JIB Comments, News, and… KOSHER Menudo!?

So, it seems that The Jewish & Israel Blog Awards were announced, and I came in second in Kosher Blog of the Year. I am sad that GF By the Bay and Me-Ander wern’t in the voting! Give the good underdogs a shot! Also, why did LGF get the most votes, yet still not win? They are all awesome blogs, so I award them the RKC Thumbs Up For being Awesome Bloggers Award! ^^

So I have been trying to get in touch with Lang’s here in S. Diego County to try and get a cake for a Torah dedication party I’m catering this weekend. Good food, good times, and good new Torah! ^^ It’s a rare meat menu for me, so I’m going all out with roasted lamb, smoked beef roast, lemon chicken, couscous, salad, and more. The client wants me to get some cakes & desserts (Thus trying to contact Lang’s.), as well, so I’ll be busy with that -all- weekend.

I have to admit, this article on Cuban Jews really made me smile. It’s nice to see that finally, they can live a full Jewish life. In the theme of Hispanic cooking, I wanted to look at a special soup popular in Mexico that tastes rather good: Menudo.

To make this, We’re going to start with 5 lbs. Stew Beef (Basically random cuts of beef chopped up into 1 to 1 1/2 in. cubes.). Now, this we’re going to boil this in a stock pot of water for 2 hours, skimming off the fat that collects on the top each hour. After skimming off the fat the third time, we need to add in 2 lbs. Hominy (Goya, Giant, Super G, and Uncle Williams all make Certified Kosher Hominy in canned form. ^^) and stir it up good before letting it cook over Medium heat for another hour. 15-20 into that hour, scorch 8 oz. Chili Powder lightly in a skillet before pouring it into the soup. To this add 4 Onions, Chopped Roughly and 3 Bunches Cilantro, Shredded. Let it all simmer for the last 15 minutes before serving in bowls with Tortillas, minced onions, lemon & lime wedges, fresh cilantro, and your favorite salsa.

Now, let’s just say that this doesn’t have enough kick for you! Well, let’s CUSTOMIZE!!! Rather than scorching the chili powder, you can scorch 4-5 of your favorite hot peppers before dicing them up and adding them to the sauce. Also, I like to add 3-4 cloves of garlic minced up when I add in the spices, just to give it a bit of extra flavor. Now, this recipe serves about 10-12 easily, and leaves enough for leftovers. I recommend making it for BIG dinner events, or mabye a ‘Mexican Night’ at your temple. Until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

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January 23, 2007. Jewish Links, main courses, News, recipes. 2 comments.

Sad News and a Kid-Safe Party Drink

I start this articl in memory of Nakinja (Kiki) Culbreath. She worked at a Jamba Juice (#795 in Merrillville, Indiana), and passed away in December 22nd. In March she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and and after months of Chemotherapy & radiation, was finally announced to be ‘Cancer Free’. Dispite this, on the evening of December 21st she was rushed to the ER due to a swelling of her brain that led to hr death. Her two children, Jade and Marvin, are now completly parentless due to her husband passing away, as well, in 2002. Due to this, Jamba Juice set up a memorial account to help with final expenses, as well as for the benefit of her two children. Donations can be made to the following:

Nakinja Culbreath Memorial Fund
First Midwest bank
16700 South 80th Avenue
Tinley Park, Il 60477
ATTN: Jackie Krizmanich
(708) 444-3403

In addition to this, many Jamba Juice locations across America are donating ALL their tips to go towards this fund. I honestly don’t know what this poor lady’s faith was. I also don’t care. Something bad happened, and it’s the best I can do to pass the word so mabye others can help, if they can. Wheather it be a tip when getting a smoothie, or just a few dollars donation from those who can afford it, that’s enough in my opinion…

