Cooking with Love

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Truly Easy Whole Wheat Bread

This is realy a very good easy to make bread. No starters needed, nohassle at preplanning. And this is excatly how I like it, because usualy I start out the morning planning to make 1,2,3 and by the time I get home I have changed my mind 100 times and end up making 5,9,2...LOL.
So if no pre-planning or pre-startering is needed - than I am fine!

Edna's Whole Wheat Bread
250 grams whole wheat flour
250 grams strong flour
1 1q2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. fast acting yeast
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 Tbsp. honey
450 ml warm water

Knead together all the ingredients. I have a bread machine which I use for all my kneading.
Let stand and ferment till douhj doubles in size. Knead once more to let out air and form a bread loaf.
Preheat oven to 190 C and put a heat proof bowl of water at bottom of oven. Bake the bread and remove the water after first 10 minutes. Continue baking 30 minutes longer.
I think i will try adding herbs and grains next time.
I slice the bread and keep in the freezer.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Daring Bakers - Sriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiike 2

This is my second try at being a daring baker.
I loved my first try at it and waited impatiently for the second dare.
The theme - Lemon Meringue Pie
This is a pie that I have made a few times so I was not intimidated. But for some reason, i dont know why, I cannot say that my success was great.
The recipe is an easy one. The crust was my main problem as my food processor decided that after a very short affair it is going to food processor heaven. Bummer. I think its still mad at me for the OT I made him do on the fig cookies...Which by the way - I still haven't found my notes.
The pie filling was a bit more sour than expected. But that could also be due to the sourness of the lemons now. My daughter though, stuffed her face with now I have a bald lemon pie in the fridge.

Lemon Meringue Pie
Makes one 10-inch (25 cm) pie
For the Crust:
¾ cup (180 mL) cold butter; cut into ½-inch (1.2 cm) pieces
2 cups (475 mL) all-purpose flour
¼ cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
⅓ cup (80 mL) ice water

For the Filling:
2 cups (475 mL) water
1 cup (240 mL) granulated sugar
½ cup (120 mL) cornstarch
5 egg yolks, beaten
¼ cup (60 mL) butter
¾ cup (180 mL) fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp (15 mL) lemon zest
1 tsp (5 mL) vanilla extract

For the Meringue:
5 egg whites, room temperature
½ tsp (2.5 mL) cream of tartar
¼ tsp (1.2 mL) salt
½ tsp (2.5 mL) vanilla extract
¾ cup (180 mL) granulated sugar

For the Crust:
Make sure all ingredients are as cold as possible. Using a food processor or pastry cutter and a large bowl, combine the butter, flour, sugar and salt. Process or cut in until the mixture resembles coarse meal and begins to clump together. Sprinkle with water, let rest 30 seconds and then either process very briefly or cut in with about 15 strokes of the pastry cutter, just until the dough begins to stick together and come away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto a lightly floured work surface and press together to form a disk. Wrap in plastic and chill for at least 20 minutes.
Allow the dough to warm slightly to room temperature if it is too hard to roll. On a lightly floured board (or countertop) roll the disk to a thickness of ⅛ inch (.3 cm). Cut a circle about 2 inches (5 cm) larger than the pie plate and transfer the pastry into the plate by folding it in half or by rolling it onto the rolling pin. Turn the pastry under, leaving an edge that hangs over the plate about ½ inch (1.2 cm). Flute decoratively. Chill for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350ºF (180ºC). Line the crust with foil and fill with metal pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Carefully remove the foil and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes, until golden. Cool completely before filling.

For the Filling:
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Remove from the heat and let rest 5 minutes. Whisk the sugar and cornstarch together. Add the mixture gradually to the hot water, whisking until completely incorporated.
Return to the heat and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture comes to a boil. The mixture will be very thick. Add about 1 cup (240 mL) of the hot mixture to the beaten egg yolks, whisking until smooth. Whisking vigorously, add the warmed yolks to the pot and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until mixture comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and stir in butter until incorporated. Add the lemon juice, zest and vanilla, stirring until combined. Pour into the prepared crust. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent a skin from forming on the surface, and cool to room temperature.

