Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Reinhart's Whole Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread

When the whole grain grain bug started acting up again, I knew immediately that a cinnamon raisin bread was in my future. I made a white flour version of this bread eons ago and I figured it was time to give this classic a healthier twist. It took me a while to get my act together and plan ahead but once I did, this recipe, also from Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads, was fairly simple to make. My bread wasn't a really high riser but I think I gave it less kneading time than I should have. This bread is yummy. I LOVE cinnamon with a passion so this was a no-brainer. Paired with homemade pumpkin butter, it is simply divine. 

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chocolate Velvet

Two weekends ago, I was hosted by my friend Nili in Jerusalem. She insisted that I bring nothing but as my father taught me, don't go anywhere empty handed. So I decided to make a cake. I settled on chocolate because it always pleases. I started leafing through my books and settled on this cake. It's an Israeli recipe and literally translated it means Chocolate Velvet. Turns out that's exactly what you get here. Nothing short of rich, chocolate fudge in every bite. The cake went over really well but because it is so rich, I went home with half. The solution? Bring it to my Ulpan students. I made them earn it though by making them first translate the recipe. It was quite amusing to listen to. They made short work of finishing the cake for me. I made this cake parve for Shabbat but you can make it dairy. I also used coffee liqueur instead of the chocolate called for. Feel free to use any flavor that you have on hand. To keep this cake fudgy and moist, the recipe instructs you to place a pan of boiling water in the oven along with the cake. This is a technique I'll adopt because you get the steam effect without risking seepage into the cake. Happy Purim!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Reinhart's Thin Wheat Crackers

I can never resist a cracker recipe when I stumble on one both for their ease of preparation and for the high marks they get in the munch-ability category. They are just so darned good, with everything and at anytime! That is why immediately after the graham cracker episode I continued on to make these Thin Wheat Crackers from Whole Grain Breads. These were not only delicious and ridiculously foolproof but of all the crackers I've made (and there have been a bunch) these most successfully brought me back to my childhood Shabbatot where we would have my father's famous eggs and onions, almost always with a side of crackers. Indeed, when I wasn't stealing a few from the little baggie I stored them in, I ate them along with some egg salad that I quickly made for the occasion. Yum.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Strawberry Rhubarb Icebox Pie

Here it is! The delicious pie that I made last weekend that made use of the crackers I made and the fresh haul of rhubarb. I was told to avoid using fruit in my dessert but I pretended I didn't hear and decided to make this pie because who can resist this winning combination?! Well, everyone was won over by it and pretty much only crumbs remained. This recipe comes from Lauren Chattman's Icebox Pies and it is super easy, no need to turn on your oven at all. I served this with homemade vanilla ice cream (to appease the fruit haters) but you could do without it. If you can get your hands on rhubarb, take advantage and make this!

Monday, February 11, 2013


Last week, I made my way over to the shuk for some fruits and vegetables. I haven't been there in ages but somehow, despite all the time that has passed, being there felt like coming home. The sights, sounds and smells, everything I love about Israel captured in once place. Home. While I was there, my eye caught sight of some rhubarb! It turns out to be rhubarb season here. It has a pretty short season here so Im glad I got out of the army just in time for it. Obviously, I picked up a bunch of it. (Luckily, strawberries are in season also so I picked up some of those.. More on what I did with them later..) When I got home, my thoughts immediately went in a million different directions but I knew for sure I wanted to make rhubarb jam. So I did, using a very simple recipe. Once I had the jam, I thought, well what am I going to smear it on?! Having no bread to make toast from I thought of whipping something up from scratch. Crumpets was my first thought (and an appropriate nod to my good friend A who just got engaged to a Brit) so I went about finding a recipe. Crumpets are that classic British tea time staple that are similar to what we know as English muffins. I chose Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe and set to work. Overall, these were simple to make and delicious to eat but my technique with the rings and the measuring was a bit amateurish. Oh well, there's always the next batch of jam.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Reinhart's Graham Crackers

Every now and then, I find myself in a whole grain baking kick. I have no idea where this inspiration hits from, but when it strikes, it strikes hard. This week, the book of choice was Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads. Flipping through the pages in the cracker chapter, I contemplated the Graham crackers. Years ago, almost at the start of this blog, I made Graham crackers and about a year and a half ago I made chocolate Graham crackers. Both of those were more cookie like crackers than cracker-crackers (know what I mean?!) so I thought that license enough to repeat myself. These Graham's are made entirely of whole wheat flour and without fat. The original calls for honey but I ran out in the middle and made up the difference in date syrup. A bit of cinnamon adds that comforting, homey, redolent of childhood flavor. So how'd they pan out? These crackers were definitely crackers. Because of the lack of fat here, they are very, very crunchy. I think I would add a tablespoon of oil or margarine next time to ensure that I don't break any teeth. That said, the flavor was definitely there and I enjoyed them spread with peanut butter. Add some fresh apple slices and you have the perfect afternoon snack. They didn't last that long though because between my munching and using them as a pie crust for a wonderful pie I made, they disappeared super fast. Try them, you'll see why.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Sundried Tomato Bread

Finishing up the army has left a gaping hole in both my heart and my schedule, making it possible to just be for a little while before I find a job. It also means that I get to tie up some loose ends here and there and one of those things is this blog. This website has seen nothing but neglect and sporadic posting this past year and a half and I hope that that will change somewhat now that I'm no longer a soldier. (How it hurts to write those words!!!!) In any case, let's talk about bread. One of my favorite things to eat these days is sundried tomatoes. I used to hate them but now consume them with a passion and have taken to putting them in everything. I've long wanted to bake them into a bread and a while ago, I did just that. I chose a white bread recipe from Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads and took it from there. This recipe started as the Feather Bread but I swapped out the 1/3 cup of butter or shortening with the sundried tomato oil and kneaded in some chopped sundried tomatoes. Yum. At first, the dough resisted the tomatoes, but some stubborn kneading solved that problem. I formed these into two long loaves and slashed them before baking. I might have also
baked them on the pizza stone cause why not? but it's not necessary. The breads came out fragrant and delicious and exactly how I'd imagined them to be. Now, if I could just get my hands on some more sundried tomatoes...