Archive for the ‘jewish’ Category

Matzoh Toffee

April 8, 2010

Got a few extra boxes of matzoh burning a hole in your pocket?

If you’re anything like my mom (who would happily eat matzoh with butter for breakfast for the rest of time), you’ll hoard those matzoh boxes until next Passover.  But if you’re looking to do something fun with your leftover matzoh this year, here is a recipe for AMAZING matzoh toffee!  This is the first time I’ve ever made matzoh toffee, and it was a huge hit among all my toffee-loving chocoholic friends at this years’ seder.  Anything covered in butter, chocolate, and sugar — I mean, really, how can you go wrong?

This is one of the quickest, easiest, and yummiest recipes I’ve ever made.  You can buy already-made matzoh toffee from Whole Foods (it’s my fave), but you’ll get a lot more gratification out of telling your fellow seder-ers that you made it yourself.

Matzoh Toffee – a recipe lovingly passed on from my mother

(can be made with or without the almonds)

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2  sheets unsalted matzos
  • 1  cup  unsalted butter
  • 1  cup  firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1  cup  semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1/3  cup  finely chopped toasted slivered almonds

Preparation

1. Line a 15- x 10-inch jelly-roll pan with nonstick aluminum foil. Arrange matzos in prepared pan, breaking as necessary to fit and completely cover bottom of pan.

2. Bring butter and brown sugar to a boil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Boil, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Carefully pour mixture evenly over matzos in pan, and spread over matzos.

3. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes. (Mixture will start to bubble at about 10 minutes. Continue to bake to 15 minutes.) Carefully remove pan from oven to a wire rack. (Mixture will still be bubbly.) Let stand 1 minute at room temperature or until no longer bubbly. Sprinkle top evenly with morsels; let stand 1 minute or until morsels soften. Spread morsels over brittle. Sprinkle with almonds; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Place pan in refrigerator; chill 30 minutes or until chocolate is firm. Break into about 20 pieces. Store in an airtight container up to 1 week in refrigerator.

Note: I used Manischewitz Unsalted Matzos.

A delicious treat you can enjoy long after the “chametz” is allowed back in the house!

Happy Quichester!

April 7, 2010
homemade quiche and pie, made by MacKenzie

homemade quiche and pie by MacKenzie

french toast stuffed with ricotta

beautiful birthday girl

Who’s a Jew that loves Easter and has two thumbs?

>Points thumbs enthusiastically at self<

This guy.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve suffered from a mild case of Goy Holiday-envy. As soon as Thanksgiving is over, I play my “Holiday playlist” nonstop, and I don’t retire it until a few weeks after new years. I’ve never had a christmas tree, I’ve always yearned for my own stocking over the mantle, and I didn’t even fully understand what a Cadbury egg was (it’s a chocolate shell but the inside is filled with white and yellow goo?) until just a few years ago.

This past Sunday was a heavenly delight. One of my best friends’ birthday’s coincided with Easter this year. So like any good shiksa would, she planned an Easter brunch. And we called it an Easter slash Birthday brunch. And it was at my apartment. And I couldn’t wait. Not only was I co-hosting an Easter brunch, but I also got to participate in my FIRST EVER EASTER EGG HUNT! I heard that, apparently, traditional easter egg hunts take place outside, preferably in someone’s yard.  But due to limitations of my Brooklyn apartment (mainly the fact that I don’t have a yard to speak of), we did an urban version: eggs were hidden in my bathroom and living room.  Hey, good enough for me!

The whole experience was just as I had imagined: exhilarating, hilarious, and drunk. And delicious. There were Rolos and Hershey Kisses inside!

Enjoy the photos, and Happy birthday, Natalie!

Hamentaschen Overload

March 2, 2010

It seems that you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a Jewish holiday.  The year is filled with ’em!  Some are more popular than others.  i.e. gifts for 8 nights during Hanukkah is more favorable than an all-day fast to repent for your sins during Yom Kippur.  The holiday of Purim is definitely a high-ranking Jewish holiday for me — it involves costumes, getting drunk, special cookies, and “boo”ing the bad guy (see: Haman).  So my gang of Monday Night Supper Clubbers decided to host an intimate gathering last night in honor of Purim.  Jews and Goys came together at my apartment, and we all made traditional Purim cookies: hamentaschen!  Turned out that one particular goy gave us a run for our money and consistently made the best-looking hamentaschen all night long.  He really earned his Honorary Jew badge.  Mazel tov, Clayton!

Most hamentaschens are filled with: apricot, raspberry, cherry, chocolate, prune, or poppy-seed.  But after some failed attempts at obtaining poppy-seed filling (Prospect Heights super markets really let us down), we decided we gotta just work with what we got.  And so…the CHICKEN HAMENTASCHEN was born!!

