When Ramadan fell over Hanukkah we had some Muslim friends over. They made a fried honey cookie and I made Bimuelos!

Photo credit: Israel Jewish News blog

Photo credit: Israel Jewish News blog


2 packages yeast
1 1/3 cups warm water
1 egg
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp melted butter or margarine
3 c. flour
Canola oil
Honey syrup

In large bowl mix yeast and 1/3 cup warm water; let stand to dissolve yeast – about 5 minutes.
Add egg, salt, ½ tsp of the cinnamon, and the butter and beat to mix well. Add flour alternately with remaining warm water and mix the batter well. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let stand in a warm place until it doubles in bulk, about 1 to 1 ½ hours.
In a 4 quart pan heat an inch & ½ of oil to 425 degrees. Drop dough by the tablespoon at a time into the hot oil. Don’t over crowd the pan. Turn bimuelos to brown on both sides. Cook until golden brown and puffy – about a minute.

Lift out bimuelos with a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.

Honey syrup
In a 1 qt pan combine 1 cup honey and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour hot over the bimuelos.

Posted by admin under Chanukah, symbolic foods
No Comments

With all the hype about Thanksgiving and Hanukkah overlapping I decided to try making a pumpkin challah. I was a bit suspicious since I love pumpkin and wasn’t sure it would be good as bread. But boy was I wrong! IT IS DELICIOUS! Here’s the recipe – as I modified it to be a better loaf, according to my preferences. Give it a try. As I usually do, I’ve given you a bread machine option. I just think it’s faster and easier on a busy Friday (or any day) to use my bread machine.

Pumpkin Challah makes the party!

Pumpkin Challah makes the party!

Pumpkin Challah

1 package yeast
2/3 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (Or 1/4 tsp ginger & 1/4 tsp allspice)
3 3/4 cups white flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 egg (+ 1 egg for glaze)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Combine yeast and warm water; let stand until foamy (about 7 minutes). Stir gently to combine.

Put flour and spices in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and pour in yeast mixture. Gently mix some of the flour into the water–just enough to form a soft paste. (Don’t try to completely incorporate–there should be a lot of dry flour left around the dough.) Cover bowl with a towel and let it get foamy, about 20 minutes.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, pumpkin, oil, egg, and salt. Pour into the flour mixture and mix well. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until the dough is pliable. (If it’s too wet, keep adding flour a tablespoon at a time. If it is too dry keep adding pumpkin puree a tablespoon at a time.)

OR put the dough into your bread maker and set the machine to ‘dough’ and start.

If you are kneading by hand continue here:
Let dough rest 2-3 minutes. Meanwhile, lightly oil the bowl, put the dough in it and re-cover with the towel. Let dough rise in a warm place until it has tripled in size, 2-3 hours. Punch down dough, knead it a bit more.

If you are using the bread maching continue here.
When the dough setting has finished the dough take it out.

If you want two loaves, divide the dough in half. If you want one large loaf keep the dough as one lump.
For each loaf you want to make divide the dough into three parts and braid them.

Spray oil on a baking sheet and place the braided dough on the sheet. You can spread some olive oil on the loaves to keep them moist.

Cover and let rise again. Let bread rise until doubled in size, about 40 minutes. Brush the loaves with a beaten egg yolk. Bake at 350° F for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown.

Posted by admin under Chanukah, Holidays, symbolic foods
No Comments

Buzzfeed.com Thanksgivukkah

Buzzfeed.com Thanksgivukkah

This year Hanukkah begins on Thanksgiving! That has given way to fun, silly words like Thanksgivnukkah. How can you blend your second night of Hanukkah with Thanksgiving? We’ll introduce you to some new recipes that are right for both holidays – like sweet potato latkes and pecan rugelach.

Want to plan a Hanukkah Party? We’ll tell you how to put together a Latke Bar Party with unique California cuisine touches.

What about decorations? Wishing for a little more glitter and sparkle? Come see examples of home and table decorations that you can get locally or make yourself.

Interfaith families are especially welcome! Come join the fun – cooking, crafting, eating and preparing for the holidays ahead!

Date: Sunday, Oct. 27
Time: 1 to 4pm
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills
Cost: $35/person
Register here.

Buzzfeed.com rugelach

Buzzfeed.com rugelach

Posted by admin under Chanukah, Past Programs, Programs archive, symbolic foods
No Comments

No previous experience necessary!

