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Healthy Thumbprint Hamantaschen (Egg Free!)

Monday, March 21st, 2016

I thought I was done with hamantaschen baking this year. My corndog hamantaschen were a huge hit and that was good enough for me! Except every time I bought classic hamantaschen for the kids, my allergic toddler would watch his older siblings enviously and each time I promised myself to make an egg-free version.

I thought about making classic hamantaschen using aquafaba, that slimy juice at the bottom of a can of chickpeas. It’s said to be a great alternative for eggs in vegan baking, and I’ve used it before in muffins. Of course I got busy and my aquafaba-infused hamantaschen experiments went to the wayside.

But then this week, I had a business meeting in my ‘hood, and Chaya brought me a much needed cup of coffee with a side of crunchy thumbprint cookies. The cookies were delicious, so, like any good food blogger, I asked for the recipe. When I heard that the cookies were egg free with few ingredients, I knew I had to whip them up for my son.

I drove home dreaming about the cookies and it hit me – I wanted to make egg-free hamantaschen, so why not make egg-free thumbprint hamantaschen cookies! They had jam anyway, right?


So I got right to work on the 5-ingredient dough, which took less than 5 minutes to make, and I ransacked my fridge for all the jam I could find. I’m kind of a jam hoarder, so I wasn’t surprised to find an assortment of flavors in the back of the fridge, including, blueberry, strawberry rhubarb, apricot, fig and plum (told you I was a jam hoarder! my favorite place to buy them is Homegoods!).

Would  you check out that beautiful jam filling?

The cookies taste like a crisp granola cookie, only mildly sweet, so I couldn’t help but finish them off with some melted chocolate. Chocolate makes everything better.

The true test was giving these to my son, who is prone to scraping the chocolate off anything and everything, instead of biting into it. I’m always reminding him, “Bite, don’t lick!”, but he always goes back to his chocolate (or cheese!) licking when I’m not looking.


I handed him a hamantasch and he held it in his hand and studied it for a minute or two. I thought he was going to start scraping off the chocolate, but to my surprise, he actually took a bite! He continued to eat his way through, enjoying every morsel. Success!

Purim is just two days away, so we’ll call these “last licks!” (pun intended!). If you’ve been looking for that healthy hamantaschen recipe, you’ve got it. And just in time.


Related Recipes:

cowboy cookie dough bites
healthy date & almond hamantaschen
Grape Nut coconut crunch cookies
oatmeal cookies

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Salami Quiche

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

It’s been a hectic couple of weeks here at BIB, with lots of Purim demos, cooking classes and recipe writing! I always say that calling myself BUSY IN BROOKLYN was like a self-fulfilling-prophecy, because when I started this blog I wasn’t half as busy as I am nowadays. But busy is good and I am so thankful for it! Except when all that busying around turns into a sinus infection, and my recipe testing is put on hold because I can’t taste anything! I had amazing plans for a new hamantasch this week, but my taste buds won’t cooperate. And even though I can barely lift my head off my pillow, I’ve got my third demo this week in a couple of hours! So, I THANK GOD for this amazing recipe that I developed for a local magazine’s Purim issue last year, so at least I have something to share!

You all know that I’ve taken on a BIB tradition to share a salami recipe every year. I once heard that people have a tradition to eat salami on Purim because it is hung, like Haman (!!!). Who knows if it’s true, but it’s definitely fun. And it was especially thrilling when my DRUNKEN HASSELBACK SALAMI went crazy viral two years ago (I can’t believe it’s so old!). I always meet readers at demos, or even on the street who tell me that it’s become a weekly tradition for them. I just love that!

For this year, here’s something a bit more homey and family-friendly for your Purim meal. I’m sure this will become a staple in your family for the holidays too. Happy Purim!

Related Recipes:

drunken hasselback salami
beer battered salami chips with beer mustard
salami chips with dijon dipping sauce

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Corndog Hamantaschen

Tuesday, March 1st, 2016

My friend recently commented to me that she is really enjoying all of the unique hamantaschen she sees popping up on her newsfeed. “Is it like a competition between you guys?,” she wanted to know. Well, no. OK, maybe a little.

It’s not a competition as much as it is a desire to come up with the most brilliant, out of the box, knock-your-socks-off kind of hamantasch that outshines all the rest. So it’s not really about the others. It’s just about yours being THAT GOOD. And it’s not just about hamantaschen either. It’s about always being at the top of your game because that’s what food bloggers do. We try to stay ahead of the trends, create cool hybrid dishes and wow our readers so they keep coming back for more.

