Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Malka's Mom's Challah

Living in New York, I eat a lot of challah ( a lot). So last week when my friend Miriam offered to teach me how to make it, I jumped at the opportunity to have fresh challah, straight out of the oven. Aside from possessing important socio-historical and religious significance, challah is also an extremely versatile and tasty bread. Although it involves a lot of rising time, it was surprisingly not that difficult to make.


· 3 packets of yeast

· 3 cups lukewarm water

· 2 eggs

· ½ cup sugar

· ½ cup Vegetable oil

· ½ tbsp Salt

· ½ cup Honey(or a little more)

· 12 cups of flour

(makes 6 loaves)

Pour water into yeast and wait about 3 minutes. Mix sugar into the liquid, then oil honey and salt. Slightly whip the eggs in a separate bowl and add to the liquid mixture. Add 3 cups of flour at a time, knead as you add the last few cups. Bring the dough ball to the table and knead, until according to Malka's mother the dough is, "as soft as a baby's bottom." Let sit for 5 minutes, then cover dough with a slightly damp and oiled cloth. Let rise for 3-5 hours.

Smash down this ball of dough and separate into smaller balls, rolling them out into thin ropes.

As I have learned, everyone has their own method of braiding,challah. The person who taught me has an unorthodox(no pun intended) method that involves crossing 2 strands of dough and "braiding up."

Make an egg wash and brush over the braided loaves. Bake for 35-40 minutes at 375.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Fanagle a bagel...or five

There is a bagel place in my home town that is as famous for its delicious bagels as its surly saleswomen. The store looks like a hole in the wall, but like most holes in most walls, it has the best bagels in New Jersey. This place is so set in its ways that it refuses to toast its bagels because they don't want to ruin the perfected texture. They swear by the boil, then bake method that leaves the inside of the bagel moist and the outside crisp and golden brown. When I found this boil-n-bake recipe on 17 and baking I had to test it out.

2 tsp dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups unbleached flour, plus extra for kneading
1 1/2 tsp salt

Mix yeast and sugar into 1/2 cup of water, leave for 5 minutes then stir to dissolve. In a separate bowl mix flour and salt together, then pour in dissolved yeast mixture.

Pour half of the water into flour mix than stir in remaining water as needed. Put dough on a floured surface and knead until smooth. Gradually work in some extra flour until it forms a stiff dough. Put dough ball in an oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it. Cover with a towel and let rise for an hour, until it about doubles in size. Punch down and then let rise for another 10 minutes (i don't know how necessary this step is, but its a great stress reliever).

Divide dough into 8 pieces. Shape each piece into a ball, pressing out air bubbles as you shape it. Take one flour coated finger and push it through each ball to form a ring. Slowly stretch the hole(I didn't make the hole large enough and some of the bagels expanded to become rolls while baking). Put bagels on oiled baking sheet and cover with damp paper towels, let sit for 10 minutes. Preheat oven to 425.

Bring a large pan of water to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Carefully put bagels in the water, boil for a minute or so until they rise, turn over and boil for another minute.

Remove and put on baking sheet. Bake bagels for 20 minutes or until they reach desired crispness. Eat instantly, although you may burn your mouth, this is the best way to enjoy homemade bagels.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Queso Fresco

I love cheese. Eaten alone or melted on top of things, cheese makes everything taste better. Two summers ago I worked at La Porta dei Parchi, a agro-tourism farm in Abruzzo, Italy where I learned how to make artisanal sheep cheese and I haven't been the same since. Namely because my clothes still smell like smoked mozzarella, but also because I have become obsessed with fresh, handmade cheeses.

For Christmas this year I got a DIY cheese making kit from Urban Cheesecraft and now I can make ricotta and mozzarella in my tiny kitchen. The kit comes with cheese salt, a candy thermometer, cheese cloth, citric acid and vegetarian rennet tablets. Making ricotta with this kit is really easy, all you have to do is mix a gallon of whole milk with citric acid and cheese salt and then heat the mixture up to 185-195 degrees. Make sure to stir constantly, or else the curds will be scorched by the bottom of the pan. After the desired temperature is reached, and the curds have separated from the whey, let it sit for ten minutes and then strain through the cheese cloth.

