Archive for October, 2012

Lech Lecha Sand Trifles

October 26, 2012

In a discussion about Lech Lecha, Rav Kook noted that Hashem promises Avraham that his descendents will be as numerous as the stars. Later, Hashem will promise Avraham that his decendants will be as the sand on the seashore.  Why sand and stars? The metaphor of stars emphasizes the importance of each individual Jew: “Every soul is a universe unto itself, as the Sages wrote: “One who saves a single soul of Israel, it is as if he has saved an entire world” (Sanhedrin 37a).” On the other hand, the importance and power of sand lies not in any individual grain, and the metaphor of sand alludes to the collective purpose of the Jewish people.

Over at Parsha Post, Rabbi Neil Fleishmann brings up the observation of the Kli Yakar that there are actually three similes for Avraham’s descendants:  sand, stars and dust. The stars represent us at our height of greatness, the dust represents us at our lowest, and the sand represents our ability to endure.

For this parsha dessert, I went with something super easy. Just crush vanilla cookies or tea biscuits and layer them with a vanilla mousse made with Tofutti “cream cheese,” Rich’s Whip, almond milk and vanilla pudding mix. Very easy to make right before Shabbos with your kids.

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Acorn Squash Stuffed with Five Grain Pilaf and Tempeh

October 22, 2012

This would be a great thing to serve to vegans on Thanksgiving: it looks festive, has seasonal fall flavors, and is a filling meat-free main dish.

I used a grain mix, but you could use any single grain you like. The idea is simple: saute onion and garlic with some diced tempeh. Add seasonings and fold in cooked grain. While you are doing all this, let acorn squash roast until tender and then stuff it with the pilaf. That’s it.

It is actually not so complicated to make, so it is a nice weekday vegan supper, too. I brought some to Leora, and she says I should mention that she really liked it. A lot. My husband liked it so much that he wants it added to the regular rotation, and he is more a meat and potatoes type of eater than a fan of vegan cuisine. Which is a way of saying that this dish pleases the health conscious but also has that crucial mainstream crossover appeal.

The combination of grains, vegetables and seasonings is unusually savory. What I especially like is the way that the tempeh seamlessly blends in with the other ingredients. Tempeh can sometimes be a bit of a tough sell–this recipe has a great chance of converting the tempeh suspicious.

The Kosher Connection, an informal group of creative kosher food bloggers from all around the world, proudly present the first kosher recipe challenge.  Each month we will present you with recipes on a different theme from all the kosher food bloggers.

This month is root vegetables!  Follow our recipes on Twitter with #KosherRecipes.



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Savory Richness Sans Beef: Vegan Onion Soup

October 22, 2012

You can make a delicious, rich tasting onion soup without using beef broth. To give the soup  savory depth, take a tip from chef John Schenk: use miso. Why does this work? Because miso is rich in umami, the taste sensation of savoriness. Soup mixes sometimes add savoriness through MSG, but miso is a healthful alternative.

Wines and other alcoholic beverages have umami and can release umami flavor in other ingredients. In order to further add some umami oomph to my onion soup, I added a bit of port, but I think sherry or red wine would have done as well.

The Kosher Connection, an informal group of creative kosher food bloggers from all around the world, proudly present the first kosher recipe challenge.  Each month we will present you with recipes on a different theme from all the kosher food bloggers.

This month is root vegetables!  Follow our recipes on Twitter with #KosherRecipes.

(Is the onion a true root vegetable? Well, yes and no. It counts as a root vegetable, although technically it is a bulb.)



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Parshat Noach: Mabul Cupcakes

October 16, 2012

I got the idea to make marble cupcakes for Parshat Noach from Leora. Marble sounds like mabul, which means flood. Cute . . . right?

I took a banana cake recipe from Leora, too, and marbelized it with chocolate batter. If you want a plain chocolate vanilla version, try my vanilla chocolate swirl cupcakes for your mabul dessert.

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Nature Valley-esque Granola Bars

October 15, 2012

A while back, I posted a recipe for chewy granola bars that reminded me of the Quaker Oats brand. The thin, dense, crunchy granola bar–like the ones made by Nature Valley–proved more difficult to reproduce.  But, victory at last!

The trick, I think, is pulverizing the oats so that they compact down tightly more readily.

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Parsha Bereishit: Etrog Apple Cake

October 12, 2012

Chabad.org has an interesting article, “Was the Forbidden Fruit Really an Apple?“, which explains that there are various theories as to the identity of the forbidden fruit. These possible choices include wheat, etrog, grapes, figs, nuts or something that combines all these flavors. It occurred to me that I could get in some of these flavors if I made apple cake (although apples are not considered one of the possibilities for the forbidden fruit).

I was intrigued by a recently published recipe for Susan Lucci’s grandmother’s apple kuchen, and tweaked the recipe a bit. I added some grated etrog rind, vanilla and substituted coconut milk for the milk and oil for the melted butter. I originally intended to add raisins and slivered almonds to get in the nuts and grapes, but my daughter wasn’t too keen on that idea. The flavor of the etrog in the cake was surprisingly subtle–I wish I had tried adding the juice as well.

I found that I needed to bake the cake for closer to 45 minutes than the suggested 25 minutes. I found that the apples needed to be sliced thinner than the instructions required and that it was hard to fit in the full amount of apple called for (but, I was using large-ish apples).  I think I would spread the batter thinner next time, using a 9″x13″ pan. I also didn’t use the full amount of cinnamon sugar topping.