My Tzimmes Recipe

I mentioned that I wanted to give you my Tzimmes-recipe, so here it is! I have already made this dish twice during this Pesach, and am still enjoying the leftovers.

Now, before we get to the recipe, -we find ourselves before yet another erev chag. And you may be asking yourself how come I all of a sudden have time to sit and write a blog-post in the middle of the afternoon before a holiday evening. (Because of course we are hosting again, – there will be ten of us around the table tonight.) The answer is, – my husband has volunteered to prepare the meal for tonight! Yes, he even chose the menu and wrote the shopping list! Be encouraged, – we are seeing miracles in our days!!

cooking

I still made the dessert and the soup, and will do the salad and of course the table-decorations, – we don’t want to go totally overboard. But again, – he is making the main dishes! And we are all excited about it!

Back to the Tzimmes. This is a traditional holiday side-dish which I make just about every Pesach and Rosh Hashanah. It definitely falls in the category of comfort-food with it’s mushy-ness and sweetness in spite of not being a dessert. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we do:

Tzimmes

TZIMMES

Lots of sweet potatoes

Some carrots

As many sliced apricots and prunes as you would like

Cinnamon to taste

Some orange juice

Possibly some honey

Peel and slice both sweet potatoes and carrots. Then you cook those together. There should be maybe 80 % sweet potatoes, and 20 percent carrots. After they are done, you pour out the water and put the carrots and sweet potatoes in a baking dish. Add apricots, prunes and cinnamon to taste. Add the orange juice, and honey if you want. Mix it all together. Taste a spoon of it, and add more of whatever you think will improve the flavor! 

This is a very convenient dish to just keep hot on the hotplate, or you can heat it in your oven if you’d like. I love eating this next to meat and gravy and mashed potatoes. That tastes like a chag (holiday) to me!

Chag sameach, everyone!

Pumpkin soup

November is here, and that means majoring on pumpkins, doesn’t it? I did not grow up eating a lot of pumpkins, so the pumpkin pies I make mostly for my American husband and for our son who also loves this. Pumpkin-soup on the other hand, is something my tastebuds can share a love for.

butternut squash

Last week I made this soup for our weekly Thursday Torah-study group. And afterwards I have been asked for the recipe, so I thought I might as well write it here on the blog. As with many of the things that I make, it is really simple and easy. The secret behind its wonderful taste, is a lot of pumpkin! Or a lot of butternut squash, or a mixture of the two, which is what I did the other day.

butternut squash

I start by cutting a couple of onions into relatively small pieces, and frying them in butter over medium heat, so that the onion pieces turn shiny, but not brown. Meanwhile I prepare the pumpkin or squash, – peal, remove seeds and cut into quite big cubes. Those pieces I throw on top of the onions, and then I just barely cover it all with water. The less water, the thicker soup, naturally. At this point I add salt, pepper and bullion, quite a bit of it to add good flavor.

Pumpkin soup

You cook it until the pumpkin pieces are soft, and if there is time, you let it cool slightly before mushing it with a mixer of some sort. I prefer a stick mixer, but a regular mixer works too, or even a food processor, but it is a mess having to transfer the whole thing. When it has all turned into soup, I add cream, which of course makes the flavor all the creamier and yummier (*this is a step that can be skipped and if you do oil instead of butter in the beginning, you have a parve soup). At the end you taste it and add spice to make it just the way you want it.

pumpkin soup

We had leftover soup for lunch today, which was perfect for our prince who was home from school because he was not feeling well. I am hoping we are all just getting mild cases of colds and flus now in the beginning of the season, so to speak, and that this will make us immune for the rest of the winter. One can always hope. And plenty of soup and good rest should help it too!

Biscuit Cake

Biscuit cake

We are in the Cheese Cake Baking Business over here these days. Shavuot, The Festival of Weeks, starts tomorrow night, and it is traditionally celebrated with a festive dairy meal, – complete with a dessert of yummy cheesecakes. Since many cheesecake get better after a night in the fridge, we made ours today.

I prefer the European cold and unbaked version, while my American better half prefers the New York style baked cheesecake. So I made one of each. 🙂 We will be about fifteen of us around our holiday table, so it is anyway good to have plenty.

