Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Frittatas with: Napa Cabbage, Snow Peas, Asparagus, and Beet Greens

I have been making frittatas on a weekly basis these days. A frittata is a lovely way to use up all of those vegetable odds and ends that you have at the end of the week and need to find a use for if you don't want to have to toss them. I haven't run across any vegetable that does not improve the basic mix. In addition, the vegetables will often lend themselves to use with a certain blend of spices. So far, they have always been delicious. Some have even been, if I may be so bold, transcendent. So many combinations! So little time!

Here are a few of my recent successes:

What to do with those few snow peas left over from the last batch of fried rice? Add them to a frittata with a quarter of that napa cabbage left over from the okonomiyaki made earlier in the week.

Because the ingredients were vaguely Asian, I decided to give this frittata an Asian twist as well. I used garlic ginger paste instead of just minced garlic, and I added a half a teaspoon of cumin and soy sauce. Delicious!

I still had a quarter of the napa cabbage left the next weekend, and a bunch of asparagus that I always have on hand this time of year since it is so abundantly available. A handful of dried tarragon brought everything together quite nicely for light, fresh flavor.

I had mistakenly bought some other kind of hard cheese that was nestled in among the Parmagiana Reggiano at the store. I realized my mistake the minute I started grating it. It tasted ok, but not great, but more importantly it did not melt like the parm so it was not good on top of pasta. On top of frittatas, however, it browned up under the broiler enough to make a satisfying crispy crunch when you first bite into it.

But it was still no real comparison to the real thing, which as you can see here achieves a lacy crispness that melts into that salty, nutty luxuriousness, and makes Parmagiana Reggiano one of the best cheese in my world.

This may be the best of the three. It was Thursday night and I was rummaging around the vegetable drawer to see if there was anything there I had overlooked. Sure enough, I ran into the beet greens from the beet and fennel salad I had made the week before. I opened them up with a little trepidation, but they were still good, and looked like they would make it through Saturday morning. And they did. I added just a touch of ginger, turmeric, cumin and coriander for extra flavor.

Basic recipe here.

How to make a frittata here.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Baking Class: Chapatis

I have been working on chapatis. Chapati, or roti, is the basic bread of India, according to Julie Sahni in Classic Indian Cooking. I am not sure exactly what is the difference between the two, but I have enjoyed learning how to make them.

Chapatis are one of the most basic breads you can make. The ingredients are flour, a little salt, and water. I believe that is what makes them different from flour tortillas - tortillas have some fat in them. I suppose I will have to make those next so I can compare the two.

In the meantime, however, these are incredibly easy. The dough takes minutes to prepare, and you can leave it in the refrigerator for a few days, making the chapatis on demand. This is perfect for me, since I do not need 12 chapatis all at once. I make them in batches of 4, and they stay fresher that way.

The key ingredient is the flour. It does matter what kind of flour you use. The flour used to make most South Asian flatbreads is atta, milled from durum wheat. It seems to be a cross between whole wheat and all-purpose flour, at least in terms of dietary fiber, as far as I can tell. Whole wheat flour has 4 grams of fiber per 1/4 cup; white whole wheat has 3; atta has 2; all-purpose flour less than 1 gram. So, it is better than all-purpose flour but not the best in terms of fiber.

But it is the best in terms of chapati, so I can live with using it just for that purpose. Especially since I mainly eat it with lentils, chickpeas, and other beans which have a lot of fiber in their own right.

To make chapatis, you simply mix together the flour with a little bit of salt and then add warm water to the flour. You want enough water to make a moist dough that is not too wet. You knead the dough until it is smooth, and then you put it in a floured bowl and let it rest for about 30 minutes so the gluten fibers can relax. This makes the dough easier to roll out.

After it has rested you divide it into 12 balls about the size of a golf ball and roll them out. If I am not going to make them right away, I will put the balls into a bowl and lightly cover them with flour. I let them come to room temperature before rolling them out and cooking them on the stove top in a cast-iron pan or griddle. Of course there is a pan made especially for this purpose, but I have found them easy enough to make in my cast iron skillet.

I have heard that the sign of a "true" chapati is that the air causes it to swell into a big bubble when you turn it over. I wish I could say that this example is the norm, but I was actually just really lucky with this one. Most of them do swell up some, but I have not yet reached the level of expertise that makes them do this every time.

