Purim

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Ice Cream Sundae Cookies

Thursday, March 10th, 2016

It’s been a while since I made real cookies. Well on the blog at least (chocolate chip cookies are a regular around here, who can live without them?!). So many of you loved my healthy cowboy cookie dough bites, as do I. But there is no substitute for real crispy, chocolatey, chewy cookies, am I right?!

With Purim just around the corner, I thought it would be fun to come up with a cookie that could work both in a shalach manot basket, as well as a fun dessert for the festive Purim meal. Filling the cookie dough with fun ice cream sundae toppings makes this “kitchen sink” cookie a must have for the whole family!

The only thing better than the cookies themselves might be the raw cookie dough, or better yet, creating an ice cream sandwich with my favorite Neapolitan ice cream in between. Lets not count the calories, ok??

These cookies make the most out of California Gourmet’s new mini chocolate chips, which I might just love more than the original (if that is even possible!).  I’m a big supporter of their brand because it was started by a fellow momtrepreneur who has a passion for bringing amazing quality, kosher, vegan, allergy-friendly chocolate to the masses. She is basically my hero.

So how can we support this brand? Well it doesn’t take much – eat lots of chocolate! And once you try their rich, clean flavor, you’ll never go back. Trust me.

Now California Gourmet is available in over 300 stores in the U.S. and Australia, but if you live under a rock, you can STILL get it because it’s now available on Amazon (soon to be available on Amazon Prime)! And if your local store runs out, don’t forget to ask them to reorder so there’s enough to go around for all of us.

Now back to the cookies. Crunchy. Chewy. Chock full of sprinkles, chocolate chips and sugar cones – yes please! I think they’d make the cutest mishloach manos in a little box with a tub of ice cream and a jar of sprinkles or maraschino cherries. Don’t you?

What have you got planned for shalach manos this year? I’d love to hear your ideas! Share them with me in the comments below!

And in the meantime, go buy some ice cream, because you’re gonna need it!!


This post is sponsored by California Gourmet Chocolate Chips. Follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.   View the list of over 300 stores that carry the brand here).

Other Mishloach Manos Ideas:

Purim deviled eggs
Terra Stix white chocolate bark
Pretzels with raspberry honey mustard dip
Sushan sushi salad

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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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Raspberry Hamantaschen Hand Pies

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

I can’t believe the blogosphere is already awash with hamantaschen recipes. Is it just me or has this year literally flown by?!


Purim is one of my favorite holidays, and I’m sure it is for you too! Any holiday where we get to dress up in fun costumes, eat a nonsensical amount of candy and drink until we don’t know the difference between Haman and Mordechai is fine. by. me.

Purim is about JOY and FAMILY and TRADITION and I love to shake things up with fun and exciting recipes. Last year, my drunken hasselback salami went out all out viral and my Hamantini cocktail took a festive cookie to the next level. We can’t forget my sushi hamantaschen, baklava hamantaschen, mustache glasses, and other Purim fun, all easily accessible in my Purim column. There are some really great recipes coming up as well that I can’t wait to share with you!


As you can see, I love shaking things up, and whenever I get a chance to deconstruct a traditional holiday food, I take it and run! Hybrid recipes are my all time favorite and these hamantaschen hand pies are just the thing. If you’re not familiar with hand pies, they are basically a handheld pie made with a flaky pie crust and filled with fruit filling. They’re usually folded over into a semicircle shape, but are sometimes rectangular or even round. I’ve never seen triangular hand pies so I thought they’d make the perfect hamantasch!


My first batch was not as successfull as these beauties here. At first, I just made slits in the dough, ala classic pie, but they just looked like rustic hand pies, not hamantaschen. I troubleshooted and then these were born. And I couldn’t love them any more. They’re not only rustic and adorable, they taste AMAZING too. I think I even like them more than the traditional!


Would you believe that I’ve never made real, traditional hamantaschen? I was always scared away by those sob stories where the hamantaschen opened during baking and all the jam bled out. I also love the packaged store-bought variety that is full of additivies and junk. I mean it’s Purim after all. So if you’re gonna gorge on candy, you might as well eat a hamatasch. The real, margarine and preservative kind (so says the Paleo enthusiast lol).


While we’re on the topic of fun hamantasch recipes, here are some of my favorites from around the web: rainbow hamantaschen, funfetti hamataschen, fluffernutter hamantaschen, speculoos hamantaschen, smores hamantaschen, and halva hamantaschen. I also love the idea of savory hamantaschen, Bon Appetit‘s got a great variety from around the world.

What’s your favorite version? Share it with me in the comments below!



Related Recipes:

date and almond marzipan hamantaschen
baklava hamantaschen
sushi hamantaschen
savory hamantaschen trio
The Hamantini

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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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The Hamantini

Monday, February 17th, 2014

Purim has got to be every child’s favorite day of the year (and every dentists worse nightmare!). They get to dress up like princesses, go house hopping with their friends and amass an unconscionable amount of candy. It’s quite literally a kids dream come true.

But for the parents of those kids? Maybe not so much. First you got the weeks leading up to Purim where you have to wrack your brain for that perfect shalach manos gift basket. Not to mention all the kiddies, and their teachers, principals, therapists and bus drivers. It’s no wonder by the time Purim comes around, we’re meant to drink up until we don’t know the different between Haman & Mordechai.

And then you got Purim day where you’re up at an ungodly hour to dress all the kids in their Purim costumes, barely make it for Megillah reading, and run about town taking each of your kids to their list of friends, not to mention your family and friends. By the time you sit down for the Purim meal, you need a stiff drink! Enter: THE HAMANTINI, a riff on the classic Purim cookie – hamantaschen.

The 3-cornered hamantasch is customarily eaten on Purim because it resembles Haman’s hat. For more on that story, read this holiday guide. Hamantaschen are traditionally made with raspberry or apricot jam – both of which I have incorporated into my Hamantini cocktails.

For my Raspberry Hamantini, I went straight for my favorite drink of all time – Raspberry Snapple. A shot of vodka and some raspberry jam simple syrup offer a serious raspberry experience with just the right amount of buzz. Of course, the rim of the glass is dipped in raspberry jam syrup and raspberry hamantasch cookie crumbs – making The Raspberry Hamantini a most befitting name!

If raspberry is not your flavor, give The Apricot Hamantini a try. With apricot nectar, dark rum and apricot jam simple syrup, you’ll be in apricot heaven! Of course the rim of this cocktail glass is also dipped in apricot jam simple syrup and finished in apricot hamantasch cookie crumbs for a festive finish. Apricot euphoria in a glass, if I may.

While I’m no mixologist, I had so much fun creating these festive cocktails! I found some great stuff hiding in my liquor cabinet, and I can’t wait to whip out my shot glasses come Purim. I make quite a fun drunk, I must say. So if you see me around and I’m a wee bit tipsy, you’ll can blame it all on Haman and his three-cornered hat.

So as the day dwindles down, and the kiddies collapse all shmeared in makeup and chocolate, whip out your martini glasses and let the real fun begin!


Pick the flavor that suits your fancy – Raspberry or Apricot (or both!)- and drink up and be merry! Happy Purim!

Other Cocktail Recipes:

whiskey cider
3 layer chocolate cake martini

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In honor of Purim, the Kosher Connection is having a cocktail linkup party! Read on for more great cocktail recipes and ideas!