For the Meringue:
Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC). Using an electric mixer beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar, salt and vanilla extract until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, beating until it forms stiff, glossy peaks. Pile onto the cooled pie, bringing the meringue all the way over to the edge of the crust to seal it completely. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden. Cool on a rack. Serve within 6 hours to avoid a soggy crust.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Happy Birthday Mother Nature

We are celebrating Tu Bishvat here in Israel - were we give thanks to whatever beauty the land gives us.
This is puff pastry flled with figs, raisins, honey and nuts.
I promise that once I find my notes, where I wrote the recipe - I will post it.
Happy Holiday
ט"ו בשבט שמח!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Taste & Create Blog Event

My partner for this event is Evelin from Bounteous Bites. When searching her blog all I could do was wonder how so much culinary talent can be had in such a young blogger! My second though was what do I choose from this rich assortment of wonderful foods....a tough decision. Everything is so mouth watering...As we are gaving a special holiday next week I decided on coco-nutty prune candy.

Israel celebrates on Monday evening the National Birthday of the Trees, what we call Tu Bishvat.

Mostly we eat dried fruits and nuts. There are special blessings said and the children go out and plant trees. Its a wonderful holiday that is really a way to learn to enjoy what the nature gives us and how important preservation of the trees and plants are.
This is a wonderful special recipe whic I enjoyed making and suits this holiday to perfection.

I also especially love prunes :-)

Thank you Evelin!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tamari's Tehina Bulbs

I am always in search of a cookie that tastes great, ingredients are always on hand and are easy to make in a jiffy.
I guess my friend Tamari has the same notion. These are her cookies and there isn't a food forum in Israel that hasn't discussed them, posted them, praised them.
I praise Tamari.
Every recipe she has given is made to perfection. I have a Tamari factor. If she says go - I know I should run and make them.
These are her cookies. The mixture of tehina and sugar gives these cookies a taste of halva, and who is the middle-east doesn't like halva?? Overall, I would say that even though they aren't low in calories - the fact that tehina paste is so high in iron, makes these cookies pretty healthy.

Tamari's Tehina Bulbs

100 grams butter, room temp.
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup good quality tehina paste
1 cup flour

powdered sugar for covering

In bowl on high speed, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the tehina paste and continue beating.
Add the flour - by hand - until incorporated in mixture. Roll cookies into walnut sized balls and place in refrigerator for at least 2 hours.
Pre-heat oven to 170 C. Roll cookies in powdered sugar and bake approx 10 minutes till cookies start cracking.
Cool completely before removing from cookie sheet.
These cookies won't last long.....
Thank you Tamari for another wonderful recipe!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Crispy Flatbread with Everything on Them

I found these on "28 cooks" blog. And all I can say is that they are great. They are great alone, as is. Great with guacamole or salsa. Great crumbled over salad. And great with beer. Its the type of cracker that can be made in minutes when unexpected beer buddies come calling. And they are healthy.

Crispy Flatbread Crackers with Everything
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 c beer
3 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp poppy seeds
1/2 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 tsp caraway seeds
1/2 tsp dried minced onion
1/2 tsp dried minced garlic
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place cookie sheet in oven to preheat as well.
In small bowl, combine olive oil and minced garlic and set aside.
In large bowl, sift flour and salt together.
Add beer and mix with hands until dough forms. Knead for 2-3 minutes. Allow to rest for 10 minutes.
On slightly floured surface, roll dough out very thinly. (The thinner the dough, the crispier the flatbread will be) .
Place on parchment paper the size of the baking sheet. Brush dough with garlic olive oil and sprinkle liberally with seasoning. Lightly press seasoning into dough.
Place into oven and bake 5-10 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool on baking rack. Break apart when cool.
With guacamole and roasted peppers

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Lebanese Meatballs

These are my siste in law's favorite. And she is my favorite sister in law :-)
They are a lebanese food and have earned a respectful place in my kitchen, as I love foods from around the world that are easily adaptable. And since lebanon are our neighbours their kitchen is very much similair to ours.
Serve them over white rice and you have a hit! Meatballs:
500 grams fresh ground meat
salt and pepper
1 onion, chopped fine
6 garlic gloves, chopped fine
parsley laeves, handful, chopped fine
mint leaves, chopped fine - optional
thyme, chopped fine - optional
4 Tbsp. fine bread crumbs (I make my own)
20 - 30 grams pine nuts, toasted lightly
1 egg

1 jar of sour cherries in syrup

Mix together all the ingredients except the cherries.
Heat oil on skillet and make ping pong sized meatballs. Sautee the meatballs till golden but not burned - on all sides.
Pour syrup and cherries and cook till boiling point. Lower heat and add salt and pepper (a fresh sprig of thyme can be added), uncover and cook till fluids are halved.

