Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Chai Spice Honey Cake


Honey cake is a traditional Rosh Hashana dessert  It occurred to me a few weeks ago that chai spices would work well in a honey cake. I looked around to see if such a recipe existed but I could not find any. There were honey cake recipes and chai spice cake recipes but no honey chai spice ones. It then occurred to me that I should just make a honey cake and switch the coffee to tea and the traditionally used spices to chai spices (this honey cake was a major influence!) The result is this cake.

3 1/2 cups of flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of medium to course sea salt
3 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of ginger
1/2 teaspoon of cardamon
1/2 teaspoon of star anise (I did have to grind this myself in a coffee grinder since I could not find any ground star anise)
1 cup vegetable oil (I used refined coconut oil)
1 cup honey
1 1/2 cup sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup of Tazo Chai Spice tea

1. Brew the tea. In order to end up with 1 3/4 cups of tea I used 12 teabags  and 2 cups of hot water and then let it sit for 5 minutes. I also made sure to squeeze out all the extra water form the teabags so that I would get a strong brew. Let it cool.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees

3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.

4. Add the oil, sugar, eggs, vanilla and tea and mix on low until well combined.

5. Pour the batter into 3 8x4 pans lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top springs back when you touch it.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Moroccan Carrot Salad

On the first night of Rosh Hashana there is a custom to eat "omen foods" that will hopefully bring blessings to those who are eating them. The most well known of these is dipping an apple in honey for a sweet and good new year. Another one of the of the omen foods that we eat are carrots. We eat carrots because the Hebrew word for carrots, gezer, sounds like the Hebrew word g'zar which means decree. We hope that this will bring us a good one for the new year!

You do need to plan ahead because the salad needs to marinate for a day of two before you can serve it.

2 lbs of carrots sliced 
2 or 3 cloves of crushed garlic
1/3 cup of lemon juice
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. of cumin
Thinly sliced and lightly chopped fresh Serrano or jalapeno pepper to taste
Salt to taste
Fresh ground pepper
fresh chopped cilantro

1. Lightly steam the carrots. 

2. Combine the olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, hot pepper, cumin, salt, pepper. 

3. Put the carrots and the dressing in a large baggy and mix up the ingredients.

4. Place the baggy flat in the refrigerator and turn it over a couple of times over the next day or two.

5. When you are ready to serve bring to room temperature. Using a slotted spoon put the carrot salad into a bowl, toss with the fresh cilantro and serve

This post has been linked to Real Food Digest

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Top 10 Favorite Things We Did In Jerusalem

For the last and longest part of our trip we rented an apartment in Baka on Derech Ha Rakevet. It was lovley and we could not have asked for a better location. It was on a nice quiet street that was one block away from Emik Refaim and a 7 minute walk to Derech Beitlechem. It was great for us Manhattanites who are used to being able to get what we want right away. I imagine it's a little bit like living in Park Slope. You can live on a nice quiet street but 7th Avenue is right down the block. 

Derech Ha Rakevet. They just renovated an old rail road track and made it into a beautiful walkway. Kind of like a mini High Line!

The think I really like about Jerusalem is that it is not an enormous city like New York. It kind of reminds me of a smaller American city like Portland or Seattle. It has everything that you want in a city such as good restaurants and lots of culture but it is a little more mellow and life seems more relaxed and less frenetic. Below is our top 10 list:

1. Hamster balls in the Malka Mall!



2. Eating at the all kosher food court at the Malka Mall!

3. Going to the kosher Aroma that was a 3 minute walk from our apartment.

4. Davening and dinner on Shabbat at Netivat Aryeh, over looking the Kotel (Western Wall).

 5. Visiting the Old City, including the tunnel tour under the Kotel (Western Wall)
The Kotel
Plaza in front of the Kotel
Street in the Old City

Tunnels under the Kotel

6. Walking, shopping and eating on Derech Beitlechem
The gourmet store whose name I forgot. If only this kosher cheese was available in NY!
One of the produce shops
Sitting out side at Cafe Kalo. It was so hip.
Breakfast at Cafe Kalo
The Waffle Bar!

7.Visiting friends and their new dog and Tzippy at their home that backs up to the Eshtol Forest
Tzippy!
 I love that in Israel you can have a pomegranate tree in your back yard.
Eshtol Forest

8. Meeting our friends in Tel Aviv at the beach
The Mediterranean was a beautiful shade of turquoise
Playing in the sand

D and her friend A

9. Visiting Eretz Breisheit (Genesis Land)
The Judean hills were absolutely beautiful. This was where Avraham lived!

The camels that we rode to Avraham's tent
Listening to Avraham and Eliezer in out tunics. It was so engaging. I wish I could show you what they looked like but I ran out of batteries before I could a picture of them:(.
Making pitas the old fashioned way.

10. Swimming at the public pool that was around the corner from our apartment. It was an oasis off of Emik Refaim!
The girls loved the slide although it was way to timid for Z who is a dare devil!
T, D and J in the pool.
It had a second connected pool that was huge. It had lanes for people who wanted to do laps and an area to play if you wanted to get out of the hot Mediterranean sun.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chevron (Hebron)

The Jews are the most tenacious people in history. Hebron is there to prove it. It lies 20 miles south of Jerusalem, 3000 feet up in the Judean hills, there in the Cave of Machpelah, are the tombs of the Patriarchs....This is where the 4,000 year history of the Jews began.

Paul Johnson, A History of the Jews

We were so lucky to have the chance to go to Chevron this year. It's not easy to get there. You have to take a bullet proof vehicle and we went with MJE in a bullet proof bus. The streets leading into the area where Marat HaMachpelah (Cave of the Patriarchs) are as bleak as they look in the photos that I have seen  (I could not take any photos since the bullet proof window were so scratched up). I can not imagine living there. When you get to Marat HaMachpelah it looks like you have landed on another planet. It is truly beautiful and serene.
The building that Herod built over the caves.

 The view going up to the entrance.
 View of Chevron
 Sarah's tomb
Avraham's tomb

That same day we visited an army base in Chevron and bought the soldiers there some treats. The average Jewish 18 year old in Manhattan is off to college or perhaps a gap year but in Israel they are off to the army. The Israeli 18 year olds are so much more grown up. It is only an accident of birth that lands one in either place. It's hard to believe that these boys are only 3-5 years older that Z.

 This soldier is an American from California who plans to make aliya to Israel.
 A sweet stray that the soldiers feed and who repays them by barking when people approach the base.
 Rabbi Pinny rocking with the soldiers!

 Shmoozing with the soldiers

It was a most memorable day. 

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