Suzannes Elena challah horizontal

Everyone loves the smell of baking bread or the taste of warm homemade bread from the oven. Do you wish you could make delicious challah for Shabbat, but don’t consider yourself a baker or are short on time?
Join us in the kitchen, and we’ll quickly put your mind at ease. We’ll talk about the secrets of baking, the power of food as a part of ritual, and favorite recipes for challah.
Experienced bakers are welcome to come and brag about their fabulous recipe. Just be sure to bring copies of the recipe for everyone. Everyone will go home with a loaf of bread, a packet of ideas, and the confidence to bake challah like a professional.

Date: Sunday, Dec. 15, 2013
Time: 2 to 4pm
Place: Private home in Oakland
Register early as space is limited to eight participants.
Cost: $20/person
We’ll meet in a private home in Oakland; students will receive the address upon registration.
Register here.

Posted by admin under Jewish Culture, Jewish holidays at home, Jewish Learning, Programs archive, Shabbat, symbolic foods
No Comments

We’ve done this one before and this year we are adding Hanukkah Party planning & recipes! This year Hanukkah begins on Nov. 28, the same day as Thanksgiving. We’ll talk about what that means for us THIS year but also how to balance Hanukkah and Christmas in future years.

Beth Am group

Food plays a big part in Jewish culture and holidays. What if you’re not Jewish but want to create a wonderful festive meal for your family and friends? What if you are Jewish and you want to make the holiday more joyous, meaningful and delicious? Then come cook and chat with us!
Food alone doesn’t make a family meal or holiday complete. You have to put more into the day. Recipes and rituals come together to build memories and strengthen family bonds. We’ll discuss the ways to use food to build those relationships and happy memories. Join us to make latkes & other delicious holiday dishes that are perfect for a dinner or a Hanukkah party!

Date: Sunday, Oct. 27
Time: 1 to 4pm
Place: Beth Am, 26790 Arastradero Road, Los Altos Hills
Cost: $35/person
Register here

Posted by admin under Chanukah, Programs archive, symbolic foods
No Comments

Sunken Apple Tart

From Kosher by Design, one of the books in the fabulous cookbook series by Susie Fishbein

The wonderful and talented Paige Kaplan made it for our Rosh Hashanah cooking class at Beth Am in Los Altos.

Makes 8-10 servings
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
3 medium Granny Smith or Rome apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8-10 wedges
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons margarine, softened
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind, (only yellow not white pith)
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Combine the honey and lemon juice in a large nonstick skillet. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add the apples; cook 12-14 minutes or until almost tender, stirring occasionally to coat the apple wedges. Remove skillet from head and set aside.
In the bowl of a mixer, combine the 3/4 cup sugar, margarine, brown sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium until well blended, about 45 seconds to 1 minute. Add the eggs and beat. Beat in the grated lemon rind.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir with a whisk to combine. Gradually add the flour mixture to the batter. Beat on a low until blended.
Pour batter into the prepared pan. Remove the apples from the skillet with a fork or slotted spoon, discarding liquid.
Arrange the apple slices in a concentric spoke-like design on top of the batter.
Combine 1 tablespoon of sugar with the cinnamon. Sprinkle evenly over the tart.
Bake for 1 hour. Cool completely and release the sides of the springform pan.

Posted by admin under Rosh Hashanah, symbolic foods
No Comments

Why Bird Shapes?
According to “Joan Nathan’s Jewish Holiday Cookbook” (Schocken, 2004), bird-shaped challah rolls, called feygelekh (Yiddish for “little bird”) symbolized “the protection of God’s people as stated in Isaiah 31:5: ‘As birds hovering [over their fledglings], so will the Lord of hosts protect Jerusalem.’” Another interpretation, offered by Linda Burghardt in “Jewish Holiday Traditions” (Citadel, 2001) is that birds are a traditional symbol of mercy, making them the perfect emblem during a season of judgment. The same rolls served before Yom Kippur, writes Gil Marks in “The Encyclopedia of Jewish Food” (Wiley, 2010), represented the eater’s hope that “our sins should fly away and…. our prayers soar to the heavens.” In addition to their symbolic nature, it’s easy to imagine the delight of the children at the table when the challah cover is lifted to reveal a flock of edible birds!

Read more here.

Bread birds

I use my own favorite challah recipe but here’s the one Leah Koenig gave.