No worries, though. They will taste just as good if they do not puff up for you.
Makes 12 chapatis

2 cups whole wheat atta flour*
1/2 tsp salt
approximately 1 cup warm water

Combine flour and salt in a medium size bowl and whisk together to disperse the salt throughout the flour. Add the water in a slow stream, about 3/4 a cup at first, and mix together until a dough forms that is moist, but not wet.

Knead the dough until is smooth, about five minutes. Sprinkle flour into the bowl and put the dough back in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for about 30 minutes.
(At this point the dough can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; just let it come to room temperature before you proceed.)

Place a cast iron skillet, griddle, or ava over medium-high heat. If it starts to smoke, lower the heat. It is ready when a drop of water sizzles on contact.

Divide the dough into balls the size of golf balls.
Place a ball between the palm of your hand and your fingers and, rotating the dough, use your fingers to flatten out the dough into a disk.

Place on a lightly floured surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the disk until the dough has reached the desired thickness, adding small amounts of flour as needed. The chapatis should be no more than 1/8-inch thick.

Remove as much flour as possible and pace the chapati in the pan. Let it cook until air pockets have started to form, about 2 minutes, and then turn it over. Using a spatula (or a towel with your hands if they can stand the heat), press down slightly around the edges of the chapati so it can puff up as much as possible. Cook for another minute or so, until light brown spots have appeared on the bottom.

Place the cooked chapatis in a towel that has been placed inside a glass or metal container and cover well after each one to keep them nice and soft. If desired, brush a little oil over each chapati after it is cooked.

Cooked chapatis will last a day or two, but they are best eaten right after they have been made.

adapted from
The Everything Indian Cookbook, by Monica Bhide (Adams Media, 2004)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Vegetable Fried Rice with Shallots

The fried shallots were so successful with my bok choy stir fry that I decided to use them in my next batch of fried rice. I was out of green onions and looking for a substitute and they were the perfect accompaniment. This time I used 2 shallots, though, and put half into the rice and saved the rest for garnishing.

The other difference with this fried rice dish is that I had a few leftover canned tomatoes from an earlier dish that I needed to use. I thought they would make a nice addition to the dish. They did add a nice tang of flavor and a splash of color.

I love these "everything but the kitchen sink" kind of dishes, where you basically use whatever you have around and it all tastes good. I still have a fourth of a Chinese cabbage and a bunch of asparagus in the refrigerator. I see another fried rice in my future!

You can find my basic recipe here.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Beet and Fennel Salad

The organic beets at Whole Foods were simply gorgeous over the weekend, and when I saw them I realized that I hadn't cooked any beets at all this year. I knew I had to do something about that, so I put a bunch in my basket. Also into my basket went a large fennel bulb, which also looked particularly good. I had a vague idea of some kind of salad.

I grabbed the dill because I was thinking about making dill rice. But then I realized I was making fried rice and would not need to dill. It was a natural leap to combine it with the beets and fennel. I already had a shallot, and thought I might be able to use orange juice instead of sugar for a fresh dressing, and toasted pistachios might add texture in addition to that rich flavor.

it worked beyond my wildest dreams. Soaking the shallots in red wine vinegar pickles them for a tart burst of flavor. The sweetness of the beets is all the sugar that is necessary to round out the dressing, and the orange juice really shines against the fennel. The dill adds a grassy freshness and the occasional pistachio adds a satisfying crunch and nuttiness that seals the deal.

If these are the only beets I eat all year, they will be well worth it. If you are only going to eat beets once this year, make this salad. You will not regret it. It's actually satisfying enough on its own to make a light lunch with a nice crusty piece of bread, but it would be a beautiful accompaniment to any main dish.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

Makes 6 servings

3 medium beets
1 large shallot, halved and thinly sliced
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 large fennel bulb
Juice of 1 orange (about 1/4 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
1/4 cup toasted pistachio nuts

Trim the stem end of the beets (saving the greens for another use if they are still attached). Leave about one inch of the stems and do not cut the roots. Place in a 3-quart saucepan and fill with cold water to cover. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until a knife goes in cleanly and comes out easily. Let cool, then trim the ends and peel them.

Put the shallot in a small bowl with the red wine vinegar and let sit while the beets are cooking. Chop the stems off of the fennel bulb. Cut the bulb in half and remove the core by cutting a triangle out of the bottom center. Cut the pieces in half again and slice them as thinly as you are able.

After the beets have cooled and they are peeled, cut them into quarters and then slice the quarters about 1/4-inch thick. Remove the shallots from the vinegar, saving the vinegar, and put them in a large bowl. Add the fennel and beets and stir just enough to combine.