In honor of her memory, I’m going to offer up my version of a Kosher Jamba Juice drink, Spring Fresh Punch. It’s no smoothie, but it’s good none the less. We begin by stirring 3 Boxes Kosher Lemon Gelatin into 9 Cups Boiling Water until dissolved. Once dissolved, remove it from the heat and let the liquid cool. Once cool, mix in 4 Cups Sugar and 4 MORE Cups Boiling Water, stirring until the sugar is fully mixed in before allowing to cool again. Finally, we mix in 6 oz. Lemon Juice and 2 (46 oz.) Cans of Pineapple Juice before freezing the whole mixture in 1/2 Gallon containers. Now comes the final part! An hour before serving, Mix one of the 1/2 gallon containers with 2 2 Lither Bottles of Ginger Ale in a large punch bowl. The mix should be slushy when served, and goes over quite well at most any party as a good non-alcoholic punch drink.

In closing, I ask my readers that -IF- they can help with the Memorial Fund in any way, to please do so. Here’s hoping the next article brings better news and recipes. Until then, Shalom and Good Cooking.

January 21, 2007. drinks, News, recipes. Leave a comment.

A Return to Lamb…

So, it’s time for ANOTHER article! And, with ANY article these days, we seem to open with a Kashrut Alert! The Avon Chanukah Tin with Hard Mint Candy (UPC# 9400012552) was represented in Avon Catalogues as being OU certified. It is not certified kosher by the Orthodox Union. Shame on you, Avon! I’ve always thought so highly of your products!

Also, people can now visit this site to vote for their favored Jblog for the JIB awards. As they are using the ratings over the past year to choose the winner, I fully expect The Kosher Blog to win. Though I am still amused that almost all the other nominees are friends or those I read. Nifty!

Now, with Pesach starting to come near, folks are already starting to plan those seder meals. Now, I already have requested my guest Seder blogger for this year, Gluten-Free by the bay, to write me an article. So it should be interesting to see an entire GF Seder meal! Something to look forward to in the months to come. But I wanted to look at something a bit more traditional and have some lamb.

Lamb, as we all know, is one of the main staples on any Seder plate. Well, the lamb shank, anyhow… But, I am one of those that thinks that at least ONE of the two meals should be meat & the other dairy. As such, let’s look over another favorite lamb dish of mine: Honey-Basted Lamb with Gravy. Yes, taking the popular way to cook ham, and using it on a lamb roast! Don’t give me that look! It turns out delicious! Let me show you how it’s done…

We begin by lining the roasting pan with aluminum foil. This will catch all the juices later for gravy-making. Mmmmm… Next, we need a 6 pd. Leg of Lamb. I leave the bone in as we’ll need it for the plate, anyhow. In a small dish, mix together 1 Teaspoon Fresh Ginger, 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt, and 1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper. This is going to be a dry rub we’ll use to coat the lamb with lightly. Next we want to set the lamb into the foil-lined pan with the fatty side UP! Finally, sprinkle on some Dried Rosemary to taste and start baking uncovered in a 325°F oven for 60 minutes.

Now, we next need to combine 1 Cup Hard Apple Cider and 2/3 Cup Honey as our lamb bakes. Once baked, pull it out and baste the lamb with the honey & cider mixture before popping it in for 90 minutes (Or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F. You DO have a meat thermometer, yes?). Every 30 minutes or so, I also like to open it up and baste the lamb with the juices collected in the pan, just to keep it moist and fresh.

Once we reach the desired temperature, take the lamb out of the pan and let it REST on a platter for a good 20-30 minutes before carving out our shank bone. Meanwhile, we have all these pan juices for a Gravy! Separate them from the fat, and collect 2 Cups Pan Juices before putting it into a small sauce pan over Medium-Low heat. Mix together 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch and 2 Tablespoons White Wine before adding it to your warming drippings. Now, whisk the mixture until thickened. Whatever happens, do NOT stop whisking! It should take about 6-7 minutes of cooking and whisking, but your patience will be rewarded with a thick & hearty gravy. If you want, the gravy recipe can be doubled & tripled easily, as EVERYONE loves gravy. Just double or triple up the ingredients, if you have the drippings for it.

