Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Anyone else around here need some comforting this week?

I don't know about you, but what with the earthquake, the hurricane, and my children being stricken by hives, digestive issues, and nasty viruses, it's been a rather trying week for me.

No complaining from this gal, though.

Funny how these sorts of experiences make you thankful for the small things in life.

I'm glad that our power is back (only 24 hours without it) and that we have running water and (mostly) unspoiled food.

I'm glad that my children are healing (slowly) and that school is starting next week. We'll be back to normal in no time.

And I'm glad we have wonderful treats like these to comfort us and nourish us and keep us happy.

Cinnamon Rugelach, adapted from Culinary Creations
Makes about 2 dozen cookies

3 cups flour (more or less!)
1 1/2 sticks margarine
2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla sugar (use extract if you don't have sugar)
a dash of salt
1 egg
1 egg yolk
1 1/2 teaspoons dry yeast (1/2 a packet)
1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
oil or margarine
egg yolk, for a wash
Turbinado sugar, optional

First, make the dough. Combine all the ingredients in a stand mixer. Add more flour if needed, till the dough is smooth and not too sticky.

Let the dough rise for about an hour, till doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 350*.

Split the dough into four even pieces. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Roll one of the pieces of dough into a large circle. Spread it evenly with some oil or margarine. Sprinkle with about 1/4 of the cinnamon-sugar mix, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Use a knife to cut the dough into triangles, pizza style.

Starting from the outside, roll each of the triangles inward to create a traditional rugela shape. Lay the rugelach on a baking sheet, leaving a little room for rising.

Repeat the process with the remaining pieces of dough.

Beat the egg yolk with a bit of water to make a wash. Brush the rugelach with the egg wash and then sprinkle with the Turbinado sugar, if you're using it. (It'll create a little sparkle and a nice crunch.)

Bake for about 25 minutes, till golden. Cool on racks and serve within 2-3 days. (Or freeze them and defrost at room temperature when you're ready to eat them. They freeze beautifully.)

Posted on Tuesday, August 30, 2011 by Rivki Locker


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Here I sit, less than 24 hours before Shabbos, remembering the wonderful meat cigars we had last week. They were crisp. They were perfectly seasoned. And, best of all, they were lovingly shaped and filled by my almost-twelve-year-old daughters.

Alas, it's not looking too good for us this week. The evening got off to a rocky start with a trip to the pediatrician (for an injury that happened three weeks ago: BAD MOMMY), followed by a long drawn out trip to the pharmacy, and a fit thrown by a not-so-eager-to-get-to-bed child in her terrible twos.

I headed to the kitchen for a cooking therapy session, only to find a broken oven. There went my hopes for rugelach, fruit crisp, and homemade challah.

But at least we have the memories. The fond memories.

And the photos.

Oh. And the recipe.

Moroccan Meat Cigars
makes about two dozen cigars

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, diced super fine
1 lb. chopped meat
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon allspice
dash of cayenne
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup water
salt, to taste
a package of filo dough
about 1/4 cup olive oil, for brushing

Heat the tablespoon of olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat, till golden. Be sure not to burn it.

Add the meat and cook for a few minutes, stirring, till the meat is browning. Add the spices, water and lemon juice. Cover the pan and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring from time to time, till the meat is cooked through and no longer raw.

Uncover the pan and increase the heat a bit. Cook until all the excess liquid is gone, but be sure not to let the meat burn.

Cool the meat slightly and transfer it to a food processor. Pulse for a minute or two, till the meat is chopped fine, but NOT pureed into a paste. You want it to have some texture, but no chunks.

Now, preheat your oven to 350* and start assembling your cigars. Unroll the filo sheets and use a kitchen scissors to cut the stack of filo sheets into three stacks of rectangles. You'll have about 50 rectangles.  (My sheets were 13x18; I cut them into 13x6 rectangles.) NOTE: You'll only use about 1/2 the dough. Find another use for the rest.

Lay out one thin filo rectangle and brush it with olive oil. Place about a tablespoon of the filling onto the edge of ONE filo rectangle. Leave at least 1/2 inch around the edges.

Fold in the long sides so they come up over the meat filling just a bit.

Roll the filo - starting with the edge closest to the meat - to make a nice neat cigar. 

Brush the tops of the cigars with some more olive oil. 

Bake for about 25 minutes, till crispy and lightly browned. Serve fresh, or set aside for a few hours and reheat in a 325* oven for about 10 minutes. (I'm told that these freeze well but haven't tried it myself. 24 cigars was just the right amount for us hungry peeps.) 

For a vegetarian version, click here. (Use Google Translate to get the recipe in English!) 

Linking this up to Weekend Bloggy Reading and Real Food Digest

Posted on Thursday, August 18, 2011 by Rivki Locker


Friday, August 05, 2011

Today, I'm delighted to be a guest on Kosher on a Budget. Mara Strom, the super talented blogger who authors and runs this wonderful site, is my hero. She saves me money, entertains me, and makes me very happy.

This recipe makes the most of an ingredient that isn't particularly glamorous but is seasonal and fresh in New Jersey now. Roasting zucchini - along with eggplant, tomatoes, and aromatics - brings out wonderful flavors that I never knew were there.

Please visit Kosher on a Budget for the complete recipe and some more photos!

Linking this up to Fit and Fabulous Fridays and Ultimate Recipe Swap

Posted on Friday, August 05, 2011 by Rivki Locker