BR: Sponge Cake For Passover

This is the first in a new series we are calling Baboushka’s Recipes (BR for short). Baboushka, or ба́бушка in Russian, means grandmother. In this series we will explore and save the recipes our grandparents brought with them or inherited from their parents. Kosher Hubby’s family is from Ukraine and Belarus and my family is from Poland, Ukraine, and Germany… so Baboushka seemed pretty appropriate.

My grandma's electric mixer

My grandma’s electric mixer

Okay! Here we go, our first vintage recipe. This is my great-grandmother’s Passover sponge cake recipe. I dug it out today (yes, Sunday, the day before Erev Pesach) for our dessert for the first seder. These instructions are verbatim, in my grandmother’s handwriting from her mother. I will add my commentary in italics and parentheses.

 

Ingredients:

  • 8 eggs, separated
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup cold water, to which you add
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice (you can easily fresh squeeze this!)
  • 1 tsp. orange juice (you can easily fresh squeeze this!)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup matzah cake flour, sifted
  • Grated rind of 1/2 lemon and 1/3 orange

Preparation: 

whites In a large bowl (she really does mean large…), with an electric mixer, beat egg whites, adding salt, until stiff, but not dry. Set aside.

Yolks-and-Whites In a small bowl, with electric mixer, beat yolks, add sugar, then liquids, and continue  beating for five minutes.

With a spatula gently pour the beaten yolks on the stiff whites. Add 1/4 cup of sifted flour and fold in carefully. Continue to add 1/

4 cup of the flour, carefully folding in until all is used.

Lemon-and-Orange (She neglects to tell us what to do with the lemon and orange zest. I added it to the yolks before I added them to the whites. Worked great.)

Final-before-baking Pour batter into an un-greased angel cake pan (we tried to use a 7×11 pan but it was too much batter… we used a 9×13 glass casserole dish in the end and it worked great). Place in a 350 degree oven and bake for 55 minutes.

Invert to cool, and cut out of pan when cool. (Oops… didn’t do that. Planning to cut it tomorrow at the seder.)

Final-product I tasted it, of course… had to right? It was delish. Just like anything else that is Pesachdik, it tastes like matzah meal but it’s going to be a great, parve dessert tomorrow. With a tiny corner cut out. Don’t judge. It’s a family seder. :)

This recipe is by my Nanny – Mrs. Abraham Cronbach (as she is credited on the recipe)… Rose Hentel Cronbach.

CHAG PESACH SAMEACH from the Kosher, She Eats kitchen! Look for our adventures with Vegan cooking after the chag. We review Mayim Bialik’s new cookbook – Mayim’s Vegan Table.

Kosher Cheeses

tillamook+brick With all these recent (ok two…) dairy recipes we have been trying, I got to thinking about Kosher cheeses. Kosher Hubby and I don’t use cholov yisroel cheese (if that is Greek to you, that’s ok, I’ll explain below) but we try to steer clear of animal rennet. So let’s talk cheese.

What makes cheese Kosher?

Ok. So first and foremost… if the animal that makes the cheese is Kosh… then so is it’s milk. However, there are two types of cheeses… soft and hard. Soft cheese (cream cheese, cottage cheese, even brie) are what they call “acid-set.” They add bacterial cultures to milk and it forms soft curds (with liquid whey). These are usually Kosher,  most folks will still look for a hechsher because of the production equipment. It is the hard cheeses that pose some issues.

Hard cheeses are rennet-set. This means they add rennet enzymes to milk then firm cheese curds form with liquid whey. There are so many shades to this conversation but let us say this… rennet comes from the stomach of animals, most often from cows.  Additionally, there are some artificial rennets out there.

Just to add another dimension, some folks ban cheeses that are not made by Jews/Jewish companies. It comes from issues around understanding if the rennet came from a Kosher cow (aka when slaughtered, was it un-diseased). It is literally called gevinat akum (non-Jewish cheese).

What is Cholov Yisroel?

Cholov Yisroel is an extra stringency involving milk and milk products. In this case, every thing from start to finish (milking to packaging) was supervised by an observant Jew. This is to ensure that there are no unseen problems and make sure that your dairy products are of the highest kashrut standards. There was, at one time, fears that a farmer might mix in some milk from a non-kosher animal (horses, pigs) to the cow or goat milk. There are many groups that observe this stringency, including Chabad.

Where can I find yummy Kosher cheese?