Add the juice from the orange to the red wine vinegar in the small bowl. Season to taste with salt. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking it constantly. Pour the dressing over the beets and fennel and stir gently to make sure everything has been well coated with the dressing. Add the dill.

Add a few of the pistachios to each individual portion as it is served, to keep them from getting soggy in the dressing.


Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Stir-Fried Chinese Eggplant with Snowpeas

More stir-fry! More eggplant! All good!

Having established for myself that the secret to eggplant is to cook it to within an inch of its life, I decided it was time to test this theory with my new obsession and throw it into my wok. And guess what? It was absolutely fabulous. The soft silkiness of the eggplant was punctuated with the crisp green of the snow peas and onions, and the toasted walnuts added a different kind of earthy crunch that brought everything together, with a little sesame highlight at the end.

What inspired me to give this a try was that the Chinese eggplant looked fresh and firm at the store, and the regular eggplant not so much. Longer and thinner than its Italian counterpart, these just begged to be roll cut and stir fried. Another example of the benefits of going with what looks good rather than what you think you want. I had planned to get a regular eggplant for another braise, but these looked so much better that I changed my plan right there and then at the store. This one is a definite keeper.

Again, the secret is to make sure that the eggplant is well and truly cooked. If that means adding more water and cooking it longer, then it must be done. Be sure to taste it - don't just go by time or looks. If the eggplant is not well cooked, the dish will be ruined. Have I said this before? Good. I will keep saying it until I have converted everyone!
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

Makes 4 servings

3 Tbsp orange juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
1 Tbsp sherry
1/2 tsp garlic chili sauce
1 Tbsp cornstarch
3 Tbsp peanut oil, separated
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp minced ginger
2 large Chinese eggplant, roll cut*
1/4 lb snow peas, trimmed
1/2 cups toasted chopped walnuts
4 green onions, whites and greens separated and sliced
1 tsp (approximately) toasted sesame oil
Sesame seeds for garnish

*to roll cut, place the eggplant on a cutting board and, holding the knife blade perpendicular to the board and cut straight down on the diagonal. Turn the eggplant one quarter and cut straight down on, again on the diagonal. Continue turning and cutting until you reach the other end of the eggplant.

Combine orange juice, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, sherry and chili sauce in a small bowl and set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine cornstarch with 1 tablespoon of water. Mix well and set aside.

Heat wok until it smokes. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and heat another few seconds. Add garlic and ginger and let sit for a few seconds, then start to move it around with your cooking utensil. After about 30 seconds, add the eggplant and continue to stir. As soon as the garlic and ginger starts to brown, add about 1/4 cup of water around the edges of the wok, stirring constantly to pick up any garlic and ginger that has stuck to the bottom, and to keep the eggplant from sticking. Stir constantly for 2 or 3 more minutes, adding water as it evaporates. Add another 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water, cover the wok, and let it cook for about 2 more minutes, checking every once in a while to make sure the water has not evaporated. Remove the lid and cook until the water evaporates. Push the eggplant up the sides of the wok and add the remaining tablespoon of oil, then add the snow peas and stir them around in the oil, then incorporate the eggplant back into the base of the bowl. Cook for another 2 minutes, until the eggplant is tender. (You need to check the eggplant to make sure that it is fully cooked).

Add the orange juice mixture. When it starts to boil, add the cornstarch and stir until it thickens. Add the walnuts, the green onions and the cilantro (keeping a little of all three aside for garnish) and mix well. Remove from the heat and add the sesame oil.

Serve with brown rice. Garnish with the sesame seeds, cilantro, and green onion.


Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chana Dal with Nigella Seeds

I try to eat legumes on a regular basis. As you most likely already know, they are heavyweights in the healthy foods pantheon, especially when combined with wheat, corn or rice. And when I am eating them frequently, I find that I do not need to eat meat so much. In fact, I think I might have only cooked meat two or three times so far this year. That averages out to a little more than once a month. Meatless Mondays my ass!

(Ok, now I fell the need to say that I fully support the idea that Meatless Mondays are a step in the right direction to get regular steak-and-potato folks to eat one vegetarian meal a week. And that if people eat one vegetarian meal a week, they might find that it actually tastes good and that they actually like the way it makes them feel and maybe they could eat two vegetarian meals, and even :gasp: eat it on a Wednesday! Or a Saturday. Who knows where it could end?)

Hmph. Maybe I need to eat some meat.

