Monthly Archives: March 2016

The Challah Project # 19 – Gluten-free Challah

Our daughter was home visiting, so it was time to try a gluten-free challah. I had never done any gluten-free baking, nor had any gluten-free breads that I actually enjoyed. So I searched and searched for a recipe that looked appealing to me,  finally finding one on  I have to say that I am tickled with the result.

Look at this texture, I did not think it was possible with gluten-free.

The dough was so easy to work with, it rolled and braided beautifully.

The success of this challah makes me want to try other gluten-free baking for when either of my two gluten-free daughters are home.

Gluten-Free Challah


1/3 cup warm water

1 package or 2 1/4 tsp rapid rise gf yeast

1 tsp. granulated cane sugar

1 cup vanilla yogurt, at room temperature

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

5 large egg yolks at room temperature (slightly mixed)

1/3 cup canola oil

4 Tbs. honey, agave nectar or molasses (I used agave)

4 cups gluten-free all-purpose flour

3 Tbs. + 2 tsp. granulated cane sugar

1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 tsp. gluten-free baking powder

1 large egg, mixed

poppy seeds, sesame seeds, raisins, or other topping or mix-in (optional)


Preheat your oven to 200º F, then turn it off. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the warm water, yeast and 1 teaspoon of sugar to proof the yeast; set aside.

In the bowl of your stand mixer, add the remaining wet ingredients and mix until combined.

Whisk together the dry ingredients in a separate bowl.

After 5 minutes of proofing, stir in the yeast-water mixture into the wet ingredients (note: if your yeast isn’t bubbling at this point, throw it out and start again with fresh yeast).

Gradually stir in the dry ingredients until fully integrated, then mix 2 minutes more on medium speed.

Once the dough is combined, divide it in half and divide each half into three equally-sized balls. The dough will be sticky, so use extra gluten-free flour on your hands and rolling surface. Roll each ball out into an 18-inch coil or log on a clean, flat surface dusted lightly with gluten-free flour. Pinch together one end of each coil, wetting them slightly with water to help them join together at the top, then braid them into a long braid. Gently transfer it to the parchment-lined baking sheet. Repeat for the second set of three balls.

In a small bowl, mix the extra egg with some water and brush over each loaf well, coating the entire top surface. Sprinkle the seeds or any toppings at this point, then place the tray into the preheated oven for approximately 20 – 30 minutes. (Don’t expect the bread to rise much at this stage).

Once risen slightly, place the uncovered tray in an oven preheated to 350º F for 20 minutes (mine took 35 minutes). Remove to cool on a wire rack.

Makes 2 challahs

Categories: Bread, Recipe | Tags: | 1 Comment

Barberry Rice with Lemon Chicken (Zereshk Polo ba Morgh)

I decided to try a change of pace for this year’s Persian New Year.  Instead of our typical Sabzi Polo ba Mahi (fish with herbed rice), I decided to make barberry rice with chicken.

I like citrus-sy chicken, so I chose to do a lemon chicken.  The beautiful color comes from saffron and tomato in the sauce.

Barberries, or zereshk as they are called in farsi, look like currants, but have a strong, sour flavor, not sweet at all. They are typically cooked with sugar before being added to the rice.

I made my rice in my new persian rice cooker, but have included the conventional method of cooking the rice.  If you have a rice cooker (or better yet, a persian rice cooker), simply follow the directions on the rice cooker for about 3 cups of raw rice.  Be sure to rinse the rice until the rinse water runs clear.

Barberry Rice with Lemon Chicken

Barberry Rice

1 cup barberries

1 Tbsp vegetable oil or butter/margarine

1 tsp sugar

1/8 tsp saffron threads, ground and dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water

3 cups basmati rice

Kosher salt

1 Tbsp oil

2 Tbsp water

Lemon Chicken

4 chicken breasts, boneless

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

1 onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp advieh

1 tsp Kosher salt

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 cup chicken stock

1/8 tsp saffron threads, ground and dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water

Juice of 1/2 lemon



Soak the barberries in water for about 15 minutes, drain, pat dry with a dishtowel or paper towels.

Heat the oil/butter/margarine in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the barberries and sugar.  Remove from heat and mix in the prepared saffron.  Set aside.

Rice (Conventional Approach)

Wash the rice, rinse and drain about three times until the water runs clear.

Place the rice in a filled with salted water.  Bring to a boil. Just as it comes to a boil, check the rice it should be al dente, remove from heat and drain the rice in a colander.  Rinse under cold water.

Put the oil and water in the pot. Return the rice to the pot and sprinkle with another teaspoon or so of water. Cover with a padded lid or a clean dishtowel and then the pot lid. Heat over medium high heat for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to low and cook for 35 – 40 minutes.