Last night I made this ricotta to go on top of a ragu sauce...you know, just to give it a light finish.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

These are a few of my favorite things

My mom and I went to Chinatown the other day and found this Hibiscus flower tea in an apothecary shop on Grand St. It's beautiful, delicious and not that expensive...I'm also convinced that it has magical Eastern healing properties.

Friday, February 12, 2010

To me, love me

Valentine's day is a strange holiday. I don't really care about it enough to go on a tirade about the over commercialization of holidays or the soulless nature of advertising. Instead, I like to think of Valentine's Day as an excuse to make delicious treats for people that you love.

This was supposed to be a chocolate mousse for my roomates, but of course I was playing Apples to Apples while I was making it and didn't whip the egg whites enough. The result was a cross between a mousse and a pudding, or what my roomates affectionately dubbed a "moudding".

So here is my delicious moudding recipe:

4 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced

2 tablespoons espresso

1 cup cold heavy cream

3 large eggs, separated

1 tablespoon sugar

Whip the cream(with an electric mixer, who do you think you are Julia Child?) to soft peaks, then refrigerate.

Combine the chocolate, butter, and espresso in the top of a double boiler over hot water, stirring frequently until smooth. Remove from the heat and let cool

Once the melted chocolate has cooled slightly, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until they are foamy and beginning to hold a shape(this is where I messed up, really whip the whites, it takes awhile but gives the mousse its firmness). Sprinkle in the sugar and beat until soft peaks form.

Stir in the yolks to chocolate then add about one-third of the whipped cream. Fold in half the whites just until incorporated, then fold in the remaining whites, and finally the remaining whipped cream.

*Lots of mousse recipes recommend refrigerating it for 8 hours, but I think that if you can wait 8 hours clearly you don't like chocolate that much. Refrigerate it for awhile and then go ahead, its moudding, enjoy!

Cookie Monster

    YUM! you are going to read this recipe because anything that starts with this much butter is guaranteed to be delicious.

    Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 3/4 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 12 tbsps unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp table salt
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • A lot of chocolate(I like chocolate chunks best because they don't melt all the way and add another texture to the cookie)

  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Mix flour and baking soda in a bowl
  • Heat butter in a skillet constantly stirring. After the butter melts you will feel compelled to take it off the flame, resist this urge, the browned butter is what gives these cookies depth. After awhile, the butter will turn brown, frothy and begin to emanate a nutty, molasses smell- now its done.
  • Add sugar, salt and vanilla to butter. Don't forget the salt! I'm not the biggest fan of salty-sweet combo but salt is really essential in chocolate chip cookies.
  • Add egg and egg yolk, stir, let sit for a bit and then stir some more
  • Stir in the flour
  • Add chocolate chunks, really as much as you want, go crazy

Recipe adapted from the Klutzy Chef who adapted it from the New York Times Test Kitchen who adapted it from Jacques Torres(the chocolate master)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pizza! Pizza!

One of our apartment's longest traditions is our end of the month pizza party. Some of you might be wondering why anyone living in New York, where delicious pizza is on every corner, would want to make their own. But, at the end of long month when no one wants to go grocery shopping and everyone has random vegetables or bits of cheese leftover, we throw it all together on a slab of dough and enjoy delicious, fresh pizza.

1 1/2 Cups Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Sugar
2/3 Cups warm Water
1 Yeast packet

Preheat oven to 425. Mix flour, salt, sugar, yeast together in a large bowl. Add water and form into a ball. Cover bowl, and let the dough rise for 15 minutes. Put some olive oil on your hands and beginning in the center stretch dough to fit pan.*

Feeling lazy?? Lots of pizza places will sell you their dough for very little of your dough, just ask!