Our princess has been talking about wanting to make “ugat biskvitim”, biscuit cake, for a long time already, and I have always replied, – let’s do that for Shavuot. Of course I have to keep my promise, so tonight was the night, – she got to make her biscuit cake.

biscuit cake

deep concentration is always helped by the tongue… 😉

It couldn’t get much easier, really. And I must admit, the cake tastes really good too, – just judging from licking the bowls and such… Here is a quick run through of how you do it. You make a mix of whipped cream, vanilla cream and cream cheese (or a simpler white cheese, like we do in Israel). You dip biscuits in milk to soften them a little bit, and then layer the biscuits and the cream-mixture, starting with biscuits, doing three layers and finishing with cream.

making biscuit  cake

On top most people put grated chocolate, but we happened to have these cute heart shaped thin chocolates, so we decorated with them. (And ideally we should have made it in a square or rectangle pan, but we need that one for the Lasagna we are making tomorrow…)

biscuit cake

MMMMmmmmmmm! We LOVE ugat biskvitim!!!

Mmmmm! Biscuit cake!!

Fresh Foccachia Bread

Ever since I started making Foccachia-bread, there has been a drastic decrease in bread-rolls here in the household. This is just SO much easier! And really, really yummy!

Foccachia

Now after Pesach and our break from leavened breads and all kinds of baked goods, we are more than ready for it! So today we have refilled our kitchen with fresh chametz (leaven) and I am looking forward to lots of baking and filling up our freezer and cookie-boxes again!

It always feels a little bit weird as you open your first bag of flour in the kitchen, after working so hard to remove anything like that very recently. But, – there truly is a time and a season for everything. And right now is a pretty perfect time for some fresh bread. So here comes my Foccachia Recipe:

foccachia bread making

FOCCACHIA

5 cups flour

3 teaspoons dry yeast

2 Tablespoons salt

2 Tablespoons sugar

4 Tablespoons olive oil

2 1/3 cups lukewarm water

extra olive oil, salt and spices to put on top

foccachia bread mixing

You mix all the ingredients together, either by hand or by an electric mixer. The dough is very wet, but don’t worry, and don’t add more flour, it is supposed to be wet, and you are not going to have to knead it and shape it into anything.

Leave it to rise until doubled in size.

Then dump it onto a baking sheet, and with olive oil on your hands just stretch and flatten the dough out until it fills the sheet. Add plenty of olive oil, salt and spices on top.

foccachia

Here I have added rosemary, but other times I have often put sundried tomatoes and basil. You can really do whatever you prefer and have available. It is also tasty to add these additions inside the dough as well as on top.

Let it rise a bit again, while the oven heats up till at least 200 degrees Celsius. Then bake until browned on top. Enjoooooy the smell of fresh bread that fills your house!

fresh foccachia

And then enjoy your homemade fresh bread! Now wasn’t that easy??! No wonder we do this every week! 🙂

Foccachia

Hamentashen

There is no doubt about it. Purim is in the air. And it is a happy, crazy type of atmosphere. Today the kids went to school in their pajamas. Every day this week they are dressing up in some type of different theme. Tomorrow they are going as someone from the movies. We have one Pippi Longstocking and one James Bond. Very different choices, very different kids.

Here at home we have costumes and masks and face-paint all over, so there is no forgetting that we are in the month of Adar, and that Purim is right around the corner. And, we are enjoying Oznei Haman, the Purim cookies maybe most commonly known as Hamentashen. Their Hebrew name, “Oznei Haman” literaly means “Haman’s Ears”, so that is what we are eating for treats these days…

oznei haman

I thought I’d share my recipe with you here, if you wanted to try them out yourselves. They are really pretty easy to make, but it is somewhat time-consuming as each one has to be made in several steps individually. Anyway, it is totally worth it. The homemade ones are so much better than the store bought ones, and just think of the lovely smell it spreads around the house!

My recipe is quite big, and makes about 150 cookies, which will come in handy, because you want to make sure to have plenty to fill your sweet Purim gifts for your neighbors and friends. But if you want to, you can just cut everything in half and make a smaller batch too. 🙂

OZNEI HAMAN

Dough:

600 grams butter

300 grams sugar

3 eggs

the peel of two lemons

2 teaspoons vanilla

900 grams flour

1 teaspoons instant yeast

2 teaspoons baking powder

Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Then beat in the vanilla and the lemon peel. In the end fold in the flour, yeast and baking powder. (I never quite understood why the yeast is there, and you could probably skip it, but I have always added a little bit of it since the recipe asks for it.)

It is best to let the dough cool before shaping the cookies. Anything from an hour to overnight is good.

Poppy seed filling:

200 grams poppy seeds

the peel and juice of one lemon

raisins and chopped nuts

lots of good jam

some water

optional : sugar (I normally don’t add sugar, but I really put a LOT of jam.)

Cook the filling over low heat for about an hour. Taste and adjust along the way.