Lemon Chicken

Meanwhile, In a large covered skillet, brown the onion and garlic in the oil over medium high heat.

Add the chicken breast and brown on each side, about 5 – 7 minutes per side.

Add the turmeric, advieh, salt and tomato paste. Stir to coat the chicken.

Add the chicken stock and lemon juice, cover and cook over low heat for 30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.

To Serve:

Place rice in a large serving dish, sprinkle the barberries over the top.  Break up the Tah Dig – the crisp layer of rice at the bottom of the pot – and place on the serving dish.  Place the chicken in a serving dish and cover with some of the sauce. Enjoy!

Serves 4.



Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Pistachio “Persian” Rugelach

I love when I am able to merge my husband’s Persian culture with my Jewish one. This was a perfect to do so with both Norooz (Persian New Year) and Purim just days apart. I decided to merge the two holidays in one treat – pistachio, cardamom, chocolate chip rugelach.


Rugelach is a traditional Jewish rolled cookie, most often filled with raisins or chocolate and walnuts, as in my Aunt Gussie’s Rugelach.


Many Persian desserts and pastries have pistachios and/or cardamom in them.


So, I coated pistachios with cinnamon-sugar mixtures and cardamom-sugar mixtures to see what we preferred; both were good.  But when I added the chocolate chips, the pistachios, chocolate and cardamom just blended perfectly together.  So we ended up with our “Persian” Rugelach. Which happens to also be even extra fitting since the story of Purim took place in ancient Persia.


Pistachio Rugelach (“Persian Rugelach”)

3 eggs (from Farmer Kim)

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

1/4 cup orange juice

2 Tbsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp baking powder

3 1/2 cups flour

1/3 cup mixture of cardamom & sugar

1/2 cup pistachio, chopped

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350F.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, oil, orange juice and vanilla.

Mix in the salt, baking powder and 3 cups of flour. Knead in an additional 1/2 cup flour until the dough is dry enough to roll.


Roll the dough out to 1/8″ thickness.


Sprinkle heavily with cinnamon sugar. Sprinkle with nuts & chips. Cut it into triangles or diamonds (today I did triangles).


Roll into crescents, pressing in the end point, and place on cookie sheets. Bake in batches for 12-15 minutes. Cool on wire racks.




Makes 30 – 40 rugelach, depending upon the size you make them.


Categories: Dessert, Jewish Holiday, Kosher, Persian, Purim, Recipe, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Kuku-ye Sabzi, II (Persian Heb Omelette)

Persian new year is here and one traditional dish to serve is kuku-ye sabzi, an herb omelet. Sabz is also the color green, and that is exactly how this kuku should look when you cut into it, a nice deep green.

It starts with a mix of herbs and green vegetables.  I like to include spinach, although that is less traditional.

It all gets chopped fairly finely.

We also top ours with feta cheese (preferably Bulgarian feta).  This is also not traditional, but we find it really brightens the flavor;

Kuku-ye Sabzi 

1 cup chopped spinach

1 cup chopped parsley

1 cup chopped scallions

1 cup chopped leeks

1 Tbsp dried fenugreek

5 or 6 large eggs (from Farmer Kim)

1/4 cup walnuts (start with 1/4 cup walnuts, then finely chop them)

1 tsp baking soda

1 Tbsp whole wheat flour

3 Tbsp canola oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Crumbled feta


Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the spinach, parsley, scallions, leeks and fenugreek and fry for 5 minutes. Let cool completely.

Beat the eggs well.  Add baking soda, salt, pepper, flour and walnuts.

Add the vegetables and mix well.

Heat the remaining tablespoon oil in the pan over medium-high heat until it is hot.  Pour in the egg mixture and flatten with the back of the spatula to evenly spread out the greens. Cover and reduce heat a little, cook for 10 minutes until the bottom is cooked through.

Remove the cover.  Cut into 4 pieces, flip each piece over and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, until browned.

Transfer to a serving plate and cut into smaller slices if you want. 

Top with crumbled feta. A bit untraditional, but good! Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4 as a main dish 8 as an appetizer.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Persian, Recipe, Spinach, Vegetarian | Leave a comment

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes, Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli

The Jerusalem artichokes from my garden met some friends…

They decided to all be roasted together,

And then bake together with some eggs in order to provide us with a delicious meal.

We love roasted Jerusalem artichokes and other vegetables. It is such a versatile method of cooking them, there are so many ways to use roasted vegetables:

The key to roasting vegetables is to cook vegetables with similar cooking times together.  So here we grouped the root vegetables and the cole crops on separate baking sheets. THe other key is to only have a single layer of vegetables, don’t overload the baking sheets.

