Paula Shoyer's Almond & Olive Oil Cake

From The Holiday Kosher Baker by Paula Shoyer (Sterling, 2013). Photo by Michael Bennett Kress.

By Paula Shoyer

The use of olive oil in cakes dates back farther than the Hanukkah story itself. Olive oil was used in baked offerings at the Temple. This is a super easy teatime cake that reminds me of simple cakes I have eaten in Italy. If you are feeling decadent, serve this with whipped cream.

Serves 8 to 12.

¾ cup (90g) sliced almonds (with or without skins)
1 cup (200g) sugar
3 large eggs
½ cup (120ml) extra virgin olive oil
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (60g) ground almonds
1½ teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon almond extract
½ teaspoon orange zest (from one orange)
spray oil containing flour

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Trace an 8-inch (20-cm) round pan on parchment paper and cut it out with scissors. Grease and flour the pan, press in the parchment circle, and grease and flour the top of the parchment and sides of the pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with the sliced almonds.

In a medium bowl, beat the sugar, eggs and olive oil for about one minute at medium speed until creamy. Add the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, salt, almond extract and orange zest, and beat until combined. Pour the mixture over the sliced nuts. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then run a knife around the sides. Turn the cake onto a wire rack and let it cool. Serve the cake almond side up. Store it covered at room temperature for up to four days or freeze for up to three month.

* * *

Polish Apple Latkes

Photo by Bogdan Bialy for From a Polish Country House Kitchen by Danielle Crittenden Frum
and Anne Applebaum. 

It's hard to imagine getting sick of latkes, especially if you followed our "Best Latke" recipe by Julia Child (below), with our suggested addition of caviar and sour cream.  But if you've been indulging in the latkes and chocolate all week, here's a recipe that will at least feel a bit lighter. This is an ideal dish for a special breakfast, if you’ve got guests or just want something festive for a Hanukkah morning. It's also a nice version to end the holiday on a note of sweetness.

Serves 4-6.

2 apples, peeled and coarsely grated
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup plain low-fat yogurt or kefir
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup water
Pinch of salt
1 to 2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil, plus more as needed
Confectioners’ sugar for sprinkling

Put the apples, flour and yogurt in a mixing bowl and mix with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs and stir. Add the water and salt and mix again.

Heat a large frying pan over medium heat and spread just enough of the oil over the bottom to cover it thinly. (If you use too much oil, the pancakes can become rather greasy.) Drop a heaping tablespoon of the batter onto the pan for each pancake, and don’t let them touch one another. They should be thick and chunky, like blini or latkes. Cook on one side until the bottom is golden, 3 to 5 minutes depending on how hot your pan is, and then flip.

As the pancakes are cooked, place them on a plate covered with paper towel to absorb any grease. If you are making large numbers of them, place them in layers with paper towel in between. (Remove the paper towels before serving.)

Place the pancakes on a platter or individual plates and sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar. Accompany each serving with a heaping spoonful of applesauce.

* * *

Julia Child's Potato "Latke" with Caviar & Sour Cream

Julie Child's potato galette. Photo by Renee Comet for Fig Tree & Vine.

By Danielle Frum

I've been collecting latke recipes for many years. Most of those described as "traditional" require numerous ingredients -- onions, eggs, flour etc. -- and impose complicated tasks on the cook: potatoes must be grated, then soaked, then drained; the skillet must be especialy deep to hold copious amounts of oil.  I have tasted many versions of these latkes -- "My grandmother's recipe!" -- and have never much liked them. My experiments with such recipes only seemed to yield grease-sodden patties with a spongy texture. No amount of sour cream or applesauce could conceal the strong underlying flavors of corn oil and raw potato starch.  

Then I discovered Julia Child's recipe for a potato "galette" in her 1989 classic, The Way to Cook.  The simple dish -- grated russet potatoes, salt, pepper, and nothing else, fried by the spoonful in clarified butter or olive oil -- struck me as a brilliant new concept: latke a la francaise.

Child first tasted these galettes in a New York restaurant, La Tulipe. She found them a perfection of fried potato shards: crunchy on the outside, moist on the inside, and not at all greasy. "One of the crispest and most successful of potato pancakes, to my mind," Child wrote. She appealed to the restaurant for the recipe. Sous chef Sara Moulton obliged.   

The secret to the gallete, Child noted, is "the important information that 'baking' potatoes are required for this particular dish, that they are boiled the previous day so they will be cold for proper grating, and that the trick is to keep them slightly underdone. Then the potato pieces will stick together enough in the saute pan so that you can flip them over to brown the other side."