Feygelekh (Bird-shaped challah rolls)
Challah recipe adapted from Marcy Goldman’s “A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking”
Makes 12 rolls

From The Forward

4 teaspoons dry yeast
1/4 cup plus a pinch of sugar
1 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, divided
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups whole wheat bread flour
raisins, currants, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds or flax seeds for decoration
1. In a large bowl, mix together the yeast, a pinch of sugar and water; let stand 3-5 minutes until foamy. Add remaining sugar, honey and salt, followed by the oil and three eggs, mixing well to combine.
2. Add all of the all-purpose flour and about 90% of the bread flour to the wet mixture and gently fold with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes together but is still quite wet. Tip the dough onto a clean work surface; knead for about 8 minutes while slowly incorporating as much of the remaining flour as necessary to make a supple, elastic dough. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap or a dishtowel and let rise until almost doubled in size, from 45-90 minutes.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Deflate the dough and divide it into 12 small balls. Roll each ball into a 7-inch tube, leaving either end a bit thicker and more bulbous than the middle. Dust hands with flour; tie the tube into a knot and place on a baking sheet. Insert a pumpkin seed for a beak and two raisins (or whatever combination you prefer) for eyes on one end of the knot. Cut two small slices into the other end and fan out slightly, like a tail. Repeat with remaining dough balls.
4. Whisk the remaining egg in a bowl and brush over the tops of the rolls; sprinkle with additional seeds if desired.
5. Place baking sheet in the oven; turn oven down to 375 and cook for approximately 15-20 minutes until lightly browned and baked through. Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack.

Posted by admin under High Holidays, Rosh Hashanah, symbolic foods
No Comments

Fun and delicious – make them with friends or children!

One of the best ways Israelis enjoy celebrating Shavuot in Israel is to prepare tene bikkurim, a basket filled with greens, fruit and other treats, which symbolizes the first yield of the agricultural year. Children in Israel participate in parades wearing white clothing, each one carrying their own tene. Here’s an idea from Israel Deputy Consul General Gideon Lustig to prepare a tene hors d’oeuvres to enjoy at your holiday table.

First Fruits (Tene Bikkurim) Hors D’Oeuvres
Using a cupcake tray, bake kataifi dough (shredded filo dough) in the shape of small baskets (follow baking instructions on the package). It is recommended to lightly spray some oil on the dough before baking it. Leave out the pan to cool before gently removing the baskets.

Fill in the baskets with one of the following recommended fillings:

1)labaneh cheese decorated with zatar and a green olive

2)Using your hands, shape goat’s cheese into small balls. Roll each ball in one of the following spices to create a colorful variety of tastes; diced chives, black pepper, paprika, purple tzumak.

3) Using a piping bag, fill the pastry baskets with a mixture of guacamole and pesto. Decorate with parsley leaves and thinly sliced lemon.

Posted by admin under Holidays, Shavuot, symbolic foods
No Comments

Here’s an easy, fast, dessert that is parve, kosher for Passover and so beautiful you’ll make for summer picnics.

Fruit Tart

1 package Passover Macaroons or Almond Mandel Toast
1 egg white
¾ cup apricot jam (or Smucker’s Simply Fruit)
Fresh fruit – strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, kiwi, mango

Make one of these easy crusts.

Macaroon Crust
You can use either plain or chocolate Manischewitz Coconut Macaroons. Put the macaroons in a blender and whirl them into crumbs. Make 1 ½ to 2 cups. Separate the egg and beat the white to stiff peaks. Fold the egg white into the macaroon crumbs. Spray a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray and pat the crumbs into the pan. Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees, until lightly browned.

Almond Mandel Toast Crust
From the box of Streit’s Mandel Almond Toast take about 15 cookies. Put them in the blender & whirl them into crumbs. It will make about 1 ¼ cups of crumbs. Separate the egg and beat the white to stiff peaks. Fold the egg white into the crumbs. Spray a 9 inch pie pan with cooking spray and pat the crumbs into the pan. Bake the crust for 12 to 15 minutes at 400 degrees, until lightly browned.

Let the crust cool.

Put the jam in a small saucepan. Add 1 tablespoon of water or Grand Marnier. Heat slowly, stirring. When it is melted and smooth spread a thin layer over the crust. Reserve 3 tablespoons for the top.

Wash, cut and arrange the fruit on top of the jam. Paint the remaining jam over the fruit.
Chill for at least 30 minutes. You can make this a day ahead.

Posted by admin under Passover, symbolic foods
No Comments

I never really cared for the traditional Ashkenazi Charoses made from apples and walnuts with a bit of wine. Shortly after I graduated from college a friend gave me this recipe from her Sephardic family. I tried it and I have never gone back! My kids don’t know any other recipe. Passover wouldn’t be Passover with out it.

Dawn’s Charoses

1/4 cup pitted dates
1 large apple
1/4 cup dried apricots
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
orange juice & sweet wine to taste.
Chop up all the ingredients. You can use a blender and process just a bit at a time. Mix everything together.

Make extra. You’ll enjoy it all week.

Posted by admin under Passover, symbolic foods
No Comments

« Previous PageNext Page »