In the meantime, I have been perfecting my dal. This one was particularly pleasing, thanks to the addition of nigella seeds. I was not familiar with them, but I kept seeing references to them in various Indian cookbooks and spice guides, so when I saw them at Penzey's I grabbed them. And then did nothing with them for a few months.

I decided it was time to change that, so I looked them up to find out the best way to use them. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that they are used with caraway on Jewish rye bread. Who knew? It really is a small world after all.

The method that made the most sense to me was to put the seeds with the oil in a cold skillet and bring them up to heat together, so I started this chana dal that way. After the nigella seeds started to sizzle I added the cumin and mustard seeds. It worked beautifully, and there is a slightly spicy warmth that creeps up in the background of each bite.

I was especially pleased with the combination of spices in this effort. Each spice had its own presence while at the same time blending perfectly with the other spices around it for a well-balanced flavor. Of course, you might not think so. As I have worked more and more with these spice combinations, I have learned which spices I like, and which ones overwhelm my palatte, and I have adjusted the ratios accordingly. Ground cumin has a duskiness that can overwhelm my taste buds, so I always use less of that. I love the citrus tones of ground coriander, so I usually use two times the amount of cumin if I am using both in a dish. If I am using cardamom I keep it light, otherwise the perfumed sweetness overpowers the other spices.

You get the idea. If you make an Indian dish and are not happy with the balance of the spices, then you can just start adjusting them until you get the profile that works best for you. The recipe below is what worked best for me.
Home Cookin Chapter: My Recipes

Makes 6 servings

1 cup chana dal
1 qt vegetable broth or water
2 Tbsp oil
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 Tbsp garlic ginger paste (or 1 Tbsp of each, minced)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Cayennte to taste
Salt to taste
4 to 5 plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped (or 1 14.5-oz can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped, juice reserved for for other use)

Sort chana dal and rinse well, until the water runs clear. Soak in enough water to cover the beans at least 2 inches for 2 hours. Drain and rinse well.

Bring the vegetable broth to a boil in a 3-quart saucepan. Add the chana dal and bring back to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 40 minutes. Check periodically and add more water
if needed, but not so much, especially toward the end, that the beans are completely submerged in the liquid.

While the dal is cooking, put the oil and nigella seeds into a large skillet and then let them come up to heat over a medium-high flame/setting. When the seeds start to sizzle, add the cumin and mustard seed. As soon as the seeds start to pop add the onions, then the garlic ginger paste. Cook for about a few minutes, until the onion is translucent.

Add the ground spices and cook for another minute, continuing to stir constantly. When the spices have released their fragrances, add the tomatoes and stir to deglaze the pan. Lower the heat to a simmer and
cook until the liquid from the tomatoes has cooked out and the oil has started to separate from the rest of the mixture.

Add the chana dal to the pan. If there was a lot of liquid left, drain some of it first. Then, depending on the level of liquid still left, let the mixture simmer until it has reduced and thickened until it has
thickened to the desired consistency.

Serve with Chapatis or dill rice.

Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (

Thursday, March 08, 2012

I Dream of "Jiro Dreams of Sushi"

Check out this video from the new movie Jiro Dreams of Sushi - I would bet that even if you do not care for sushi you will be impressed.

And if you do like it, you will be drooling.

hat tip:

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Grilled Asparagus with Za'atar

More vegetables! This time one of my favorites. I love all of the "A" vegetables - asparagus, artichoke, avocado. (I know, the avocado is technically a fruit but, as with the tomato, I consider it to be more of a vegetable. Which makes guacamole a fruit salad Heh.)

But there is no question that asparagus is a vegetable, and it is one of my favorites. As soon as they show up for the season (and that was this week at Treasure Island) I buy as much as I can and eat as many spears as I can, to tide me over until the next season.

I usually prep them as soon as I get them home by trimming the woody ends, layering them in a pie dish and sprinkling them with a tablespoon or two of water, partially cover them with plastic wrap, and microwave them for a few minutes and then putting them in the refrigerator where I can put them on pizzas, in pasta, or just grab a handful or two for a quick snack.

This time, I decided to grill them in my cast iron skillet with some olive oil and za'atar that I had put together a few weeks ago and needed to start using again. The result was delicious. The grassy, almost sweet asparagus was the perfect vehicle for the lemony sumac, toasted sesame seeds, and herbs. It would make a beautiful side dish for steak, lamb or chicken.
Serves 4 as a side

1 bunch asparagus
1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp za'atar

Trim the woody ends from the asparagus and place the spears in a flat dish. Cover them with the olive oil and za'atar and mix everything together. Make sure each spear is well coated.