Anyhow, I hope that this gets folks interested in ideas for the coming holiday. Me, I’m not looking forward to THE CLEANING! My Seders have been called for already, this year. The first night I will be with my Rabbi, and the second night I FULLY expect to be in my temple’s kitchens cooking. Hmmm, i winder if Rabbi will ask me to make this for him… He does love his lamb! Anyhow, until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

January 18, 2007. Kashrut Alerts, main courses, recipes, seder. 3 comments.

Matzos that’s SOFT?!?

Let’s start this off with our weekly Kashrut Alerts. The OU would like to remind folks that while most Pringles produced in the U.S. have been OU certified, Pringles Minis are not. Now, the following Kashi Go Lean products are NOT Kosher with the expiration date codes May 30 2007 through August 30, 2007 as they mistakenly contain a non-kosher ingredient: Carmel Peanut Butter Roll Bar; Chocolate Peanut Butter Roll Bar; Chocolate Turtle Roll Bar; Fudge Sundae Roll Bar and Oatmeal Walnut Bar. Corrective action has been taken, and products with a date code of September 13, 2007 or higher are kosher when bearing the OU symbol.

Also, I see i was nominated for a Jewish and Israeli Blog (JIB) Award for ‘Best Kosher Blog’. I doubt I’ll win, but thans for the nod of support. Personally, I find it amusing that most the nominees in this topic have been on my blogroll for quite a while now. I guess I do have SOME good taste.

Now, i just finished cooking up a batch of something I REALLY like. Soft Matzos. My rabbi sent me on this search a few months ago when we discussed different styles of Matzos. This soft matzos is a rare find, and dates back to the time of our ancestors. Also, it is only made these days by the Yemenites and Sephardim. Now, this recipe is NOT K4P by modern interpretation of the laws (The bread HAS to be cooked within 17 minutes from water touching the flour to be K4P, or so I’ve been told.), but I’d discuss it with your rabbi, none the less, for an official ruling. Who knows, you could be allowed soft matzos for Pesach, after all! Now, the following recipe was given to me by Refined Mirages, and worked well. As such, I’ll post the recipe as it was handed to me.

Whole Wheat Matzo

Mix together:
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
about 3/4 cup warm water (enough for a kneadable dough)

Knead the dough, cover, and leave aside for at least 1/2 hour or, ideally, up to 2 hours. After about 1 hour (or right before rolling out), punch the dough and knead again without any more water.

Make 10-12 1 1/2″ balls; dip each one into dry whole wheat flour, and roll out into thin, 6″ circles. Place a flat, ungreased griddle on the stove at medium-high heat. When hot, place a rolled-out matzo “right side” down on the griddle. (The “right side” is the one facing you when you roll it.) When bubbles are visible, turn over and cook until tiny brown spots appear on the side facing the griddle.

If you have a gas stove, hold the matzo with a pair of tongs, and place it directly over the burner flame for a few seconds, until the matzo puffs up. Turn and repeat on the other side.

If you have an electric stove, keep the matzo on the griddle. With a wadded up paper towel to protect your fingers, press gently all around the matzo.

Flip the matzo and press gently around the other side. This procedure should make the matzo puff up. (If you press too hard, the matzo will become too crunchy.)

It’s also recommended, for those that do not like rolling dough, that they get a Roti Press (Which is what is used in the Middle East/India). A basic Roti Press can be found at ishopindia.com, if you wish. Also, if you want to try this dish, but don’t feel brave enough to cook it, order it! I point you now to SoftMatza.com! It’s a really informative site! Anyhow, until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

January 17, 2007. bread, Jewish Links, recipes. Leave a comment.

Beets are Nature’s Candy!

