My Cookbook Gift List

This is the time of year for gift lists of all kinds. Right now my social media feeds seem over run with cookbook gift list but this got me thinking, what books would I recommend. Not all of my recommendations were not published this year. That’s not what I am going for. I wanted to recommend cookbooks that are well used, well loved, referenced regularly and had a profound impact on my cooking. Continue reading

So Much More Than “Just Another Dinner Roll”

I frist discovered these rolls when I purchased The Gefilte Manifesto over a year ago. Since then I have been smitten with the book, the recipes, and these rolls. I enjoy them so much that I have made them many times just to have as a snack during the week. Each time I make them I learn a little more and they get a little better. What you need to know is that rye flour doesn’t behave the same why your all-purpose or bread flours do. Because of this your need to be patient with this recipe. I have good news though, these freeze beautifully so you can make them ahead to give them all the time they need.  Continue reading

Not Your Typical Bread but One You Don’t Want to Miss!

This post is for all the pickle lovers out there. Are there even people who don’t love pickles? Well that’s just silly. Pickles offer brightness and acidity to some dishes that need that to cut through all that richness and fit like hamburgers and deli meat sandwiches. What’s even better is when you can use your own homemade pickles. This can be a daunting undertaking but if done right it’s well worth it. It all started with both a good recipe and a good cucumber. Thankfully for the first The Gefilte Manifesto comes through splendidly.

One thing you’ll find is when you’re done making the pickles you end up with a lot of leftover pickle juice. Being one that is always looking for ways to use as much of anything I make as possible, I was curious when I came across their Pickle Brine Bread. Feeling adventurous I went ahead and made it not sure what was going to come out as the end result. Boy was I surprised when I sliced into this bread and get all the nice chewy texture of a really good whole wealth bread but then this amazing flavor! The pickle flavor was subtle but definitely something you could pick up on. The more I sampled this bread the more I realized this is the perfect bread for a basic deli meat sandwich.

It gives you enough structure to hold all your fixings and it is a close texture loaf so it will help soak up any juices. Then to round it all out that nice finish of the subtle pickle flavor make this a real winner. I have also used it for gefilte fish and chicken liver pate. So the next time you find yourself looking at pickle juice and wanting something interesting to do with it try your hand at making this loaf.

Pickle Brine Bread

  • 1 ½ ounces Warm Water
  • ¼ ounce Active Dry Yeast
  • ½ teaspoon Granulated Sugar
  • 16 ounces Strained Pickle Brine
  • 2 ½ ounces Canola Oil
  • 112 grams Honey
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 360 grams Bread Flour
  • 532 grams Whole Wheat Flour

In the bowl of your stand mixer add the warm water, yeast, and salt. Whisk together, then let sit for 5 minutes. It should look VERY bubbly!

Add in the rest of the ingredients and attached the bowl to the mixer fitted with the dough hook. Turn mixer on to a low speed. Once the ingredients have formed a mass kneed the dough for 7 minutes.

Cover the bowl with plastic and let rest for 2 hours. Once the dough is risen and doubled in size punch it down, kneed it on a floured surface and divide in half placing each half into two greased standard sized loaf pans. Cover with a towel and let rise for another hour until doubled in bulk again.

In the meantime preheat your oven to 350ºF. Bake the loves for about 45 minutes. You should be able to knock on the hardened crust and hear a hollow sound. Let cool in pans. Turn out and slice to serve. (I like to slice the two loaves and freeze them in baggies of the number of slices I know I will need for each meal.)

Good Pickles Come to Those Who Wait…

I absolutely love a great sour dill pickle. I have tried and failed to make them myself many times. Each time I pick a new recipe that looks promising and then somewhere from when the fermentation begins and the pickle is bitten into it looses everything I love in a good pickle… The crunch. If a pickle doesn’t have crunch I don’t see the point. It doesn’t help that I am biased. I have an issue with mushy food. It doesn’t matter what it is. So with all the pessimistic caution I could muster, I set out to make a new recipe… Continue reading

Lunch, a Delightful Balance Between Jewish and Chinese Flavors in Schnitzel Bao!

When looking for a lunch for this week I was drawn to another Molly Yeh recipe. It was for Schnitzel Bao with Sriracha Mayo and Sesame Pickles. In her recipe she shaped her bao into something that resembled more of a taco but being short on time and not having much luck with the shaping we opted for a a more traditional shaped bao. What really stands out about this recipe is the balance of flavor. It’s a perfect balance of sweet, salty, tangy, crispy, soft, and meaty. Continue reading

Not Your Average Matzo Ball Soup…

Becoming a good cook is all about the basics. I would say if you’re wanting to work on your cooking skills start with chicken stock. Learning to make a good chicken stock will change so many of your dishes and will give you a depth of flavor that no store bought version can offer. If you’re wanting to become a good Jewish cook then you need to learn how to make a good matzo ball soup. Not only is this maybe one of the most iconic Jewish dishes but it’s great for formal or informal meals and again it’s something that you can really make your own. The key to both is patience and time. Continue reading

Making Family Traditions My Own, The Matzo Cloth

Many of us grow up with family traditions. Often in those traditions there are family heirlooms. As we grow up and leave home to start our individual lives as adults we start reminiscing over holidays past. We think of the smells, sights, sounds and even the heirlooms and it evolves into a nostalgia. If there are family heirlooms you may even secretly hope that one day they may be passed on to you, but what about all those years till then?  Continue reading