Heat a cast iron skillet over medium high heat until a drop of water sizzles when sprinkled into it. When it is not enough, place a single layer of the asparagus spears into the skillet and cook until they are just tender, about 5 minutes. Remove from the skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Continue with the rest of the asparagus, keeping the spears in a single layer each time, until they are all cooked.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Quick Cheese Omelette

I mastered the art of the three-egg, goody-filled omelette years ago. It is one of my favorite things to eat for breakfast, but it is quite a production and takes some time. It does not take as much time as a frittata, but you can leave the frittata and do other things while it is cooking, whereas the omelette requires more or less constant attention. In addition, the frittata lasts me a few days, whereas the omelette is gone in one sitting.

Because of that, the omelette has become one of those rare Sunday morning meals, made when I have the time, inclination, and ingredients to put the effort required into making it.

Back when I was making bread every Saturday, I always ended up with the remains of the egg wash that I used to brush over the top of the loaf before putting it into the oven. Usually I would put it in a little jar to add to whatever eggs I was having for breakfast on Sunday, but there were times when I did not make eggs on Sunday, and that little jar would sit forgotten until I would run into it while looking for something else and would have to dump it. I hated wasting it, so I got in the habit of frying it up in my little skillet right then and there for a mid-afternoon snack.
And it was so quick and easy, I decided it might be worthwhile to cook eggs that way on purpose. And thus was born my quick cheese omelette. A pat of butter, two eggs, a little bit of milk or cream, and a sprinkling of cheese make for an almost instant meal. A non-stick pan seals the deal.

I threw some dried tarragon into this one, and it was a lovely enhancement. Any dried herbs would be good - thyme, oregano, dill, or a combination. It only needs a little salt and pepper.

I have been using up some Swiss cheese I bought to make an onion and bacon tart, but any cheese would do. Or no cheese at all, if you don't have any.

This is a quick, easy, and delicious option for breakfast. It is the best way to go when you want something more than a bowl of cereal but don't have time for anything more complicated. Here's how to make it:

Serves 1

Crack two eggs* into a small mixing bowl and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of milk, cream, or even water. Season to taste and add dried herbs, if using. Whisk well, until eggs are totally combined and airy.

Melt a pat of butter into an 8-inch non-stick skillet over medium high heat. When the butter is foaming, pour the eggs into the skillet, whisking them again as you pour them. Let the eggs sit until the bottom has started to set, about 15 to 30 seconds, and then start to swirl the mixture around the pan so the wet eggs on top continue to be distributed around the heating base.

When the eggs are almost set, but still wet on top, sprinkle about 1/8 of a cup of shredded cheese between the center and one edge, and then fold that edge over the cheese. Continue to move the omelette around the pan for about 30 more seconds to give the cheese time to start melting. Remove from the heat and slide the omelette onto a plate, using the skillet to fold the other side of the omelette over the folded side.

*It is better if the eggs are at room temperature, but that is not a deal breaker.

Friday, March 02, 2012

Baking Class: Hamantaschen

My first memory of temple:

It is a Saturday afternoon. I am about five years old. My father gathers up the four of us kids and piles us into the Plymouth station wagon and drives us to a big unfamiliar building, where he drops us off and drives away. I am the youngest, and in the care of my older siblings. We walk into the building to a big room that is magical to me. People are dressed in costume, there are games to play and prizes to win! Ice cream! Cotton Candy! Peanuts! Popcorn! I hardly know what to do first. I find out that we are in a place called "Temple." I like Temple!

A few weeks later we are at our parents' friends house and they are talking about meeting us at Temple for Friday night services. Their daughter, who is a couple of years younger than I am, asks "What is temple?"

Well, I know what Temple is, because I was just there! "You'll love it!" I say. "There's ice cream, popcorn, games, and people wear costumes. It's like the circus!" I am so pleased that my age and experience have allowed me to help explain something new to someone who is younger and less worldly than I am, something I never get to do at home.

We get to Temple. We go in the same doors I had gone through that last time, but imagine my surprise when we do not turn towards the big room with all of the fun and games. Instead, we turn left and head into a bigger, much more quiet room with rows of benches and a big raised area at the front with large wooden chairs, a big wooden stand, and a curtained area in the back. Everyone is wearing suits and dresses, and goes quickly and quietly to sit in the benches. There is soft organ music playing as people enter and find a place to sit.