I must admit that I had some serious initial skepticism about these savory hamentaschen.  It was truly an unprecedented ‘taschen flavor…and to be honest, they looked kinda gnarly.  But boy, did I come around!  They were amazing!  Sweet dough and savory chicken?  It’s groundbreaking.  We gotta put a patent on these little guys.  The Chickentaschen!

Over the course of the night, we realized that hamentaschen can come in many different shapes and sizes.  If you don’t pinch the corners of the cookie tight enough, they can come out kinda blobby looking.  It’s all about the pinch.

Nevertheless, the blobs were still deelish.

We noshed on our raspberry and chocolate hamentaschen, played some Taboo, and with our collective Jewish day school knowledge, we put our heads together and pieced together the story of Purim.  I actually forgot what a good story it is!  The reason hamentaschen are shaped like triangles, is to represent Haman’s (bad guy) three-cornered hat he would wear.  Pretty weird and cool, huh?

Supper Club Turns Breakfast Club

February 28, 2010

There’s something I find especially comforting about clubs.  Especially clubs that revolve around food.  Extra especially clubs that revolve around food and some of my childhood friends.  Three of my oldest friends (one of whom I’ve known since 2nd grade–holla!) have all made the big move from LA to NY within the past few years.  And so we decided that we should celebrate.  With a Monday Night Supper Club!  That said, we certainly try our best to uphold our weekly Monday night tradition.  But between the demands of law school, sketch comedy rehearsals, and occasional late nights at the office, it can be difficult to get all of us together every single Monday night.

Our usual restaurant of choice is the 24 hour polish diner, Veselka, an East village mainstay.  It’s tough to beat a good borscht and challah.  But sometimes when the mood strikes us, we’re willing to venture out.  Because of some scheduling snafus, we were unable to meet on Monday night last week.  So we opted for an unprecedented pre-workday Monday Morning Breakfast Club!

Lucky for us, Clinton Street Baking Co. was declaring February as “Pancake Month”.  We win.  (On a side note, New York is big on this whole “x-food” month thing.  Isn’t February also “Hot Chocolate Month” at City Bakery?  Not that I’m complaining…but what’s with that?)  So, waking up at 6am did not rule.  But waking up to fresh blackberries, pecan streusel and warm maple butter pancakes did very much rule:

Hello.  What a way to start the day.

Looking forward to our Monday night rendezvous tomorrow: in honor of Purim, we’re makin’ homemade hamentaschens at my place!  (If ya don’t know, now. yaknow.)

Festival of Lights

December 15, 2009

Happy hanukkah, everybody!  My roomies and I hosted a hanukkah party on Sunday that was a smash hit!  What’s great about Hanukkah, from a busy person’s perspective, is that it’s 8 nights long.  So there’s a lot of leeway in terms of potential party dates.  And the 3rd day is just as important as the other 7 days, so…come light the menorah. Let’s have a party. We’ll all dance the hora.

What started out as an innocent idea to have a few people over for latkes and wine, quickly turned into a large potluck party with multiple rounds of Drunken Dreidle (my brother came up with it: a drinking version of the classic spinning top game from every Jew’s childhood) and dozens of delicious jelly doughnuts!

A fun time was had by all — even the goys were into it.  The latkes fried and the oil flowed.  For a first time Hanukkah party-thrower, I’d say it was a success.

Holidazed

December 6, 2009

This past week, Jen and I appeared as “Fanny & Jane” (our fabulous baking alter-egos) for the first time in months!  Since launching our new website and opening up shop on www.fannyandjane.com, the orders have been steadily pouring in — Jen has been shipping tons of orders and baking her butt off, and we’ve simply had less time to appear at events.   The inherent shmoozer in me always loves the opportunity to set up a table, bring our cake bites, and meet our sweet-toothed fans.  So this was a lovely way to spend a Wednesday night.  

Not to mention, it was our first holiday party of the season!!  Which was incredibly thrilling for both of us.  Even though I come from the menorah side of things, I sing Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas” at the top of my lungs…and two years ago, I even had my own stocking!  I mean, sure we’ve got hanukkah gelt for dreidle gambling, but it’s hard to beat an advent calendar with a piece of chocolate for EVERY DAY OF THE MONTH.  

Jen, on the other hand, is Legit Christmas.  She’s been celebrating since she was born, and I’m totally dazzled by her stories of being a child and waking up to her grandparents and parents and cousins revealing a huge decorated christmas tree in the living room with tons of presents on christmas morning, when the just the day before, the room was empty.  Like magic!  Oh, goys.  I friggin love it.  

Thanks to our friends at Cake Productions for inviting us to be a part of their fun event!

Sometimes All You Need Is Family, Tons of Couches, and Food

May 11, 2009
my beautiful mom, Mindy (gotta love those Baby Boomer names)

my beautiful mom, Mindy (gotta love those Baby Boomer names)

Aunt Rose-cake time!

Aunt Rose (a vision in white) - cake time!

Babka, the sheepdog.  what a load.