Good question! Well, one way is to make it! Perhaps Kosher Hubby and I will make mozzarella one day for the blog. He has done it in the past and said it’s delish! But for ease of use, you can buy a lot of good cheese out there. A favorite in the Kosher, She Eats home is Tillamook Kosher Cheddar. We call this “egg cheese” in our house because we love it on eggs in the morning! It’s no longer easy to find true Italian Parmigiano that is Kosher any more. Here’s an article on the death of this delicious cheese. As mentioned in the article Parmigiano has a nice cousin, Grana Padano. You can find it in stores or here though it is not easy to come by and expensive. The Cheese Guy is awesome. He has TONS of varieties. I haven’t tried his brand personally but as far as cheeses I enjoy… check out the Parmesan and Pecorino. He’s got a great selection. Here is another site with a decent selection of cheeses. Zabar’s has some kosher cheeses too. And one last site with kosher cheese options.

Here is a really good article about how cheese is made and about the Kashrut of cheese: Say Cheese! I really recommend reading it! Great details on most of what I addressed here!

Winter Soup

Well. It’s cold. No doubt about that. So today, Hubby and I decided to make a yummy minestrone soup. Actually what happened was, Hubby wanted to make a butternut squash gratin (yes, recipe coming) and I remembered a recent recipe from Real Simple for a minestrone soup with butternut squash. Perfect pair for dinner!

Please forgive the lack of pictures… the Kosher, She Eats kitchen was NOT clean enough to get any good pics. I promise we will have some new ones for you the next time we make this!

Of course, nothing in the Kosher, She Eats kitchen could be simple… We don’t eat pasta or bread (regularly) plus we wanted to use what we grew/had canned in season so we adjusted the original recipe. Here is our version of the Winter Minestrone. One thing… I totally ‘free-handed’ this recipe… do what feels right. I love carrots in soups so I added more. If you love beans, add beans or squash or whatever!

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 half pint (8oz) jar of homemade tomato sauce (yes, you can use canned… but NOT PASTA SAUCE, actual tomato sauce… we will get you canning next season. It’s easy!)
  • Some butternut squash, cut into 1-inch pieces (The other recipe calls for a small squash… I didn’t have that much since we were using it mainly for the gratin.)
  • 6-7 medium carrots, chopped
  • Some green beans (we used a sandwich bag of green beans we had frozen during the season. If you do not have this luxury, grab some frozen ones at the store. They are usually flash frozen at the peak of the season.)
  • 2 15-ounce cans navy beans, rinsed (or pinto, or kidney… whatever bean you want… I wouldn’t do black beans though… personal preference. Also… I forgot to rinse mine and the world kept spinning.)
  • Vegetable stock
  • 1 3-inch piece Parmesan rind (optional), plus grated Parmesan for serving
  • 1/2 Savoy cabbage, chopped

Preparation:

  1. Before you start… get a big soup pot. Don’t do this step in a frying pan… keep the flavors in there! Okay, heat some olive oil in your SOUP POT. (I say vociferously because at first I didn’t then switched pans… don’t bother to get that frying pan dirty.) Add the onion, about ¾ teaspoon salt, and about ¼ teaspoon pepper. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft and nearly translucent (about 8 to 10 minutes).
  2. Add the tomatoes and their juices as well as your tomato sauce to the pot with the onions. Simmer until thickened (about 6 to 8 minutes… I left it on a bit longer as I was prepping the other ingredients).
  3. Add squash, carrots, beans, green beans, 8(ish) cups vegetable stock, and Parmesan rind, if desired, and bring to a boil. Then turn it down to a simmer, stirring occasionally. You want the vegetables to get tender. This could take about 20 to 25 minutes, however, since I put mine up early in the afternoon, I kept it on a low simmer for more than an hour. I let the veggies get soft and even added some more vegetable stock to bring it to the right soup-y-ness.
    1. NOTE: If you added the Parmesan rind (which I totally recommend trying, if you are serving a dairy meal) continually taste the soup. The rind really imparts A LOT of flavor and you might want to take it out before the cooking time is up. We left it in for maybe 30 minutes.
  4. About 30 minutes or so before you plan to  serve the soup, add cabbage. Simmer until the cabbage isn’t too crunchy.
  5. Serve with grated Parmesan on top.

Ok, like I said, we were a little loosey goosey about this recipe. And it totally worked. I put it up around 3 and we ate it around 6:30. It stayed warm the whole time but make sure the liquid doesn’t boil out!! It really didn’t take long to prep and made everything smell great while we were cleaning our house. After I put the soup up, we had extra butternut squash (from the gratin) and we threw it in. Also, the first night we ate this, the cabbage had a bit of a crunch to it (delish!) but at subsequent “eatings” the cabbage was less crunchy (surprisingly still delish)!