Even at five, I am old enough to realize immediately that I have made a mistake. We are not sitting with my parents' friends, though, so I cannot tell the daughter that I made a mistake, what I had described was obviously some special occasion and not business as usual at temple. But I could not, so I just quietly hoped for the best, and figured I would explain it to her at the end of services.

But she was young enough not to grasp the subtleties of what had occurred. And in the middle of the service, when everyone was standing for silent prayer, she asked in a loud, confused, plaintive voice, looking around across her father's shoulder (he had picked her up when everyone stood) "Where's the ice cream?"

I wish I could say I had learned my lesson and that it was the last time I ever, with the best of intentions, led anyone astray but alas, it was more like the first of many, many times it would happen. There are some who would say I do it to this day, I'm sure.

You may have realized by now that my first experience at Temple was Purim, the holiday that celebrates the deliverance of the Jewish people in Persia from the evil plot of Haman to destroy them. My first visit to Temple was for a Purim festival. How was I supposed to know it was not business as usual?

And I will also say that Temple was never that much fun again. And I don't remember going to any more festivals like that, although we did dress up in costumes for Purim, and one year we made hamantaschen.

If you are not familiar with hamantaschen (and I would not expect you to be if you are not Jewish), they are poppy seed or apricot-filled cookies (or pastries) that represent the tri-cornered hat for which Haman was reportedly known, and are the traditional food of Purim. They are also said to represent the ears of Haman, but hat is what I learned so I am sticking with that.

My memories of hamantaschen were the cookie. You rolled out a sugar cookie, cut it into circles, put a spoonful of filling in the center, and folded the edges in to make the triangle. But when I went looking for recipes, I found a yeasted pastry version that intrigued me, even though it was not in my tradition to use this version. But I have been having so much fun with yeast that I wanted to give it a try.

And I am glad that I did. It turns out that the dough is the same recipe that I used for these sweet rolls. They just get rolled into a different shape, and filled with a poppy seed filling instead of a fruit jam (although those can also be used to make hamantaschen).

The recipe yielded a few dozen of the hamantaschen and I still had half of the dough left. I was running out of time (and yes, ok, I was feeling lazy), so I just rolled the rest of the dough into a rectangle, lined it with the rest of the poppy seed filling, rolled it up and cut it crosswise into 1-inch pieces, and baked up a batch of poppy-seed rolls. Bonus!

Purim begins at sunset on Wednesday, March 7th, and ends at sunset on Friday the 9th, so you still have time to crank these babies out for this year's celebration. Or, if you're like me, bookmark it so you can make them next year. Either way, you won't be sorry.
Home Cookin Chapter: Desserts

Makes about 4 dozen pastries

Poppy Seed Filling:
1 cup blue poppy seeds
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp honey
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
zest of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp crystallized ginger
1/4 cup seedless raisins, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup peach or apricot jam

1 package active dry yeast (3/4 Tbsp)
1/4 cup warm water
1-3/4 cups scalded milk
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
dash of nutmeg
zest of half a lemon
6 cups flour
1 egg, or 2 egg yolks, beaten

Make the poppy seed filling: grind the poppy seeds in a spice or coffee grinder to break them up. Combine them with the rest of the ingredients except for the jam. Bring to a boil and simmer rapidly
over medium low heat until the mixture is thick, about 20 to 30 minutes. Pour into a bowl and let cool. Add the jam. (You can also buy prepared poppy seed filling at the store. It can usually be found in the baking section.)

Dissolve the yeast in warm water. When the milk is scalded but still hot add the butter, sugar, salt, nutmeg and lemon zest. Cool until it is lukewarm, then add the beaten egg. Stir in the yeast and about half of the flour. Add enough of the rest of the flour in small increments to form a soft dough that can be kneaded. Do not add too much flour. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic.

Place the dough in a large bowl and cover it tightly. Let it rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Turn the dough out of the bowl and roll it into a rectangle that is about 1/4-inch thick.

Preheat the oven to 400 deg. F.

Cut the dough into 4-inch rounds and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Brush the edges of each circle with oil and spread about a teaspoon of the poppy seed filling on each round. Fold three sides of the circle to meet over the filling and pinch the edges together to make a triangle. Brush the tops with warm honey and let rise for about 30 minutes.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. Start checking after 10 minutes.

Adapted from The Settlement Cookbook, Third Edition Newly Revised (Simon and Schuster, 1976)

Exported from Home Cookin 6.46 (

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