Babka, the sheepdog. what a load.

siblings on the train

siblings on the train
platters of fanny & jane sweets for mother's day lunch

platters of fanny & jane sweets for mother's day lunch

serious kiddie tricycle riding

serious kiddie tricycle riding

Last night, I returned from 2 days in New Jersey with my East Coast fam and my mom, who came in from L.A. for a few days! Driving through the greenery of Warren, New Jersey and getting to turn my brain off completely, was exactly the rejuvenation I needed from the non-stop work and stress of the past few weeks. The main attraction of the weekend was my great Aunt Rosie B’s 90th birthday soiree. My cousins, Karen and Irwin, generously hosted at their house, and it was quite the affair! There was delicious catered finger foods (by the end of the night, the pigs in a blanket guy just kept b-lining it to me, my boyfriend and my brother. Embarrassing, but we were his best customers). There was a live pianist who kept it classy by playing songs from Rose’s era, like one of my favorites, “Stars Fell on Alabama” (yet by the end of the night, my cousins and I were shouting requests, and we all collapsed on the couch and raucously joined in singing Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind”). And for hours, the house was alive with laughter and stories, and a lot of “Oh my god! I haven’t seen you since dot dot dot”.

One thing you have to know about my great Aunt Rose is what a firecracker she is. I tell you, at 90 years old this woman is so full of life and energy, she is such an inspiration to me. One of the strongest and most loving women I know. She’s full of class and practical wisdom, and has always taught me the importance of bringing family together. Some classic Aunt Rose-isms include…

Always put your face on before you go out. You never know who you’re going to meet. (And don’t forget to bat those lashes).

or

There’s no such thing as too many onions.

and the most oft repeated,

Don’t work too hard, but make a lot of money.

There are many tenets that I hope to adopt from her as I grow older, but the number one defining Aunt Rose tradition that I would love to take on in my old age is her ritual of the “L’chaim Club”. The L’Chaim Club is a daily routine that she shares with her oldest and best friends and fellow widowers, Ruth and Belle. Every night at 5pm, they each pour themselves a drink (Aunt Rose’s choice: vodka on the rocks), and the three women call each other, and make L’Chaim (cheers “to life!”) over the phone. Every night! I just love it.

Over the course of the past 2 years, both of my grandmothers passed away, leaving me with no remaining living grandparents. Having this weekend, devoted to family time, eating till we could eat no more, sharing stories and poking fun at each other like only relatives can, felt very special and precious. As I get older and start to realize that my brother and I are no longer the babies of the family, I know that when it comes time to raise a family of my own, I want to make sure I remember one of Aunt Rose’s greatest priorities: to bring the family together.

Aunt Rose, happy birthday! I love you very much.

A Passover To Remember

April 10, 2009

I felt like quite the Jew yesterday.  I don’t know if it was the coincidental fact that I was reading Woody Allen’s Without Feathers on the subway, or because I was toting around 4 boxes of matzo ball soup & mix – whatever it was, I felt that I had done my parents proud.  My parents who sent me to private Jewish day school for the first 9 years of my education.  My parents who, one year during a Passover seder hosted at our house, decided to ditch the traditional Haggadah, and instead, made my brother and I sing songs about Passover to the tune of West Side Story, lyrics courtesy of my father.  No Einhorn will ever forget the oh-so-clever “I Feel Hungry” sung to the tune of “I Feel Pretty”.

Yesterday, I made my parents proud.

A few girl friends and I decided to host our own traditional Passover seder.  We set the table for 15 of our great friends and celebrated the holiday with our “East coast family”.  Having spent the day on our feet, peeling potatoes, braising briskets, and “balling” matzo, the end result was even more rewarding than I could have imagined.  We pulled off our first seder on our own!  Almost seemed like more of a rite of passage than my Bat Mitavah.  As friends started to arrive, we drank wine (saving the “real stuff” for the meal), scrambled to get the last dishes out of the oven, played some music, danced a little, and we even had a matzo-themed toilet seat cover reminding all who used the john to “Let my people go” (thanks, Maggie)!

 The night ended as all good Passover seders do: everyone splayed out on various couches, belts unbuckled, shirts un-tucked, laughing and yelling over each other. 

Wanna know what we made?  My good friend, and executive chef of the evening, Marina, blogged about it.

This Is The One With The Plagues, Right?

April 8, 2009
a sweet old grandma

someone's sweet old grandma

Happy Passover!  I hope you’re helping your bubbe make those matzoh balls!

I just picked up some chocolate-covered matzoh at Whole Foods to bring to my cousin’s seder at her and her hubby’s new upper west side apartment.  Holy Moses – I’m talkin’ caramel and dark chocolate.  Mmmm.  I guess the whole “no leavened foods” thing doesn’t have to be so bad!  Have a great holiday (or just a great day), and don’t forget to drink those obligatory 4 cups of wine and recline to the right tonight!