Well, sad to say we have a double-whammy Kashrut alert today, and both for the same reason! Nature’s Finest Apricot, Plum and Peach Compote is being withdrawn due to infestation concerns, first off. Also, Bodek 10 oz boxes Broccoli Spears bearing the code #3193-ZK9 under OU, CRC, and Rav Shlomo Gissinger’s certification is being reviewed for possible levels of insect infestation. Anyone in possession of this product code number is asked to contact the OU. (NOTE: This product was packed in 2002 and has not been distributed to stores within two years.)

In happier news, Capcanes Wineries in Spain announced the release of their Kosher wines in Israel! Ooooh, lucky Israel! There’s also some discussion about a ‘Kosher’ Bed & Breakfast in Rhode Island. In fact, the ONLY one! Already I have seen some bloggers pondering if it can REALLY be Kosher, since the owner’s Catholic. I guess it’s perfectly fine for Asian Americans to cook you Kosher Chinese or Thai, but a Catholic can’t do similar… Ugh. I’m sure, in order to call her B&B Kosher, she has to have rabbi come in to light her stoves once a month or so… So relax and chill, all right?

Since beets are in season right now, beets have been my passion for cooking right now. I always get asked what to do to make beets ‘taste good’, and usually gasp in shock at this! Beets are good! Enjoy your beets! And I’ll help you with a fun recipe I love to make: Beet Pickles!

Taking 7 Medium Uncooked Beets, trip the tops off before washing off any dirt & the like. (Make sure there are no bug marks or bites! Come on, you know this…). Place the beets in a sauce pan and fill the pan with cold water until it JUST covers the beets. Bring it to a boil, and cook until the beets are tender before draining. Now, when you drain the cooking liquid, save aside 1 1/4 cups of the liquid. When the beets are cooled, snip off the tops & bottoms of the root before popping the beet out of it’s skin. Now slice it up and set the beets aside for now.

Taking your remaining ‘cooking liquid’ and pour it back into the saucepan with 1 1/2 cups Red Wine Vinegar and bring it to a boil. Once boiling, stir in the following: 1 1/4 Tablespoons Dry Mustard; 1/2 Teaspoon Salt; and 1 Cup Granulated Sugar. Stir constantly as you return the liquid to burning, then remove from heat. Setting aside clean sterilized jars, place your beet slices into the jars with 2 Medium Onions, Chopped Roughly and 2 1/2 Teaspoons Dill Seeds split among the jars. Now, pour the hot liquid over the beet slices. Before we continue, you have a choice here! The first is to seal the jars as you normally would for canning, and let them rest on a shelf until you need them. The SECOND option is something I do with one jar to be nice to myself. I cover THAT jar’s opening with wax paper before screwing the ring on as I would when normally canning a jar. Then I set THIS jar in the fridge for 2-3 days before getting a ‘sneak peek’ of my beet pickles to munch on. The other jars need to sit on a shelf in a cool, dark place for about a week or two minimum to turn out right (I know, quick pickling)!

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy this Beet snack! These pickles go great on sandwiches, chopped up into salads, and you can even toss a few pickles in with some horseradish bits to make a VERY unique-tasting Charoset! Anyhow, I hope everyone’s having a good day today! Until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

January 10, 2007. Kashrut Alerts, News, recipes, side dishes, wine. 1 comment.

דניאל סלומון – אהבה and Beer are my Current Passions

I’ve really been getting into Israeli music as of late… I don’t know why, but this song has been on repeat on my playlist for… Oh… The past week or two. It just feels… RIGHT! I dunno. The Israeli readers are likely poking fun at me for being obsessed with a song that was popular… What? 2 years ago? Eh, but I can’t help it. Daniel Salomon is a good singer! So, while I listen to this song over and over and over, let’s get into this week’s Kashrut Alert! Idahoan Instamash Mashed Potatoes (Released for food service use ONLY in Canada.) is certified product of the OU (which bears an incorrect OU-D Pareve designation) that contains dairy ingredients as listed on the ingredient panel. Future packaging will be revised.

