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Cook It Kosher

I've long sought the secret to perfect crispy on the outside, buttery on the inside, oven potatoes, and now that I have it down pat, I'm ready to share.


It does involve one extra step: parboiling the potatoes before baking, but it's worth it!


The other thing to keep in mind is to resist the urge to keep checking on them and mixing the potatoes around. You want to keep them in one place to give them a chance to really develop a crust. After 40 minutes you can give them one quick flip/mix and then back to the oven. End result: perfect potatoes.




Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs. Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • optional: dried onion flakes

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 450°F.
  2. Fill a pot halfway with salted water, cover and bring to a boil.
  3. Peel the potatoes and cut into small cubes.
  4. When the water is boiling, add the potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.
  5. Drain the potatoes and transfer them to a baking sheet.
  6. Sprinkle the potatoes with the salt, garlic and paprika, and drizzle with 2 tbsp. oil.
  7. Bake on 450°F for 40 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven, flip the potatoes over, (add onion flakes, optional) and drizzle with the remaining 1 tbsp. oil.
  9. Return to oven for another 15-20 minutes until potatoes are crispy and golden on all sides.
  10. Serve immediately.

Garlic bread is a quick and easy way to uplift any meal.






Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • salt
  • fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 large or 3 small baguettes

Directions:

  1. Mix the butter, olive oil, crushed garlic, parsley and salt into a paste.
  2. Make cuts in the baguette, approximately 3/4 of the way through. Do not cut entirely through the bottom.
  3. Fill each cut with the butter mixture.
  4. Wrap with foil, but leave the top open.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 10-12 minutes. Serve fresh.

These cookies are fun to make for a Chanukah party, or to do as an activity at said party.


I've gone with a paint-splatter, graffiti-esque look, but if you're artsy and nifty with a paintbrush you can paint actual images/designs using this same technique.




Keep in mind, the "paint-splatter" technique is quite messy, so you'll want to set up your work area accordingly (plastic tablecloths work well).



See how my colors bled into each other a bit? To avoid that, you'll want to wait for each color to dry before adding the next. Or stick with colors that won't go brown if they run. So for example, blues, greens and yellows together. Reds, pinks, yellows and oranges together. Pinks and purples. Purples and blues.

Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • ½ tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt

Cookie Directions:

  1. Mix the sugar and butter/margarine. Add the egg and vanilla, and mix again. Add the salt, baking powder, and 2½ cups of flour. Mix until it starts to come together as a ball of dough. Add the last ½ cup of flour slowly, a little at a time, until the dough is not sticky. Stop when you get the right consistency. You might not need all the flour, or you might need a little more.
  2. Roll the dough and cut your shapes. Gently transfer the cut-outs to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all the dough has been used. Click here for a good strategy for rolling dough so it doesn't stick.
  3. Bake at 350° for 8 minutes.
  4. Wait for the cookies to cool before removing from the pan.

Yields: 15–20 cookies.

Icing Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. confectioners sugar (approximately 3 cups)
  • 5 tbsp. water
  • 3 tbsp. light corn syrup
  • 2 tsp. lemon extract
  • optional: white food coloring

Icing Directions:

NOTE: You’ll need a mixer for the icing. Handheld or standing will both work. Do not try to make it by hand; you will end up with lumps which will lead to a lot of frustration when you’re ready to decorate.

Put the confectioner’s sugar, water, corn syrup and lemon extract in a bowl. Mix on a low speed for a couple of minutes, then turn it up to medium-high for another minute or two. When the icing is smooth with no lumps, add in a few drops of white food coloring and mix until incorporated.

Decorating Instructions:

  1. Only begin decorating when the cookies are fully cooled.
  2. Ice the cookies and set aside to dry for 12-24 hours. Click here for very detailed directions on how to ice them.
  3. Use a palette or ice cube tray for the paint. Place 1-2 drops of gel food coloring into each section. Add a couple of drops of water or clear vanilla extract.
  4. Now use the food coloring as if it were actually paint. For the paint-splatter look, dip your paintbrush in the food coloring and flick it at the cookies. For a lighter splatter, flick it in the air over the cookies. This process is messy, so make sure to set up your work area appropriately.
  5. To paint designs or pictures on the cookies, you'll want smaller paintbrushes which give you more control. Rinse brushes between colors.
  6. Let the food coloring dry for a few minutes, and they are ready to eat.

