Lemon Crostata, Holiday Sugar Cookies and a Double Holiday Giveaway!

Thanksgiving is yet to be a faded memory and Chanukah is already welcoming us this coming Wednesday.  Before I embark on a weeklong Israeli, American, cider, baked and fried doughnut making extravaganza, let's backtrack.  This past Thanksgiving I made a classic Lemon Crostata from Domenica Marchetti's  Big Night In. I was at awe at the flavor intensity of this no fuss lemon curd. It paired beautifully with the sweet pastry (pasta frolla) crust. The remainder of the dough I used for holiday sugar cookies, sprinkled the dough with naturally dyed sugars, some finicky kids as well as the adults could not stop munching on those. These both are classic elegant lemon dessert and cookies for every day and the holidays.
To show the versatility of this dough, Lora @cakeduchess, a wonderful baker and a great twitter friend, put another twist to this wonderful sweet pastry dough and made chocolate hazelnut cookies you can find here.  Both Lora and I are doing Domenica's Big Night In  giveaway. We thought to publish a double giveaway simultaneously to double your chances at winning this wonderful Big Night In cookbook and enjoy it for the Holidays. Please visit Lora's post and enter your comment here as well for doubling your chances.

Indian Spice Rubbed Cornish Game Hens

After a Thanksgiving meal, the next day, I could not even look at the turkey. The carcass of this massive bird in the fridge was staring at us and out of guilt we had some of the remaining leftovers as scavengers for lunch. Images of cowboy movies, desert scenes roadrunners and Clint Eastwood running through my mind. But, I was craving not a pinch but a punch of spice! Which brings me to my sister and some triggered memories. These memories awakened from hibernation as I was craving spicy food and I have a teenager with a newly found freedom. I have probably mentioned that I am the oldest of six, who in their right mind would have six kids within eight years?! Back then life wasn't as calculated, it just happened! Two of my siblings were in boarding schools in Israel, ok don't have images of royal England running through your mind, they are further from the truth! My sister was at an agricultural boarding school while I was in the army, she is four years younger than I. One day I showed up visiting her, knocking on her dorm room.

The Kosher Baker and The Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat Giveaways

Since we are on the subject of Jewish cooking  (see my previous post on  Joan Nathan's Quiches, Kugels and Couscous here), kosher cooking, though debatable, has a general consensus of being healthier. Once in a blue moon, happens especially when we are downtown DC visiting an exhibit, I do wolf down, a hot dog, and feel much better knowing it is a Hebrew National.  Unfortunately this confession I cannot later retract or deny! The next two Washingtonian cookbook authors, while not advocating junk food habits, Kosher is one they do champion. Paula Shoyer of the The Kosher Baker (Brandeis University Press) and Meredith Jacobs  of the The Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat (HarperCollins) are lovely ladies and young, hip moms and their books are perfect duo giveaways!
Paula Shoyer's  The Kosher Baker with over 160 traditional to trendy dairy free and parve recipes for the everyday and the holidays. The owner of Paula's Parisian Pastries Cooking school in the Washington D.C. area, with a pastry diploma from the Ritz Escoffier Ecole de Gastronomie Francaise in Paris in 1996, Paula used to be the editor of the popular Susie Fishbein cookbooks Kosher by Design. First on my list is the Chocolae Babke and the Challa Beer Bread pudding with Caramel Sauce, sounds scrumptious!

Joan Nathan's Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous, Blogiversary Giveaway III

Five of the upcoming cookbook authors who will be featured in the next posts are of national and international reputation but all live locally in the metro DCs area. First and foremost is the queen on Jewish Cooking in America the famed Joan Nathan. Her new book just released Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010). Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous is the acclaimed Joan Nathan's tenth book. Published in 1994,  Jewish Cooking in America won the James Beard Award and the IACP and Julia Child Cookbook of the Year Award, among many other accolades. I always revered as I understood how much work goes into this tapestry of recipes but the enormity of the research dawned on me only after watching the trailer (press trailer on right) on Joan Nathan's site. The much discussed Pain Petri (Anise-Flavored Challah With Sesame Seeds) I thought, if you bake few loaves, the day or two old challah will be so perfect as a Thanksgiving stuffing base. The anise flavored challah stuffing will be complemented well with mirepoix. added to the mixture sauteed granny smiths and pear and voila a more festive twist to Thanksgiving stuffing tradition, with the anise flavor fitting well with the traditional Thanksgiving spices and fare.