So how did I do? Is this corndog hamantasch hybrid mindblowing enough to explode on your newsfeed?! Just wait until you taste them. They’re nice and crispy, with an amazing texture from the coarse cornmeal that’s unlike any hamantasch you’ve ever had.

People always ask me how I come up with this stuff and the answer is, I have no idea. Sometimes it hits me in the dead of night, when insomnia rears it’s ugly head. Sometimes, I’m lacking inspiration so I browse the web for ideas on popular food trends. And sometimes it’s because I’m a mom, and when I can get my kids to eat something, I go all out viral with the idea.

These particular hamantaschen did not take a lot of convincing. My kids are huge fans of Abeles & Heymann’s hot dogs and they are equally obsessed with my nondairy cornbread. I’ve only made homemade corndogs once, as a midnight snack when they were fast asleep (I may or may not have been pregnant at the time) but I often make mini corndog muffins filled with hot dog chunks. Corndog hamantaschen are definitely new in this house, but as I tested different batches of dough, they seemed to disappear as each tray came out of the oven.

What I love about this recipe is that you can easily use it for sweet applications as you can with savory hot dogs. I tested a batch with strawberry rhubarb jam and they were incredible. I’m definitely going to try it with blueberry jam too. and of course, after Purim, you can just make them into thin round cookies and forget the whole triangle thing.

But for now, the triangle thing is super fun and I already have a frozen batch to serve up for the Purim seudah! I might make a batch of baklava hamantaschen for dessert. Or, another special recipe that I’ll be sharing up on the blog soon!

What are some of your favorite creative hamantaschen to make on Purim? Or are you more of a traditionalist? I don’t think I have ever made traditional hamantaschen in my life, can you imagine? If I want apricot or raspberry hamantaschen, I just buy them at the bakery. That’s what they’re there for, right?!

In the meantime, I’ll be savoring the rest of this savory batch, if my kids don’t get to it first. Happy Purim Prep!


This post was sponsored by Abeles & Heymann

Related Recipes:

savory hamantaschen trio
hot dog eggrolls
vegetarian chili and cornbread

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Purim Deviled Eggs

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

You probably never thought you’d hear a nice Jewish girl say this, but thank G-d for Easter! You see, I just wasn’t feeling Purim this year. I’ve been busier than ever (I think I should change my name to BUSIER in Brooklyn) and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t really come up with a fun food gift that wouldn’t break the bank.

Enter Target’s dollar section AKA my favorite place of all time! Since I couldn’t seem to come up with something, I decided to shop around and let the aisles do the talking. Well talk, they did! When I saw these adorable Easter egg crates, I knew exactly what I was going to make. Total cost: $1.

After I found the egg crates, I realized that I would need something to place them in – something nice and sturdy, that would hold them in place. Well, I didn’t have to look much further. A bit deeper in to the Target bargain bins, I found these square wooden boxes, which fit the crates just right. Total cost: $3.

Now all I needed was to fill the empty space next to the eggs, but what to put? Hmm, deviled eggs, deviled…hot…hot sauce! The perfect accompaniment to deviled eggs! So I did what any bargain hunter would do, on my way home from Target, I stopped by every little supermarket I could find and went straight for the condiment aisle. I tried all the bottles to see what would fit, until I scored the ultimate find! OU certified Louisiana hot sauce at 4 for $1. You got that right! FOUR whole bottles for one hundred pennies! The original price was $3.19 per bottle, but they were on special just this week! Talk about good timing!

I also scored this amazing copper beer bucket at Target for just $3 – a great addition to my growing props collection. And the plastic eggs that came with the egg cartons? My kids are gonna have a ball with those.

So, Target loot in hand, I went home and cooked up some 6 dozen eggs. Cooking in bulk always reminds me why I never want to go into the catering business. Peeling them was such a pain, and my house literally stunk like a chicken coop! Do you know what the secret to easy egg peeling is? Use old eggs. Seriously! The fresher the egg, the harder they are to peel. And do you think I remembered to buy eggs two weeks ago? NO. This girl, who knew the secret to easy-egg-peeling, bought FRESH eggs. I kid you not.


Now if you want to serve up deviled eggs vertical-style (stuffing them standing up instead of cutting them in half lengthwise), here’s what I learned: you need to slice off the top from the wide end of the egg. If you start from the narrow tip, you’re gonna lose half the egg before you reach enough of the yellow to be able to get it out. Once I sliced off the wide end, I squeezed gently on the whites and the yolk literally plops out. It even makes a “plopping” noise. Kind of funny!