So, what to cook… What shall we cook tonight, to tickle taste buds and cause mouths to water with delight? I will note before we cook that I seem to be e-mailed a lot by people asking where they can find kosher items in their area. Even in the most remote of places, I’ve helped folks find Kosher food. We are everywhere… We are your neighbors, friends, and co-workers… Mwa-ha-ha-ha! *ahem* Sorry, I seem to be crazy… Again.

No, today I am in the mood for some recipes I learned growing up… My friends, this article is dedicated to BEER in cooking. Instantly, I hear my male readers cheering. Let’s face it, we Jews love alcohol, and there’s something GUY-LIKE about beer! It just… SCREAMS men! So, to be nice, let’s get ready for the coming Super Bowl with PLENTY of Beer-flavored cooking delights!

The first recipe comes directly from my mother, and it’s a hearty Beer Bread. We begin with combining 3 Cups Flour, Sifted, 3 Tablespoons Sugar, 2 Teaspoons Baking Powder, 1 Teaspoon Salt, 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese, 2 Teaspoons Minced Garlic, and 1 teaspoon of Oregano, Majoram, Thyme, Rosemary, Basil and Sage in a large bowl. Once combined, take 12 oz. Beer at Room Temperature and pour it slowly into the bowl while stirring. If, after stirring in the beer, the dough seems too dry, feel free to add more beer. If too wet, add a little more flour. Basically you want a nice piece of stiff dough ready for baking! Once the dough is ready, grease your loaf pan with shortening, then sprinkle a healthy amount of Corn Meal into the pan to coat it. Now, drop the dough into the prepared loaf pan and bake in an oven preheated to 325°F for 60 minutes. Once taken out of the oven, brush the bread’s top with a little butter (Optional). Once the bread cools enough to be touched, pop it out of the pan and wrap it in foil. The bread should keep for a few days easily.

Next up, let’s use beer in a way I love to use it: Beer-Basted Chicken! We begin by taking 3 Pds. Chicken parts. I prefer thighs and legs, but breasts also work well. Boil the chicken first off in boiling water until par-cooked (About 45 minutes). Warming up your BBQ grill, set the chicken pieces on the grill and let it cook on the first side for 5 minutes before flipping over to cook for another 5 minutes. On the third flip, open up a can of your favorite beer and pour it over the chicken. Continue the flip & baste for three more flips, bringing the cooking time to a full 30 minutes. If it still needs a little more time, feel free to give it another 5-10 minutes before taking it off the grill to eat. ^^ Easy, simple, and tasty! Sadly, the chicken can’t be mixed with the bread due to the dairy in the bread, but… Ah, well!

Well, I figure that’ll be a good stopping point for now… Just so folks know, this blog is now mirrored on MySpace for those who prefer it. Just another nice thing. Anyhow, until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

January 9, 2007. bread, fanboying, Kashrut Alerts, recipes. Leave a comment.

Kosher Roscas de Reyes!?

So, today is the Epiphany, a Holy day of obligation for Catholics the world over. While this is an interesting holiday, I am more intrigued by a traditional dessert that is eaten on this day called Roscas de Reyes. Now, this is an interesting fruit bread, and it has a nifty trait. Similar to the fig pudding in England, a small doll of the baby Jesus is baked into it traditionally. Then, whomever finds the doll in their piece of bread throws a party on Feb. 6th! Always nifty to know these things about other faiths and cultures! But, what intrigues me MORE is the bread itself! This is a very delicious bread, and easy to make, as well! And why can’t we be able to explore this delicious treat? Yes! Nothing more Renegade than taking a Catholic dessert and turning it kosher! So, for no other reason other than my own personal glee in making things that no one would ever THINK to make kosher, kosher, let’s get to it!

