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For tasty traditions, add 2 Mintz

Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Dave Mintz, left, and twin brother Joe Mintz make Family Challah with raisins. They prefer to shape the loaf into a crown rather than a braid. Right, Eileen Mintz’s Apricot Rugelach, cream cheese pastry crescents filled with apricot jam, toasted pecans and raisins. -
Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter Dave Mintz, left, and twin brother Joe Mintz make Family Challah with raisins. They prefer to shape the loaf into a crown rather than a braid. Right, Eileen Mintz’s Apricot Rugelach, cream cheese pastry crescents filled with apricot jam, toasted pecans and raisins.
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Jewish New Year treats

Eileen Mintz
What’s Cooking

Tonight at sundown marks the beginning of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, 5768. It’s called Rosh Hashanah, a day of judgment and a day of remembrance. It’s also a day to ask for forgiveness for past sins and a time to make new resolutions. Rosh literally means “head of the year.” As our head/brain directs us, Rosh Hashanah directs the ensuing year.

As is the custom, Rosh Hashanah foods include traditional dishes with many recipes passed down from generation to generation. Barbara Wasson’s beef brisket came from the 1950s, and the Kosher Maven’s Honey Cake from the 1930s. Pearl Barrat’s favorite kugel recipe was from the 1940s, and is a popular recipe today for dairy lunches and dinners.

For Rosh Hashanah dinner, we don’t make our usual braided challah; instead we make a round loaf. This ritual round shape symbolizes the hope that the New Year will be sweet, thus the addition of raisins. My husband, Dave, found this great recipe that uses a bread machine to do the initial kneading. The original recipe didn’t include whole wheat, but my brother-in-law, Joe, added it in and now we love it. We will begin our traditional dinner with apples, honey and these wonderful challahs to be enjoyed by loving family and friends.

As a change of pace after the Jewish holidays, I am involved in an event called Taste America a. A benefit dinner will take place on Sept. 28 at Russell’s Heritage Barn in the Loft in Bothell. On the same night in 20 cities across the county, food and wine lovers are gathering to support the legacy of James Beard and the James Beard Foundation’s mission to celebrate, preserve and nurture America’s culinary heritage and diversity.

Taste America a incorporates many of the James Beard award-winning chefs of the Northwest. Participating chefs include Lark’s John Sundstrom (2007), Rover’s Thierry Rautureau (1998), Brasa’s Tamara Murphy (1995) and Tom Douglas Restaurant’s Eric Tanaka (2004). Other featured chefs are Charles Ramsayer of New York’s Wild Salmon, Kathy Casey of Dish d’Lish and Russell Lowell of Russell’s. Heading the sommeliers, who will pour 11 different wines, is Tim O’Brien of Salty’s on Alki, winner of the Sommelier of the Year in 2006. All the chosen farms and fishers are donating their artisanal produce for this celebratory James Beard benefit dinner. On Sept. 29, Taste America a continues with a free educational activity for children, a cooking demo at Williams-Sonoma in Pacific Place with Chef Thierry Rautureau, and a Pure Flavor book-signing by Kurt Dammeier, a Mercer Islander. Find more information at www.jbftasteamerica.com/city/seattle.html.

JOE & DAVE MINTZ’S WHOLE WHEAT CROWN CHALLAH WITH RAISINS

DOUGH

21/4 tsp. active dry yeast (rapid rise)

23/4 unbleached bread flour

1/2 cup plus 1 TBS. unbleached whole wheat bread flour

1/4 cup plus 2 TBS. sugar

3/4 tsp. salt

31/2 TBS. vegetable oil (canola)

3 egg yolks

1 cup water

Dark raisins, about 1/2 cup

GLAZE

1 egg, beaten (Joe uses some of the egg whites for a glaze)

