November 26, 2008

A bagel is a round bread

The Jewish bagel’s probably birthplace is Poland. The first known reference to the bagel among Jews in Poland, Ms. Balinska writes, precedes the battle of Vienna by seven decades. It is found, she says, in regulations issued in Yiddish in 1610 by the Jewish Council of Krakow outlining how much Jewish households were permitted to spend in celebrating the circumcision of a baby boy – “to avoid making gentile neighbors envious, and also to make sure poorer Jews weren’t living above their means.” The origin of the word “bagel” is ultimately unclear, but many experts agree, she says, that it comes from the Yiddish beigen, to bend.

Read more about bagels and bagel's recipes

November 24, 2008

Real Fresh Pumpkin Bread

Real Fresh Pumpkin Bread
Serves: 1 loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 cups sugar, 3/4 cup vegetable oil, 3 large eggs, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 3 cups shredded fresh pumpkin.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together.
In a separate bowl, mix the sugar, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla. Combine both mixtures and fold in the shredded pumpkin and pumpkin seeds. Once the ingredients are all incorporated pour into a non- stick 9 by 5 by 3-inch loaf pan. If your pan is not non- stick coat it with butter and flour.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. At this point a knife inserted into the middle of the loaf should come out clean. Cool for 15 minutes and turn out onto a cooling rack. Cool completely. For muffins temperature should also be 325 degrees F., but bake for 30 minutes.

Recipe from Alton Brown on Food Network

Кекс со свежей тыквой.

2 чашки муки, 2 чайные ложки молотой корицы, 1 чайная ложка соды, 1/4 чайной ложки разрыхлителя, 1 1/2 чашки сахара, 3/4 чашки растительного масла, 3 яйца, 1 чайная ложка ванильного экстракта, 3 чашки мелко натертой свежей тыквы.

Нагреть духовку до 325 Ф.
Смешать муку, корицу, соду, разрыхлитель и соль. Все перемешать. В отдельной посуде смешать сахар, растительное масло, яйца, ванильный экстракт. Положить очищенную тыкву к кухонный комбайн и провернить до образования мелкой крупки. Добавить тыкву из комбайна к яйцам. Смешать ВСЕ ингридиенты и хорошо перемешать. Приготовить формочку для выпечки кексов "light bread" Вылить тесто и поставить в нагретую духовку на 1 час 15 минут. Печь до готовности, вынуть и оставить осывать в течении 10 минут. Вынуть из формочки и дать полностью остынуть.

Прекрасно сочетается со сливочным кремом Philadelphia.

For those, who like YEASTED pumpkin bread, I would like to refer to the site Happy Home Baking

November 22, 2008

The world's greatest baking tips

All baking has huge costs you can't escape: fuel to heat the oven, all the time you dedicate, and ingredients that aren't so affordable any more. So I delved into my address book and spoke to some of the great talents out there to see what they advise, and the response was huge; especially from those baker / writers in the US who for years have encouraged people to tackle challenging recipes rather than hide from any complexity and just passively consume. So here are their top baking tips from around the world just for you.

United States
1. From the US I turned to Shirley O Corriher, the scientist turned kitchen sleuth I most admire, and her new book Bakewise is honestly the only one I've waited patiently for. For Corriher, getting cakes and cookies to last that bit longer helps when you have to stretch the budget, and she told me how science helps. "Just substitute an equal measure of vegetable oil for a third of the butter in your cake or muffin recipe and this helps to keep them moist. The reason: oil greases the flour proteins better than butter and prevents gluten forming, so leaving more water in the batter." Brilliant, and it saves money on butter too.

2. It's cool to be accurate. Though baking appears all bish-bash-bosh, the key to achieving those extraordinary loaves is all in the detail. Jim Lahey, the king of New York bakers at the Sullivan Street Bakery, says: "Measure precisely. This will avoid unnecessary mistakes and bad food. Don't open your oven door while you're goods are cooking. If you have leftover ends of bread, try to convert them into another dish. In these new lean times it's better that we waste nothing."

3. Rose Levy Beranbaum at, the top baking author in the US with The Cake Bible and blog advice pioneer suggested making life easier for others is the kindest thing to offer. "When you give home baked cakes include the baking tin and recipe. Ideally, cakes should be long-keeping ones, especially ones with a liqueur or lemon syrup. Cool the cake completely. Wash and dry the pan in which it was baked and coat the interior lightly with sunflower oil or non-stick spray. Return the cake to the pan, wrap it tightly with clear plastic film then finally cover it with beautiful gift paper."

4. The über chic Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking: From My Home to Yours goes for boldness at Christmas. "Bake big, it saves both time and money. My best go-to sweet is what we call a Bundt cake, a kind butter cake. It's quick to make and beautiful as the shape of the pan does all the decorating for you; and if it's cut in thin slices – what most people want – you can stretch a Bundt to serve 16 or more."

