Just Baked

March 31, 2010

Fruit-Nut Chews - Day three of Passover Recipes

These tasty little fruit-nut chews make me think of little round granola bars- with matzoh instead of oats, of course. I don't know if it's my love of raisins and walnuts speaking, but I would eat these even if it wasn't Passover! The edges bake and get just a tiiiiny bit crunchy, and the middle gets soft and chewy. Yum!

They're packed full of filling, high energy ingredients, and seem to keep pretty well... If you can keep from eating them all within a day or two, that is. These are definitely a good snack to toss in your bag and carry around with you for those mid-day munchy feelings.

Unrelated to the chews themselves, just look at how cute the little granny on the recipe is!

It's printed on the back of an RSVP to a seder at a local synagogue, and I can practically hear the drawing saying "Bubala, just wait till you try these fruit chews!" No wonder this found its way in to the recipe box!

March 30, 2010

Matzo Ball Soup - Day two of Passover Recipes

Matzo Matzoh Matza Matzah, no matter how you want to spell it, I've always thought that it tastes best in ball form, preferably floating in some nice soup.

So, about 5 years ago, I went through a phase where I was obsessed with making matzo ball soup. Not from scratch, mind you; I liked to just buy the box from the store that had all of the components of the soup in it, and make it that way.

One day, I mentioned to my gram my newly found love for making matzo ball soup. She was so pleased and excited- until I told her I was buying the pre-packaged mix. Yes, although my gram loved boxes of cake mix, the idea that her granddaughter wasn't making matzo ball soup from scratch was an affront to all that she believed in. She promptly launched in to an explanation of what to use to make it from scratch, rattling off ingredients and measurements. I brushed it off, saying the boxed stuff was less work, and soon moved on from my matzo ball obsession.

Oh, younger me, why did you ever think that boxed matzo ball mix could measure up to matzo balls made from scratch? The foolishness of youth... Now that I've made my gram's recipe, and seen that it only takes about 3 minutes longer than the pre-packaged mix... Well, I'm never going to go back! I definitely plan to keep on making this, even when it's not Passover.

One of nice things about this recipe is that on one of her recipe cards, my gram included a vegetarian version of the matzo balls, using peanut oil instead of rendered chicken fat- this is the version I made, although I'm sure if you want to make some schmaltz, the matzo balls will be even better.

Soup time!

March 29, 2010

Haroset - Day one of Passover Recipes

Haroset is a tradition part of the Passover seder, the evening meal that takes place on the first day of Passover. This meal is called a seder, from a Hebrew root word meaning "order," because there is a specific set of information that must be discussed in a specific order. I won't even try to explain all of the happenings of a seder, because it's been so long since I've attended one that I'll only confuse things (like with my Purim explanation), but I will say that they're typically a very fun, if very long, meal.

The Haroset, or Charoset, is a mixture of fruits and nuts, and is one of the symbolic foods eaten during the seder. The texture and color of the chopped up mixture is supposed to remind us of the mortar that the slaves in Egypt used to lay bricks for the Pharaoh. To further the connection, it's typically eaten sandwiched between two pieces of matzo.

Haroset is a tasty and easy to prepare part of the seder, so let's get to it!

March 26, 2010

A week of Passover Recipes

So many holidays seem to revolve around eating or not eating specific things.  Turkey and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, latkes for Hanukkah, and nothing with leavened bread or regular flour for the week of Passover. Yeah, that's right- no pasta for a whole week.

If you aren't familiar with Passover, it's a Jewish holiday that lasts for 8 days. It's in part a celebration of the Pharaoh freeing the Jews from slavery; he and the rest of Egypt suffered through 10 plagues until he finally gave in and told the Jews to get out of dodge.

The Jews didn't want to give him time to change his mind, so, led by Moses they hurried out of Egypt, across the briefly parted Red Sea (hi-five Moses!)

They left in such a hurry, they didn't have time to let the bread they made for the journey rise! Because of this, during Passover, observant Jews don't eat leavened bread or regular flour, in order to remember how God freed their ancestors from slavery in Egypt.

If you'd like to read more about Passover, including the meaning of its name, I would suggest Chabad.org. You can find the full Passover story here.

It's been awhile since I've observed Passover and gone to a Seder dinner, and I've never made it through a full 7 days without slipping up and eating a sandwich or cookie without thinking- I guess it's because my family has always observed the gifting and feasting holidays more-so than the ones involving fasting and denial.

Anyway, so here's the scoop: I found a neat little bundle of my gram's favorite Passover recipes, and I've decided to make a week of Passover recipes. Even if I don't keep Kosher for Passover, I thought it would be fun to try out some of these recipes- and who doesn't love an excuse to eat a good bowl of matzo ball soup?

So come back on the 29th, and I'll have some matzo balls ready!

March 22, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Butter Ball

Sometimes, you want a chocolaty cookie, but not one that's super-sweet. For those times, this is the perfect cookie.

These round little cookies, full of semi-sweet chocolate bits and unsweetened cocoa and dusted with powdered sugar, are perfect to have with a dainty cup of afternoon tea. Careful though! That powdered sugar seems to have a way of getting everywhere you least expect it to... That's probably why I never saw these in my gram's cookie jar. She never could abide crumbs of anything sitting on the counter for more than a few seconds.

Anyway, beware of the powdered sugar.

March 11, 2010

Sour Cream Potato Soup

It’s been so wonderful outside the last couple of days. Sunny, a light breeze, weather in the mid-50s to low 60s… Perfect for roaming the city and doing some light shopping.

I went to a large indoor market today, and somehow in my glee at being out and about, I ended up buying a 10lb sack of potatoes. And a boxes upon boxes of blackberries, but that’s not the point; I bought all these potatoes and then I had to carry them a few miles home, and now I’m sitting here with ALL OF THESE POTATOES.

Luckily, my gram’s recipe box has quite a few good ways of using potatoes, so I settled down with my grater and made a big pot of sour cream potato soup.
The soup is creamy, without feeling heavy; it’s nice for Spring, when the temperature drops in the evening. This is fine on its own with a chunk of crusty bread, and if you use dill in it, I could see serving a bowl of it before a nice piece of salmon.

If I make this soup again, I will probably substitute some vegetable stock for part of the water, to add a little more depth to the flavor. It’s nice and simple the way my gram wrote the recipe, though I do think vegetable or chicken stock would be a nice addition.

Soup's on!
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Honey Never Spoils by Temma Hankin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.