Are you ever in a really picky mood about what you feel like eating?
Usually, when it comes to food, I'm happy with whatever I can grab out of the fridge first, but every now and then...I feel like something, yet I don't know exactly what it is. It's more like I know what I don't want. That's what happened to me yesterday.
I invited a friend over for coffee.
It wasn't breakfast.
It wasn't lunch.
It wasn't brunch.
I'd serve a fruit salad, and bake something. I didn't intend to wait until the zero hour to bake...
in fact, I did make something the day before, but it didn't turn out great.
So now, it was 7:00am, and my friend was coming at 10:30am. I had to decide if I was going to bake, or run out and buy something ready-made.
I really preferred to bake, but... it had to be quick and easy... I wanted it to be "breakfasty..." and I had to have all of the ingredients on hand.
What I wanted was comfort food... you know, like meatloaf and mashed potatoes, only breakfast style.
I went through my recipe file... Nothing appealed to me. I looked through a couple of cookbooks. Zippo. Zilch. Nada. I gave myself 10 minutes to find a recipe on Pinterest, or else, I'd have to run out and buy something.
So many things sounded delicious, but I was feeling really picky.
I wasn't in the mood for fruity. I didn't feel like nuts. Chocolate wasn't doing it for me.
I pinned this recipe back in July when Ann from On Sutton Place did a post on it. She always has great recipes, and I think half of my pins are from her blog. She and I seem to be on the same wavelength when it comes to desserts.
I had no time to waste. It took only a few minutes to measure the ingredients, and mix them up. I soaked the oats, and let them cool while I did 30 minutes on the elliptical.
Hutz, mutz, clutz, it was in the pan. (I don't know where that saying comes from, but a co-worker always said it, meaning "in no time"). The cake cooled for about an hour, and it was still warm when I served it. It was perfect.
YUM. I had two pieces while my friend was here. I ate another right after she left.
Oh, yeah, I am going to be rockin' that tight red dress I'm wearing for Rosh Hashana on Thursday. Can you say "Spanx?"
I wrapped what was left of the cake, and stuck it in the freezer before I could be further tempted.
The texture is kind of muffin-y, and I bet it's amazing shmeared with butter...or jam.
This is going to be a "Go-To" cake for me from now on. I think it should be for you, too. "Go-To" Ann's right now and get the recipe. And the next time you're in a jam, or want something to eat with your jam, have your oatmeal in a cake instead of a bowl.
To my friends who celebrate the Jewish New Year...Shana Tova.
From there, I hopped on a subway and headed down to Soho for a hair appointment, brow tweezing, and cosmetics shopping. Once I was cut, colored, plucked and made-over, I felt like a new person!
"You make me feel...you make me feel like a natural woman."
I was able to squeeze in a quick stop at the San Gennaro festival in Little Italy, for some lunch.
It was early...the perfect time to go and avoid all the crowds. I have to admit, I did indulge. So what if I felt like a porker... it was worth every bite!
About 5pm, I headed up to midtown to meet my sister for dinner at Haru in Times Square. We had Sake-tinis at the bar... (oh, and some food, too)... ...and then, we walked down the street to the Steven Sondheim Theater to see the Broadway show, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical... which was my sister's birthday gift to me!
The show was outstanding! If you are headed to New York, and want to see a Broadway show, I highly recommend it!
It was a perfect day...until the drive home. I waited 15 minutes for my car, and then they brought me the wrong one! It was very nice - I should have taken it.
Once I got the right car, I was zipping along, singing to the radio, until I hit traffic on the West Side Highway while I was still pretty far from the GW Bridge. What the what? It was 10:00pm! Where did everyone come from? Doesn't anyone stay home at night? With lyrics from the show fresh in my mind, I couldn't help thinking...
"So Far Away...doesn't anybody stay in one place anymore... "
Eventually, I made it to the bridge -- Really?... the upper level is CLOSED? That meant I had to take a roundabout way to the parkway. Grrrr... I wound my way around to an alternate parkway entrance, to be greeted with the sign... Entrance Closed. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
"Sometimes I wonder if I'm ever gonna make it Home Again... It's so far and out of sight..."
I finally pulled into the driveway at 11:00pm. It felt so good to be back home after a long... but "Beautiful" day in the city.