Once I’ve separated my yolks from the whites, I go ahead and fill my food processor with the yolks, adding in some mayo, mustard, pickle relish, onion powder and salt. I give it a whirl and let it go until the mixture is nice and creamy. Then, I scoop the creamy filling into a ziploc bag and cut off the tip. I fill the whites with the yolks and top it with a bit of chopped green onion. Simple. Clean. And oh so yummy.

Deviled eggs, check. Egg cartons, check. Hot sauce, check.

Now the only thing left to do, was make a cute card – and it came to me just as I was putting the finishing touches on my crates. Why not use yellow and white card stock to make an egg-shaped card? I’m not a big fan of my handwriting so creating tags on the computer really works for me! Seriously, how cute are these?!

I hope you enjoyed my little peek into my family’s shalach manos! Wishing you and yours a truly EGGSELLENT PURIM!

If this post has induced a deviled eggs craving, I’ve got you covered! Check out this classic recipe, or try this pickled one!

And if you’d like to print your own Egg cards, download the template here (I reduced the size for the yolk portion of the card).

What did you make for shalach manos this year? Share your Purim ideas with me in the comments below!

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Beer Battered Salami Chips with Beer Mustard

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Oh yes I did. I made SALAMI. ON. STEROIDS.

And I didn’t have much choice either. I mean, there’s pretty much no outdoing my drunken hasselback salami, so I had to go there. And by there I mean, the deep fryer.

Ever since I read about a not-so-well-known custom to eat salami on Purim (to commemorate the hanging of HAMAN…hanging….salami….get it?), I’ve been banging out salami recipes for the holiday. Truth be told, I have no idea if this is a real thing, or if I happened upon a practical joke, but regardless, this taking-salami-to-the-next-level challenge has been a blast.

And it’s so ironic because I literally hated salami growing up. My mom used to feed us salami sandwiches for lunch every Friday afternoon. She’d smear ketchup on rye and top it with thick slices of salami all wrapped up in a foil package so we could take it along as we played in the courtyard of our building. One at a time, we’d chuck those salami sandwiches down the incinerator, and my mom was none the wiser! Fast forward some 20+ years and here. I. am.

Now when I think about this recipe, I have to admit, it’s like the ultimate guy food. It’s got beer, salami and it’s fried. I mean, seriously, could you ask for anything more?

Apparently you can. Because, not only did I come up with the ultimate finger food, I even made a beer dipping sauce, just to take the whole Purim thing over the top. Because that’s the way I roll. Or hang, apparently.

I’ve never made mustard from scratch before so I was excited to give it a try. There’s something really interesting I discovered about mustard in this recipe creation process. When mustard is exposed to heat, it loses it’s potency. (Same goes for horseradish and wasabi by the way)! I learned this by trying the same mustard recipe two ways – one used a bit more beer so I reduced it over heat, and the other I blended in the food processor to thicken, using no heat. The results were astounding! The blended mustard is super hot, while the cooked mustard is mildly sweet with little heat. Pretty awesome, right?

When the crispy salami and beer mustard meet, it’s the ultimate marriage. And it’s not just any salami, by the way. I used my favorite brand, Abeles & Heymann, because after visiting their factory a few months ago, and watching the salami-making process with my own eyes, I know their salami is made with the highest quality ingredients from start to finish!

And I wouldn’t think of coating that salami in anything less than the perfect crispy batter – which is what you get from beer batter. It’s super light and crisp, and let’s not forget, easy! Beer batter is just flour and beer and that’s it. Because the salami is packed with flavor, I don’t add much else, but you can always add a pinch of cayenne for some heat, if you’d like.

Now that we have the ultimate party food, lets discuss the Jewish holiday of Purim for a second! The Purim celebration is based upon the biblical Book of Esther, which recounts the story of Queen Esther and how she saved the Jewish people from annihilation at the hands of Haman (after whom the HAMANtasch is named). We celebrate with a festive feast (where these salami chips must make an appearance!), sending food gifts to family and friends, drinking until we don’t know the difference between the evil HAMAN and the righteous MOREDECHAI, and of course, dressing up as characters in the Purim story.

Growing up, Purim was always our favorite holiday, and you can imagine why. We got to dress up, deliver goodies to our friends and gorge on hamantaschen. As an adult, I love to put my own twist on the holiday with creative themes on my food gifts, fun twists on holiday cocktails and of course, crazy spins on salami!