Tomato sauce
Mozzarella Cheese(for this pizza I used homemade cheese!)

This is one of my friends' favorite pizzas, but you can throw almost anything on them(except for pineapples and ham because Hawaiian pizzas are gross). Cook for about 17 minutes, until cheese is melty and the crust is crusty.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Pumpkin Spice and Everything Nice

What is better than pumpkin waffles on a cold morning? Waking up to the sweet and spicy smell of these waffles almost makes me forget that I live in the shaft of an apartment building that is prone to drafts and gets very little light. After much experimentation and even more eating I have found that Trader Joe's pumpkin spice mix is the best, but if you want to make them from scratch go talk to Martha Stewart (seriously, she has a pretty good pumpkin pancake recipe).

Friday, January 15, 2010

Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!

These heirloom tomatoes from the farmer's market are so delicious plain, that I didn't really want to do much to them. Bruschetta is a really simple way to bring out the tomatoes best flavors.

Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
A few tomatoes (one of every color)
3 Cloves Garlic
Fresh Basil Leaves
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Black Pepper to Taste
1 Baguette

Instead of toasting the sliced bread, I like to put it in a frying pan with some olive oil, that way it gets really crispy, but doesn't dry out. Mix tomatoes, minced garlic, basil and olive oil. Season to Taste. Spoon tomato mixture over toasted bread and enjoy!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Last Minute Dessert

So of course I forgot that I had offered to bring dessert to dinner at my dad's house and of course I remembered 20 minutes before I was supposed to be there. Rather than go out and buy something which would require both effort and money, I decided to make something using only found objects in my cupboard.

1 Pre-made Graham Crust (I had it, so why not use it)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
12 Ounces of Bittersweet Chocolate
1 1/2 Cups of Heavy Whipping Cream
1/2 Half-and-Half
Dash of Salt
1/4 Cup Sugar

(recipe adapted from Bon App├ętit)

Combine chocolate, vanilla and salt in food processor.

Heat 1 cup of heavy cream in a saucepan, bring to a boil. Slowly combine milk to chocolate while running the food processor until the chocolate is melted. Cool for a bit, until room temperature.

In a separate bowl, combine remaining heavy cream, half-and-half, and sugar. In the original recipe it calls for all heavy whipping cream, but I ran out so I substituted Half-and-Half (this is my version of cooking light). Beat milky-sugary mixture until it forms stiff peaks. Fold in melted chocolaty goodness into the milk-sugar mixture.

Pour mousse into your pre-made crust, or if you're an over-achiever your painstakingly prepared hand-made crust. Then, use the remaining cream to make whip cream and if you're feeling especially gourmet, shave some extra chocolate on top.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Frittatas are really just fancy omelets, however your friends do not know this and will be very impressed when you whip up this dish. On top of being easy to make, frittatas are a great way to get rid of random vegetables and cheese you have lying around in the fridge. Here is a basic squash and goat cheese recipe:

1 medium sized Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash
1 Onion
3 Tablespoons goat cheese
6 Eggs

Slice and saute the zucchini, yellow squash and onion in olive oil or butter until soft. Beat eggs in a separate bowl. Once vegetables are soft, take them off the heat and let cool before combining with the eggs, otherwise they will begin to cook the eggs in the bowl. Once cooled, combine eggs, veggies, cheese and whatever seasoning strikes your fancy(salt, pepper, herbs de Provence, rosemary etc.)

Wipe out the pan you used for sauteing and re-grease (doesn't that sound appetizing?) pour in egg mixture and cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes, or until the frittata is set. Remember to run a knife or spatula around the edge of the pan so that it doesn't burn. After the eggs look cooked through, put the pan in the broiler for a few minutes so the top of the frittata gets a lovely golden brown look. If the pan you were using has a rubber handle however, transfer to another pan, or else you will end up with a delicious looking frittata and a melted, ruined pan.