5. Before you launch into baking breads or cakes after googling for a recipe, it's essential to check if it's from a good reliable source. This doesn't mean they have to be famous, but check for site reviews, comments and helpful pictures. Sarah Phillips at, home to some of the best baking know-how on the net says, "Be really careful with some of the recipes online from unnamed sources simply because most of them do not work. Rely on experts, it will save you money."

6. Like exquisite couture, the most impressive baking usually has good taste and simplicity at its heart. David Lebovitz, the savvy American in Paris who writes about chocolate, ice-cream and life's other essentials, reminded me of that one important piece of advice. "Keep it simple. Not only will you use fewer ingredients, but it'll be less work. A great spice cake with a scoop of ice cream is just as appealing as a multi-layered extravaganza. To jazz it up, add a drizzle of caramel sauce." Just keep it simple.

7. Sometimes you can spend to save, especially if you have room in your cupboards to store ingredients. Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito from Baked NYC in Brooklyn, authors of Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and the handsomest purveyors of sweet love in New York told me, "Buy a good quality chocolate in bulk form, rather than expensive 100g bars, and just break it up yourself. Also, avoid recipes that need expensive ingredients and make more use of caramel: an easy combo of sugar, water and cream."

8. "My advice would be much more about charity at in this difficult time," says Jeffrey Hamelman, who's book Bread: A Baker's Book of Techniques and Recipes really is the bible for serious breadheads worldwide. "Rather than bake less this Christmas season, bake just a little more than you think you need. Surely a neighbour or local food charity would be delighted with the unexpected gift."

9. Bread can be a beautiful gift too. I asked Peter Reinhart, the best-selling bread expert and author of Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavour. "Sweet fruit breads like German stollen or the Greek Christosomos make wonderful, relatively inexpensive gifts. And, most importantly, they are always appreciated as a gift from the heart, and symbolize the nativity of Christ and the gifts of the Magi." Certainly, it shows more thought than a plastic something.

10. For Yotam Ottolenghi, a little creativity with flavours can make the most of the most unlikely ingredients. "Take plum pudding, you can crumble it into a simple biscotti mixture instead of using dried fruit and it gives a very rich, gently spiced accent to the biscuit. Same with leftover fruit mince, fold it though vanilla or yoghurt ice-cream and the combination works really well."

11. "I'll be making lots of mini cheese scones for the freezer, so handy at Christmas", said Gerhard Jenne, the baker patron from Konditor and Cook. "Then if you have people calling by you can rustle up snacks with a little smoked salmon, or if you make herb ones you can serve them with small cups of hot soup. Even if you don't make your own soup it's nice to add you own little touch."

12. For John Rolfe, the founder of Jamie Oliver's Flour Station bakery and now baking bread at the home of the best sourdough pizza in London, Franco Manca the secret is to soft moist crumb is simple. "Put some cooked mashed potato in your bread dough, it's the quickest way to add moistness and softness to the crumb and it's literally as cheap as chips. Or if you have leftover chestnut puree that works really well too. Surprisingly, it wont turn you bread heavy and you can still get a great crisp crust."

13. Flour holds the spirit of the bread you bake, but it's odd how we then expect miracles from the cheapest we can find. Robert Winters at the Tapa Bakery in Glasgow, the home of great sourdough in Scotland, says the best tip starts with the flour you use. "Don't worry about saving money of the flour you buy, because even at it's most expensive its still good value. Find a stoneground flour, preferably wholemeal wheat or rye, and add that to your dough. You'll gain so much flavour that way."

14. For the respected Scots food historian Catherine Brown, now is the time to stir up a few forgotten traditions and reawaken the practice of simple hard biscuits like oatcakes. "If they're made well and given a good firing, oatcakes taste perfect on their own. I go a bit mad and make maybe a 100 at a time - cut into big triangles - as this makes best use of the oven. This way you've got them all winter, and you can have them with soup or crowdie."

15. Keep a look out during the year for interesting decorative boxes to pack gifts into, and then squirrel them away in a cupboard. Rachel Allen, the new star of Market Kitchen and author of Bake told me that a little planning is all that's needed to turn a simple recipe into a beautiful gift. "Keep a look out when you travel, then make a recipe that suits the style of the container. I picked up some beautiful decorative tins from a shop in Paris, and I'm going to make some delicate butter biscuits to go inside them. This is the just the kind of present I'd love to receive at Christmas."

16. When it comes to good bread, don't think quick; instead encourage a slow undisturbed rise for the dough - forget about airing cupboards and hot water bottles. Arguably the finest artisan baker in the world, Eric Kayser told me that there really is one piece of advice any aspiring baker must to repeat to themselves over and over. "Time and rest are all that the dough needs to rise and become good bread. Keep the yeast to a minimum and do other things while the flavour and texture mature."