If you live in Brooklyn, Queens or The Five Towns, be sure to check out my other salami recipe in the all new FYI Magazine! I’m so excited to join the team of FYI as the food editor, with a column for Fast & Fresh recipes as well as a Nutritious and Delicious section. This month, I’ve got a quick and easy salami quiche as well as a Persian twist on dried fruit truffles – perfect for your Purim feast or your Mishloach Manos.

Whether you choose to take on the Purim salami tradition or not, just remember to have fun and be joyous, because that’s what this holiday is all about! :) Happy Purim!

Salami making at the Abeles & Heymann factory with owner, Seth Levitt! This is the first and last time you will see me in a lab coat and hairnet ;)

This post is sponsored by Abeles & Heymann. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter

Other Salami Recipes:

drunken hasselback salami
baked salami chips with dijon dipping sauce

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Drunken Hasselback Salami

Thursday, March 13th, 2014

I bet you’ve never heard of anything like drunken hasselback salami. Hasselback potatoes, maybe. What are they? Well back in the 1940’s, a dish of whole potatoes cut to resemble an accordion was first served at the Hasselbacken restaurant in Stockholm. Cutting the potatoes this way results in a soft and creamy interior with crisped and browned edges.

Hasselback potatoes have been popular ever since, most commonly served in a simple preparation of butter and salt. I put my own twist on these a while back, using sweet potatoes & apples for a sweet variation.

For Purim, I decided to really bring some hassel back with a sweet & savory combo of salami in an apricot-brand glaze. Since salami is a food that is traditionally hung to dry, many have a custom to eat it on Purim to commemorate the hanging of Haman.

There’s no question that this drunken hasselback salami will be the star of your Purim meal! I couldn’t resist adding some booze to the sauce to really take it over the top. Coming from a former salami-averter, trust me when I tell you that this stuff will please even the pickiest palate. Salami is NOT my thing, or I should say, WAS not my thing – until I ate this. My husband and kids gobbled it up, sopping up the extra sauce with the pulled salami chips.

The first time I tried to make hasselback potatoes, I inadvertently sliced all the way through so many times that my accordion potato morphed into a gratin. But after stumbling upon the coolest hasselback trick, I haven’t screwed up a single potato since! Simply place a chopstick on either side of the potato (or salami) and slice. The knife will stop cutting when it hits the chopstick for perfect accordions every time! How cool is that?

This finger-licking hasselback experiment has got my wheels turning. I’m already dreaming up lots of other accordion-style treats – stay tuned!

Related recipes:

hasselback sweet potatoes with apples
salami chips with dijon dipping sauce

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Terra Stix White Chocolate Bark

Monday, March 10th, 2014


I can’t believe how the years have gone by so quickly. It feels like just yesterday that I was getting dressed up in my princess costume, hopping around town with my bag full of shalach manos. Now I’ve got my own little princesses in tow, and I’m the one doing the driving. Where oh where has all the time gone?

I have some great memories of my mother preparing Purim packages for family and friends. She’d often give out Boston Cream Pies from Schick’s Bakery with a bottle of wine, and I was all too happy to deliver it. I’d get a dollar here and a dollar there, and always an extra stash of candy to nosh on.

The Boston cream pies were always a huge hit, and a welcome change from the bags of pineapples and wine that filled everyones tables. When I was just married, I followed suit and made mini pies for everyone, with a side of chocolate dipped strawberries. That was a good one!

I wish I could remember all the cutesy ideas I’ve had over the years. And the not-so-cutesy ones too. One year, I decided to make candy apples (from the “Applebaums”) and it was a complete disaster! There was a burnt sugar and red food coloring all over the place, and the apples were so sticky, I could barely package them!

When it comes to homemade food gifts, chocolate bark takes the cake for the easiest one of all. But I couldn’t just make any boring old chocolate bark! While nuts and dried fruits are delicious, they’re fairly typical. Instead, I decided to combine sweet & salty flavors with milky white chocolate and colorful Terra Stix. The result is so gorgeous, it’s almost too pretty to eat. Except when you do, the combo is so good you don’t want to stop!

Other Food Gift Ideas & Recipes:

chocolate dipped pretzel rods
hummus & pita chips
“Shushan sushi salad”
Purim pretzels with raspberry honey mustard pretzel dip
milk & cookies
salami chips with dijon dipping sauce

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DIY Glitter Mustache Glasses

Thursday, March 6th, 2014

I’m just gaga for mustache crafts, I admit it! They’re just so. darn. cute. You might have seen my mustache straws or my crocheted coffee cup mustache cozy, other mustache crafts I adore.

