Saturday, November 23, 2013

Jerusalem Artichoke Latkes


It's officially latkes season and all I can think of is the different ways we can upgrade this potato latkes dish. Either with sweet potato or spinach or making them spicy or curried. This year I decide to make this Jerusalem Artichoke variation. These can be made in dairy topped with Greek yogurt or served as part of a main dish topped with a chicken or turkey stew.

INGREDIENTS Makes 20 to 24 Latkes
  • 2 pounds Yukon gold potatoes, peeled
  • 1.5 pound Jerusalem artichokes, thoroughly washed
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (or spelt flour), plus more as needed 
  • About 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil for frying
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Line a large platter with kitchen towel.
  2. In your food processor fitted with a grater attachment, coarsely grate the potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, and onion.  Gather the corners of the towel and wring as much excess liquid as possible from the vegetables. Transfer the wrung vegetables to a dry mixing bowl. Add the egg, salt, pepper and optional parsley, stir to combine. While stirring the mixture, gradually add the flour, stirring well to incorporate.
  3. Line a large baking sheet with paper towels.
  4. In a large sauté pan over moderately high heat, heat 1/4 inch of oil until hot but not smoking. Test the latke batter by frying a small amount of batter in the hot oil—it should hold together and not fall apart when flipped. If necessary, add additional flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, but try to add as little flour as possible to create light latkes.
  5. Working in batches, drop 2 tablespoon of batter into the hot oil — or use an ice cream scooper — and use the back of a spoon to press the batter into 1 1/2-inch diameter pancakes. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the latkes just once and continue frying until golden brown, about 2 minutes. 
  6. As they finish cooking, transfer the latkes to the paper-towel-lined baking sheet.
  7. You can serve with Greek yogurt topped with chives






Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Bananagram Soufganyiot



I had two left over bananas, and considering Hanukkah is right around the corner, I decided to recreate my previous Spice Pumpkin Soufganiyot recipe into a Banana Graham one. Although similar, this recipe highlights banana flavor within a graham coating adding a nice twist and alternative to sugar coating.




INGREDIENTS  // Makes about 40

// for the doughnuts //
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon all-spice
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup soy milk or low-fat milk

 // for the coating  //
1 stick of unsalted butter or margarine, melted
1 graham pie in crumbs


INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 24-cup mini muffin tins with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. 
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, mashed banana and milk until smooth. 
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 1 tablespoon in each cup. 
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until passes the toothpick test.
  7. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. 
  8. With the melted butter in one bowl and the graham crumbs, dip each muffin into the butter then roll in the graham to coat. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately or freeze.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Spiced Pumpkin Sufganiyot

These delicious Pumpkin All-Spice Sufganiyot are served perfectly with a cup of chai tea. 












Thanksgivukkah is a once-in-a-lifetime American celebration consisting of the first day of Chanukah falling on Thanksgiving. The last time this occurred was 125 years ago in 1888. And the next time Chanukah will fall on November 28 will be in the year 79811; (Wikipedia) indeed this coincidence calls for a celebration!

Thanksgivukkah is inspiring so many different latka-harvest meal ideas and this month's Joy of Kosher recipe challenge is about creating perfect recipes to celebrate both festivities at once. Although I'm Canadian, I know a thing or two about American Thanksgiving food. And this Thanksgivukkah, I decided to spice-up sufganiyot (technically muffins, shh it's a secret) by adding pumpkin, all-spice, nutmeg and by baking them instead of deep-frying them. Although the sugar coating makes these rich, you can skip that step, or perhaps fill them up with a cream cheese-based custard. At first my kids were upset we were making pumpkin doughnuts, but now they understand how surprisingly good baking with vegetables can be and ended-up loving these. 




INGREDIENTS  Makes about 40

FOR THE DONUTS:
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree (roast your pumpkin and puree it in your food processor)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk or low-fat milk 

FOR THE COATING:
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter or margarine, melted
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease two 24-cup mini muffin tins with nonstick spray.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. 
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine the oil, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, pumpkin and milk until smooth. 
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir until just combined. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups, about 1 tablespoon in each cup. 
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until passes the toothpick test.
  7. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow to cool for 2 minutes, or until just cool enough to handle. 
  8. With the melted butter in one bowl and the sugar and cinnamon combined in another, dip each muffin into the butter then roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve immediately or freeze.


Happy Chanukah Everyone!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kugel to the Next Level: Norene's Buttermilk Kugel

Buttermilk Noodle Kugel
Norene Gilletz
Previously on my blog, I shared the pleasures of visiting Norene Gilletz, Canada's top kosher cookbook author, in her home. I don't think my experience would have been the same if we didn't get to indulge in her late mother's Buttermilk Noodle Kugel (קוגל kugl). For those who are unfamiliar, kugel is a baked Ashkenazi Jewish pudding or casserole, similar to a pie, most commonly made from eggnoodles (Lokshen kugel) or potatoes, though at times made of zucchini, apples, spinach, broccoli, cranberry, or sweet potato. It is usually served as a side dish on Shabbat and Yom Tov. (Wikipedia)

Norene made a delicious kugel with noodles, a recipe that can use any type of noodle, especially delicious with rice noodles. This recipe makes a delicious meal for Thanksgivukkah.  