These cute little doughnuts are perfect little mouthfuls of fluffy doughnut, powdery sugar, aromatic cinnamon and a refreshing hint of orange. If you're not a fan of traditional sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), try these as an alterntaive.


How did doughnuts and latkes become traditional Chanukah fare?

After winning the war against the Syrians, the Maccabees returned to Jerusalem to liberate it. They entered the Temple and cleared it of the idols placed there by the Syrian vandals. Since the Temple’s golden menorah had been stolen by the Syrians, the Maccabees now made one of cheaper metal. When they wanted to light it, they found only a small cruse of pure olive oil bearing the seal of the high priest. It was sufficient to light the menorah only for one day, but by a miracle of G‑d it continued to burn for eight days, till new oil was made available, which is why we celebrate Chanukah for eight days. Because of the miracle of the oil, it’s traditional to eat fried foods on Chanukah (like doughnuts and latkes).







Dough ingredients:

  • 2¼ tsp. dry yeast
  • 2 tbsp. warm water
  • ¾ cup soy or almond milk
  • 6 tbsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 3+ cups flour
  • Oil for frying

For the Coating:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • zest of 1 orange
  • seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean
  • pinch of sea salt or kosher salt

Directions:

  1. Place yeast, warm water and 1 tsp. sugar in bowl. Let sit for 10 minutes until frothy.
  2. Mix yeast mixture, sugar, oil, eggs, salt, sugar and soy/almond milk with 2 cups of flour on a low speed.
  3. Slowly add in the rest of the flour until dough is no longer sticky. It should feel somewhat like a bread dough.
  4. Knead for 5 minutes, then cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let rise approximately 1 hour, until dough has doubled in size.
  5. Roll the dough into small balls and let rise on parchment paper for 30 minutes.
  6. Heat oil in a frying pan or pot. Drop in a few doughnuts at a time. Flip each doughnut so both sides can brown. NOTE: If you find that the outside is becoming too dark before the centers are cooked through, your oil is too hot and you need to either add some new oil to bring the temperature down, or take it off the fire for a couple of minutes, then lower the flame and try again.
  7. Remove the doughnuts from the oil and drain briefly on a paper towel.
  8. Place the coating ingredients in a bowl and mix with a fork or whisk to make sure the flavors are evenly distributed. While the doughnuts are still warm, roll them in the mixture so that it sticks to all sides.

Yields: 30 doughnut holes


Parsnip seems to have been relegated to the role of "soup vegetable" by many home cooks, but it can be so much more. I hope this recipe helps you view parsnip in a new and better light.


Here's the one rule with this recipe: do not use margarine!

The butter here is for flavor, which margarine simply cannot do (health concerns aside). If you can't make it dairy, just skip it. But Chanukah's coming up, when it's traditional to eat dairy, so you can always save it for then.



Also don't skimp on the oven time. You want these well cooked so they are crunchy, chewy, smokey tasting.


Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. parsnip (4 medium sized)
  • 2-3 tbsp. butter
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 3 tbsp. light olive oil
  • 1-inch piece fresh ginger grated
  • Salt

Directions:

  1. Peel the parsnips and cut into baton-shaped pieces (see picture above).
  2. Place parsnip in a single layer in a baking pan.
  3. Evenly distribute the honey, butter, oil, ginger and salt over the parsnip.
  4. Bake on 375°F covered for 40 minutes. Uncover, increase temperature to 400°F and bake for another 10-20 minutes.

Cook It Kosher features recipes from Chabad.org food blogger Miriam Szokovski, as well as guest bloggers and cookbook authors. Let us know if you’d like to contribute!
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