If you don’t use the rind or top with Parm, this is a great parve soup. And it’s fabulous as a dairy soup as well!

One last tip for you… Start with one bowl. We got so excited the first night we each ate two… and the rest of our dinners which left us totally over stuffed! This soup is SUPER filling.

Enjoy!

Kosherly yours,
Kosher T & Kosher Hubby

Cauliflower Tabouli

final productFor our first culinary adventure of our married life, we decided to make Cauliflower Tabouli during Passover. It was delish, tasted like the real thing and much healthier for us! This is our own, made up recipe based on ideas we saw around the web. Here’s how to do it:

Ingredients:

  • Full head of cauliflower
  • One bunch of parsley
  • Half of a cucumber
  • One tomato
  • Zest from half of one lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Zatar to taste (optional but recommended)

Preparation:

  1. Cauliflower PrepBreak apart the cauliflower, removing the greens and breaking the florets into small chunks. Then wash the florets.
  2. In small batches, put the cauliflower into the food processor and pulse them until they look roughly like couscous. (AKA: are broken down into small pieces.) Don’t over pulse them… you don’t want mush, just tiny pieces.
  3. Over a medium heat, in a non-stick pan, heat some olive oil and toss a batch of cauliflower on the heat. You can salt it here if you would like.
  4. Cook for just a few minutes, tasting every so often until the cauliflower is partially cooked. Cauliflower and Veg prepAgain, you don’t want mush, you still want a bit of a crunch but not raw.
  5. Once all the cauliflower is cooked, set aside. You can serve this dish warm or cold but I preferred it cold. So let the cauliflower rest and cool while you prepare the rest of the dish.
  6. Dice the cucumber into small chunks and set aside.
  7. Slice the tomato in half. Since we don’t want this dish to be too “wet,” I recommend scooping the seeds and juice out of the center then dicing the tomato. Set aside.
  8. Take a bunch of parsley and wash thoroughly. Roll it up, and chop it.
    • Talia, what do you mean “roll it up and chop it?”
      • Well, remove the leaves from the stems. Once you have the leafy matter separate, Pre mixedliterally roll it up into a little tube like object.
      • Once it is rolled up, start chopping from end to end. Be careful of your fingers!
      • Do a final chop of any big leaves that missed the knife before but this should take care of most of it.
  9. Now, combine the cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, and parsley into a medium size bowl.
  10. Mix them together and taste. Feel free to add more of any ingredient.
  11. Season with lemon zest, olive oil, salt, pepper, and zatar.
  12. Keep tasting until you get the proportions perfect. It is a personal taste situation.
  13. Top with some lemon zest, olive oil, zatar and serve.

Final product_2

We are back!

I want to apologize again for the lack of posts in the past few months. My husband and I were married on the 10th of March and now we are back from our honeymoon.

We had some amazing culinary adventures in the South Pacific and we are ready to start posting new, fun Kosher ideas for you all. Again this year, we are planting our gardens so we are excited to have tons of fresh, fun produce to use in our recipes. Look forward to more pickling and easy but unique recipes. We have agreed to have one night a week (Sundays, generally) where we will explore new recipes.

So stay tuned! And check back often!

Here’s a picture of the amazing fruit we bought at the local market in Vanuatu:

From left to right: local mango (best thing we have ever tasted), custard apple, guava, star fruit, bananas (totally taste different than ours), and papaya.

fruit in Vanuatu_03-23-13

Wedding Hiatus

I am very sorry, to all of our readers, that I have had no new recipes for you since our great pickling adventure of 2012. You see, shortly after the pickles, my boyfriend (and foodie partner in crime) proposed to me. So we have been crazy with wedding planning ever since.

Our wedding is March 10, 2013 and I promise to be back with some fun and crazy recipes after that!

Thanks for tuning in!

Homemade Half-Sour Pickles

Kosher, She Eats Homegrown CucumbersThis year, we planted a garden filled with all of my favorite vegetables… turns out, most of my favorites are viners  and prickly!

We have had lots of squash and cucumbers and tomatoes. With this extra produce, we decided to play with pickling and in particular, make our own pickles! We both spent a lot of time on the East Coast and LOVE our half-sours! Here is the recipe we used/made up. Try them with some farmer’s market cucs and then next year, grow your own! :)

What kind of cucumbers did we use? We grew the typical small pickling cucs and our plot neighbors were growing salt and pepper cucumbers. Since we were plot sitting for them (watering and picking) we ended up with several of different kinds of cucumbers. As for pickles, Dan liked the small green cucumbers we grew best and I liked the lighter salt and pepper cucs better as pickles. We may even explore pickling lemon cucumbers next! Pick them when they are small and if you are buying them, the younger the better. Larger ones taste very different and sometimes you have to skin them.
Never heard of a half-sour pickle? Oh I am SO SORRY for you!! These little guys are DELISH!  John Thorne (The Dill Crock, 1984) describes half-sours as “cucumbers still, not pickles-little cucumbers who died and gone to heaven.”  It’s so true! They are mild and perfect!

