challah

Pomegranate Challah

The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur is this week, which continues the season of the Jewish New Year. To celebrate this annual cycle, challah is often formed into a round (instead of being braided) and harvest type foods, like pomegranate, are often eaten. I combined these ideas into a sweet bread, baked with lots of honey and pomegranate seeds. You can work the pom seeds into the dough itself, or just sprinkle them on the top, or both!  I have tried a million challah recipes and came up with this combo of ingredients that I like best. Bread is not that hard, you can do it! Here’s how:   Put one packet of yeast in a bowl with ¾ cup warm water and let it sit for 5 min until it gets a little bubbly. Then toss in an egg, 1/3 honey, 2T brown sugar, a big pinch of coarse salt and a half stick melted butter. Mix it all by hand or using a mixer. Then add flour, little by little until it’s no longer sticking to the side of the bowl and is thick and doughy and doesn’t seem to absorb any more flour (you’ll know…). You usually need about 4 cups of flour.    Knead it for a couple minutes (or just let it go around in the mixer with the dough hook) then throw that lump of dough into a big bowl you’ve coated in oil, and cover the top of the bowl with saran wrap. It’ll rise to about twice the size in a couple hours. Then take it out, roll it into a snake, then coil it into a round. Sprinkle with pom seeds and brush with egg (optional, but makes it feel more official!). Let it rise on a cookie sheet for another 45 min or so, then pop it in the oven for about 25 min at 350 degrees. Check it once in a while to see how brown it’s getting, and tap it on the bottom to see if it’s done (it should sound kind of hollow). Enjoy!   By Erin Gleeson for  The Forest Feast

The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur is this week, which continues the season of the Jewish New Year. To celebrate this annual cycle, challah is often formed into a round (instead of being braided) and harvest type foods, like pomegranate, are often eaten. I combined these ideas into a sweet bread, baked with lots of honey and pomegranate seeds. You can work the pom seeds into the dough itself, or just sprinkle them on the top, or both!

I have tried a million challah recipes and came up with this combo of ingredients that I like best. Bread is not that hard, you can do it! Here’s how:

Put one packet of yeast in a bowl with ¾ cup warm water and let it sit for 5 min until it gets a little bubbly. Then toss in an egg, 1/3 honey, 2T brown sugar, a big pinch of coarse salt and a half stick melted butter. Mix it all by hand or using a mixer. Then add flour, little by little until it’s no longer sticking to the side of the bowl and is thick and doughy and doesn’t seem to absorb any more flour (you’ll know…). You usually need about 4 cups of flour.

Knead it for a couple minutes (or just let it go around in the mixer with the dough hook) then throw that lump of dough into a big bowl you’ve coated in oil, and cover the top of the bowl with saran wrap. It’ll rise to about twice the size in a couple hours. Then take it out, roll it into a snake, then coil it into a round. Sprinkle with pom seeds and brush with egg (optional, but makes it feel more official!). Let it rise on a cookie sheet for another 45 min or so, then pop it in the oven for about 25 min at 350 degrees. Check it once in a while to see how brown it’s getting, and tap it on the bottom to see if it’s done (it should sound kind of hollow). Enjoy!

By Erin Gleeson for The Forest Feast

Persimmon Pear Cake

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This Persimmon Pear Cake is a nice twist on the traditional pumpkin bread. It’s denser than cake, which is why you don’t need icing. Peel, cube and cook persimmons and pears in a small pot on the stove (add a bit of butter and water to get it simmering).  Mash it up until you get about 1 cup of puree (depending on the size of the fruits, you may need another persimmon or pear). Combine this fruit mixture with all the other ingredients and bake in a round spring form pan. A light drizzle of honey, plus nuts if you like… and serve it warm!

Photos and Illustrations © Erin Gleeson

Mushroom Quinoa Risotto

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Foragers, alert! Mushrooms are everywhere right now. I was in Santa Cruz recently and met a forager who showed me all the edible mushrooms he’d found on his walk and gave me tips on how to spot them. Often they are just little bumps under leaves…who knew!? Most of the ones he pointed our were types of Russula mushrooms. For this Mushroom Quinoa Risotto recipe I used Oyster mushrooms.

As always, forage with an expert and use an identification book. Be sure to check with an expert before eating anything. Happy hunting!

Sufganiyot Jelly Donuts

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In honor of this last day of Hanukkah, I made Sufganiyot (jelly donuts). Believe it or not, this is a Hanukkah tradition, right along with latkes.  This was the first time I’d made them so I used Martha Stewart’s recipe and they came out great!

Kale Chips

Kale Chips are an easy healthy snack to have before dinner, perhaps with a holiday cocktail!? All the crunchy satisfaction, and a little less guilt. They burn quickly, though, so watch them like a hawk. Four of five minutes in a hot oven does it, just until they get a little brown around the edges. Enjoy!

Kale Chips are an easy healthy snack to have before dinner, perhaps with a holiday cocktail!? All the crunchy satisfaction, and a little less guilt. They burn quickly, though, so watch them like a hawk. Four of five minutes in a hot oven does it, just until they get a little brown around the edges. Enjoy!