Best Chocolate Kisses Cookies ever!

And apparently there is a story behind these cookies....
The original recipe calls for Hersheys kisses. Ther aren't easy to find here in Israel. So my freind Neta made them but used chocolate coins instead, came her friend Amira, she didn't have peanut butter (which is called for in the original recipe) so she used - walnuts! Her Walnut chocolate coin recipe is the best!! then came I (after pleading with my neighbor to bring me hersheys kisses from his last trip to the states) and returned the kiss to the cookies which is now totally different from the original. But i definately think its a much better cookie due to the fact that it has both walnuts which are healthier and whole wheat flour which is the best!
Walnut Chocolate Cookies with a Kiss / Amira
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup finely chopped walnuts
1 cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp. honey
1 egg
150 grams butter, softened at room temp
1 tsp vanilla
chocolate kisses
In bowl sift together the flours and baking soda.
In a mixer mix together the butter and sugar on high speed appor 2-3 minutes. Add vanilla and egg, continue beating. Lower speed and add the flour mixture till well combined.
Roll walnut sized balls and place on cookie sheet lined with parchement paper. Stick a kiss in the middle of each "cookie ball".
Bake at 180C for approx 8-10 minutes, till cookies are golden color.
I made two batches over the weekend. One batch was taken to my brother and the other was made for home after kid begging....None are left.

I love Joy of Baking site

Every recipe is a no fail recipe!
I made these "rasberry oatmeal squares" but since I always have on hand homemade jam I made them with my plum cinnamon jam that is our favorite (and almost gone, next time we will have to use the fig jam)Oatmeal Base:
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted
butter, room temperature
1 cup (215 grams) light brown
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups (175 grams) all purpose
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups (180 grams) old fashioned rolled oats, divided
1 cup raspberry jam or preserves (homemade or store bought

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter (or use a non stick cooking spray) a 9 x 9 inch (23 x 23 cm) pan. Set aside.
Oatmeal Base: In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (about 2 - 3 minutes). Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the butter mixture and mix until well combined. Stir in 1 3/4 cups (155 grams) of the rolled oats. Press 2/3 of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Spread the raspberry jam (preserves) over the oatmeal base. To the remaining dough add the remaining 1/4 cup (25 grams) of rolled oats. Crumble this mixture evenly over the top of the raspberry jam. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes or until nicely browned. Place on a wire rack to cool and then cut into squares.
Makes about 16 - 2 inch squares.
These are best if made the day before serving. Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Rugelach - My comfort food

There are so many variations of this wondeful pastry from the dough and to the filling.
I grew up on my grandmother Tova's rugelach. Back in Poland her family had a bakery. It was the village bakery and both gentiles and jews purchased the warm pastry's and shabbat challas from them. I grew up in her kitchen. It was the happiest room in my grandparents house. Yiddish mingling with Hebrew. Chicken soup on the stove and rugalach in the oven. My grandmother had the oldest oven in the world, we begged her to replace it. She would refuse. Finally she let us buy her a new one. well, not even a new one. My sister replaced hers with a new one and gave her the old one. Till today my grandmother doesn't understand why she replaced it.
If I was sad, if I was sick - her best "medicine" was rugalach. Ha!! And you thought chicken soup was the jewish penicillin! Trust me - Its my grandmother's Rugalach!!
I miss those days!
Everytime I try to get a recipe from her it sounds like: flour, sugar, a few eggs, some milk....
Go try to make a cake from such a recipe. As the daughter of a baker I guess she inherited the "feel". This is something I will never have. I need an exact recipe - from there I can fool around with the ingredients and/ or quantities.
But her rugelach were from yeast dough.
There were times that I refused food as in an act of a teenage rebellion. But, never refused her rugalach. Hers were always the same. Filled with raisins, sugar and cinnamon.
My rugalach are made with chocolate filling, as my children are the chocoholics and both despise rasins (probably because I mentioned that they are good for them LOL)

Edna's Rugelach
500 grams flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp. fast acting yeast
100 grams butter, room temp.
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp. grated orange or lemon peel

100 grams butter
4 Tbsp. cocoa, best quality
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
Melt together.

