I’m a Guest–Just in Time for Passover!

Chocolate PB Bars Elise photo II

Photo by Elise Bauer

I am delighted to tell you that I am a guest contributor on Simply Recipes, the blog of my  good friend and neighbor, Elise Bauer.  We spent a few delicious hours in her spacious, cheerful kitchen concocting a new version of a favorite snack (and eating way too many of the elements and their combined results).

On Elise’s blog I offer Passover options for the featured recipe, Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars, which include natural peanut butter. Peanuts have been approved for  Passover use by the Conservative branch of Judaism (the parent organization of my synagogue) for a number of years. As with so many questions of observance or abstinence, it is always best to consult your rabbi (or maybe the website of your particular denomination of Judaism) to determine what is officially kosher for Passover in your kitchen. As is often the case, an Internet search will reveal as many answers as there are questions about this issue!

While we haven’t tried them with another nut butter, this might be an option for people with allergies or religious objections to the peanut component. Please let us know if you have success with this alternative.

Whatever version you may try, I am sure you will enjoy these delectable treats.

Poppyseed Yogurt Cupcakes for Purim

Poppyseed cupcakes on plateThis year the Jewish festival of Purim begins in the evening of Saturday, March 15 and ends in the evening of Sunday, March 16. Among the special foods for this joyous holiday are recipes featuring poppy seeds, said to be an important part of the vegetarian diet of Queen Esther, the heroine of the Purim story.  More information about Esther and the holiday is available here. Continue reading

Potatoes and Pumpkins

For some people it may seem a bit early to think about what to serve at the end of this month, but for me planning for Thanksgiving dinner is an enjoyable process that I start as soon as the November issues of the cooking magazines appear.

By clicking here you will have access to a plethora of recipes for this year’s rare concurrence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving. Continue reading

Onion Pletzel

IMG_0592This flat-bread, also called an onion board, is a Jewish delicatessen treat that I remember from my days growing up in Baltimore. It’s good as is or slathered with sweet butter or cream cheese. This recipe is written for a large or mid-sized food processor with dough blade. Because poppy seeds can go rancid, it’s a good idea to store them in the freezer. To prepare 3 pletzels in a small processor with steel blade, use half the ingredients. Continue reading

Honey Almond Crunch Cake with Apple Compote

Sliced cakeThis is an adaptation of a recipe by pastry chef Gale Gand in her book BUTTER SUGAR FLOUR EGGS. Like me, she did not like the traditional dark, heavy honey cake served for Jewish celebrations so she created this lighter version with a topping reminiscent of taiglach, another old-fashioned dessert. An excellent dessert for the High Holiday season (the beginning of the Jewish year 5774), this is best prepared at least a day ahead to allow the flavors to mellow. I recommend using a good supermarket honey with somewhat strong flavor; a delicate one will not add the traditional honey taste when baked into the cake. Be sure to verify that your pan holds at least 6 cups; the batter will overflow in a smaller pan. Continue reading