And then there is the option of filling them the way I did the ones in the photos here, – with Nutella. Simple, easy and delicious!

making Purim cookies in the midst of Adar-joy!

The way you make them, is to roll your cooled dough out flat on a floured surface. Stick out round shapes with a cup or something. Put a little bit of filling in the middle of each round, and fold them closed so they end up in the shape of a triangle in the end. 

Bake for 8 – 10 minutes at 180 degrees celsius.

oznei haman

ENJOY!!

My Carrot Cake Recipe.

carrots

I love when healthy stuff comes on sale in the supermarkets, and lately one of our local supermarkets has had a great sale on fruits and vegetables. One of the vegetables that are sold for basically “give away” prizes, are carrots. It makes you feel like you have to buy the quota of three kilos every time you are there! So, – I fill my fridge with carrot-bags, make carrot-soup and carrot-salad, cut up carrot-sticks to go with just about any meal or as a snack in between, – and I make carrot cakes, which is what this post is going to be about.

carrot-sticks

And here is another thing my mom taught me; – when you make a cake, you might as well make two. It’s the same amount of work and dishes. And you can always freeze one.

carrot cakes

So, here comes my recipe for two carrot cakes:

 TWO CARROT CAKES

6 eggs

(whip these on medium speed for about 8 minutes)

300 ml. oil

(add gradually, whipping on high speed until evenly blended)

500 grams sugar

10 grams salt

(Gradually add the sugar and salt, whipping at medium speed.)

320 grams flour

5 grams baking powder

3 grams baking soda

12 grams cinnamon

(Sift these four dry ingredients together before adding them to the rest)

500 grams grated carrots

100 grams chopped walnuts (optional)

(Fold in the grated carrots and chopped walnuts)

Pour the batter into two round pans, and bake at 175 degrees Celsius for about 50 minutes.

Cool before adding cream cheese icing.

My Cream Cheese Icing is a quick whip-together of about 60 grams butter, 200 grams powdery sugar, two teaspoon vanilla and two boxes of cream cheese. (This is enough for two cakes, but if I freeze one, I freeze it without the frosting and only make the frosting for it afterwards.)

two carrot cakes

I highly recommend making two. You can always bless a neighbor. But if you insist on making only one, – just cut all the ingredients in half and you will do just fine!

ENJOY!!!

Healthy Cookies.

The storm is certainly a big focus here in Israel this week! Today it made all traffic stop in Tel Aviv, even the trains, because of severe flooding. And it seems in a day or two the snow will stop everything in Jerusalem. So, – I am stocking up on all essentials! (Read: plenty of tea and honey, lots of milk and chocolate, cream to go in the hot chocolate etc.)

teatime

The wind, hail and rain hitting the windows makes one just want to curl up under a blanket with a hot drink and a plate of cookies, doesn’t it? So, – I thought I would share with you a healthy (*well, relatively…) cookie-recipe today.

OATMEAL COOKIES

300 grams butter

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

a generous amount of cinnamon

4 1/2 cups big oats

raisins, definitely pecans, maybe apricots or whatever dried fruits or nuts you like

It’s all quite simple. You cream the butter and the sugars well together, preferably until fluffy. You add the eggs and the vanilla, and fold in the dry ingredients. Make small ball-shaped cookies. (This recipe makes about sixty.) Bake at 175 degrees Celsius for about 16 minutes.

And then you take a jar of them to a neighbor who invites you over for coffee! 🙂


jar of homemade cookies

Enjoy!

Hanukkah Sugar Cookies

first night of hanukkah

Hanukkah is here, and we are enjoying it with all our senses! Oh, the sights of the candles burning so bright and beautiful in their hanukkiot (Hanukkah-menorahs)! And the taste of the hot cider, the sufganiot (special doughnuts) and the Hanukkah Sugar cookies! MMmmm! And it is those cookies that this particular post is all about.

Leading up to Hanukkah, we already made two batches of them, and I am sure we are going to make them again during the Hanukkah-week. They are really yummy, and very easy and most of all FUN to make. So I am hereby warmly recommending making them! 🙂

Here is the recipe for how to make the dough.

SUGAR COOKIES

3 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cup softened butter

1 1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanillla

Mix the flour, baking powder and salt and set aside. 

Cream together the softened butter and sugar.

butter and sugar

Add the egg and the vanilla, and beat until combined.

Stir in the flour mixture.

Chill the dough in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. (I often make it the night before.)