First, before anything else, we need to make some Candied Fruit. Next we need 1/4 a Cup of the following fruits: figs, oranges, lemon, cherries, & citron. You want to cut the cherries and figs in half, and then peel the other fruit. Scrape the white part off the rinds, then slice them into thin strips. Now that we have the fruit ready, we need to prepare the canding sauce. In a double boiler, stir together 1 cup sugar, 1 cup honey and 1 1/2 cups water and warm it up to 235°F. You can check the temperature with a candy thermometer. Once at the temperature, we’re going to start cooking each fruit one at a time. Using a slotted spoon or a small metal weave basket, lower each batch of fruit into the sauce for 20 minutes, or until mostly clear. Once cooked, set the fruit on paper towels to drain & dry as you candy the next batch. Finally, to finish drying, set ALL the fruit onto a cookie sheet, and bake in the oven or toaster oven at 120°F for the next 24 hours. As with any long baking project, make sure to watch the oven so no accidents happen. Also, if you worry about the possible bitterness of the rinds, then feel free to blanche (dropping food into boiling water briefly) the rinds before cooking in the sauce.

So, now we have our candied fruit! It’s time to make our Roscas de Reyes! We begin with blooming 1 Packet Active Dry Yeast in 5 Tablespoons Warm Sweetened Condensed Milk. After it blooms, we want to combine the following in a large bowl: 3 1/2 Cups Flour; the bloomed yeast; 3/4 Cup Sugar; 7 Eggs; 1/2 Cup Butter, Melted; 1/4 Cup Sweetened Condensed Milk; a Pinch of Salt; 2 Teaspoons Cinnamon; 1/2 Teaspoon Aniseed (Optional); 1/2 Cup Raisins; and 1 Teaspoon Vanilla. Knead the dough into a ball, coat lightly with cooking spray, and cover with a towel. Let the dough rise for about 2-3 hours, or until doubled in size. One risen, knead the dough on a floured surface until soft and stretchy. Once like this, we want to form the dough into a ring shape on a greased cookie dish. It’s at this point that the doll would traditionally be hidden into the dough. Now, cover the top of the ring with all the nummy candied fruit bits you made, and let it rise once more until it’s grown back to it’s previous size before being kneaded and shaped. Once risen a final time, give the whole dough an egg wash (1-2 beaten eggs and 2-3 teaspoons water) before sprinkling the top with granulated white sugar (Though Sugar in the Raw is also good!). Bake at 40 minutes at 360°F, then pull out and enjoy!

This is a tasty dessert, and I think many of you will enjoy making it. As it actually uses Citron, it would be a nice treat for after Sukkot! While a traditional Central & South American holiday dish, I do think it’s important to be able to experience and know most foods of the world. So, I hope you all enjoy this recipe! And weather today is Shabbat, a day obligation, or just another day foir you my readers, I hope you all have a wonderful time of it! Until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

January 6, 2007. bread, dessert, recipes, Trayfe-to-Kosher Challenge. 1 comment.

American Staples Meet Japanese Flavors!

When one of my cooking experiments turns out RIGHT, it makes me quite happy. This was the case last night when I brought out the ol’ slow cooker. I had a pot roast that I’d been itching to use… But, alas, no makings for beef gravy to help it cook! What to do, what to do! It’s then that my brain started clicking and turning, and I came up with an idea for a Japanese-Influenced Pot Roast! Rolling up my sleeves, I got to work on this tasty dish!

We begin with a 3-4 lb. Boneless Roast. Setting it into the slow cooker, we next want to add 1 16 oz. Bag of Frozen Stir Fry Vegetables. Now, we need some flavoring, don’t we? I added 1/2 Cup Rice Wine (cooking sake) and 1/2 cup Soy Sauce. Next I added 1 Teaspoon Fresh Minced Ginger and 1 Teaspoon Sesame Oil before topping it all with 2 Cups Warm Water. Covering, I cooked it on LOW for 6-8 hours, then strained off the juices to make into a gravy. I then served the veggies and sliced beef on a bed of mashed potatoes with the Asian juices turned into a dairy-free gravy. All in all, a WONDERFUL dinner that my wife and I loved! Just goes to prove that ANYTHING can be changed and modified!