INGREDIENTS (Serves 12, keeps 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator and /or freezes well unless you use rice noodles)
  • 1 pkg (12 oz/ 375 g) rice noodle OR medium noodles (yolk free are fine)
  • 4 eggs (or 2 plus 4 egg whites)
  • 1 cup of cottage cheese
  • 3 Tbsp sugar (or granular Splenda) 
  • Salt to taste
  • dash ground cinnamon (optional)
  • 4 cups of buttermilk

DIRECTIONS
  1. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain and rinse well. Return noodles to saucepan.
  2. Steel blade food processor: Process eggs with cottage cheese until blended, 12 50 15 seconds. 
  3. Add to noodles along with remaining ingredients and mix well. 
  4. Pour into sprayed 9 X13 inch glass baking dish
  5. Bake in preheated 375°F oven for 50 to 6 minutes, until golden brown. Serve hot.

122 calories, 14.8 carbohydrates, 0.3 Fiber, 9 g protein, 3.1 fat.
From The New Food Processor Bible, Norene Gilletz, 2011, fourth edition)

Friday, November 8, 2013

Second Helpings with Norene Gilletz: Canada's Kosher Culinary Icon

Norene Gilletz, Canada's top kosher cookbook author serves up her delicious rice noodle kugel.

Seven years ago cooking became one of my biggest joys. Granted, I wasn't a trained chef, nor was I a restaurateur. I turned to culinary arts as a getaway from rocky marriage days. I was a young mother roaming IGA grocery lanes, pushing two babies in a double stroller, discovering all kinds of ingredients. "Do you know where I can find cream of tartar?"  I  asked an elderly woman in the baking aisle "...it's an ingredient I need for a Martha Stewart recipe," I added. Surprisingly clueless of who Martha Stewart was, she kindly replied, "the only cookbook you need is Norene Gilletz's Second Helpings, Please." Luckily, that was one of the first cookbooks I bought, and used to learn how to make apple cake, challah, banana bread, latkes, hamentashen, sweet and sour meatballs and more. 

An original, the first ever Second Helpings, Please! cookbook.
It includes signatures of all the contributors on the first page.


"People long for classics, and food transports us
through time." ~ Norene Gilletz


Of Russian and Polish decent, Norene was born on May 29, 1940, in Winnipeg. Belle Rykiss, her mother, inspired Norene to cherish and make Jewish food. In 1960, Norene moved to Montreal and joined the B'nai Brith Women Mount Sinai Chapter. During that time, the concept for developing a fundraising cookbook was initiated and Norene Gilletz, played a crucial role putting this culinary classic together. After three years and a half of gathering and testing recipes, the first edition was published in 1968. Since then, the book was re-printed over fifteen times and proceeds from the sale of the book were used for Jewish Women International (JWI) the leading Jewish organization empowering women and girls.

Norene has been recognized as the leading author of kosher cookbooks in Canada. In addition from being the author of numerous kosher cookbooks i.e. Healthy HelpingsNorene's Healthy Kitchen, and The New Food Processor Bible, she has influenced thousands of Jewish homes as a freelance food writer, food consultant, cooking teacher\lecturer, culinary spokesperson, and owner of www.gourmania.com. Norene had the chance to meet renowned French chefs like Jaques Pepin and Julia Child.  She was featured on Martha Stewart Living Radio Show plus she was recently honored, last October, at KosherFest's Social Media dinner along with Susie FishbeinChef Laura Frankel, Gil Marks, Levana Kirschenbaum, and Menachem Lubinsky.

Two Sunday's ago, I found myself in her Toronto kitchen, having a cup of coffee over delicious homemade bran muffins and buttermilk noodle kugel (plus I got to enjoy peanut-free peanut butter cookies and biscottis, testers for an upcoming cookbook). We got to look-over and discuss the latest kosher cookbooks on the market that needed her review (coincidentally including Montreal's latest, And Then There was Cake).  We chatted for hours, and realized we had more than Jewish food in common. Both Gemini's, we both lived in the West Island of Montreal in our past, we both experienced single-motherhood (and understand the hardships of the dating scene) and we both love Paula Abdul (Norene is actually her cousin). I truly had a delightful time, benefiting from her wise advice ;)


Norene and her cutsy dog.

Norene Gilletz's cookbooks. Her mother's original copy of The Food Processor Bible,
Norene's Healthy Kitchen. And the pile of books in the back that needed her review.
Seven years have past and my two little babies are now little girls. I have the nachas of turning to a book like Norene's Second Helpings, Please! as a means to teach my children how to bake, but even more appreciate the joys of Jewish living. Thank you Norene! :-)