Add all the ingredients for the dough in the order suggested by your bread machine manual, and process on the dough cycle according to the manufacturer’s directions. Five minutes before the end of the cycle (after 25 minutes), add in 1/2 cup of raisins. At the end of the dough cycle, remove the raisin dough from the machine. Form it into a large mound of dough on a floured cookie sheet and press it in different places to break up any air bubbles. Cover with a clean kitchen towel (Joe doesn’t cover it), and let it rise about 20 minutes in a warm but not hot place that is free of drafts. Joe puts his in a lightly warm oven — then turns off the heat. It’s ready when an indentation with your finger leaves a mark and doesn’t spring back.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Pull the mound of dough with your hands into a long coil with one end fatter than the other. Begin to lay it into the middle of the cookie sheet and wind around the dough into a circle starting with the small end and finishing with the large tip of dough, tucked under and formed into a mound. Brush an egg glaze over the dough and let it rise again for 30 minutes in a warm place. Bake the challah for 30 minutes or until the bottom is golden brown and the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom. Let the loaf cool before slicing. Leftover raisin challah makes wonderful French toast.

BARBARA WASSER’S BRISKET OF BEEF

I met Barbara Wasser when she came to Seattle to visit her daughter, Amy Wasser Simpson. She is the co-author of the cookbook, Divine Kosher Cuisine, which I refer to often. Serves 10.

5 lbs. beef brisket, preferably cut first

3 large onions, chopped

6 cloves garlic, crushed

Salt, freshly ground black pepper and paprika to taste

1/2 cup ketchup

1/4 cup A-1 steak sauce

1/2 cup chili sauce (in the grocery section with ketchup)

1/4 cup wine vinegar

21/2 cups water plus a little more

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place 2/3 of the chopped onions and garlic on the bottom of a large non -stick roasting pan. Rub meat all over with the salt, pepper and paprika. Place meat, fat side up, on the bed of onions and garlic. Cover with additional onions and garlic. Combine ketchup, steak sauce, chili sauce, wine vinegar; pour over meat.

Cover roasting pan with foil or a lid and roast for 3 hours, or until fork tender. Check at 23/4 hours. Check while cooking, adding more water if necessary.

Allow to cool completely. Slice against the grain and put back into roasting pan. Remove the fat from the gravy and put into the blender to incorporate the onions. Pour over meat. Can freeze at this point or put back into the oven to warm up again.

EILEEN MINTZ’S APRICOT RUGALACH

If you don’t have the time to make them, just check www.dancinggrandmasbakery.com and owner, Nancy Roth will have her assorted rugalachs delivered to your door! You can even join the rugalach of the month club. Yields 60 pieces.

DOUGH

1 8 oz. package cream cheese, room temperature, soft

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, soft

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 tsp. vanilla

1/2 tsp. rum extract or flavoring

2 cups unbleached flour plus 1 TBS. (I use unbleached bread flour)

Salt, two shakes

Mix the cream cheese and butter together in an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add sugar, vanilla and rum extract. On low speed, add in the flour plus a dash of salt. Remove. On a well floured surface, work the dough into a thick log that you will divide into 5 pieces. Form each into a patty and wrap in plastic wrap; refrigerate overnight or use within 2 days. Fill with apricot filling.

FILLING

1/4 cup plus 2 TBS. granulated sugar

1/4 cup golden brown sugar, firmly packed

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

3/4 cup raisins

1 cup toasted pecans

1 cup apricot preserves

3/4 cup coconut (can use sweetened)

Combine all together and pulse until nuts are chopped into small pieces in a food processor. Set aside.

Remove dough from the refrigerator when completely chilled. Let sit on the counter for about 15-20 minutes to take the chill off. Have a bowl with about 1/4 cup oil in it and another bowl with 3/4 cup of a cinnamon and sugar mixture in it ready along with a pastry brush. Roll out one patty at a time onto floured parchment until you have a circle of 7 to 8 inches, with a thickness of about1/8 inch. Using a pastry brush, spread on a light coating of vegetable oil. Then sprinkle by hand about 1/4 cup cinnamon and sugar mixture on top of the oiled dough. With a sharp knife, cut into quarters and then cut each section into thirds, like a pizza. Take a small tablespoon and at the wide edge put a small amount of filling onto dough. Roll up into 12 crescent rugalachs and place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.

