Everything Purim

Feb 18Megillah+Project

Jewish Live aggregates websites from many areas of Jewish interest. In addition, Jewish Live produces some of its own content. Follow the link below for The Megillah Project created with the cooperation of several Jewish websites. Click here to view.

We think of hamentaschen as a sweet treat and usually they are. But the triangular shape is perfect for holding savory fillings, too. Try some as a change, maybe even as a dinner with a nice salad. The link takes you to a recipe for the dough and suggested fillings. My latke bar was so successful at Hanukkah, I just might try a hamentaschen bar for Purim.  Click here to view: How to Make Savory Hamentaschen.

Of course, if you are a classicist and just want a sweet cookie, try this recipe from  Debbie at Red Spoon Bakery presented by Tradition Kitchens. Here’s a recording of the class https://traditionkitchens.substack.com/p/hamentashen-with-debbie

Feb 18 hamentaschenAfter years of trying to make perfect hamentaschen, I’ve finally found a recipe that seems to work. It’s a little sweet for my taste but it’s not too dry, not too fragile, a little flaky,  holds together well and  can be flavored as you wish. It’s not a fussy recipe and goes well with many fillings. Nutella worked really well. A bit of brie with a dab or preserves might be nice, too. For best results with chocolate, use baking chocolate or a bar of chocolate. It will melt better than chocolate chips.

If you have a favorite “perfect” recipe or hints on how to make great hamentaschen or a unique filling, please share. I’ve put cooking hints in parentheses.

Debbie’s Hamentaschen

Ingredients:
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter (softened enough to combine with sugar but not melted)
1 Cup Sugar
1 Egg (beat lightly)
½ tsp Fresh Lemon Juice
2 ¾ Cups All Purpose Flour
¼ tsp Salt
¾ tsp Baking Powder
Fillings (chocolate chips, chocolate spread) or Preserves –Bonne Maman preserves is Debbie’s favorite.(See note)

Chocolate Ganache Filling Ingredients:
8 oz 60-75 percent dark chocolate (chopped)
8 oz heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Beat butter and sugar until blended. You can use an electric mixer on a moderate speed.
  2. Add egg and lemon juice and beat until blended.
  3. Mix dry ingredients (flour, salt, and baking powder).
  4. Add to mixing bowl and mix gently until a crumbly, playdough-like texture is achieved.
  5. While dough rests (20-30 minutes), preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Prepare cookie sheet with parchment.
  7. Roll out dough to about ¼ inch thick on parchment using a little flour.( Or roll directly the counter. If needed use a spatula to lift the dough circle from the counter.)
  8. Cut dough into circles and place 2 inches apart.
  9. Spoon 1/2 tsp of filling in the center.
  10. Pinch edges and fold over flaps to lay flat forming three corners.
  11. Bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly browned. (They may need longer. Mine took 180-20 minutes.)

Directions for chocolate Ganache filling)

  1. Heat heavy cream on stove until bubbly around the edges
  2. Add chocolate, let sit for three minutes, stir.

NOTE: Bonne Maman preserves are truly delicious. There are so many flavors; they are made with real sugar, and are reasonably priced. I first discovered them in France and would bring back jars. I was so happy to find them some years later in New Jersey. There is also a possible poignant Jewish connection that is circulating on Twitter and Facebook. Snopes can neither confirm nor deny the story that in their small village, the family that produced the preserves sheltered Jews during the Holocaust.  But it is a lovely story and is entirely plausible. But true or not, look for Bonne Maman Preserves. You will love them. Link here for the story.

Feb.18 Chick-pea-spinach-stewBefore you eat the cookies, make sure to serve some chick peas.

Esther tradition tells us was a vegetarian. So chick peas were likely on her menu. Follow this link to a Purim dish called Queen Esther’s Chick Pea Stew.

Lastly, share a story with your family.  Most of these are lavishly illustrated. Each author has his or her own interpretation but all deal with secrets and/or being comfortable with one’s identity. Try comparing stories and then composing your own version of the Purim story.

Feb. 18 KimmelPicture book stories for Purim

Berkowitz, Queen Vashti’s Comfy Pants

Bietz, Sweet tamales for Purim.

Ofanansky, Esther Didn’t Dream of Being Queen.

Goldin, A Persian princess

Kimmel, The Story of Esther: a Purim Tale

Kushner, The Purim Superhero

Silverman, Raisel’s riddle

Feb.18 WaldmanAdult Fiction

Kohn, The Gilded Chamber: a novel of  Queen Esther

Solomon, The Book of V

Adult nonfiction

Isaacs, Every person’s Guide to Purim

Waldman, Megillat Esther – a unique graphic novel format.   

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Lampert libraryREMINDER: The library is open for borrowing.  There are many new books available as well as great older books for readers of all ages including teens.  Use the online catalog to choose your books; then email the library (email hidden; JavaScript is required)  with your request. The books can be left either in the office or on my porch (open 24/7, address by request). The catalog is very easy to use. There is a link on Shomrei’s home page. Questions or requests: email the librarian at email hidden; JavaScript is required.

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Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg

Aileen Grossberg, a professional librarian, is a long-time congregant and serves as volunteer librarian for Shomrei's Lampert Library. The library, one of the best-kept secrets at Shomrei is used by the Rabbi, congregants, students and teachers of the JLC (Hebrew School) and Preschool. It's a tremendous resource completely supported by your donations and gifts. Aileen also heads the Shomrei Caterers, the in-house food preparation group. Can there be any better combination…good food and good books!
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