Purim is the perfect time to celebrate with mustache mania. The holiday is all about dress up and diguises, so why not dress up your tablescape with these adorable mustache glasses? I love to use different shape glasses for visual impact, but feel free to do these on shot glasses or even disposable martini ones!

There are so many options and variations when it comes to a craft like this, so go with your style and dress these glasses up however you like! Colorful sharpies work (as a temporary option, they’ll wash off with soap and water), colorful glitter adds a fun touch or use the template to create photo props or mustache straws.

I have to give a shout out to the talented Abbey Wolin of Not2Shabbey. She gave me the brilliant idea of taping the template to the inside of the glass – how smart is that? No need to cut out the mustache or create a stencil, simply trace through the glass!

For more fun glitter projects, check out the gorgeous glitter wine bottle centerpieces we decorated at the JCreate Magazine Blogger Purim Party!

Other Mustache Crafts:

mustache straws
crocheted coffee cup mustache cozy

Cocktail Recipes:

The Hamantini
whiskey cider
3 layer chocolate cake martini
Sangria

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Date & Almond Hamantaschen

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

You know Purim is coming around when the blogosphere is overflowing with creative hamantasch recipes. It almost feels as if no-one makes classic hamantaschen anymore! The funny thing is, I’ll make just about any triangular-shaped-cookie-concoction besides classic hamantaschen. I’ve heard way too many disaster stories of the corners splitting open and jam spilling all over the place.

Call me a hypocrite but if I want good old-fashioned hamantaschen, I reach for the highly-processed Reisman’s variety. I mean, if I’m gonna eat a hamantasch, I might as well eat. a. hamantasch. Right?

But if I’m eating a different kind of hamantasch, well then I might as well go crazy, right? And by crazy I mean whipping up some sushi hamantaschen, baklava hamantaschen, or a trio of savory puff pastry hamantaschen.

Believe me, I’ve been dreaming up some crazy hamantaschen ideas all year long! But as we got closer to Purim, I couldn’t imagine breaking the momentum of my diet for some 3-cornered cookies. Instead, I challenged myself to come up with a healthy hamantasch for a change. And by healthy, I don’t mean spelt, or whole wheat, or even sugar-free. I’m talking no-flour, no-baking, no-dough or jam of any kind!

My first thought was to create a raw hamantasch using dates to create a cookie “dough”. I went to my local produce market to pick up some medjool dates and there was my inspiration – marzipan stuffed dates! Brilliant!

I got right to work creating my healthy no-bake hamantaschen. It’s amazing how something with such few natural ingredients can come out so spectacular! Not only do the raw hamantaschen resemble a real cookie, they taste incredible too, all without the guilt.

The best part about making these cookies is choosing what to roll them in. While coconut, pistachios and cocoa keep things healthy, you can up the fun-factor with some nonpareils or colorful sprinkles. Don’t worry, my lips are sealed. We’ll call it our Purim secret ;)

Other hamantasch recipes:

trio of savory puff pastry hamantaschen
sushi hamantaschen
baklava hamantaschen
“The Hamantini” Purim cocktail

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Grape Nut Coconut Crunch Cookies

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

As a kid growing up in a small community, my friends and I would make our rounds early Purim morning, skipping excitedly down Kingston Avenue, our bags overflowing with shalach manos. There was always someone who delivered a bottle of chocolate milk and a danish, or better yet, some milk and cookies. Taffy and candies weren’t my thing, but cookies? Cookies were special. I’d rip open the shiny cellophane and dig right in to the perfect Purim breakfast.

Cookies have always been one of my favorite things. I love them chewy, but also crunchy, and sweet but also salty. How is that possible? Well, if you try these Grape Nut coconut crunch cookies, you’ll understand. The coconut flakes add chewiness while the Grape Nuts complement with just the right amount of crunch. They bake up into these perfect little mounds that are oh-so-pretty and perfect for a milk and cookies breakfast come Purim morning. And if you’ve got some friends down the block, I’m sure they’d appreciate a batch wrapped in cellophane, with a cold bottle of milk.

 

Other cookie recipes:

oatmeal cookies
pecan lace cookies
gingerbread cookies
s’mores cookies
chocolate crinkle cookies
classic sugar cookies
cowboy cookies

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