Now, before I go, I want to address something that happens ANY time I use Rice Wine or Sake in a recipe. Every time, I always get comments or e-mails screaming about how rice wine isn’t kosher. To those folks, I wag my finger in shame for not knowing your kosher laws! I direct you now to the Star-K and their article on ‘Is Rice Wine Kosher?‘. So, please no more e-mails or comments yelling at me for using a KOSHER product to make KOSHER food, okay? Ah, well. Until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

January 4, 2007. main courses, recipes. Leave a comment.

I’ve Got Something in My Pocket For You…

Welcome! Welcome one and all to the year 2007! I’m so upset! Crab people didn’t take over the planet at the stroke of midnight! Darn tabloid papers lied to me! Well, with that bit of good news, let’s get to the bad news of the FIRST Kashrut Alert of 2007! Casse Croute de Cheddar Cheese Flavored Crackers from CPD Distributing was found in gift baskets distributed by Wine Country Gift Baskets. The bad news is they bear an unauthorized OU symbol and is not certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union. As usual, if you see them, tell the OU ASAP! Also, there is a NEW Jewish TV channel called Jewish Life TV, or JLTV for short. They show their broadcasting live over the net, which is good for us who DON’T live in NYC or South Florida. For the rest of us, our cable companies -might- get the channel in 5-10 years… That was a quote from my local cable company, I kid you not. Then they tried to suggest I pay $10 more a month for their religious block, AKA 20 or so all Christian channels. Oy… Does this seem fair to anyone? Am I wrong to be upset that they’ll give every Christian channel out there space, but not ONE for a Jewish cable channel? Ah, well. Just seems screwed up in the head to me.

So, now that my weekly rant is done, let’s get to cooking! Now, one of my favorite foods out there is falafel! And, the best falafel is served in pita bread with cucumber sauce! But, pita pockets are so expensive! Wouldn’t it be great to… I dunno… Make your own? YES! Let’s get together today, and I’ll teach you all to make Pita bread! Yes!!! What a way to start the new year!

We start with a large bowl. First, we want to combine together 1 1/4 Cups Warm Water and 1 Package Active Dry Yeast. Give it a few minutes to bloom up, then add in 2 Cups Flour, 1/4 Cup Shortening, and 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt. We combine by beating with a hand mixer on LOW for about 1/2 a minute, pausing to scrape the sides as needed. Then, we switch to HIGH and blend away for another 3 minutes or so. Now, take 1 1/4 Cups Flour and slowly start sifting it into the dough as you stir it with a wooden spoon. If you think it’s starting to get too dry, feel free to stop adding flour, all right? Now, turn it out onto a floured surface, then knead in the last bit of flour that you couldn’t stir in. We want to knead for at LEAST 3-5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth. Cover with a towel and let it rest in a warm place for 15 minutes.

NOW we get to the fun part! After it’s rested, you want to split the dough into 12 or so balls. Once the balls are made, cover them in a lightly DAMP towel this time for another 10 minutes. Now we’re going to gently flatten each ball into a circle and recover for 10 more minutes! Don’t worry, this is the LAST of the resting/rising! Now, flour out your surface, and roll the dough out to 7-8 in. across. DO NOT LET THE DOUGH GET POKED, RIPPED, OR CUT IN THE ROLLING! If it does, you WILL regret it! Set the pita dough onto cookie sheets, two doughs to a sheet. I usually bake four at a time with two cookie sheets, just to move it along quicker. bake them in a preheated 450 Degree F oven for three minutes, then use a spatula to flip the doughs over. Bake for another 2-3 minutes, then pull them out to rest on a cooling rack. There you go! To serve, just slice the pita in half, and you’ll have a nice pocket inside ready for whatever you care to fill it with!

I hope you enjoyed this first article of 2007! Remember also the 1 year anniversary of RKC is at the end of this month, so let’s all have a ripping good time to celebrate! Until next time, Shalom and Good Cooking!

January 3, 2007. bread, Jewish Links, Kashrut Alerts, Personal, recipes. 1 comment.