Saturday, May 13, 2017

May Memory

I hope you won't mind me sharing another holiday story rather than a recipe. This one is very precious to me...

I remember lining up with other parents who were waiting for our children to be released from preschool, quite a number of years ago now, when my son was only 4 years old. I heard a lot of kids' voices through the door, all of them sounding eager to see their parents. The teacher was trying to settle them down. At some point I overheard my son saying to the teacher that his mom's birthday was coming up in May, and the teacher told him that her birthday would be in May as well. I and the other parents were surprised, since I did not think that he knew when my birthday was. When he came out, I asked him how he knew when my birthday was, and he said that he saw it written on the calendar in the classroom. Now I was really surprised, and puzzled! And so I went to take a look, and saw what he had seen: the words "Mother's Day," which he assumed meant his mother's birthday, and not a day celebrating all mothers!

Sunday, April 2, 2017


This recipie is a mix of Romanian and American approaches to making donuts. Romanian donuts are called 'gogosi'. They are spherical and empty inside made from yeast dough. I like the shape of American donuts better, since frying them evenly is easier. And in case you didn't know, that was why that donut shape was invented in the first place!

Here are the ingredients: 

500 g all purpose flour
1 package dry yeast (10 g)
50 g melted butter
2 eggs
250 lukewarm milk 
1/2 teaspoon salt
1teaspoon sugar 
1 spoonful yogurt
Vegetable oil (for frying)

Mix together yeast, milk, sugar and a third of the flour. Let it stay covered in a warm place for 15 minutes or until it becomes foamy. Then add all the other ingredients and start the kneading. I mixed mine for around 10 minutes (at speed 2 if you are using a KitchenAid stand mixer). 

Cover the dough and let it rise in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Then take it from the mixing bowl (as a whole big lump all at once) and stretch it on a wooden board that had been greased in advance with vegetable oil.

Cut the donuts as shown in the picture above. If you do not have a donut cutter, you can use a glass and a thimble (or better, a one-inch plastic container of the kind used for rolls of film) to create the shape. Remove the dough from the donut holes and in between the donuts. Make that extra dough into a ball, place it back in the mixing bowl, and let it rise again for half an hour, and at that time repeat the above steps with that dough. Also leave the now-separated donuts to rise for half an hour.

In the meantime, heat oil to medium-high - in a small saucepan if you want to make them one at a time, in a Dutch oven or frying pan if you want to fry more than one at a time.

Place the unfried donut in the oil, being careful not to splash. Use a fork to turn and then flip the donut. A minute or at most two should be enough time for it to fry on a given side. Then take it out and put it in a glass or ceramic dish so that any excess oil can drip off from it. Repeat these steps until all the donuts are fried.

When they are cold, you can roll them in powdered sugar (to make them really good, add a little vanilla to the sugar). Or you can make icing. Here are the recipes:

Maple icing:

1 cup confectionary sugar (with cornstarch)
a drop of maple flavor
1 dessertspoonful of milk

Mix them together to make a paste.

Place it in the microwave for 10 seconds, then spread it on the donuts.

For chocolate icing, use the above recipe but substitute a level teaspoon of cocoa powder in place of the maple flavoring.

Let the icing cool if you can bear to wait...

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Homemade hummus

Here is a very simple recipe for a very tasty snack or appetizer. I had it even for breakfast in Israel and Jordan last summer. Here is a picture of the ingredients I used for my hummus:

You need  2 cups of boiled and cooled chick peas (canned ones are good too)
                 4 tablespoons of tahini
                 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
                 Juice from one lemon
                 2 teaspoons of ground cumin
                 1 piece of garlic (crushed)
                 A half cup of water (not in picture)

All the ingredients will be pureed in a food processor. If you like it creamier, you can add a little more water. You can find all the ingredients in most supermarkets and grocery stores, with the exception of tahini, which may require a trip to an international food store, or even a specifically Middle-Eastern or Mediterranean one. But even large supermarkets may have it in their ethnic food section, and it really is worth getting some - you can make hummus without tahini, but it will not have that distinctive sesame taste that is characteristics of hummus made in the Middle East.

Chick peas are better if you buy them dried in a bag. If you start with dried chick peas, to end up with 2 cups of chick peas, soak 1 cup for at least 5 hours in a large bowl with enough water to cover them even as they expand. Strain the water and boil them in enough fresh water to cover them, for half an hour in a pressure cooker. If this sounds like too much hassle, then just buy canned chick peas! 

Strain the chick peas and measure two cups (or adjust the other ingredient amounts to correspond to the amount of chick peas you have). Place them in a food processor and puree fhem. Next add the tahini and puree again, then olive oil, then lemon juice, then cumin and garlic, pureeing again after each new ingredient is added to combine them. Add a little water between steps if the consistency is too hard. Finally add salt to taste and stir.

To serve, sprinkle paprika and olive oil on the finished product, as shown. 

Enjoy with pita bread, crackers, fresh vegetables, or anything else you'd like. In the Middle East, they add this alongside everything!