Fill up one cookie sheet at a time and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour to 40 minutes. HINT: Put the first filled cookie sheet in the refrigerator while working on the next one. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. When ready, take out first cookie sheet, brush a little oil on the rugalach and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon mixture. Bake for about 25 minutes. Cool before storing. These will freeze well or keep for about five days in an airtight container at room temperature.

PEARL BARRAT’S FAVORITE DAIRY NOODLE KUGEL

This is one recipe that is good anytime of the year!

1 12 oz. package medium wide noodles

1/2 tsp. salt for the water

1 cube unsalted butter, melted

3 TBS. sugar

1 lb. small curd cottage cheese (low fat)

1 cup sour cream (lite)

4 small handfuls of dark raisins

4 large eggs

1/2 sugar

13/4 cup low fat buttermilk

4 to 5 shakes of cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass dish with butter or margarine. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles for 8 minutes in a large pot of water with a dash of salt. Drain and put back into the pot with melted butter. Mix together. In another bowl, mix 3 TBS. of sugar, cottage cheese and sour cream together. Shake in cinnamon and add raisins. Mix together. Place into baking dish.

Beat 3 eggs with 1/2 cup sugar, buttermilk and vanilla. Pour over noodles in dish and move around with a spoon to evenly distribute. Optional: Can sprinkle top with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar. I usually don’t do it but instead sprinkle a bit more cinnamon on top.

Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes (I check it around an hour) in a 350 degree oven. Cool down before cutting. Serves 12 or more and freezes well.

A KOSHER MAVEN’S HONEY CAKE

Radio personality Arthur Schwartz, who I met at an International Association of Culinary Professionals meeting, obtained this recipe from cookbook author Joan Nathan.

3 large eggs

1 TBS. fresh lemon juice

grated rind of 1 lemon

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup of honey, warmed

1 cup warm black coffee

31/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

21/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cream of tartar

1 cup sugar

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 cup slivered almonds

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan. Place the eggs, lemon juice, lemon rind, oil, honey and coffee in a bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on low speed until well blended.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cream of tartar, sugar and cinnamon with a fork until mixed. Gradually add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, mixing for about 5 minutes or until very well blended. Fold in the slivered almonds.

Pour the batter into a tube pan. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and unmold.

JOHN SUNDSTROM’S ROASTED SNAPPER WITH MUSHROOMS, SEA BEANS AND WILD SORREL

John will be participating at Taste America a as the 2007 Best Chef Northwest winner from the James Beard Foundation.

4-6 ounce snapper fillets

Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tsp. olive oil

2 TBS. butter

1 cup lobster mushrooms (ask for them in the grocery) brushed, washed and sliced

1 tsp. garlic, slivered

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock (or vegetable stock)

1 TBS. chives, sliced thinly

1/2 cup heirloom tomato, diced

1/2 cup wild sea beans (you can omit or use blanched baby asparagus)

Salt and pepper to taste

Small bunch of wild sorrel (or tender herb salad)

Lemon juice

Olive oil

Season the fillets on both sides with salt and pepper. Heat a medium, nonstick saut/ pan; add oil and 1 tablespoon of butter and saut/ fillets until golden and crispy on one side. Turn snapper over, then place the entire pan in a 450 degree oven for 2 to 4 minutes, until snapper is medium rare. Remove from pan and let rest 2 minutes before plating.

Melt the other tablespoon of butter in a large saucepan. Add mushrooms and saut/ until light golden. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Add white wine and reduce by half. Add chicken or vegetable stock and simmer 3 to 4 minutes, stirring to combine. Add chives, tomato, sea beans and seasoning. Spoon into serving bowls, then top with snapper fillets. Toss bundle of wild sorrel with a small amount of lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Top snapper with sorrel and serve.

Eileen Mintz can be reached by calling 232-1984 or by e-mail at eileenmintz@comcast.net.

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