Roasted Jerusalem Artichokes, Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts and Broccoli

1 lb Jerusalem artichokes, well scrubbed (from the garden)

2 large sweet potatoes (I used 1 purple and 1 orange sweet potato)

1 lb Brussels sprouts

1 large head of broccoli

2 Tbsp olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

6 eggs (from Farmer Kim)


Heat the oven to 425F.

Chop the Jerusalem artichokes and sweet potatoes into 1/2 – 3/4 inch pieces. Toss with 1 Tbsp oil, salt and pepper.

Spread on a baking sheet in a single layer and cook until the outside is crisp and the inside is tender, tossing every 15 minutes (about 45 minutes).

Meanwhile, trim and halve the Brussels sprouts and cut the broccoli into small heads and cut the stem into 3/4 inch pieces.

Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Add to the oven and cook until crisp and cooked through, also in 15 minute intervals (about 30 minutes).

Reduce the oven to 350F.

Mix all the roasted vegetables in a large casserole dish.

Make 6 slight indentations in the vegetables and crack an egg into each indent.

Bake until the eggs are cooked through, time for this will vary between 7 minutes and 30 minutes, so you have to keep a watch on them.  Serve and enjoy!

Serves 4 – 6.


Categories: Broccoli, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe, Sweet Potatoes, Vegetarian | Tags: | 1 Comment

Onion Soup with Sourdough Bread

The first time I made onion soup, it exploded all over my parents’ kitchen.

I was 17, and I was going to impress my boyfriend with my (apparently non-existent) cooking skill. Not only did I figure out how to explode a soup all over the kitchen, but I learned that I did not know the difference between a clove and a bulb of garlic, my steak Diane really packed a punch!

Luckily for my family and friends, my knowledge, and my cooking skills, have advanced since then. My onion soup has evolved from the same basic recipe I used so many years ago. And I am happy to report that it no longer explodes.

I made some beautiful sourdough bread the night before, so this onion soup is paired with the wonderful flavor of sourdough.

Onion Soup with Sourdough Bread 

2 very large onions

3 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp canola oil

1 tsp Kosher salt

1/4 tsp sugar

3 Tbsp flour

1 quart boiling water

1 quart beef stock (organic, if possible)

1/2 cup white wine

1″ thick slices of sourdough bread (enough for each bowl of soup)

1 1/2 cups grated Gruyere


Cut the onions in half through their stems and slice very thinly.

In a 5-quart covered pot, heat the oil and butter/margarine over low heat.  Add the onions and cook slowly for 15 minutes.

Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium.  Stir in the salt and sugar and cook, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes, or until the onions are deep, golden brown.

Add the flour, stir and cook for another 2 minutes

Add in the water, broth and wine.  Bring to a simmer and cook, partly covered for 30 – 40 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

Meanwhile, heat the oven to 350F.

Ladle the soup into oven-proof bowls.  Place a slice of bread in each bowl and top with grated cheese.

Place the bowls on a tray in the oven and heat for 10 minutes.  Switch to broil and cook another 3 – 5 minutes, until the cheese melts and browns to your preference.  Serve ande enjoy! (Caution, both the soup and bowls will be hot!)

Makes 4 main dish bowls or 6 soup-course bowls.





Categories: Recipe, Soup | Tags: | 1 Comment

Za’atar & Cream Cheese Muffins with Lox Breakfast Sandwiches

I have to apologize for accidentally posting just the early picture for this.  Sometimes when I work on my phone, I forget that it automatically posts if I don’t specifically set it up as a draft.

I saw the post for za’atar and cheese cupcakes on Taste of Emarat and had to create my own muffin-like version using cream cheese.

Once I tasted one, I realized it cried out for smoked salmon (lox) – what a treat for breakfast!

Za’atar and Cream Cheese Muffins with Lox Breakfast Sandwiches

inspired by Taste of Emarat za’atar and cheese cupcakes

1 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1/3 cup canola oil

1 egg, beaten (from Farmer Kim)

1 cup warm water

4 oz cream cheese, cut into small cubes

about 1 Tbsp za’atar

8 oz smoked salmon (lox)


In a small bowl mix the oil, egg and water.  I a large bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  Mix until combined, but still lumpy. Let rest for 20 minutes.

Heat the oven to 350F.

Line a muffin tray with paper or silicon liners.  Spoon 1/4 cup of batter into each cup.

Divide the cream cheese cube among the cups and press into the batter a little.

Sprinkle za’atar on the top of each muffin.

Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Eat hot or cool on a wire rack.

To make the sandwiches, slice the muffins horizontally. If they have been cooled, you can toast the halves to give them a crisper texture. Place a slice of lox on each bottom half and replace the top.  Enjoy!!