Latkes sizzling in my cast iron pan; the finished latkes are moved to paper towels to drain.
Boiling the potatoes in advance -- or steaming them, as in Child's version of the recipe -- meant no rinsing and draining of the collected watery starch. Cooled, they grated easily with a hand grater (the kind Child recommends using, as opposed to a food processor, which can create mushy shards). Because they were pre-cooked, they didn't brown either. I could toss them with salt and pepper and leave the mixture out on the counter. until I was ready to fry.  The minimal use of clarified butter or oil meant they would not be immersed in a bath of grease. 

The result? Latkes that truly rate as one of Hanukkah's miracles.  

Child is exactly right that this recipe produces fried potatoes in their purest form: light, delicate, with the perfect balance of crunchy exterior to moist interior -- and no leftover taste of raw potatoes.  They may turn out to be a little more randomly shaped and spikier than the traditional rounder and flatter "pancake," but that only adds to their crunchy deliciousness. In our house we serve them with a dollop of sour cream and a spoonful of salmon caviar. And champagne. Of course. 
This year, more than any other year, it seems fitting to honor France in all our festivals and celebrations. 
Here is the recipe for Julia Child's "Potato Galettes," from The Way to Cook (copyright 1989, Alfred A. Knopf).


For 12-15 small (3-4 inch) latkes.

2 to 3 large baking potatoes about 12 ounces each
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup or so of clarified butter or olive oil

Cooking the potatoes – several hours or a day in advance:

Scrub the potatoes under hot running water, then steam them for 12 to 15 minutes (mine took 25 minutes), until the potatoes are almost but not quite cooked.  In other words, they should not be floury – after 12 minutes, pierce one with a sharp small knife, which should just penetrate.  Cut one of the potatoes in half crosswise; if there is a raw central core, steam 2 or 3 minutes more.  (If the central core is not cooked through it can discolor!)  Let cool uncovered; the potatoes must be thoroughly cold before you grate them.

Peel the cold potatoes and rub through the large holes of the grater onto a baking sheet or tray.  Toss lightly with a sprinkling of salt and pepper, leaving them loosely massed; set aside until you are ready to continue.

Film a frying pan with 1/8 inch of clarified butter or oil, and, when hot, spread in 1/2 to 2/3 cup of grated potato (the amount depends on how thick a galette you want).  Saute over moderate heat for 4 to 5 minutes, pressing the the potatoes together lightly with a spatula, until the bottom has crusted and browned.  Flip over, and saute to brown the other side a few minutes more.  Transfer to a baking sheet, and keep warm while finishing the rest.  

Ahead of time note: The galettes may be sauteed somewhat ahead.  Set aside uncovered, at room temperature.  Reheat briefly in a 425 degree oven.

 * * *

Roasted Autumn Fruit for the High Holy Days


By Amelia Saltzman

This recipe is reprinted from The Seasonal Jewish Kitchen, © 2015 by Amelia Saltsman, Sterling Epicure, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.

Author Amelia Saltzman describes this recipe -- delicious for the High Holidays -- as  "my go-to autumn dessert, perfect for all this season's holidays... Roasting fall fruit brings out the spicy notes we associate with desserts this time of year. And it's very forgiving: just about any combination of seasonal fruit will do, and no special techniques, precise measuring, or timing is required."

Serve with ice cream, craime fraiche, or with cake. 

Serves 10 to 12.

4 pounds mixed apples and Bosc or Anjou pears, about 6 apples and 3-4 large pears, including some firm-fleshed, such as Pippin, and some melting-flesh apple varieties, such as Golden Delicious
2 Fuyu persimmons
1-2 pints fresh figs, about ¾ pound
2 cups Concord, Autumn Royale or wine grapes
2 ounces dried fruit, such as plums, apricots, or apples, snipped into small pieces
¼ cup honey
1/3 cup off-dry red or white wine or a muscat dessert wine, such as Beaumes de Venise
A few thyme sprigs, optional

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Peel apples, pears and persimmons, if desired. Halve and core them and cut into large wedges or chunks. Cut figs in half lengthwise. Place all the fruit, including the grapes and the dried fruit in a large ovenproof pan using your hands to mix them gently. It’s OK to mound the fruit to fit.

In a small saucepan, combine the honey and wine, warm over low heat, and then pour evenly over all the fruit. Toss in the thyme sprigs, if desired. Roast fruit until it is bubbly and well browned in places, about 45 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature. 

