What I’m Cooking: Valentine’s Day

My love of Valentine’s Day goes easily back to elementary school days. I remember making containers to hold candy for my family, and sneaking them into their rooms at night. The first year, my friend and I were taking sewing classes, and I remember sewing a heart-shaped pillow with a pocket for candy on it. One year, I took sponges and cut small heart shapes out of them, and sponged pink and red hearts on plain white paper. I cut the paper into strips and wove baskets out of them.

It’s been many years since I’ve been that creative, but I still really enjoy baking for my friends and family. And for the last four or five years, the employees club at work (of which I’m on the board) has done a Valentine’s-themed bake sale.

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Whole Orange Cake

Sometimes you spy a recipe somewhere, decide you have to make it, and it becomes a favorite. Other times, you have an idea for a bake, and go searching until you find a recipe that meets your idea. This is one of those times.

While pondering what desserts to bring to my friend’s new years party, I somehow got the idea of making a whole clementine cake. I suppose it may have been influenced by Mary Berry’s recipe for a Whole Orange Cake (I’m on a major Great British Bake Off obsession right now), although I definitely wasn’t thinking directly about it. The first recipe I found was Nigella’s Clementine Cake recipe, which looked wonderful, except it used ground almonds and my friend has a nut allergy.

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Apple Honey Cake

For many of us, holidays are a combination of dishes that must be made, new dishes to try, and the sad fact that each person can only eat so much. Every year for Rosh Hashanah, my mother makes a fabulous apple cake. When I moved down here to Texas, I started making it for break-the-fast (the meal following the 25 hour fast during Yom Kippur, which is ten days after Rosh Hashanah) instead, because my friends and I weren’t cooking dinner during Rosh Hashanah. Continue reading “Apple Honey Cake”

Triple Pomegranate Challah

A slice of pomegranate challah

My friend Molly is always making wonderful challah variations, which besides making my mouth water, also really make me regret how far away I live! Normally I don’t do anything untraditional with my challot, for a couple of reasons. I don’t really make challah during the year, because it’s just me alone, and I go out to eat on Friday night after services. So I only make challah for High Holidays, and I make a somewhat traditional fruited challah (next time try half raisins and half chopped apricots, it’s awesome) and I’m done for the year.

Proofing yeast in pomegranate juice Continue reading “Triple Pomegranate Challah”

Eggplant, ¬†Pomegranate, and Za’atar Salad

Just in time for the weekend farmers markets, I had to publish this recipe. Like many these days, I can get lost in time browsing Pinterest and food blogs. And I thought I had seen a similar salad, but when I went back, I couldn’t find anything close too what I wanted. So in true Liz fashion, I winged it. What resulted was the salad in my dreams, and one I’ve craved pretty much every week since.

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What I’m Cooking: New Year’s Eve

Many times, I find recipes just like everyone else – the Internet. I don’t always change anything, or fuss with them in any way. I wanted a way to share some of these recipes with you all, without attaching a full blog post to something that may not need it. Hence, “What I’m Cooking.”

I have no idea how often this feature will run, but hopefully it will be a glimpse into my life, and provide links to good food. Today’s post is about the food I made to bring to a New Year’s Eve party at a friend’s. Normally I won’t bring this much, but there had been a couple of cookie recipes I’d been eyeing, and I figured this was the perfect opportunity. Unfortunately, I was rushing to get there, and didn’t make the time to take hardly any photographs, for which I apologize!

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Peach Kolaches

I can’t believe it’s been two months since I published anything! I have had a completely crazy fall – I taught 5 cooking classes for the high school students in our religious school and had other baking at the Shul (another word for a synagogue, or a Jewish “church”) kitchens almost every week. We serve lunch after our Saturday services every week, and occasionally do other meals. Our cook handles most of the meal, but I am often asked to help make “fancy” desserts for specific events or to help fill in when it’s a busy week.

Peach Kolaches

On October 30, we had a musical Friday night service with the theme “Deep In The Heart of Texas” which was followed by a Texas-themed dinner. As with all of our themed Friday night dinners, I designed a dessert menu to compliment the theme. It’s a fun challenge for me to come up with the dessert items.¬† For Texas night, I decided to make Texas sheet cake, pecan pie bars, grapefruit cookies (a riff on my favorite orange cookie recipe), and kolaches. Continue reading “Peach Kolaches”