Makes 10-12 muffins.






Categories: Breakfast, Kosher, Recipe | 2 Comments

Beef and Cabbage Packages

As I often mention, we eat very little beef in my house, so when we do, it has to be special. This is a recipe I found in the newspaper over 10 years ago and has been a surprise treat every time I have made it.

 Called “Desperized” Bierocks in the original article, this is simply ground beef, onions and cabbage cooked and then baked in crescent roll dough. So simple, yet when they are served with some good mustard…yum! 
Beef and Cabbage Packages

very slightly adapted from Beverly Mills and Alicia Ross “Desperized” Bierocks 2005 (United Features Syndicate)

2 tsp vegetable oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 lb extra lean ground beef (90% lean)

1/2 cabbage, very thinly sliced and coarsely chopped

1/2 tsp Kosher salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Cooking spray

2 (8oz) cans refrigerated crescent roll dough

Deli-style or coarsely ground mustard, for serving


Preheat oven to 350F.

In a 12″ skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and ground beef, cooking and stirring until the beef is browned and crumbled, about 6 minutes. Add the cabbage, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until the cabbage is wilted, about 4 more minutes (if the cabbage is taking a while to wilt, you can cover the skillet for a minute or two). Remove the skillet from the heat.  Spray 2 muffin tins with cooking spray (you will only need 16 of the cups). Place the wide side of each dough triangle over the a cup, allowing the wide part to dip into the cup. The dough will not cover the whole cup, that is fine. Add 1/4 cup of filling to each cup. Fold the 3 points over the top of the filling.  Do not worry about sealing in all the filling. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until the dough is golden brown. Serve immediately with mustard for dipping. Enjoy!  Serves 6 – 8.

Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe | Tags: | Leave a comment

“Dirty” Mexican Rice

So many times I make dishes that I think my 6 year old will like, but typically, they are a fail. But tonight I thought I might have had an idea so simple that it could possibly work and please my boy….and it did.

My son loves Mexican rice. I mean he LOVES Mexican rice.  When my daughters were young they liked dirty rice – creole flavored rice with ground beef mixed in. So, I decided to try a “Dirty” Mexican rice using locally raised ground turkey.

He devoured it! I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the reason he liked it was its simplicity. But I have to say, my husband and I really liked it as well, it was a very comforting meal.

“Dirty” Mexican Rice

1 lb ground turkey (locally raised)

2 Tbsp canola oil, divided

1 cup long grain white rice (I use basmati)

1 small onion, finely chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

2 1/4 cups chicken broth

3 Tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp Kosher salt, you can add a little more, to taste


In a dutch oven or large saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium-high heat.  Add the turkey and cook, breaking up lumps, until cooked through.  Remove the turkey and drain on paper towels.

Wipe the pan clean and add the other Tbsp of oil.  Heat over medium-high heat.  Add the rice, onion and garlic and cook until the rice is opaque and fragrant, about 2 – 3 minutes.

Add the chicken broth and tomato paste, stir until well mixed.  Add the turkey back in and stir.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Fluff with a fork, serve and enjoy!

Serves 3-4.




Categories: Kosher, Main Dish, Recipe | Tags: | 1 Comment

Chocolate Chip Challah

I had the pleasure of joining almost 200 women and girls at the Mega Challah Bake last week.


What a blast as we mixed, kneaded and braided between 400 and 500 Challahs. Not the most flattering picture, but here I am as I start rolling (is my hair really that red?).


We had out r choice of mix-ins and toppings.  I decided to go “sweet,” mixing in chocolate chips and topping the challot with cinnamon sugar.
I made both a 4-braid (above) and pull-apart knots.  We brought them home uncooked, stuck them in the freezer to bake later.  The also made delicious french toast…always a treat! 

Chocolate Chip Challah

from the Mega Challah Bake

1 1/3 cup warm water

2 1/4 tsp yeast

2 large eggs, separated

1/3 cup oil

1/3 cup sugar

2 tsp salt

4 cups flour

chocolate chips (as much as desired)

cinnamon sugar


Dissolve yeast in warm water with a pinch of sugar.

Add 1 egg, oil, sugar and salt and mix well.

Add flour, 2 cups at a time, and the chocolate chips. Knead well (add extra flour if necessary, up to 1/2 cup).  Cover the dough or place in a plastic bag and let rise for 30 minutes.

Divide and braid the dough, place on a greased pan and brush with the other egg.  Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.

Let rise for another 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F.

Bake until golden (30-45 minutes). Cool on racks.

 Makes 2 loaves


Categories: Recipe | Tags: | 3 Comments

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