Here’s our method:

Please note: our recipe is super free form. You can make a small batch or large. The only thing that is relatively exact is the salt…

Talia and Dan’s Half-Sours

Ingredients:

  • Kosher salt
  • Coriander seeds
  • Black peppercorns
  • One bay leaf
  • Garlic cloves
  • Dill (stalks, flowers, and leaf)
  • Red pepper flake
  • Cucumbers
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Kosher, She Eats Half Sour PicklesDecide how many pickles you can eat in the next few days… Really! You don’t want to make a ton, these are not the same kind of shelf stable that you get at the grocery store. Try to eat them within a week. Once you have decided, select a jar to fit that many cucumbers. We used a large pickle jar and it fit 12 easily. We also made some for friends, used a typical size mason jar which fit six small cucumbers.
  2. Place the pickles in the jar and cover them with cool water. Yes they will float but push them down and see how much water it needs to just cover all the cucs.
  3. Then measure the water you put in. We did this by pouring the water out into a measuring cup.
  4. You will need approx two tablespoons of kosher salt per liter of water. There is a cup to liter conversion below. Don’t be afraid to add a little more or less… just play!
  5. Once you have measured out your salt, dissolve it in hot water. This makes it easier for the salt to work.
  6. Now that it is dissolved, DON’T PUT IT ON THE CUCUMBERS! Whoah! Why the yelling, Talia? Because I don’t want you to have mushy pickles! We like them nice and crunchy and the warm water will make them soft. Okay, now that we have calmed down, put some ice in that hot, salty water and cool it off.
  7. Kosher, She Eats Half Sour Pickles with herbsWhile it is cooling off throw the rest of the ingredients on top of the cucumbers in the jar.
    1. Throw some coriander seeds in the jar… NOT TOO MANY! It is a great flavor but should be secondary.
    2. Put some black peppercorns in the jar also. Again, don’t go crazy.
    3. Toss a bay leaf on there. You can crack it in half first but Dan says just toss it in.
    4. Two or three garlic cloves for a small jar, six or seven for a large jar (depends on how garlicky you want your pickles). Cut them in half first.
    5. Dill time. Dill + cucumbers + salt = the flavor you love in pickles! So I recommend getting fresh, smelly dill from a farmers market. If you can get the stalks and flowers in addition to the typical dill leaves (the stringy things you think of as dill), your pickles will be very happy. The stronger the dill smells, the better! Put half a head of flowers in a small jar or a head or two in a large one. Break some stalks into the jar and add the leaves.
    6. Be very light handed with the red pepper flake. Just a quick shake… not much. You don’t want them too spicy!
  8. The water should be cool  by now so pour the salt water in and then fill the jar with cool/cold water. Remember how many cups you put in before? Yes, same number. It should just cover the cucumbers.
  9. If you are using a large jar and the cucumbers won’t stay submerged, place a glass or bowl in the water to help keep them down.
  10. Let them sit on the counter for two-ish days. By the second day you should see some bubbles forming on surfaces in the jar and the water should start to be cloudy. This is GOOD! After two days, take one out and try it. Once the water is pretty cloudy, put them in the refrigerator. This slows the process down.
  11. Enjoy!

This is a total experiment and eat project. Have no fear if they don’t come out perfect… they continue to pickle as the days go on. But don’t leave them out of the fridge too long or you will end up with full sours… unless you want full sours!

Let me know how yours come out!

Cup to liter conversion:

Cup Liter
1 0.27
2 0.47
3 0.71
4 0.95
5 1.18
6 1.42
7 1.66
8 1.89
9 2.13
10 2.37

Cherry-Apricot Jam/Preserves

I am sorry I have been slacking! I have had so many fun culinary adventures with my Sweet Boyfriend. We have been documenting them all and taking pictures. I have to get him to write here to tell you more about his smoking and grilling and fast cooking ways but for now, I’ll share my side.

A few weeks ago we went for a weekend walk through the neighborhood. It so happens that his neighborhood has TONS of cherry trees! We decided at the last minute to pick some of these super ripe cherries and use them. They were very small and the tart/pie style of cherry. We grabbed one of the bags provided for ‘doggie cleanup’ and started picking… We ended up with a pound and a half of cherries!