Roll the dough out to about 3 mm thick and cut out the cookies. (And you MUST taste the dough! In my opinion it is even better than the cookies…)

photo-180

Bake at 190 degrees Celsius for 8 – 10 minutes.

photo-181

The cookies can of course be decorated either before or after the baking. We have done both, but actually find that we prefer the taste of the undecorated ones…

I hope you will all have fun making and enjoy eating your Hanukkah Sugar Cookies!

Chocolate spoons.

Our family is quite into hot chocolate in the fall and winter. The coziness of stirring a mug of steaming hot chocolate. The deliciousness of it. MMMmmmm. The best way to make it is of course to just heat milk, and then add real chocolate. And then to just keep on adding the chocolate… Yum!

I have always been into melted chocolate. If any of my high school friends read this, they will remember how I loved dipping chocolate in coffee as I ate it. It just brings out the best of flavor, in my humble opinion.

chocolate spoons at Hanukkah

Anyway, all that said, just to explain my interest in chocolate spoons. What a perfect way to stir your coffee! Or your hot milk!! I heard about them, then saw them in the store, – just to decide they were too expensive, and the chocolate will taste the same even if it is not shaped like a spoon, – and hey, I was going to melt it anyway… Still, it was a neat idea. Really encouraged dipping your chocolate in a hot drink. I liked it.

So, when I came across this little mould for making chocolate spoons myself, for only 10 shekels (about 2,5 dollars), the decision came easily! Another Hanukkah-gift for myself. But again something that can be used to make gifts for others with. (When I showed the children what I had bought, one thought it was an interesting ice cube tray and the other one thought it was a weird cupcake-tray… Guess which one was the girl and which the boy?!)

chocolate and mould

At my next supermarket trip I picked up a bunch of milk chocolate, and today I had the joy of trying the whole thing out. And, walla, what success! So easy. So quick. I just melted the chocolate in the microwave, poured it in the moulds, put the whole thing in the freezer until hardened and then easily removed my chocolate spoons from the mould. This process had to be repeated! (I should have bought more than one tray of course!) When something goes well, you do it more than once! So, I repeated this process six times.

chocolate spoons

This is something I have after my mom. The mass-producing-thing. (She for sure would have bought at least two trays!) When I grew up she would have baking days when she baked breads and rolls etc of let’s say 10 kilos of flour. No exaggeration. She still bakes a lot, but as an empty nester, the need for mass-production is not as pressing. (So she invites the neighbors over for her baking days! Really, she does!)

Anyway, so I learned from her to mass produce. And I like it. It is efficient. It is convenient, you don’t have to do the dishes between every time, you are already doing it, you have everything right there. And you get a lot done.

chocolate spoon gift

I am planning on attaching a bag of chocolate spoons to a homemade (still to be made…) Hanukkah-card as a little gift to several of my friends. It is just something little, but still, it is nice to have something to give, to show that you thought of them, to encourage them a little, to give them something sweet to stir their hot drink with… to add even more sweetness and enjoyment to the Hanukkah-experience. Yupp, I’m happy with it.

Women’s Group and Cinnamon rolls.

Shalom everyone!

Look what I made late last night…

…which means I got to have Cinnamon rolls BOTH for a midnight snack AND for breakfast! Not all bad… (*The truth is, the Norwegian in me didn’t really want it for breakfast, so I had granola first…:) ) And then I brought the cinnamon rolls to our women’s group, and enjoyed them together with my friends there. Nice life!

I so appreciate our women’s group. I always come away from there encouraged and inspired, and also challenged! We are encouraging each other to live the lives God created us to, to be faithful to His calling on our lives as women, wives, mothers, colleagues, whatever the situation. It is so good to have the fellowship and to be able to build up and be built up.

Back to the Cinnamon rolls… The recipe for these yummy baked goods can be found on my favorite baking-blog called Passion4baking, on this link:

Amerikanske cinnamon rolls.

The only problem for some of you would be that it is a Norwegian blog, so I am translating the recipe here (but you really should go over there, -her photos are amazing!!):

1 cup cream (I mixed it with milk, and think it still came out very good)

6 Tbs butter

8 Tbs vanilla pudding powder (this adds a most amazing smell when they are baking in the oven)

2 eggs

1 Tbs sugar

1/2 kilo flour

4 Tbs lukewarm water

50 grams fresh yeast (I used 2 tsp. instant dry yeast)

The frosting:

150 grams cream cheese

8 Tbs powdered sugar

3 Tbs lemon juice

4 Tbs lemon peel (I actually didn’t use the peel, but I’m sure it would also be good)

I doubled the recipe, so that I could put a few in the freezer too. Always nice to be able to pop one in the microwave when you feel like it!

I hope you will enjoy them as much as I did! 🙂