Knead all dough ingredients till dough is soft and pliable. Cover with towel in warm place and let double in size.
Punch to let out air and knead again. Roll into circle approx 1/2 cm thick.
Spread filling and cut into triangles and roll each triangle from the wide part.

Let stand for 20-25 minutes.

Spread egg yolk and bake at 170C for 25 minutes.

Comfort Food Cook-Off for 2008 is sponsered by "the garden of eating" at

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy 100th Birthday, Safta Rose

Safta (grandmother) is 100 today. There is no doubt that I am lucky to have such a wonderful grandmother. She taught me so much. With so much patience and love.
Happy Birthday!!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Yaels' Orange Cake

One the easiest moistest cakes I have made. The best part is the fact that there is no separating of the egss - which I hate.

And the fact that when the cake comes out of the oven - freshly squeezed orange juice is poured over the cake and is absorbed immedietely.

Yaels' Orange Cake

4 large eggs
2 cups self rising flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice + pulp

Mix together on medium speed till fluffy. Pour into pan - (any pan goes) and bake on medium heat till toothpick comes out dry - approx. 30-35 minutes.
In the meantime squeeze fresh oranges to measure 3/4 cup (I use more) and pour over cake.
Decorate with powdered sugar.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Za'atar Sesame Pita - without a pocket...

These are wonerful. They hug inside the tastes of the middle east - sesame, za'atar and of course...olive oil.

What is za'atar (from wikipedia):
Za'atar (Arabic زعتر , Armenian զահթար) is a mixture of spices originating in the Middle East. The Arabic term za'atar refers to any of various local herbs of the mint family, including marjoram, oregano and thyme. Alternate spellings include zaatar, zatar, zattar or zahatar.
Green za'atar mixture is traditionally composed of dried thyme (Thymus vulgaris), toasted white sesame seeds, and salt. Some sources also include savory, hyssop, oregano, cumin, and fennel seed. Red za'atar is made with dried thyme with sumac.
In Lebanon, there is a belief that this particular spice mixture makes the mind alert and the body strong. For this reason, children are encouraged to eat a za'atar sandwich for breakfast before an exam. The mixture is popular in Turkey, Morocco, Syria, Jordan, Israel and North Africa and is popular within the Armenian diaspora. Palestinians consider za'atar as one of their staple foods. In Palestine, za'atar is frequently sprinkled on hummus or served with olive oil as a spread.
Za'atar is used to spice meats and vegetables, and is mixed with olive oil to make a spread (za'atar-ul-zayt or zayt-tu-zaa'tar), which is used as a dip for sesame rings (ka'k). Za'atar can also be spread on a dough base for the Middle-Eastern equivalent of a miniature pizza, also known as the manakish. It can be sprinkled on labneh (yogurt that has been drained until it becomes a tangy, creamy cheese). It can also be preserved in oil, by mixing with salt and rolling into balls, or by drying in the sun.

Za'atar Sesame Pita Pockets

500 grams all purpose flour
1 TBS fast acting yeast
1.5 tsp salt
1.25 cups warm water
3 TBS olive oil (I use at least 5...)

1 egg
sesame seeds
olive oil

Mix 1/4 cup warm water with the yeast and sugar until foamy, about 10 minutes.
Mix together the flour, olive oil salt and remaining water. Add the foamy water and mix until dough forms a ball. Cover with towel and let ferment till doubles in size.
Knead once more to let out air and roll into pita breads.
Brush with egg. Sprinkle sides with sesame. In the middle make a small "puddle" of olive oil and add za'atar.

Bake in preheated oven 15-20 minutes at 180C.