17. "As we say in French: en cuisine on ne jette rien (in the kitchen, we don't throw anything away)," says Pascale Weeks, author of Cadeaux Gourmands, and the blogger at who suggests making the best use of your freezer. "When I make pastry, I always line tartlets cases with the leftovers, which I then freeze. When I'm alone for lunch I can then bake a small quiche for myself. When I use yolks for petits pots de crème au chocolat for example, I freeze the whites. I can use them after to make financiers, petits moelleux aux chocolat or amaretti."

18. Most cookie dough can be chilled in logs and kept in the fridge, which means that you can simply slice and bake what you need. Clotilde Dusoulier from says that tradition doesn't have to be sacrificed to make life a little easier this way. "When I was little, we would make cut-out Christmas cookies, but when I'm pressed for time I use the same recipe and use the slice-and-bake method. I roll the edges in unrefined cane sugar for a festive effect, and nobody's ever complained."

19. For Fanny Zanotti in the Côte d'Azur, the talent behind the beautiful idea-packed the stark realties of baking needn't stop you if you're careful. "Baking can turn into an expensive hobby, especially if you're anything like me: super-conscious about the ingredients' quality. To keep costs on the lower side, my best advice is to stay seasonal. Autumn and winter can seem a little sparse when it comes to harvests but … consider it a challenge and make your best to tingle your imagination." Think apples, pears, quinces, and dress them up with jams and a little brandy.

20. Getting more done with less seems daunting, but sometimes a little planning helps. "One ingredient, one oven, two recipes", says baking blogger Sandra Avital.

"Try making a couple of different kinds of cookies: one using only egg yolks, the second using only whites then bake both the same day, in the same hour, even at the same time to make the best use of the oven." This cuts fuel costs and probably saves time too.

Australia and New Zealand
21. Donna Hay advises every harassed cooks to go-easy after the Christmas dinner, lighter on the stomach and more likely to leave everyone with a sweet memory. "My version of a bread and butter pudding has a festive spin but it's easier to cook than Christmas cake or pudding, uses less ingredients and takes less time to put together, saving you effort, money and time." says Donna. "Just use good-quality brioche soaked in brandy-spiked custard, sprinkle it with brandy-soaked muscatels and top it with demerara sugar to form a crunchy crust. It's a winner in my house!"

22. The great daddy of artisan baking in Australia is John Downes, the guy who started the sourdough movement down-under during the 70s. His Natural Tucker Bread Book (1983) was the prescient handbook for hardcore bakers and is still relevant today. John tells me "if you've been saying all year, 'gee, I'd love to try making a sourdough but I don't have the time' then Christmas is perfect," says John, "because you're in the house, warm but not too hot, around to nurture it through those delicate first steps.

23. For Dean Brettschnieder, the NZ artisan baker and author of The Global Baker, the best advice is more of an idea for life rather than a baking tip. "This year I'm in Shanghai for Christmas. What I'm going to do is make a batch of butter shortbread flavoured with dried cranberries and orange zest, and plan to wrap these as beautifully as I can and give them to the people in my life here who might otherwise have been incidental but, if I'm really honest, have helped me enormously through the last year."

24. The best way to give your creativity the support it needs is to get organised. Rather than restricting your style, it will give you the freedom to express yourself. Elizabeth Baird, author of The Complete Canadian Living Baking Book and food editor of the magazine reminded me that, however obvious it sounds, we all forget sometimes. "It's those simple things. Plan ahead so you have all the ingredients fresh and ready to bake. Read the recipe first so you don't forget an all-important ingredient. Then enjoy the whole process - the great aromas, the first taste and the fun of sharing something you've made."

25. I first tasted the sourdough breads of artisan baker Cliff Leir, made with the rare Red Fife wheat, at the Slow Food Terra Madre in 2006, and remember being struck with their extraordinary flavour. I spoke with him as he was setting up Fol Epi, his new bakery on Vancouver Island's Dockside Green, and asked what his tip was for getting some of that flavour at home. "Try making your bread dough the day with just a tiny amount of yeast and let it ferment slowly overnight. Actually, as the nights are cold you can just put the dough in a covered bowl on the back porch rather than using the fridge. It's really sweet that way as you work with the elements."

26. "The economy may be harsh and cold on either side of the pond", says Marcy Goldman, editor of "but home baking helps us feel warm and reassured. It's no wonder we bake as we do at holiday times and with a Scrooge-like market, all the more reason. The first thing I do is sleuth out butter on sale and squirrel away many blocks of unsalted (sweet) butter as I can. Butter is the basenote, as it were, in baking and having lots on hand is inspiring - but its best to find at a great price. I also refresh my spices. It's funny how people dive into baking for the holidays, without thinking twice about using ages-old cinnamon or cloves. Fresh spices and fresh baking powder is the key."