"Till I'm home again and feeling right. I wanna be home again and feeling right."
If I ask you to name the top five desserts you've ever had,
Rugelach from Machne Yehuda Market in Jerusalem
is definitely on my "top five" list.
In case you're not familiar with it, rugelach is a Yiddish word,
which, loosely translated, means "little twists."
Finding the best rugelach in the world has become something of a competitive family pursuit... with each of us claiming at one time or another to have found the winner. I like to think of it as our version of the Hunger Games.
It wasn't until we were in Jerusalem, that we finally could name the victor. It was the Best Rugelach We Ever Had.
Our tour guide dropped us off at Machne Yehuda Market on a Friday afternoon. Because it was right before Shabbat (the Jewish Sabbath), it was wall-to-wall people... like being in Times Square on New Year's Eve.
We were hungry. We were tired. We were cranky. We couldn't find a place to have lunch. When we saw a stall selling baked goods, we stopped and got some rugelach. It had just come out of the oven, and oh, my, my, my... It was like manna from heaven.
I don't know that anything can top those, but my mother's recipe is pret-ty, pret-ty good. I vividly remember the day that she went to her friend's house to learn how to make rugelach. After that, they became a regular part of her baking repertoire.
Yeah, she spelled it differently, and no, I wouldn't use margarine. EVER.
My mother's recipe
She'd freeze them to have on hand... "In case someone should stop by." My sister and I would sneak into the tupperware containers, and eat them right out of the freezer. When my mother went to get them... Surprise! She'd find the containers almost empty.
My mother always used raspberry jam as a filling. I decided to try it with fig jam, and it was AMAZING! (I used my favorite, Bon Maman).
I will only use fig jam from now on.
Unless, of course, I want chocolate.
Since the recipe makes 64 pieces, I like to make two flavors, for variety. So, half chocolate, half fig-walnut.
The dough must be refrigerated overnight, and cold when you work with it.
Keep each section in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Your hands and work surface must be well-floured, as the dough is sticky.
The measurements in my recipe, below, assume you are making half jam, and half chocolate.
Melt the chips just before spreading on the dough.I did not use nuts in the chocolate rugelach.
It is important to bake the rugelach with the point-side down, so that they don't un-fold while they're baking.
Rugelach Two Ways: Fig-Walnut, and Chocolate
For the dough:
2 cups flour
1/2 pound butter
1 egg yolk
3/4 cup sour cream
For the filling:
3/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 cup fig jam (amount is approximate, for 1/2 recipe)
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips, melted (amount is approximate, for 1/2 recipe) 1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts (amount is approximate, for 1/2 recipe)
Mix flour and butter. Add egg yolk and sour cream. Mix until well-combined. Refrigerate over night. The next day, divide dough into four balls. Work with one at a time, keeping the others refrigerated until ready to use. Two sections will be used for fig jam and walnuts rugelach; two sections will be used for chocolate rugelach.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Flour hands and rolling pin before working with dough. Re-flour, as necessary, since the dough is sticky.
Flatten the dough into a disc. On a well-floured work surface, roll dough into circle, approximately 9-10 inches in diamater.
Gently place plate over dough, and use a knife to cut dough into perfect circle. Using a knife or icing spatula, carefully loosen the dough from the work surface.
Mix sugar and cinnamon together. Spread two circles of dough with a thin layer of jam; spread two circles of doughwith melted chocolate, which should be a more generous layer.
Sprinkle walnuts over jam. (I did not use nuts for the chocolate rugelach).
Using a pizza cutter, cut each circle into 16 wedges.
Roll rugelach carefully starting at the widest part. Put on parchment-lined baking sheets, with the point-side down. Bake for 12-15 minutes, but time is approximate, as all ovens are different.
The rugelach will remain pale, but bottoms will be golden brown. Let cool. Can be stored in ziploc or plastic container, and frozen.
I've stashed my rugelach away in the freezer
to serve on Yom Kippur after breaking the fast...
Unless, of course, someone eats them right out of the freezer,
After a lengthy career in the TV industry, I've put my dress-for-success clothes into storage, and tried on my domestic “genes” instead. Follow me as I satisfy my nesting instincts, fulfill my passion for travel and do a little soul-searching…all while trying to stay one step ahead of my teenager.
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