Saturday, April 23, 2011

Apples + Walnuts

Every year during Passover I look forward to my grandmother's charoset—a small side-dish that we eat on the first two nights of Passover. The color and texture is supposed to represent the bricks that the Jewish people carried on their backs when they were slaves in Egypt. But the taste has a completely different story. My grandmother chops the apples and walnuts into small chunks. She adds Manischewitz wine and cinnamon until it tastes just right. The somewhat notorious wine is ideal for this dish because it has enough sugar to sweeten the apple-walnut mixture. My grandmother's charoset is sweet and aromatic—perfect for a light dessert or at any hour of the day. I've had many different types of charoset—some had added sugar and others were chopped very finely—but my grandmother's is by far the best.

Red Apples (Gala or Fiji are my favorites)
Manischewitz wine
Ground Cinnamon

Note: You're going to have to measure out the ingredients according to taste. Start off with 2 apples, 1 cup of walnuts and 1 cup of wine.

Directions: Peel the apples and chop into little chunks (about 1/4-1/2 inch). Chop the walnuts into small chunks. Put ingredients into a bowl. Add Wine. Mix. Begin with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon (add according to taste). Mix. Let sit in refrigerator until ready to serve.


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Sunday, April 10, 2011

german pancakes

German pancakes (also known as Dutch baby pancakes) are one of my favorite breakfast treats. I grew up eating these at my family's favorite deli, which was conveniently located minutes away from my house. At least once a week I'd order a plate of the golden brown German pancakes which were folded like crepes and dusted with powdered sugar. The secret was in the lemon wedges. They were systematically placed on the plate. One squeeze over the pancakes, and the spectacular treat became enhanced with a bit of tangy flavor. When I made these pancakes for the first time and took one bite I felt like I was back home.

The sweet taste and light fluffy texture of these pancakes are the most delightful way to start the day. Whether it's winter or spring, if you're alone or planning a brunch for ten people, these pancakes are an ideal delicacy.
The short ingredient list gives the impression that they are quite simple to make, but it's not so easy. But if I can make them, so can you.
It's all about the right pan and the correct temperature. The recipe I used instructed me to use a 9-inch baking pan and the oven. I tried it twice and my pancakes stuck to the bottom of the pan (even after I buttered it). I tried the recipe again and instead used the stove-top. Finally, they turned out to be perfect!

Here's my recipe (adapted from Smitten Kitchen):

Makes 2-pancakes.

4 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup flour, sifted
2/3 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons melted butter

Butter a pan and place on stove-top (medium temperature). Mix the eggs until light yellow in color. Add remaining ingredients; process until smooth. Pour into prepared pan. Let the edges get golden brown before flipping. When ready, flip sides. When golden brown on both sides, slide off pan and plate. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with lemon slices.