27. Gunn Borrowman, my favourite Norwegian making utterly perfect cakes up in the Cairngorms at Inshriach Nursery, gave this advice, "Add a small amount of ground almonds to your cakes if you want them to stay moist. I sometimes replace all of the flour in cake recipes with ground almonds, and customers are so surprised you can get something gluten free and so good. "

28. Johan Sörberg, the award-winning artisan baker at Riddarbageriet in Stockholm told me that very simple rye breads, not much more that rye flour, salt and water mixed to a firm dough and rolled ultra thinly, are almost a Christmas tradition in Sweden. "You can't get easier than that," says Johan, "and flavoured with anise, black pepper or caraway, cut into "gingerbread" men, and baked till crisp they can be hung from the tree, and then eaten with the meal with soft cheese."

29. From baking maestro Jan Hedh, the skill behind Peter's Yard in Edinburgh, and the authority on Swedish baking: don't overlook the breadth of flavour your can get from a little yeast and good flour. "If you're stuck for time, stirring a pinch of yeast into an equal quantity of flour and water and leave it somewhere cool for a week; then use it in place of the same quantities of flour and water in the recipe. This will act as a powerful flavour enhancer and ferment. It's not sourdough, but it's the next best thing."

30. Camilla Plum is to Denmark what Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is to Britain, one of the few celebrities willing to stand up to the supermarkets and challenge consumers without worrying about being loveable. The key difference is that Camilla is an exceptional baker as well. Her advice is wise. "If you don't buy any kind of ready-made food, just for a week, but actually cook yourself … you'll save a lot of money. And this you can use for real butter, lots of currants and raisins, lovely fresh vanilla pods and cardamom.

Printed from Guardian

Potato soup with smoked salmon

Potato soup with smoked salmon
4 servings

2 cups water, 2 cups vegetable broth, 1 finely chopped onion, 750 gramm fresh chopped potato, 1 cup heavy cream, 1 chopped celery rib, 250 gramm smoked salmon, finely chopped italian parsley, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, salt and pepper.

In a large heavy-bottomed pot, melt a little bit of butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes. Add stock, potatoes, water and celery and simmer until potatoes are tender, 20 minutes. Add lemon juice and heavy cream.

Puree 2 cups of the soup in a blender until smooth, and return to pan. Add salt and pepper to taste and cook more 8-10 minutes. Add smoked salmon and parsley before palcing on a table.

I'm sure, this soup will become one of the favorites at your table. It goes well with home-made bread.

Картофельный суп с копченым лососем.
На 4 порции:

2 чашки воды, 2 чашки овощного бульона, 1 средних размеров луковица, мелко порезанная, 750 г картофеля, очищеного и мелко порезанного, 1 чашка сливок, 1 палочка мелко нарезанного сельдерея, 250 г копченого лосося, порезанного на ленточки, петрушка, мелко порезанная, 1 столовая ложка лимонного сока, соль и перец по вкусу.

Обжарить в кастрюле луковицу в сливочном масле, добавить картофель, сельдерей, воду, бульон и варить, пока картофель не будет мягким. Посолить, поперчить, выдавить сок лимона. В конце добавить сливки.

Вынуть часть картофеля из супа. Остальной суп вылить в комбайн и прокрутить до получения пюре. Вернуть суп в кастрюлю, добавить картофель и поварить еще 8-10 минут. Перед подачей на стол добавить smoked salmon и мелко нарезанную петрушку.

November 11, 2008

Ivanka Trump's Giur. Do you believe it?

Ivanka Trump has begun the process to convert to Judaism.
The daughter of real estate tycoon Donald Trump began the conversion process at Kehilath Jeshurun, an Orthodox synagogue on Manhattan’s East Side, Ynet reported Oct. 31.
Trump, 27, is engaged to Jewish businessman Jared Kushner. A former model, she is the vice president of real estate development and acquisitions for her father’s Trump Organization.
The couple will wed next year.
Source JTA

November 05, 2008

Jews and Obama: hopes for CHANGE

Despite the tense rift between Republican and Democratic Jews over the course of the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, exit polls on Tuesday showed that Barack Obama received about 77 percent of the Jewish vote Read (English)

«Предварительные результаты голосования потрясают, — говорит Айра Форман, исполнительный директор Национального еврейского демократического совета. — Но нам нужно увидеть окончательные цифры». Read (Russian)

Are we ready for a better HEALTH CARE system? Is he going to do? REMEMBER: CLINTONS BROKE THE PROMISE, and now...

Are we ready for new and better jobs, which will create stability in our life? Is he going to do? REMEMBER: WE NEED JOBS!