* * *

Whole Baked Fish, Moroccan-Style

Red Snapper, seasoned and ready for the oven. Photo by Danielle Frum


This recipe makes for a spectacular centerpiece of a Break Fast meal. A four-pound fish can feed 4-6 people. Double (or triple it!) for more guests. Once the fish is seasoned, it marinates for at least two hours and takes only 10 minutes per side to cook; thus it can be done at the last minute.  Serve with a selection of room-temperature Moroccan appetizers (such as these by celebrity chef Raffi Cohen), and you have a refreshing and delicious change from the usual bagels 'n kugel menu.  This recipe is adapted from the original by Moira Hodgson in the New York Times.

Serves 4-6.

1 bunch fresh coriander
cloves garlic
2 tablespoons vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon or lime
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon cumin
½ teaspoon crushed chili pepper
 Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 4-pound whole fish such as striped bass, sea bass, red snapper, cleaned and gutted, head and tail intact

Reserving a few sprigs of coriander for garnishing, combine all the ingredients except the fish in an electric blender and mix until smooth. With a sharp knife, make three slashes in the skin on both sides. Smear the mixture in the fish cavity and over the skin. Leave to marinate at room temperature for about 2 hours.

When ready to serve, broil the fish for about 10 minutes on each side, depending on the thickness of the fish, or until cooked. Arrange on a serving platter, garnish with coriander and lemon slices.


* * *


Siniya with Roasted Cauliflower, Meat Patties, and Preserved Lemon & Tomato Salad

Photo reprinted with permission from Eden's Eats.

 By Eden Grinshpan of Eden's Eats

So Rosh Hashanah is this Sunday and I have been debating on what to make…stick to the classics?!? or try something new and fun?!?…what do you think I am going to do??
I am obviously going to serve the honey, apples and challah (to celebrate a sweet new year). But I feel like Jewish food, as good as it is, can be a little old school and since you are bringing together family and friends, why not try out a new recipe and bring something fun and fresh to the table?!?
I love this is bold, EASY TO MAKE, colorful and full of flavor. Also, it has an exotic feel without having to use ingredients that you cant find at your local supermarket. This is my version of Siniya, a Palestinian dish of ground lamb baked in tahini sauce. I actually had it for the first time just a couple of weeks ago at a restaurant in Jaffa… I LOVED it and was obviously inspired. It may seem a little complicated, but to be honest…it is just a combination of easy recipes that you bring into one.
Serves four.

Step 1:  Roasted Cauliflower

1 whole head of cauliflower, stems and leaves kept on
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste

Pre-heat the oven to 420-degrees.
Bring a large pot of water to boil, than place the cauliflower in the boiling water. Cover and let boil for 3 minutes. Remove from the water and let steam dry. When the cauliflower is almost dry, cut into even sized pieces and drizzle with a nice amount of olive oil, season well with the salt. Place in the hot oven for 20-30 minutes, until golden all over. Remove and place on the side.

Step 2:  Ground Lamb and Beef Patties

Note: If you can not find all these spices, than just use the ones you have on hand…the lamb is so flavorful, you can make this dish even without the spices.

1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground beef
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, finely grated
Kosher Salt to taste
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp all spice
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tb finely chopped parsley and cilantro- plus extra for garnish
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts- for garnish

In a large bowl combine the ground lamb, beef, onion, garlic, coriander, black pepper, cinnamon, all spice, cloves, cumin. cardamom, nutmeg, cilantro, and parsley. Mix well and form into 2-inch patties. Let sit in the fridge for at least 20 minutes. Remove from the fridge and get a grill pan or a cast iron frying pan very hot. Season the patties with salt and sear them on both sides, just to get some color. Remove and place in a baking dish. Make the tahini.

Step 3: Tahini Sauce

1 cup of tahini
1/2 lemon squeezed
1 peeled garlic clove, grated or mashed through a seive
In a medium bowl combine the tahini, lemon juice, garlic and water…add water until the tahini is a liquid state…like 1/2 cup. Season with salt and assemble the dish.

Step 4: Assembling and Finishing the Recipe

Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.

In a medium-sized casserole, place the lamb and beef patties over the surface, with the cauliflower around the meat. Drizzle the tahini all over. Place into the pre-heated oven for about 10-15 minutes, than remove. Cover with the tossed tomato salad all along the top with the toasted pine nuts and the freshly chopped parsley and cilantro. Serve hot.

Tomato And Preserved Lemon Salad

2 cups of cherry tomatoes sliced
1 preserved lemon, washed and finely chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Drizzle of olive oil

In a medium bowl, toss the tomatoes with the preserved lemon, olive oil and salt. Check for seasoning.




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