Rolled Oats Pancakes - Quick, Healthy and Delicious!

This will be the quickest post I have ever written. It amazes me every single time how quick and easy, as I call them, American pancakes are. When I saw this healthier twist to the traditional recipe in one of my favorite food magazines from Israel Al HaShulchan (on the table), I could not wait to make them! I just got it from an Israeli friend of mine living just a neighborhood over, she was on a business trip to Israel and brought me two current Israeli cooking magazines and a cookbook. I must admit I did light up like a little girl when I got what I consider, treasured surprises. The magazine featured breakfast and brunch recipes. Initially, when I saw the word Rivyon in the ingredient list, I don't know why, but yogurt came to mind. I embarked on a twitter quest since the yogurt I had in the fridge expired same day I was preparing the pancakes. With much panic I turned to my twitter friends as I was impatient to make a quick run to the supermarket. Later as it turned out Rivyon most resembles buttermilk so the first batch was with yogurt and I badly wanted to convince myself the pancakes were most delicious, but they were a bit dense.

Creamy Cran-Raspberry Sherbet, Pear Fritters with Lemon and Ginger and Blogiversary GIVEAWAY II

Abby Dodge, Fine Cooking Magazine and Taunton Press have been extremely generous and agreed to donate to my one year blogiversary giveaway. I have been raving about Fine Cooking magazine prior to my food blog days, way before I encountered the fantastic staff at  Fine Cooking Magazine and one of their contributing editors and multiple cookbook author, the lovely and talented Abby Dodge on twitterverse. If Paula Wolfert was  my first American cookbook author love then Fine Cooking Magazine was my first American food and cooking magazine crush! My long lasting crush is quite unusual as I tend to lose interest faster than a lightening bolt. Impressive how Fine Cooking and Abby Dodge managed to keep my interest up for so many years. You can read three of my archived posts featuring recipes from Fine Cooking and giving you a window to which corner of the world did I have Fine Cooking magazine shipped to. First, Blizzard's Chocolate Chip/Banana and Meyer Lemon/Blueberry Muffins post, second, the ever so popular Fine Cooking Rich Chewy Brownies post and lastly the decadent Fine Cooking Deeply Rich Chocolate Brownie Cookies post. Please visit Fine Cooking magazine site for innovative and  brilliant create your own Thanksgiving and Holiday menu, create your own, ice cream, muffins and much much more

Chickpeas and Swiss Chard in the Style Tunisian Sahel, Blogiversary and a GIVEAWAY!

I am going to start a new tradition on my first year blogiversary. My blog anniversary has come and gone Nov. 4th with no disasters to speak of, unlike my birthday. I am not talking about chipping a nail or a ruined manicure but disasters of epic proportions, maybe not every year but every leap year for certain. Every year as my birthday approaches, I wonder not so much with anxiety but somewhat resigned, what disaster of epic proportion awaits in the cards for me this year? Maybe nicknaming me Kali playfully as opposed to my sister Gori throughout my childhood was not the best karma. On this blogiversary, I am reigning in old karma and holding it by its horns and starting a new tradition. Just like the little girl I was at nine years old, taking control of my life and my five little brothers and sisters, and spending my entire summer at the ministry of education. Every day I would wake up just before the offices would open and plant myself in a chair by the door until close of business hours, every day that summer, a tenacious little nine year old Indian girl that was I! The last day of summer before the school year was about to open, is when they switched me and the entire school age brood to a better school. My parents wouldn't sign the papers as they believed the religious school we were attending would preserve their conservative Indian values and their girls' virtues better than a secular one would. I had started at nine years of age a new tradition, and wrangled karma. As you all know, the cards dealt me Jonathan and Sagie...speaking of much good fortune! Only a small matter of leap years still remains, was it a leap year this past birthday, I wonder?! This year I was surrounded with all my twitter friends and their well wishes, as well as my friends and family's congratulations, and on this blogiversary I want to share with you, my wonderful supportive friends, some giveaways to celebrate my quiet uneventful good karma blogiversary. Giveaways will be spread throughout the next few weeks so stay tuned. Without further ado, let me introduce you to:

My first American cookbook author love, the much revered icon Paula Wolfert. As you can tell from my blog, I am partial to food photography just a smidgen but what I end up falling in love with are books and an author of substance. My first purchase of her books was Couscous and Other Good Food from Morocco without a single photograph as you leaf through the pages.