’s step-by-step instructions leave nothing out and are very easy to understand. The rasbperry bars came out perfectly, with no complaints.

IMG_2271

Overall, I would definitely recommend “The Kosher Baker” for someone looking for a baking book to ease in to. If you are looking for simple and easy to follow recipes that happen to be pareve, then this is the book for you. I am sure I will be turning to this cookbook when the holidays come around again, as there are so many recipes to pick from.

I am sharing with you her raspberry bar recipe. I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did.

Raspberry Bars
by Paula Shoyer, “The Kosher Baker”

Crust: 
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) pareve margarine, frozen for 15 minutes, plus extra for greasing pan and parchment paper
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Filling:
12 oz (1 1/2 cups) seedless red raspberry jam

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a 9-by-13-inch pan with some margarine.

Place a piece of parchment in the pan that is large enough to go up the sides and hang over a few inches. Grease the top and sides of the parchment.

To make the crust:Place the flour and sugar into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process for 10 seconds. Cut the margarine into pieces and add to the bowl with the vanilla. (You can also make the crust by hand by cutting the margarine in to the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two knives.) Process or hand mix with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together.

Divide the dough in to two parts, 1/3 and 2/3 of the dough. Wrap the smaller piece in plastic, flatten and place in the freezer. Take the larger piece and break it into pieces and scatter over the parchment. Press the pieces into the pan as evenly as you can. Place in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool for 15 minutes.Use a silicone spatula to spread the jam all over the crust in the pan. Remove the other dough piece from the freezer, and using the large holes of a box grater, grate the remaining dough over the filling. Use your hands to spread the grated dough all over to cover the filling.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges start to brown. Let cool. Trim off about 1/4 inch of the sides and then cut into squares or long bars.

Enjoy!

IMG_2286
1 2