We also picked up a few local, organic apricots at the farmers market in his neighborhood. Once we got home we were a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of cherries picked! I decided I wanted to make a cherry preserve or jam with the apricots. I researched online and found SavorySweetLife.com and her Cherry Jam recipe. We modified it, used less sugar, and added apricots. It turned out so well!

I really like this recipe because there is no pectin in it. It is an easy, simple, and healthy recipe. Sweet Boyfriend and I decided that it would be delish on chicken or duck. His parents and mine enjoyed their servings immensely.

Here is the recipe and pictures. Mind you, there aren’t really measurements here… seems hard, I know but just watch it and feel it. You will be fine!

Easy Cherry-Apricot Jam/Preserves:

Ingredients:

  • Cherries (the more tart the better), stems and pits removed, and chopped
  • Apricots, chopped and pitted (fresh, NOT DRIED)
  • Lemon rind/juice
  • Sugar

Directions:

  • In a medium size pan, add chopped cherries, apricots, lemon rind, and lemon juice cooking on medium-high heat for 5 minutes. 
  • Add a cup or two of sugar. Taste the brew and feel out how tart the cherries are. Do you need more sugar? Add slowly and taste frequently!
  • Once the sugar is fully added, reduce heat to medium.
  • Stir everything until sugar has dissolved.
  • Cook for an additional 15 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Remove from heat and cool.
  • You can jar it or enjoy now!

Carrot-Ginger Soup

After all that cheese and dairy, it’s time for something soothing and hearty. I made this soup for my boyfriend this weekend. He was coming home from a trip to London and Paris and I thought he might enjoy something simple but hearty. The ginger was an added bonus to help settle his stomach if the flight was rough. I know when I travel, I don’t always feel like eating something heavy. This is a fairly simple recipe and I can’t even remember where it came from, an online recipe site, but I did add my own spicing to it.

I’m going to remind you, read the recipe all the way through before you start. Trust me, I’ve made that mistake before and I have some tips at the end.

Carrot-Ginger Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 pounds carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, minced or grated
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds*
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • dash salt and pepper, to taste
  • Nutmeg, cloves, chili powder/cayenne pepper – optional

Preparation:

  1. First thing, I started to make this mistake, prep all your vegetables before you start the recipe. Chop your onions, carrots and mince your ginger. Have them ready in prep bowls before you start sauteing the onions.
  2. In a large soup pot, cook the onions in margarine until soft, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add carrots, ginger and coriander seeds* and cook, stirring for a few more minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a low simmer. Cover and cook for at least 25 minutes, or until carrots are very soft. (This was about 50 minutes for me… but make sure you aren’t boiling off the liquid too much)
  4. Transfer the soup to a blender or food processor and puree, working in batches if needed. I did not blend it into oblivion. I left it a touch chunky.
  5. Add a dash of salt and pepper and other spices. Serve hot, re-heating if necessary.

After I had blended the soup, I started playing with spices. It can be a bit bland so I added nutmeg and just the smallest dash of cloves. Too much cloves will make it almost sweet. I added a dash of spice with the chili powder (or you can use ground cayenne pepper). Again, be careful – it is easy to over-season and you DO have the ginger in there. It comes out with a nice bite but tastes good.

*I could not find coriander seeds where I was shopping so I used ground coriander. I added a bit when I added the carrots to the onions but put more in after the blending.

The key is to taste the whole way through. You can also add white potatoes or sweet potatoes if you want some more starch in it.

Colorful and Healthy Frittata

I know I have given you a lot of desserts lately for Shavuot but here is a nice lunch dish that can be reused for breakfast the next morning. It’s colorful and healthy.

I highly recommend getting farm fresh eggs (like literally from chickens) or buying free range organic eggs. I know most people don’t understand the value of this but having recently been turned on to these types of eggs, I can tell you first hand there is a HUGE difference in taste and quality. It is better for you and your family. But I will leave the egg rant for another time…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen broccoli florets
  • 3/4 cup sliced fresh button mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup diced red bell pepper
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin, green tops included
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup finely-shredded Cheddar cheese

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a shallow 1-1/2-quart casserole dish with vegetable oil.
  2. Saute broccoli, mushrooms, red bell peppers, and green onions in the butter until barely cooked. They should remain firm and colorful. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, water, Dijon mustard, oregano, basil, garlic powder, and salt until well-combined. Pour into prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the sautéed vegetables over the top of the eggs, then sprinkle with Cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake, uncovered, for 25 to 30 minutes, until center is set. Let rest for 5 minutes before cutting into wedges to serve.
  5. Yield: 4 to 6 servings

This delish recipe is from About.com